Mystery Wedding #9 - Mystery Monday

(Original Image and Text, Copyright (c) 2011 Cynthia Shenette) Here we are again with another wedding photo from my mystery collection. What can I tell you about this one? Sadly, not much. My guess is the wedding probably took place in Worcester, MA. My family didn't settle permanently in Worcester until 1900, therefore the wedding probably took place 1900 or after. Several people in the photo resemble my grandmother's Bulak side of the family, including the groom and the best man.

If you have or had family who were members of the Polish community in Worcester, MA in the early part of the 20th century, particularly if you have ancestors named Bulak or Bullock, please check out this photo. I'd love to put a name to a face.

Other Posts You Might Like:

The Mystery Brides Return - Mystery Monday
Mystery Monday: Another Polish Wedding
Mystery Monday: Yet Another Polish Wedding...
(Almost) Wordless Wednesday: Here Come The (Mystery) Brides

My First Year Of Blogging

(Copyright (c) 2011 Cynthia Shenette) It's been quite a year. I posted my first post at Heritage Zen on February 28, 2010, and I honestly don't know where the year has gone. When I started I wondered to myself, who's going to read this stuff? I really began blogging as a way to write about my research and document my memories, mainly for myself and eventually for my son when he is older.

I'd like to say thank you to everyone who has taken the time to read my posts or make a comment. You have encourage me, greatly. Thank you also to those of you who have decided to follow me on an ongoing basis. I've learned so much from you all as well--about blogging, about writing, about genealogy, and about the generosity of the geneablogger community. It has been such a positive experience.

Over the year I've discovered that my blog and my blogging has been a changing, evolving process. I am facing new challenges with my time, and am trying my best to still blog on a regular basis. You may have noticed that I'm not posting quite as much as I use to. I've been asked to fill in for a bit at my old job, so that is taking up much of the time I use to spend blogging and researching. At home we try to follow the Cub Scout motto--Do Your Best--so that is what I will do to try to keep posting on a regular basis.

My short term goals are to post on Monday and Wednesday, and maybe occasionally post on one of other daily themes as time allows. I hope to continue to contribute to the Carnival of Genealogy each month. I also hope to post on one special topic per month, such as my
Flu 1918 series in January and my interview with Colleen Fitzpatrick in February. I already have a topic in mind for March. I know this seems like an ambitious schedule given my time limitations. I'll have to see how things go and adapt as needed.

Thank you all again for being such a generous and supportive group of bloggers. You are the reason I'm looking forward to year two.

Other Posts You Might Like:

Where They Lived: Every Address Tells a Story
Books of Interest - Landowners in Poland 1918-1939
Letters and Photos and Stuff, Oh My!: Sorting Through a Loved One's Estate (Part 1)
Books of Interest - St. Denis: A French-Canadian Parish

Fascinating Ladies

(Copyright (c) 2011 Cynthia Shenette)

Famous and Infamous Women in Worcester County History

What do anarchist Emma Goldman, social reformer Dorothea Dix, stage coach driver Charley Parkhurst, and author Esther Forbes all have in common? How about American Red Cross founder Clara Barton, women's rights activist Lucy Stone, author Louisa May Alcott, and captive Mary Rowlandson? All of these women spent time or lived a portion of their lives in Worcester or Worcester County, Massachusetts.

I've been interested in women's history for years. I also love local history. Put both things together in a newspaper, magazine, or journal article and you can pretty much guarantee if I see it, I'll read it. I'm constantly fascinated at how many interesting women, both famous and infamous, have Worcester County roots or connections. Not only that, did you know that the very first
National Women's Rights Convention was held in Worcester in 1850? Now you thought it was in Seneca Falls, NY didn't you? Nope. Seneca Falls was the first Woman's Rights Convention, but the first national convention was held right here in Worcester, MA.

Here are some well known or fairly well known women with Worcester County connections:

Mary Rowlandson (c.1637-1711), who lived in the Worcester County town of Lancaster, MA, was captured by Native Americans during King Philip's War and eventually released at Redemption Rock, in the Worcester County town of Princeton, MA. She later wrote a book about her experience, The Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson.

Bathsheba Spooner (1746-1778), the daughter of Brigadier General Timothy Ruggles, was tried, convicted, and hanged on July 2, 1778 for her part as an accomplice in the murder of her husband, Joshua Spooner. She was the first woman to be executed in the new republic. She was five months pregnant at the time of her death.

Deborah Sampson (1760-1827) served in the Continental Army during the American Revolution. She disguised herself as a man, Robert Shurtliff of Uxbridge, MA (Worcester County), and was mustered into the 4th Massachusetts Regiment in Worcester, MA in May of 1782.

Dorothea Dix (1802-1887) spent part of her childhood in Worcester. Later in her life she outlined the harsh realities and living conditions of the mentally ill poor living in Massachusetts in writing. She presented her findings to the Massachusetts legislature which resulted in funds for what is now known as Worcester State Hospital.

Mary Sawyer (1806-1889), of "Mary Had a Little Lamb" fame, lived in the Worcester County town of Sterling, MA. Sadly, her home which stood in Sterling, was destroyed by arsonists in August of 2007. The school house mentioned in the nursery rhyme was purchased by Henry Ford and relocated to Sudbury, MA in 1927. It is part of the property of the Wayside Inn.

Abby Kelley Foster (1811-1877), abolitionist and women's rights activist, lived the majority of her life in Worcester. She was a speaker and organizer at the first National Women's Rights Convention in Worcester in 1850. Her home, Liberty Farm, was a stop on the Underground Railroad and is a currently designated as a National Historic Landmark.

Charley Parkhurst (1812-1879) lived her life as a man, and was a stagecoach driver in old California. As a youth she learned to work with horses as a stable hand for Ebenezer Balch in Worcester before traveling west.

Lucy Stone (1818-1893), abolitionist and suffragist, was born on the family farm in the Worcester County town of West Brookfield, MA. She was the first woman from Massachusetts to earn a college degree, attending Mount Holyoke Female Seminary in South Hadley, MA and later Oberlin College in Ohio. She also attended and spoke at the National Women's Rights Convention in Worcester in 1850.

Clara Barton (1821-1912), nurse and founder of the American Red Cross, was born and lived her her early years in the Worcester County town of Oxford, MA. At the age of 16 she became a teacher in a one-room school house in North Oxford. Her birthplace in Oxford is on the National Register of Historic Places, and the Clara Barton birthplace is home to a museum and The Barton Center for Diabetes Education.

Esther Howland (1828-1904), Worcester's own "Queen of Hearts," was an astute business woman and Valentine maker. She was the daughter of stationer and bookseller Southworth Howland, and is credited with popularizing Valentine's cards in America and for a time making Worcester central to America's Valentine production industry.

Louisa May Alcott (1832-1888), the author of Little Women, lived in the Worcester County town of Harvard, MA at Fruitlands, an experimental Utopian community founded by her father Bronson Alcott and fellow transcendentalist Charles Lane. The Alcotts lived at Fruitlands from June of 1843 to January of 1844.

Emma Goldman (1869-1940), political activist and anarchist lived in and visited Worcester on different occasions. A quirky bit of Worcester history, Goldman and her companion and fellow anarchist Alexander Berkman ran an ice-cream parlor for a short time in Worcester in 1892. She was also in attendance for Sigmund Freud's American lectures at Clark University in 1909.

Frances Perkins (1880-1965), United States Secretary of Labor under Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman, was born in Boston, MA but spent much of her childhood in Worcester. She attended Worcester's Classical High School. One of the branches of Worcester's public library system is the Frances Perkins Branch, a Carnegie library, in the Greendale section of the city.

Olive Higgins Prouty (1882-1974) was a poet and romance writer, and friend of writer Sylvia Plath. Two of her works were made in to films, Stella Dallas (1937) starring Barbara Stanwyck and Now, Voyager (1942) starring Bette Davis. Stella Dallas was most recently made over as Stella in 1990 starring Bette Midler.

Esther Forbes (1891-1967) was the author of Newbery Award winner Johnny Tremain and received the Pulitzer Prize for History for her biography, Paul Revere and the World He Lived In. Interestingly, her 1938 novel The General's Lady, is a historical novel about Bathsheba Spooner. She was born in Westboro, MA and spent a good part of her life in Worcester. Much of her writing was done in Worcester.

Gertrude Lawrence (1898-1952), the legendary English actress best known for her Tony Award winning role of Anna Leonowens in the King and I, was buried in her husband Richard Aldrich's family plot at the Lakeview Cemetery in the Worcester County town, of Upton, MA. She was buried wearing the champagne-colored gown she wore in the Shall We Dance? number from The King and I.

Agnes Moorehead (1900-1974) , the actress probably best known for her role as Endora in the classic television show Bewitched, was born and lived a short time in the Worcester County town of Clinton, MA. Her father was the Reverend John Henderson Moorehead, a Presbyterian minister, who eventually relocated the family to St. Louis, MO.

Elizabeth Bishop (1911-1979)--Poet Laureate for the United States, Pulitzer Prize winner, and National Book Award winner--was born and spent part of her childhood (much of it unhappy due to family discord) in Worcester. Her poem, "In The Waiting Room" mentions Worcester briefly.

Are there any interesting women who lived in your area?

Other Posts You Might Like:

Meditation: The Strength of Ordinary Women
The Stories My Grandmother Told Me
COG 97: Researching "The Coldbrook Tragedy" (Part 1 of 4)
A Matter of Habit: Solving a Mystery

The Shenette Family - Wordless Wednesday

(Original Image and Text Copyright (c) 2011 Cynthia Shenette) This is the only photo I have of my father as a child and the only one I have of him and his siblings together. My dad, Henry A. Shenette (1916-1985), is the boy with the knickers at the bottom. I think he was about 13 when this photo was taken. Pictured clockwise from the top are Leo, Edward, Margaret, Richard, Henry (dad), and Bertha. Raymond is the little boy in the woman's lap. There was one more sibling, not shown, who was probably not born yet when this photo was taken, for eight in all. I don't know who the older woman in the middle is. I remember years ago I asked my dad if she was his mother, and he said no. He said she was an aunt. No name was mentioned. I don't know for certain, but she might be Josephine, their father Frank Shenette's sister. I mentioned Josephine in my Amanuensis Monday post, The Death and Funeral of Charles Senecal. I know Josephine lived in Worcester at the time this photo was taken, and the woman looks as if she could be the right age. There is also a Shenette family resemblance.

Other Posts You Might Like:

Wish You Were Here?
Where I Grew Up
(Not So) Wordless Wednesday: The Kowalewski Family
(Almost) Wordless Wednesday: Alsatian Girls

The Death and Funeral of Charles Senecal - Amanuensis Monday

(Copyright (c) 2011 Cynthia Shenette)

Amanuensis: A person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another.

Thanks to John Newmark at
Transylvanian Dutch for providing the idea for Amanuensis Monday.

I learned of the circumstances of Charles Senecal's death as I was doing some research for a genealogy friend of mine. Charles Senecal was my friend's great-uncle and his wife Josephine was my grandfather Frank Shenette's sister. My friend's understanding was that Charles was a fireman and had died in a fire. Interestingly, both things were true, however he was not a fireman as we might think of a fireman today. He was a fireman who worked with boilers. This discovery was a surprise to both of us, and taught me valuable lesson. Job descriptions have changed over the years. What you think might be someone's occupation according to today's standards might actually be something very different given the standards of the day. A side note, Charles sister, the Mrs. Thomas Shenett mentioned, was my grandfather Frank Shenette's sister-in-law. She was married to Frank's brother Thomas.

St. Albans Daily Messenger. Tuesday, April 18, 1905, p 7.



Details of Accident Which Resulted in His Death.

The body of Charles Senecal, who died Sunday in the city hospital in Worcester, Mass., arrived in this city on the 4:55 o'clock train this morning and was taken to the residence of his sister, Mrs. Thomas Shenett, of Elm st. The body was accompanied by Mr. Senecal's brother, Michael Senecal of Worcester. Mr. Senecal is survived by his wife, a year-old-son, his mother, Mrs. Lucy Senecal, of this city, and one sister, Mrs. Thomas Shenett, of this city. The f[u]neral will be held at 9 o'clock to-morrow morning at the Holy Angels church. The burial will be in the Mount Calvary cemetery.

Following is an account of the accident to Charles Senecal, of Worcester, Mass., which caused his death. Mr. Senecal as noted in last night's Messenger died Saturday at the City hospital in Worcester, Mass., and the account of the accident is taken from a Worcester paper:

"Charles Senecal, thirty-one years old, engineer at the Baker Lumber Co., 26 North Foster st., was severely burned on both legs and around his waist, while at work cleaning a boiler. He was taken to City hospital in a police ambulance.

"His wife is at the hospital, recovering from an operation which was performed last week. It is thought that she is now out of danger.

"Senecal had taken out the grate and lining of the boiler, and the fire had been dumped, when, according to his story to the police, he ordered his helper to fill the ash pit with water. He donned a pair of old shoes and trousers and went to the boiler to get into the ash pit and clean out the bottom of the boiler.

"He said he thought the pit had been filled with water, and that the ashes were cold. He jumped into the pit into hot water and hot ashes up to his waist. He was hauled out by his helper, suffering severely from burns which covered his waist and legs to his feet.

"A police ambulance was called, and officer Oliver Blake and driver Edward Wilson covered the man's burns with carron oil, which relieved the pain, and hurried him to City hospital.

"Senecal said that not as much water had been turned into the pit as he had thought, and that the ashes were not cooled as much as he believed they would be.

"When he got to the hospital, his first questions were for the condition of his wife, and this appeared to trouble him more than his own injuries. He felt better when he found his wife was in a comfortable condition. They live at 16 Bancroft st.."

Other Posts You Might Like:

Flu 1918 (Part 1 of 3)
Amanuensis Monday: Clairvoyants and Distractions
Amanuensis Monday: Frank L. Naramore Obituary
Madness Monday: The Stuff We Throw Away, and...

Presenter Interview: Colleen Fitzpatrick, Forensic Genealogist

(Copyright (c) 2011 Cynthia Shenette) Last week I had the pleasure of conducting an e-mail interview with Colleen Fitzpatrick. Colleen is a scientist and well-known forensic genealogist and author who has worked on a number of high profile cases, including the identification of the Unknown Child of the Titanic, the Misha Defonseca Holocaust fraud case, and the identification of a frozen arm and hand found in the wreckage of Northwest Flight 4422 that crashed in Alaska in 1948. She will be speaking at the 11th New England Regional Genealogy Conference (NERGC), to be held in Springfield, Massachusetts April 6-10, 2011. The titles of Colleen's talks are "Genealogy and the Six Degrees of Separation: How to Find Anyone in the World" and "The Search for the Identity of the Amnesiac Benjaman Kyle."

Why and when did you become interested in genealogy?

I never "became" interested in genealogy. I had the privilege of knowing all four of my grandparents into my adulthood, along with some of their brothers and sisters and aunts and uncles. You do not "become" a genealogist when you grow up with living history like that. You are one from birth.

Why did you make a career switch from rocket science to forensic genealogy?

I have been interested in forensic for a long time, and of course have been a lifelong genealogist. You put those things together in the same brain with rocket science and out comes forensic genealogy!

What is your favorite aspect of forensic genealogy--the science, solving the case, the detective work, or helping people?

No question. Helping people. Sometimes as I am falling asleep at night, I am so happy thinking about how I have connected the lost with the people who are looking for them, or how I have helped to solve a mystery that brought distant family members together. I remain close to so many people I have worked with or who I have reunited.

You have worked on so many interesting cases, do you have a favorite?

That's a tough question. The
Hand in the Snow is probably near the top, tied with James-Jake Smithers-Gray. I hear from Maurice Conway and his family regularly. Maurice was the Conway family member who provided the DNA for identifying the Hand. We visit his house in Ireland every time we go, and they make us as really nice big meal and we talk about things. We make sure we phone each other on Thanksgiving Day, since that is the anniversary of when I called him to tell him we had a DNA match.

I am also in touch all the time with the Smithers from the US and the Grays from Australia who I reconnected through their father James Smithers aka John Henderson Gray. I am going to Australia next year for the genealogy conference there, and the Grays and I all can hardly wait to meet each other in person. I've already met quite a few of the Smithers here in the US. We dream of getting everyone together on one continent!

What do you do to prepare when you take on a new case?

Exactly what every genealogist does when he gets a new project. First, I make sure I understand "the story" behind the new case, and then I have a look at what records are available over the Internet - on Ancestry, GenealogyBank and some of the other websites. Then I start asking questions and filling in gaps.

What are your favorite non-traditional sources for information, meaning sources a genealogist might not initially consider using for information?

That is a hard question to answer because most of the materials I use are the same that a genealogist uses researching a personal family history such as census records, obits, and city directories.

It's what I make of that information that makes the big difference in what I do. A typical genealogist, for example, might record the births of an ancestral village searching for the names of the godparents to check for possible family relations.

I've done this too, but in addition, I have noted how the number of births increased and decreased over the years. Noticing that there were no births for ten years is how I discovered the ergot epidemic my Ulmers lived through in the 1600s in Sigolsheim, France. See the chapter The Ulmer Story in my
Forensic Genealogy book.

Have you experienced frustration in researching a particular "brick-wall" ancestor in your personal genealogy?

One of my most frustrating ancestors is a John White, born about 1842 in Boston. The family story is that he was from the family who owned White's Hotel there. According to family folklore, he married a Maria O'Neil who was an Irish governess in their house. His family rejected him and the couple moved to New Orleans, where three children were born, including my great-great-grandmother Julia White (b. 1867). Her younger sister Florence Evangelini White (b. 1884) was deaf and mute.

Julia married Frederick Brechtel (b. 1864 in New Orleans) when she was only 15 years old. Frederick was a bellboy at one of the local hotels. One of the witnesses listed on the marriage record was her father John White.

John fell on hard times and became an alcoholic. In the 1890s, a wealthy woman visited the house in a carriage, and said she was taking John back home to his family. The only person at home at the time was Florence, who could not hear nor speak. He told her (somehow) that he would come back for his children, but he never did. The family received a few letters from him, but the story goes that no one could read, so they didn't mean anything.

I visited the New England Historic Genealogical Society a few years ago, and searched the city directories for White's Hotel, but could not find it. I also searched the birth registrations for a John White - there were several. I believe his middle initial was L.

A while back, I received a response to a message I posted on the White RootsWeb list from someone who said he had a letter from his grandmother, that said the grandmother was working at White's Hotel in Boston. The person who contacted me was traveling a lot for work at that time, and was unable to get to his notes. I lost contact with the person, and have never found any other mention of this hotel.

If any of the attendees to NERGC has information about White's Hotel or the White family who owned it, it would be great to hear from you. You might be able to break down a big brick wall for me!

Who is your favorite ancestor and why?

My great-great-grandfather Bernard Rice who was born in September 1837 in Lower Killevy, Co. Armagh. He came to New Orleans in 1852 with his mother Ann, his brothers James and Felix, and his sister Mary Ann. He married Catherine Swords and they had many children, including my great-grandfather Mathew Adam Rice.

When Bernard died of railroad injuries in 1898, Catherine put on his tombstone "My Loving Husband" and I sense she meant that. She was buried next to him many years later. The Rice relatives I have known during my life have all been good-natured and easy-going. I was very close to Bernard Rice's grandson Bernard Frederick Rice who was my grandfather.

I think it I ever got to meet my great-great-grandfather, we would be very close, too. I'd like to hear his stories about growing up in Ireland, what happened to his father and two sisters who evidently didn't make it to the United States, and what made the family leave and wind up in New Orleans, of all places.

What is your top tip for analyzing a photo for information?

To first spend time with the photo going over the details and understanding what it is "really" trying to tell you.

Do you have any upcoming projects or books you would like to talk about?

I always have quite a few projects going on or on the horizon. At the moment, I am looking forward to identifying
Benjaman Kyle, the amnesiac now living in Savannah, GA. He is the subject of one of my talks at NERGC. If I can identify him by the conference, I may be able to let a few cats out of a few bags, but we'll have to wait and see. ;)

Given Colleen's work and busy schedule, I suspected she didn't have much free time for hobbies and recreational activities, but I still had to ask.

What do you do in your spare time? Do you have any hobbies?

Spare time? Hmmm...I think I had some once. Just kidding...

I love to travel and meet people from foreign counties. I love foreign languages. I love writing books and articles. I go walking with my good friend a lot.

Andy and I have just begun roasting our own coffee. We bought some green coffee beans for Christmas, and have been learning to listen for the "first crack" and the "second crack" when we roast them. The beans come from six different counties, and we are discovering how the coffees they produce vary in aroma, flavor, etc. and how the flavor changes as you sit there and sip.

If you would like additional information on Colleen Fitzpatrick and her work, check out her websites
Identifinders International and Forensic Genealogy. You can also follow her work at the Identifinders' Blog.

Other Posts You Might Like:
COG 97: Researching "The Coldbrook Tragedy" (Part 1 of 4)
Where They Lived: Every Address Tells a Story
A Matter of Habit: Solving a Mystery
Meditation: The Strength of Ordinary Women

Reading the Classifieds - Amanuensis Monday

(Copyright (c) 2011 Cynthia Shenette)

Amanuensis: A person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another.

Thanks to John Newmark at Transylvanian Dutch for providing the idea for Amanuensis Monday.

My favorite resources for research are the census, city/house directories, and newspapers. I am constantly amazed at how much I can learn about a person or a family using just those three things. Newspapers tell us so much about the attitudes and opinions of the day, weather, gossip, news, advertising. Even the classifieds contain a wealth of information. Take a look at the examples below. I selected the classifieds listed from one page of the Boston Globe on one particular day. I've also listed the headings under which the ads appear.

Boston Daily Globe. December 13, 1889, p. 9.


NO "DARK ROOMS" for working people; clean tenements in new brick buildings. cor. 2nd and Athens sts.; rents low; easy walk to city; entries warmed in winter. Apply on premisc.


BABIES BOARDED and taken for adoptions; terms reasonable. ABBOTT, 16 Dearborn pl. Roxbury.


$100 TO $200 per month can be made in any city by capable men who are willing to invest a small amount of money where quick returns are realized: this business has been carried on successfully in Boston and other cities for years. For descriptive pamphlet call or address A.T. THOMPSON 7 CO., 13 Tremont row. Boston.


WANTED to find a cousin of Mrs. Elizabeth Lakeman Quimby Brown, or any of her relatives; last heard from she resided in Boston or immediate vicinity. Interested parties will learn something to their advantage by addressing THOMAS BROWN, 604 Central av. Dover, N.H.


AGENTS wanted for the best book on earth to make money with; 1 makes $500 monthly; several $300; any worker can make $150 BALCH BROTHERS, 36 Bromfield st. Boston.

AGENTS wanted; 2 men this morning; must be wide awake and willing to do the best they can. Call after 9 a.m. 21 Bromfield st. J.W. Proctor.

AGENTS wanted - Housekeepers buy it and are happy; new kitchen utensil of rare merit; large profits G.B. BLAKE 703 Washington st.


YOUNG MAN wants situation as nurse or attendant to insane person. Doctor's reference. P.D. 339 Shawmut av.

WANTED--A young lady would like a position as a mother's help, in or out of the city; is very fond of children, a good seamstress and understands housework thoroughly; good home more desirable than high wages. Address E., 39 Old Harbor st., South Boston.

WORK wanted by an American in an office, elevator, clothes store; any inside work which is suitable for disabled vet. soldier. Address X 146, Globe office.

SITUATION wanted by a young married woman as a wet nurse, 3 Fellows ct. Mrs. Folland.


MAN Cook wanted; temperate; non other; apply personally 823 Washington st. 1 flight.

WANTED--Clean American boys, 14 to 16 years old. Mer. Ref. & B. Assoc'n., 459 Washington st.


YOUNG LADY wanted as assistant to clairvoyant. Address by letter, with particulars, M 183 Globe office.


MLLE. ISABELLE FLORENCE, professional dancer, from New York; song and dance, jig, etc. taught; terms moderate 64 West Newton st.

Each one of these is a story waiting to be told. What classifieds have you read that intrigued you? Did you follow through to learn, as radio man Paul Harvey use to say, the rest of the story?

Other Posts You Might Like:

Amanuensis Monday: Clairvoyants and Distractions
Amanuensis Monday: Frank L. Naramore Obituary
Amanuensis Monday: Where My Doll Came From
Madness Monday: The Stuff We Throw Away, and...

California, Here I Come - Wordless Wednesday

(Original Images and Text, Copyright (c) 2011 Cynthia Shenette) Greetings from the snow-pit of central Massachusetts. In an effort to chase the winter blues away I am offering up a few photos from our trip to California last July. Come with me as I travel back in time, to a place sunny and warm. Put down your snow shovel. Turn off that snow blower. Take off your fuzzy slippers, and leave your Snuggie behind. Get out your flip-flops, pull up a beach chair, grab a fruity tropical drink (with tiny umbrella, of course), and travel with me to northern California, because I want to be anywhere but here...

Claremont Hotel, Berkeley, CA (Thank you, Priceline.)

Balcony view from the Claremont Hotel, Berkeley, CA (San Francisco Bay is in the distance.)

Highway 1, Big Sur, California (Beautiful, but pray your tire doesn't blow out.)

Big Sur, CA

UC Santa Cruz Arboretum, Santa Cruz, CA

UC Santa Cruz Arboretum, Santa Cruz, CA

Napa Valley, CA

UC Berkeley Botanical Garden, Berkeley, CA

UC Berkeley Botanical Garden, Berkeley, CA

Japanese Tea Garden, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CA

View of Berkeley, the San Francisco Bay, and beyond, from the Lawrence Hall of Science, UC Berkeley, Berkeley, CA

Other Posts You Might Like:

Follow Friday: California Dreamin'
Wordless Wednesday: A San Francisco Treat
Wordless Wednesday: Fall Weekends in New England
Postcards from the Edge: Genealogy Road Trippin'

Does Your Public Library Have a Vertical File? - Tuesday's Tip

(Copyright (c) 2011 Cynthia Shenette) Back in the old days (we're talking the mid to late 1980s), when I started working in libraries, we had something called a "vertical file" at my library. It was kind of an archaic form of the Internet except way, way, way, way smaller--all the information was contained inside of one filing cabinet. Vertical files were often used to organize articles, pamphlets, reports, and other items that might be of interest to library patrons. Many libraries eliminated their vertical files when easy access to the same or better quality information became available on the Internet. It was kind of like turning in your horse and buggy for a Lamborghini. For most, though not all, intents and purposes the concept of the vertical file has become obsolete.

Some libraries have retained their vertical files or portions of them for people researching local history and genealogy. The wonderful folks at the
Worcester Public Library realised the value of the biographical/local history information in the library files. While more recent issues of our local newspaper, the Worcester Telegram & Gazette, are indexed and accessible electronically older issues are not. The Worcester Biography File offers a wealth of information on people with Worcester connections, and the Worcester Clipping File offers information on a variety of Worcester subjects. The files don't contain information on everything and everyone, but they sure offer a lot of information which is difficult or cumbersome to access in other ways. I use the clipping files for the info in the files and to figure out where and when events took place. I look for the date of an event in one of the files and then go the microfilm of the newspaper for that date for additional coverage.

Tuesday's Tip: Ask the librarian at your public library if they have some kind of a clipping/vertical file. You'll be glad you did. That little red Lamborghini's sure is pretty, but sometimes the horse and buggy will do the job just fine.

Other Posts You Might Like:

Tuesday's Tip: A Tale of Two Indexers
Tuesday's Tip: "Ask A Librarian" Service at Your Public Library
Tombstone Tuesday: Jacob Riis, Riverside Cemetery, Barre, MA
Madness Monday: The Stuff We Throw Away, and...