Genealogy Book Sale Fail  

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I have not read this book yet (although I hear it's terrific), but the sale price cracked me up anyway:

3 Pony Stories  

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I haven't submitted a post to a carnival in a while, but this one is too good to pass. I actually have three stories, but have photos for two so far (I know the third exists but I don't know where it's hiding). This is my submission to the 78th Edition of the Carnival of Genealogy: Pony Pictures.

1. The Ponies in Los Angeles

This is a funny one because it is one of my daughter's favorite bedtime stories. On our second family trip to the US in 1982, we did the west coast tour and also visited Mexico. When we were in LA, my mom's cousin took us pony riding. I am not sure where it was exactly.
The ponies rode around an elliptical track and every 5 minutes or so they would be corralled back and new riders would get their turn. While standing in line, my sister and I started eying the ponies we wanted to ride. My sister wanted the slow, mellow pony, who calmly strolled around the track. I obviously wanted the fastest one.
So we get our turn and get on the ponies we wanted. But as soon as the ponies were released, my sister's shot out of the gate like he was at the derby. Mine on the other hand decided to take a bit if a break:

Yes, those are real tears on my poor sister's face. For 5 minutes she yelled and screamed for that pony to stop, which he didn't.
I just found out that we have an old home video that my parents converted to VHS, so now I am waiting for my copy on DVD.

2. The Mule in West Virginia

I love this photo. According to my wife's uncle, Glenn:

This was taken in Parsons, WV, Summer of 1950 at a family reunion at a second cousin's house. Jackie (left) and Lois (right) standing, Bunny (back) and I (front) on the mule. Grandma was there too, but she got her hand caught in the door of my dad's new 1950 Mercury just before this picture was taken. We were up near Black Water Falls. Somewhere out there is another photo with Jackie on the mule, taken at the same time.

Don't worry, I asked for more details and will share when I get them.

UPDATE: More from Uncle Glenn - This was at a Rightmire great-aunt's home. The Aunt we visited lived very basically in the country with a mule for a work, as a beast of burden and a hand pump well for water in the back of her home. She made us kids eat carrots and other things she grew in her garden. I know it was very near Black Water Falls because we went to the Falls that day and walked in the back water and did a swing bridge. This was just before we moved to Ft. Lauderdale later that year in Nov. 1950.

3. The Love Story

I've heard the following story in several variations, but this is the one that my sister wrote in her roots project:

This is the story about how my grandparents met. Grandpa managed a store in Tashkent and had a business relationship with Grandma's father. He would always tell him about his daughter but refused to let them meet because he said my grandfather was a punk. They met on accident when he spotted her walking with her father one day. Her father tried to avoid their introduction by trying to go down a small alley but because my Grandpa was riding his horse he quickly caught up to them and that's how they met. It was love at first sight and a year later they were married.

Somewhere, there's a photo of my grandmother on a horse, which I need to find and post. But I love this story and had to include it in this post.

What am I reading?  

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I wanted to share what I've been reading lately. You may remember that I got on a Holocaust theme a while back and I am pretty much still there:

Right now I am reading "History on Trial: My Day in Court with a Holocaust Denier" by Deborah E. Lipstadt, about a huge libel suit filed in England against Prof. Lipstadt by David Irving, the uber-douche Holocaust denier. It's an interesting legal battle for those who might enjoy that aspect too. Very good book so far. I am even thinking about going to hear Prof. Lipstadt's course at Emory this fall: REL 324-000: The Holocaust.

I would skip "Defiance: The Bielski Partisans" by Nechama Tec, because unfortunately it is just not written well. I am sure there is an amazing story there and I have not seen the movie yet, but I just couldn't get through this book.

Another one I am reading which is very interesting is "Who Will Write Our History?: Rediscovering a Hidden Archive from the Warsaw Ghetto" by Samuel D. Kassow, which not only touches on the actual Warsaw Ghetto life but gives a very interesting background on the political and social life of pre-war Jews in Poland. If you've ever heard of the Oyneg Shabes Archive - this is the book about it and Emanuel Ringelblum who created it. I never knew that Jews had such a complex political landscape with several parties battling it out in East Europe between the two world wars. Very interesting stuff indeed.

I've already written about "The Lost: A Search for Six of Six Million" by Daniel Mendelsohn. This book is interesting in some ways and annoying in others. The inclusion of old testament comparisons to the authors life and experiences were too simplistic in my opinion and there is a lot of repetition. Mendelsohn is a true New Yorker and was even the book critic for New York magazine for a few years. Some people will enjoy his writing style where some sentences go on forever with a thousand commas and by the time you finish one you don't even remember where it started. It's a good book, but probably not at the top of my list.

And to round up this book review, one book that has nothing to do with Judaism or the Holocaust. I'm a couple of chapters into "Benjamin Franklin: An American Life" by Walter Isaacson and so far I'm loving it. It's an interesting autobiography about an amazing character combined with a lot of history and great story telling. I look forward to reading more of it.

Have any of you read any of these books and have an opinion to share? Any other recommendations? I'd love to hear from you in the comments.

My Wife's 16 Great-Great-Grands  

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Just to show you all how much more information there is about my wife side of the tree I went ahead and created the 5th generation RM4 ahnentafel for her ancestors:

16. Jesse Travis BRANNON: born 2 Feb 1837 in Georgia; married 20 Aug 1861 in Gwinnett County, Georgia. USA

17. Isabella Elizabeth ATKINSON: born Feb 1843 in Georgia; died in Georgia. USA

18. Calvin Rufus BISHOP: born 3 Jan 1852 in Spartanburg County, South Carolina; married; died 6 Jan 1880 in Beech Springs, Spartanburg County, South Carolina. USA

19. Margret TIMMONS: born bet 1852 and 1860 in South Carolina; died 14 Jan 1912 in Atlanta, Georgia. USA

20. Alexander McD. "Alex" WILEY: born abt 1844 in Pennsylvania; married.USA

21. Emily GREENAWALT: born Mar 1846 in Pennsylvania. USA

22. Rev. Milton B. TUGGLE: born 2 May 1845 in Oglethorpe County, Georgia; married 9 Jan 1894; died 12 Jan 1910 in Atlanta, Fulton County, Georgia. USA

23. Anna Frances DEAN: born 17 Nov 1866 in Floyd County, Georgia; died 27 Jun 1947 in Dekalb County, Georgia. USA

24. Jacob HYTOWITZ: born 1864/5 in Russia; married abt 1882; died 9 Sep 1937 in Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. RUSSIA (probably Lithuania)

25. Rose "Rosa, Rosie" FRANK: born bet 1866 and 1868 in Poland; died 11 Feb 1941 in Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. POLAND

26. Thomas Ward RIGHTMIRE: born 11 Aug 1849 in Webster, Taylor County, West Virginia; married 22 Dec 1882; died 25 Oct 1922 in Parsons, Tucker County, West Virginia. USA

27. Edith Mae CONLEY: born 15 Nov 1858 in West Virginia; died 16 Mar 1917 in Tucker County, West Virginia. USA

28. Conrad J. AUTH: born Jul 1832 in Hesse-Cassel, Germany; married 1864; died 19 Jan 1911 in Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. GERMANY

29. Elizabeth BANNANTINE: born Feb 1839 in England; died 9 Oct 1933 in Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. ENGLAND

30. Thomas KEARNEY: born Apr 1840 in Ireland; married 1868. IRELAND

31. Maria : born Jan 1843 in Ireland. IRELAND

Yep, we have 10 born in the USA (4 GA, 2 SC, 2 PA, 2 WV), 1 RUSSIA, 1 POLAND, 1 GERMANY, 1 ENGLAND and 2 IRELAND. If I go further back and try to see where all these US folks are from, I have several generations until I find them mostly in IRELAND, ENGLAND and FRANCE. But most lines have been in the southern USA for a couple of centuries.

Looking at this list I see that I have a lot of work to do on my wife's side as well. I am missing death/burial dates/places and other important information.

Does anyone have any time to spare? Yeah, I didn't think so :-)

My 16 Great-Great-Grands  

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I have to thank Randy Seaver for his challenging Saturday night fun posts that help me get out of my genea-blogging slumps. This time around he asks us to:

1) List your 16 great-great-grandparents in pedigree chart order. List their birth and death years and places.

2) Figure out the dominant ethnicity or nationality of each of them.

3) Calculate your ancestral ethnicity or nationality by adding them up for the 16 - 6.25% for each (obviously, this is approximate).

4) If you don't know all 16 of your great-great-grandparents, then do it for the last full generation you have.

5) Write your own blog post, or make a comment on Facebook or in this post.

I followed Randy's advice and grabbed my info from a RM4 Ahnentafel list:

1. Avraham Benjamin KIELCZEWSKI: b.? m.? died bef 1 Jun 1918. POLAND

2. Zywa Golda KRUG: b.? m.? died bef 1 Jun 1918. POLAND

3. Haim Shmuel KALMANIEWSKI: b.? m.? d.? POLAND

4. ???: b.? m.? d.? POLAND

5. Shlomo SMORGONSKI: born abt 1836. m.? d.? POLAND

6. Hanna Minka ?: b.? m.? d.? POLAND

7. Jacob SEGALCHIK: b.? m.? d.? POLAND

8. Ita ?: b.? m.? d.? POLAND

9. Jacob Yitzhak DOMBEK: b.? m.? d.? POLAND

10. Sarah Rachel KARPIK: born abt 1861 in Sterdyn, Sokolow, Lublin, Poland. m.? died abt 1941 in Sterdyn, Sokolow, Lublin, Poland. POLAND

11. Avram KREPLAK: b.? married 1874 in Kosow Lacki, Poland. d.? POLAND

12. Dobe JABLONKA: b.? married 1874 in Kosow Lacki, Poland. d.? POLAND

13. Aaron ZINBERG: b.? m.? d.? RUSSIAN EMPIRE

14. Sarah ?: b.? m.? d.? RUSSIAN EMPIRE

15. Joseph BENDITOVICH: b.? m.? d.? RUSSIAN EMPIRE

16. Miriam ?: b.? m.? d.? RUSSIAN EMPIRE

Hmmm. I have a lot of work to do. For starters, I know I have looked for all of these ancestors on JewishGen, but those databases are far from being complete. My next task should be to get some microfilm from the LDS, but how is that really going to help me? I can't read Russian or Polish or Latin or whatever language any of these records will be in. If they even exist.

At least I can pretty firmly say that I am 75%/25% Polish-Russian, which I have known pretty much all my life. And as I have written here before, the next generation after this one had a 75%/25% split for those who perished in the Holocaust. Yes, the entire Polish side. It's a good thing my grandfather fled to Russia.

So, does anyone have suggestions how I should go about filling in all these question marks?

Miriam's Directories Website  

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I mentioned in my last post how much City Directories have been helpful in my research and wanted to point my readers to a new site from Miriam Robbins Midkiff:

Online City, County, and Rural Directories Website

This new site has set a lofty goal to have a complete listing for city, county, rural, business, and other types of directories for the United States and Canada, and then go on to add directories for other countries. The navigation is very easy and you can quickly get to what you are looking for. Since this is a work in progress you need to check back and see what's been added recently.

Of course, there have been a lot of directories added lately to and, but those are pay sites and they are not complete anyway. Here's an example:

I know my wife's Hytowitz line arrived in the US around 1880, but since there is no 1890 census I have a huge gap until I find them in the 1910 Census. I have tried everything I can think of to find them in the 1900 Census, but with no luck so far. Looking through the Pittsburgh City Direcotries on Footnote is extremely frustrating. But on Miriam's site I found the links to Eve and Don which are so easy to browse through.

Anyway, check out the site and Miriam, if you need any help, let me know!