Monday, December 28, 2015

649. FGS Springfield Isn't That Far Off!

[For all you "plan-aheaders" out there, the Federation of Genealogical Societies annual conference is in our region in 2016. Start saving your spare change for an August departure!]


A Conference for the Nation’s Genealogists

August 31 - September 3, 2016, Springfield, Illinois

          FGS and local host the Illinois State Genealogical Society invite you to join genealogists and family historians from throughout the world for some innovative time traveling experiences in Springfield, IL! Learn from exceptional speakers, network with other researchers, stroll through a large exhibit hall filled to the brim with vendors, and take in the amazing sites and sounds of Illinois’ capital city.

[And for all you REAL plan-aheaders, FGS in 2018 will be guess where?]

August 22 - 25, Fort Wayne, Indiana
FGS 2018 National Conference — FGS returns to the Hoosier State in 2018 providing attendees convenient access to Allen County Public Library which houses one of the largest genealogical research collections available with records from around the world.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

648. Borrowing Winter Solstice

     Humans have been celebrating the winter solstice for thousands of years. The movement of the earth and the heavens has been noted by even the most primitive of human cultures, as those changes are of critical importance to life on earth.
     It's also well known that religions have been trying to explain life in the universe for thousands of years. New religions, needing to establish themselves, commonly borrow symbols from older and better known cultures. Christianity supposedly borrowed the winter solstice festivals from the "pagan" cultures that preceded it, and established Christmas as a major religious festival. We celebrate that festival this week, along with similar festivals in other religions.
     Symbols are also meaningful to people, especially circles. People gather in circles on many occasions; they seem to like that 'what goes around, comes around' feeling. So, from the Circle of Stonehenge to the Circle of Indianapolis, I wish you happiness as you celebrate the Winter Solstice in its many disguises, hopefully in the Circle of Your Family.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

647. Japanese-American Family History

Another of the new inclusive American family history sites is this one featuring the Japanese -American citizens among us. I spent two years in Japan, so I feel closer to the Japanese than to most non-Anglos. Nice to see a dark chapter in U.S. history brought to light and included in the story of our nation.

SAN JOSE -- Jimi Yamaichi was 19 when he and his family were torn away from their farm in San Jose and incarcerated in a desolate, treeless internment camp in northern Wyoming with thousands of other Japanese-Americans after the attack on Pearl Harbor.
"When we were leaving home and going to the camps, I saw Mom and Dad with tears in their eyes, looking at the green fields ready to be harvested, and they had to leave," said Yamaichi, a 92-year-old San Jose resident and the curator of the San Jose Japanese-American Museum. "After 20 years of work, their investment had gone down the tubes."
For Yamaichi and the dwindling number of surviving Japanese-Americans who were forced into the camps, this dark period of American history is an indelible part of their own stories.
A copy of the Daily Tulean Dispatch is part of the Flaherty Collection, photographed Monday, June 29, 2015, in the Special Collections and Archives department of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Library in San Jose, Calif. The entire collection is soon to be digitized. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group) ( Karl Mondon )
But before their recollections fade with the passing generations, a new project is under way to preserve the family letters, photographs and government documents connected to the World War II internment camps.
Over the next two years, San Jose State and 14 other campuses in the California State University system will be digitizing 10,000 documents into a searchable database called the CSU Japanese American History Digitization Project. A $320,000 grant from the National Park Service will soon make these pieces of history available to the public online at
The project is aimed at shedding light onto an aspect of American history that is often overlooked.