Julie's Genealogy & History Hub

Julie's Genealogy & History Hub -

Book Review – The Other Mother: A Woman’s Love for the Child She Gave Up for Adoption

Title:  The Other Mother: A Woman’s Love for the Child She Gave Up for Adoption

Author:  Carol Schaefer

Format:  Paperback, Kindle

Published: Reprint, 2013

Synopsis:  (from Amazon) In 1965, Carol Schaefer was 19, a freshman in college and deeply in love. She was also pregnant. When her boyfriend’s family opposed their marrying, her parents sequestered her in a Catholic home for unwed mothers a state away, where she was isolated and where secrecy prevailed. She had only to give up her baby for her sin to be forgiven and then all would soon be forgotten she was told. The child, in turn, would be placed with a “good” family, instead of having his life ruined by the stigma of illegitimacy. Carol tried to find the strength to oppose this dogma but her shame had become too deep. “The first time I looked deep into my son’s eyes, I felt like a criminal. As I unwrapped his hospital blanket and took in the heady fragrance of a newborn, I feared the nurses or the sisters would come in and slap me for contaminating my own son.” Finding no way out, she signed the fateful papers leaving her son in the hands of strangers, but with a vow to her baby she would find him one day. For years, Carol struggled to forget and live the “normal” life promised, not understanding the consequences of the trauma she’d endured. On his eighteenth birthday, she set out to find him, although the law denied access to records. Her search became a spiritual quest to reclaim her own lost self, as she came to understand the emotional and psychological wounds she and other mothers like her had endured. Against all odds she succeeded in finding him and discovered that in many ways they had never really been apart. With her son’s encouragement and his adoptive mother’s cooperation, she tells their story.

My Rating: 

I have done some adoption research for a few people, which were all successful, and I am currently working on an adoption case using DNA.  I’ve contemplated if this is an area I’d like to specialize in, but I feel that I need to really understand all of the implications of conducting such research before I go any further down this path.  There are several books I want to read to gain more insight, but this one called to me, begging to be read first.  I’m glad it did.

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Call for Presentation Proposals for the 2016 FGS Conference

Time_travel_color_blockThe 2015 Federation of Genealogical Societies Conference has just ended, but planning is well underway for the 2016 conference, which will be held August 31 to September 3, 2016 in Springfield, Illinois.  The press release below is the call for presentations, which are due by April 10, 2015.

2016 FGS National conference Call for presentation Proposals
Deadline for Submissions is 10 April 2015

February 13, 2015 – Austin, TX. The Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) announces a Call for Presentation Proposals for the FGS 2016 Conference, “Time Travel: Centuries of Memories,” to be held in Springfield, Illinois, Aug 31 – Sept 3, 2016. The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum are within walking distance of the Prairie Capital Convention Center, the conference venue. The conference will be held in cooperation with the Illinois State Genealogical Society as local host. The deadline for submission of presentation proposals is Friday, 10 April 2015.

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Registration Open for 2nd Annual New York Family History Conference

NYSFHC Logo 2015I received this press release last week regarding the 2nd Annual New York Family History Conference that will take place in Syracuse, New York, September 17–19, 2015.  Registration opened on February 11, and the early bird rates will remain in effect through May 31.  Details below.

The second New York State Family History Conference will take place in Syracuse, NY,
September 17–19, 2015 and bring together hundreds of researchers
from across the country who want to learn about their New York roots.

NEW YORK, NY, February 11—The Central New York Genealogical Society and the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society are cosponsoring the 2015 New York Family History Conference. This year’s event will also be a Federation of Genealogical Societies Regional Conference.

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Finally! New York Genealogical & Biographical Society Releases NY Research Guide

NYFHRGGI wrote briefly about this anticipated guide back in 2012 when I had read an announcement in the Fall 2012 issue of The New York Researcher.  I’m glad to see that this multi-year project has finally resulted in the publication of New York Family History Research Guide and Gazetteer.  Even though I haven’t seen the book, I can only imagine how helpful it will be for those of us researching in New York state.  Quoting from a recent press release, Jeanne Sloane, the Society’s chairman, says, “As a reference for family historians, it is simply indispensable.”  I don’t doubt it!

Over 100 experts contributed to this comprehensive tome.  According to the product listing, there are over 800 pages of information, including:

  • Chapters on major record groups and research resources, including the most up-to-date and comprehensive review of New York State’s extremely complicated vital records system.
  • Information on research resources for sixteen major ethnic and twelve major religious groups that have lived in New York.
  • Gazetteers, maps, and research guides to each of New York’s 62 counties, including the five boroughs of New York City.
  • More than 100 separate, categorized, special topic bibliographies vetted by genealogists.
  • Timelines of key events in New York history 1609–1945 that impact genealogical research.
  • An index of over 11,000 place names and place-name variants past and present, the first published gazetteer of its kind since 1872.

    I’m sure it’s well worth the cost of $65.00 (NYG&B members; $85.00 for non-members).  You can learn more about the guide and order your copy today through the NYG&B Online Store.

    Book Review – Out of the Shoebox: An Autobiographic Mystery

    Title:  Out of the Shoebox: An Autobiographic Mystery

    Author:  Yaron Reshef

    Format:  Paperback and Kindle

    Published:  2014

    Synopsis: (from Amazon)  A mysterious unexpected phone call hurls Yaron Reshef into an intensive two-year journey, during which he has to solve a mystery that took shape in the 1930s and gradually unfolded in the present.  A mysterious lot, a forgotten bank account, a people long gone along with their memory which were obliterated during the Holocaust.  All of these rise to the surface, bearing with them memories and emotions previously hidden away in the shoebox.  Out of the Shoebox is a fascinating journal that reads like a detective story, comes across as an imaginative quest into the past, yet is the true personal story of the writer, Yaron Reshef.

    My Rating: 

    I don’t typically read memoir-type books, but it caught my attention over at the Kindle for Genealogy group page on Facebook.  After reading the comments there and then reading reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, I decided to take a chance.  I’m glad I did.

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    Book Review – What’s in a Name? History and Meaning of Wyckoff

    Title:  What’s in a Name? History and Meaning of Wyckoff

    Author:  M. William Wykoff

    Format:  Paperback

    Published:  2014

    Synopsis: (from Amazon) The cumulative evidence presented here proves that the origin of the surname Wyckoff is Frisian and refers to a household or settlement on a bay, although many uninformed American descendants of Pieter Claessen Wyckoff continue to believe the name to be Dutch. Frisian was only one of the many languages spoken by early settlers of New Netherland. In the Northern Germanic linguistic area of Europe, the surname occurs principally in the Lower Saxony area of Germany which includes East Frisia from where our American ancestor emigrated. Amid the proliferation of costly false and inaccurate information being disseminated on popular interactive genealogy websites, the author suggests corrective measures that could be taken by professional genealogical societies and family associations such as the Wyckoff Association of America.

    My Rating: 

    For those studying the Wyckoffs descended from Pieter Claessen Wyckoff, who settled in New Netherland, this is a book you should order pronto.  This comprehensive study disproves long-held beliefs that Pieter Claessen and his adopted surname of Wyckoff were of Dutch origins, by showing evidence that the origins of both are East Frisia (Ostfriesland).  The author also clears up the mistaken identity of Pieter Claessen’s parents and supplies a meaning behind the surname Wyckoff.  Between the references, records, and experts consulted, no stone has been left unturned.

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