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Archive for the ‘African-American Genealogy’ Category

9780226313283The following is from an email written by Roberta Dollase and republished in this blog with her permission.

I am writing to invite you to a book talk and book signing at the Scandinavian Cultural Center, 206 Waltham Street, West Newton, on Monday, November 14, 2016 at 7:00 p.m.  Gisli Palsson, a Professor of Anthropology at the University of Iceland, will be talking about his book, The Man Who Stole Himself: The Slave Odyssey of Hans Jonathan, published this September by the University of Chicago Press.

In the winter of 2015, I received a phone call from Professor Palsson. He told me that he had written a book about one of my ancestors and he was working on an American edition.  In revising the book for American publication, he wanted to learn about the American branch of my family.

He told me that my great, great, great grandfather, Hans Jonathan, had been born a slave on the island of St. Croix in 1784.  Hans was the son of a house slave on a sugar plantation and a Danish father.

A brief outline of Hans’ journey:  When he was 8, his master took him to Copenhagen where he spent his youth and formative years in his master’s household.  When he was 18, his widowed mistress wanted to send him back to St. Croix to be sold. After a famous Danish court case in 1802, he was ruled a slave, but before his mistress could follow through on her plan, he escaped to Iceland where he ultimately declared himself a free man.  In 1820, he met and married my great, great, great grandmother, Katrin, the daughter of an Icelandic sheep farmer and fisherman.  In 1869, their grandson Georg, my great grandfather, and his brother Bjorn went to Denmark to further their educations. While Bjorn returned to Iceland, Georg remained in Denmark.  His only son, my grandfather, George Bjorn, brought his family to the United States when my father was three, thus establishing the American branch of the family.

In 2015, through telephone calls and emails (including a draft of the book in English), I learned Hans Jonathan’s story and shared with Professor Palsson the story of my American family.  In November, my husband and I, along with our children and two of our grandchildren, joined Professor Palsson, several of my Icelandic relatives, and an Icelandic documentary filmmaker on a trip to St Croix where we visited the places where Hans Jonathan and his mother had lived.  Learning about Hans Jonathan and my family history and the trip to St. Croix was extraordinary.

While Professor Palsson’s book tells the story of Hans Jonathan’s remarkable life, it goes well beyond biography.  A quotation on the book’s jacket states:   Palsson offers a meditation on slavery and race – past and present – raising complex issues involving race, memory, and   family.  Palsson does not offer easy answers, rather, he pushes readers to ponder these issues on their own.  A beautifully written and accessible book.   Terri L. Snyder, California State University, Fullerton

The book talk is free, but the Scandinavian Cultural Center encourages registration.  Go to scandicenter.org, click on “Events” and scroll to “Author Series: Gisli Palsson.” A place to reserve a ticket is at the bottom of the write-up.  I think you will find the book and the book talk interesting.  I would love to see you there!

Roberta Dollase(author)/9 November 2016/vea
Newton Free Library
Newton, Mass
Library website:  http://www.newtonfreelibrary.net
Genealogy blog:  https://thecuriousgenealogist.wordpress.com
Genealogy LibGuide:  
http://guides.newtonfreelibrary.net

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DSC06280I just received the June/July issue of Internet Genealogy.  One of the first sections I go to in each issue is “Net Notes.” It’s a series of short pieces covering recent website activity that may be of interest to readers. The first entry describes some online releases from the Library and Archives Canada (LAC).  I have a special interest in Canadian genealogy so I took a closer look — and came to an unexpected halt. One of the entries cites LAC’s release of a database consisting entirely of immigrants from the Ukraine (1890-1930) arriving in Canadian and American ports. I had just put together a list on Ukrainian genealogical resources for several patrons who needed help on this topic. This entry gave me another resource to add to my list that might help break down some of their brick walls. If it hadn’t been for this article, I might never have found this little gem.

Flipping through genealogy magazines can not only help to keep you up to date, but can unearth treasure you’d never find otherwise. Perhaps some of the following might help you. Do you have ancestors in the American colonies during the Revolution or in the United States during the War of 1812? The Canadian piece also includes references to databases on the War of 1812, and to the Book of Negroes (with 3,000 names of Black Loyalists who fled the Port of New York at the end of the Revolutionary War). It concludes with another database consisting of the recently digitized list of Loyalists and British Soldiers (for the period 1772-1784) from the Carleton Papers.

Other articles in this issue center around saving family stories. One describes what can be done with FamilySearch.org’s Memories section, which is devoted to researching and preserving family stories. Then there are related pieces, “Stellar Storytelling Apps” and “Recording Family Interviews with Audacity.”

DSC06341British genealogy is represented with two articles.  One lists seven websites relating specifically to the Victorian era. The second highlights three free UK websites run by volunteers.

The magazine rounds off with articles on “Researching the Great Depression,” “Supreme Court Cases and Your Family History,” and a review of Yale’s Photogrammar Project that digitizes photographs of the 1930s and 1940s and makes them available online. There are also the monthly features “The Back Page,” “Genealogical Society Announcements,” and additional short pieces in the Net Notes already mentioned.

DSC06342Perhaps I now have you curious, but frustrated because you don’t subscribe to the magazine. Not to worry. The Newton Free Library does. Pay us a visit. You can find this and other genealogy magazines just to the right as you enter the Special Collections Room on the first floor.  Take a few minutes to see what’s there.  Here there be discoveries to be made, brick walls to be dismantled, and gold to be found.

 

 

vea/16 June 2016
Newton Free Library
Newton, Mass
Library website:  http://www.newtonfreelibrary.net
Genealogy blog:  https://thecuriousgenealogist.wordpress.com
Genealogy LibGuide:  http://guides.newtonfreelibrary.net/genealogy

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Welcome to BostonA reminder:  Tonight, June 14, at 8pm PBS’s Genealogy Roadshow arrives at Boston’s Faneuil Hall. The trio of genealogists helps locals uncover links to the Salem Witch Trials, orphan trains, and Boston’s founders.

Next Tuesday, June 21, the Roadshow reconvenes at the Providence Public Library. There an investigation reveals how one key document – a passport– sheds light on how one family survived the Holocaust. Other segments cover an African American who served in World War I, and a man’s Amish relatives.

PBS affiliates often show these programs at staggered times after the original telecast. Full episodes, as well as previews of future episodes, should also turn up on the PBS website.

vea/14 June 2016
Newton Free Library
Newton, Mass
Library website:  http://www.newtonfreelibrary.net
Genealogy blog:  https://thecuriousgenealogist.wordpress.com
Genealogy LibGuide:  http://guides.newtonfreelibrary.net/genealogy

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