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Today would have been my mother’s 100th birthday and she would have enjoyed a big celebration. Here’s a video I made for her 90th Birthday party in 2008.

“THE BOOK”

I had planned to have the family history book completed by today, but I missed that deadline. It WILL be completed in her birthday year – 2018. Target date now is September to have ready for the printer.

What have I been doing? reviewing and editing, with the help of my sisters. Updating the genealogical summary with the help of my many cousins. Some are “new” cousins I’ve met since I started writing the book.

Fixing the photographs for the book. I’m also getting some more photographs from cousins. To paraphrase the old Girl Scout song: “Find new cousins, and keep the old, one is silver and the other’s gold.”

I have created a list of objects to photograph – some large, most small – they include: an Al Smith campaign button my Aunt Bessie (Shanley O’Hara) had; my grandmother Colbert’s locket; my grandmother Whelan’s Irish accordion; and much more.

Happy Birthday Babsie

A few pictures of her through the years.

Babs 001

Babs 001Babs and Larry099

Babs dental office

Babsie – dental hygienist

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Babs 006

Larry Colbert in the Navy

Christmas 2007 043

Babs with her grandchildren and great-grandchilren.  Christmas 2007.

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The Countdown

I haven’t posted in a long time, but I have been busy. The book won’t be printed by my mother’s 100th birthday, but it will be well on it’s way to completion. I am now in “production” mode.

The draft is done and my sisters are reviewing it. I’m busy formatting the book. I finally figured out how to set up styles and templates in MS Word and have prepared a template. It wasn’t as hard as I thought, but I will have to be careful when I start transferring the draft into the template. It’s the kind of computer project where one change in one section can mess up other sections, and then you have to figure out where  you messed up. The good news is, I think I know where most of the mess ups can occur.

 

I have to avoid the temptation to research, but who could resist the newly uploaded indexes to Archdiocese of New York’s baptisms and marriages? And what did I find, after 40 years of looking? my grandmother’s baptism, with her birth date. I should have had this information years ago. I called St. Augustine’s and they told me they couldn’t find anything for her.

CR Josephine Ryan098

Johanna (Josephine) Ryan Colbert, born January 4, 1888, baptized January 11, 1888, at St. Augustine’s Church, Bronx

For now I will prepare the photographs for input into each section. I’ve scanned most of the old photographs, but I have to photograph objects – like my Aunt Nan’s christening gown, and my grandmother’s accordion. For that I need my tripod and that requires a search of my house. It’s in a safe place, but I know not where.
I can do basic fixes on Photoshop Elements. I can’t fix everything, and I can’t make the pictures look new, but I will try to improve them.

Working on Aunt Joan

Here’s one I’m working on. This is my Aunt Joan, I think it’s her high school graduation picture. Most pictures in the book will be black and white, so that means converting photos that have any color.

James Whelan compare

James Whelan, 1907. This one could use more work, but it’s complicated. At least you can see him better.

 

John Colbert compare

John Colbert (1858-1899) A third cousin fixed this one for me.

For more damaged photographs I may use a wonderful Facebook page where volunteers help to restore old photos.

BLT 2017

The BLT walkers – 2016

The team will run/walk again this year.

To donate go to The BLT

The Tunnel to Towers 5K Run & Walk Series was created to retrace the final steps of Stephen Siller, a New York City firefighter (FDNY) who lost his life on September 11, 2001 after strapping on his gear and running through the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel to the Twin Towers.
The run and walk event pays homage to all first responders who made, and continue to make, extraordinary sacrifices in the line of duty.

Proceeds from the event support the Foundation’s programs, including those benefitting first responders, and catastrophically injured service members.

Tunnel to Towers

Larry fire

Lieutenant Lawrence P. Colbert FDNY 1947 – 1965 Engine 240, Ladder 108, Engine 218

The Tunnel to Towers run is an annual event in New York and for several years my cousin Jen has participated. Last year she and my sister Liz created the BLT  – the Babs and Larry Team in honor of my father, a New York City firefighter. He would have been 100 years old on April 6, 2016.

FDNY 343

T2T.png

2016 T2T

Countdown to the Book – 8

“The Book” is progressing and on schedule. I finished the citations and now I am scanning, and locating photographs, illustrations, maps, and charts.

Task List - Book

Going through the photographs is enlightening. The Whelans, probably Aunt Nan or Uncle Jimmy, had a camera in the 1920s. There are a lot of snapshots and they are in pretty good shape.

WS Vincent Peggy and Thomas

Vincent, Peggy, and Thomas

WS the kids

“The Kids” – Billy, Thomas, Vincent, and Babsie

My grandmother took the children for studio portraits to send back to her mother in Ireland.

WS Angela Communion

Angela – First Communion

The Colberts didn’t take studio portraits. There is only one – of my father’s First Communion. It’s possible they took pictures of the other kids, but they didn’t survive.

They didn’t have a camera, but someone took pictures and gave them copies. There are a few snapshots, but they are in bad shape.

Colbert 053

Joe and Larry, around 1918.

Micky, Joan, Jackie and friends

Micky, Joan, Jackie and friends, around 1930.

In 1939 my Uncle Joe bought a camera and loved taking candid shots, writing detailed information on the back of each picture.

Colbert_0125

Joe – around 1939

Colbert_0126

Joe went to the fair with his brother Larry, and their cousins Bill and Jim Rogers.

Nan Whelan went on to become a photographer and in the 1940s she took a lot of family pictures and printed them out herself, usually on 8 x 10 paper.

In December of 1942 Uncle Vincent, who enlisted in the Army right after Pearl Harbor, came home on leave. He’d gone through almost a year of training and was going overseas.

Nan took pictures of him, in uniform, with as many family members as she could.

 

WS Bill Annie Vincent and Jimmie

Billy, Vincent, and Jimmy with their mother, December 1942

 

WS Vincent and Peggy Anne 164

Vincent and Peggy Anne

It never hit me until scanning them that she, and the rest of the family were worried that  he might not come back. He did, but he never saw his father or brother Jimmy again. He returned in April on compassionate leave because of the death of his father, only to learn after he arrived home that his brother had died a few weeks earlier.

 

 

The review of the citations in the book had been going well – until today.

I took a short vacation to attend my niece’s wedding in Indiana.

IMG_6746
Of course when in Indiana I had to take a side trip to the genealogical library in Fort Wayne. Didn’t have time to do any research, but my sister and I did check out family history books to see what we liked.

IMG_6863

Allen County Genealogical Library in Fort Wayne, Indiana

Back home and back to work.

Colbert section – done

Whelan section – done

Section III – almost done – one more day should do it.

Opened up the document and:

>Ms Word has stopped working

I spent all day trying to find a solution. The only change I had made since last using Ms Word was to download the software that came with my new Epson scanner.

Uninstalled it – no change.

I let Windows upload all those updates I had been avoiding – no change and made some things worse – where did all my pictures and documents go?

Computer problem

I know if I keep googling I will find a solution.

Finally came up with the reason for the error message:  ABBYY FineReader 9.0 Sprint.

It came with the Epson software and this is a common problem. There is a solution:  http://knowledgebase.abbyy.com/article/1950, It will have to wait until I finish citations and have some time to experiment.

I lost a day to a software glitch but hope to catch up tomorrow. Then on to scanning photographs.

For the past month I’ve been reviewing citations – correcting them and making sure they are consistent.

Researching in the 1970s

As I reviewed the citations for passenger manifests I realized how much had changed since I started researching 40 years ago.

NancyShanley

Annie Shanley

Today it takes a few seconds to find my grandmother, Annie Shanley, on a passenger manifest in Ancestry.

Annie Ancestry index

Before the internet it was more complicated.

I was lucky, I had a reliable family story. My grandmother told her children about her trip and my mother told me. Grandma arrived in New York on the day McKinley was shot, or maybe the day he died. When she got off the ferry in Battery Park with her mother the bands were playing. She thought they were to welcome the immigrants, but they were playing for the President.

President McKinley was shot in Buffalo on September 6, 1901 and died on September 14, 1901.

Passenger manifests had been microfilmed by the National Archives Records Administration (NARA). Some were indexed, some were not. Today all the New York records have been grouped by Ancestry into one index: “New York, Passenger Lists, 1820 – 1957.”

Fortunately, the records for 1901 were indexed. I would need to order the correct microfilm roll from the Family History Library or through my local library. After finding the ship and the date I would then need to order another film. This could take weeks.

There was another way, request NARA check the records; for a small fee they would copy the record.
Scan_20170709

I did that, putting the date McKinley was shot, September 6, 1901, and sent the form to NARA in June 1977. I got the results fast –  they couldn’t find it!! How was this possible?
Scan_20170709 (2)

In September 1978 my cousin Pat decided to order the index from Family Search; she found two Ann Shanley’s but

I have 20-20 vision, borrowed a magnifying glass, had four people there trying to decipher the 2 cards (2 x 3 each)…NO WAY could any of us come up with anything.

A trip to Washington D.C.

It would take a trip to NARA in Washington D.C. in  June of 1981 to find Grandma on a ship’s manifest.

The original index had been done on 2 x 3  cards, one for each passenger with information on name, age, former residence, ship, date of arrival, and a few other details. These cards had been microfilmed and the section I needed had been damaged, the names were gone, but a few bits of information peeked through. Two important pieces of information survived: former residence and ship information. I slowly went through that roll of microfilm and was rewarded with “ROSS” – former residence and the date of arrival.

Next I had to pull Microfilm roll # 222 for September 11, 1901. I didn’t have to look long. There she was: Annie Shanley, age 19, arriving on the S.S. Oceanic with $4.00, meeting her mother who had paid for her ticket.

I ordered a copy – the old readers at NARA did not have printers – and I still have it. It’s about 18″ x 24″.

oceanic passenger list

SS OCeanic

Grandma was in steerage, she called it “the hole of the ship.”

Flash forward to the internet age and I was able to find out more about Grandma’s arrival. The bands were playing to celebrate the expected recovery of the President. A few days later sepsis set in and he died on September 14.

The Oceanic was a big ship and I found several articles about her and about my grandmother’s trip.

Immigration and Naturalization Slides Family version

Back to citations, working on census records now. About halfway through citations, started gathering photographs, maps, illustrations.

In 1980, shortly after her 90th birthday, Anne Getty stayed at my mother’s house for the weekend. I took the opportunity to tape her reciting a few stories:

Kelly, Burke, and Shea – a poem about Irish American newspapermen reporting on the sinking of the U.S.S. Maine in 1898.
She also recited a poem about Brian Boru and talked about Ross and the quarries.

Anne Getty