Monday, June 16, 2014

Central Park, Philadelphia, Stolpersteine, Abandoned Photographs, and More

Seneca Village Map
In an early example of government exercising eminent domain, the 19th-century community of Seneca Village was destroyed and became part of Manhattan's Central Park.  Now, historians and researchers are searching for verifiable descendants of former residents of Seneca Village.  The 1855 New York State census showed 264 people living in the village, most of African descent but also including Irish and Germans.  Is it possible that absolutely no descendants of those 264 people are alive today?  An NPR article has more information about the community and contact information for the researchers who are looking for descendants.

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The Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia is looking for authors for its next series of articles.  Topics available include key historical events, holiday traditions, civil rights, literary works, and transportation, among others.  The scope of the project includes the city of Philadelphia and the surrounding region of southeastern Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey, and northern Delaware.  The Encyclopedia has support from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Prospective authors must have expertise in their chosen subjects, as demonstrated by previous publicitions and/or advanced training in historical research.  Authors can choose to volunteer or receive modest stipends.  All submissions will be peer-reviewed.  Deadlines will be set in consultation with authors; it is expected that most will range from the end of the summer to the end of 2014.  To express interest, send an e-mail describing your qualifications and specifying your topics of interest to Charlene Mires, the editor-in-chief; no attachments.  Graduate students should include the name and e-mail address of an academic reference.  The list of available topics is available online, as are writer guidelines.

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Stolpersteine are memorial stones placed for individual victims of the Nazis.  Sixty-five residents of Thomasiusstrasse in Moabit, Berlin, are working together to organize and pay for the cost of Stolpersteine to be laid for 102 identified victims who formerly lived on the street.  Family names from this street are Asch, Badasch, Bader, Bimbaum, Brenner, Caminer, Cohn, Ehrlich, Falkenstein, Giballe, Glass, Goldschmidt, Goldberg, Goldstein, Grunwald, Herrnberg, Herzog, Hirsch, Hoffmann, Holländer, Isaacsohn, Israelski, Jarotschinski, Karger, Kahn, Kaufmann, Klein, Koppel, Kroner, Levy, Leyde, Löw, Manasse, Marcus, Markus, Mendelsohn, Nordon, Neumann, Nussbaum, Rittler, Rosenthal, Rosenwasser, Rothkugel, Schragenheim, Schwabe, Seckelson, Silbermann, Sonnenwirth, Strauss, Voss, Weisstein, Wiener, and Zoegall.

Ceremonies to lay the Stolpersteine will take place on August 8, 2014, in October 2014, and in March 2015.  Judith Elam of Kihei, Hawaii, is working with the Thomasiusstrasse residents to find living relatives of the victims.  Many relatives contacted so far plan to attend the ceremony for the laying of their relative's Stolperstein.  Contact Judith at elamj@hawaii.rr.com if your family name is on the list to learn if your relative lived on the street, or if you know your relative lived on the street and the family name does not appear above.

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The Polish Origins forum has begun a project to create a searchable database of the many names that appear in records that have been translated by the group.  Volunteers are needed to help with transcribing names for the database.  The project also accepts indices of other translated records.  For more information, including how to sign up as a volunteer, visit the forum page about the project.

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David Rafky of Miami, Florida, has found hundreds of family photos recovered from Sidney L. Binder's house after his death.  He believes they may have been taken during Binder's first marriage and knows that Binder had a daughter named Naome.  He is sure Binder's family would want the photos and is looking for contact information.  You can e-mail David at dave15851585@yahoo.com.

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Barry Mill
Historic Barry Mill in Angus, Scotland, is looking for information on a former employee who scrawled his name on a wood beam in the mill.  The note says, “Stewart Kidd left August 1914, returned March 1918.”  And that's pretty much all they know.  The master miller was trying to find information about Mr. Kidd in time for the mill's 200th anniversary celebration, which has already passed, but better late than never!  An article in The Courier has more details and a contact e-mail address if you believe you can help.

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A petition on MoveOn.org requests that the U.S. President enact an Executive Order to allow all adult adoptees access to their original birth records.  I realize this subject can be polarizing, and the mere act of my posting the link suggests which side of the debate I am on.

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Though it isn't directly related to genealogy, I'm helping publicize a good cause.  A new distributed computing project allows you to donate your computer power to help research Alzheimer's.  And Alzheimer's does have a genetic component, after all.

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