Monthly Archives: February 2006

Swiss Sutter swings by Sacramento

Janet Fullwood has an interesting article in The Sacremento Bee, Swiss Sutter swings by Sacramento, that is the opposite of what Americans normally experience when it comes to travel and genealogy – somebody from elsewhere stopping by to do a little genealogy research in the US, or in this case, several times.

Excerpt from the article:

Americans travel all over the planet to trace their family history. But given our nation’s relatively short existence, the reverse isn’t so often seen.

Bernhard Sutter, 38, a Swiss journalist in town recently for a travel industry conference, grew up on stories of a relative named John Sutter who traveled to California in the 1830s, charmed his way into a Mexican land grant, built a fort and founded a colony called New Helvetia (New Switzerland).

That settlement, of course, became Sacramento. And John Sutter, whose mill on the American River was the site of an 1848 gold discovery that rocked the world, has had a place in the history books ever since.

“My father and grandfather always told me we were somehow related, but no one really knew if it was wishful thinking or true. No one had done the genealogy,” Bernhard Sutter said.

What is known is that Sacramento’s founder, though born in Germany, married and fathered five children in the same Swiss canton (political-geographic area) that is the ancestral home of Bernhard’s branch of the Sutter clan.

Good article, and unique. Usually it’s Americans returning to Europe or elsewhere.

Genealogy Really Does Have Medical Value

Art Matori has an article in the East Valley Tribune (Arizona), Florence man finds genealogy has medical value, that gets into an area of genealogy that may make some uncomfortable, but it has also introduced many people to genealogy.

Excerpt from the article:

Florence resident Jim McWhorter’s first visit with Gaddie led to the discovery of a hereditary coronary condition that threatened both himself and his relatives. By tracing his genealogy, the 68-year-old located and contacted three relatives to warn them of the imminent danger of a heart attack.

A lot of doctors are asking people to research their medical history, and even the US Surgeon has gotten in on the act (see the US Department of Health and Human Services Family History Initiative site). I know that some may be bothered by it, but it really is something to consider.

Baby’s Tombstone Heads Home

Kate Leckie writes in the Frederick News-Post (Maryland) about a story that has interested a lot of genealogists – Baby’s tombstone heads home. The tombstone dated back to 1777 and was transported from Pennsylvania to Maryland.

Excerpt from the article:

The stone, which vandals ripped from the grave of 8-month-old Charles Coulson, was dated Dec. 17, 1777.

But no one claimed ownership.

Reading about the tombstone Jan. 12 on the Web site for The Frederick News-Post, Tara Richards, a former Frederick resident now living in northern Alabama, did what came naturally. She went into research mode.

With Tara Richards’ research, Sheriff’s Corporal Jennifer Bailey phone calls, and with Jeffrey and Laurie Storer’s driving to Frederick County, MD, and transporting the tombstone back to their parish in Pennsylvania. No word on who did it.

National Archives movies available through Google Video

arstechnica has news of movies from the United States National Archives being distributed through Google Video. Right now there are just over 100 movies that are going to be made available, with more following. You can view the movies here. Genealogy related? Not necessarily, but historically it’s very interesting.

From the press release:

Washington, D.C. and Mountain View, Calif. – Feb. 24, 2006 – Archivist of the United States Allen Weinstein and Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) Co-Founder and President of Technology Sergey Brin today announced the launch of a pilot program to make holdings of the National Archives available for free online. This non-exclusive agreement will enable researchers and the general public to access a diverse collection of historic movies, documentaries and other films from the National Archives via Google Video as well as the National Archives website.

“This is an important step for the National Archives to achieve its goal of becoming an archives without walls,” said Professor Weinstein. “Our new strategic plan emphasizes the importance of providing access to records anytime, anywhere. This is one of many initiatives that we are launching to make our goal a reality. For the first time, the public will be able to view this collection of rare and unusual films on the Internet.”

“Today, we’ve begun to make the extraordinary historic films of the National Archives available to the world for the first time online,” said Sergey Brin, co-founder and president of technology at Google. “Students and researchers whether in San Francisco or Bangladesh can watch remarkable video such as World War II newsreels and the story of Apollo 11 – the historic first landing on the Moon.”

What does it take to open a public library?

Here’s something you might not have thought about – What does it take to open a public library? Jessica Klipa has written an article in the St. Petersburg Times asking and trying to answer that very question, about opening a local branch library.

Suzy George, the chief librarian for the Tampa-Hillsborough Public Library System, is quoted as saying “many libraries started largely due to the residents communicating the need to the library board” (From what I understand, the library board in this case covers a very large area, and the residents are asking for a library in their particular location).