- Easter Greetings from Mama
What a fascinating card! This study in early 20th century greetings was among the postcard collection of my grandfather, Donald C. Minor, of Carmichaels, Pennsylvania. The print assembles several Easter symbols into a Victorian tableau. The young girl leads a Paschal lamb to a garden terrace. There a Victorian lady sits on a balustrade, holding a basket of eggs and a (very subdued) rabbit–both symbols of new life. The space is framed by an urn which depicts spring as a young child happily reclining and as a youthful face surrounded by the season’s bounty. Donald’s mother, May Laura Stephenson Minor, sent him the German card around 1910.
Thomas MacEntee, of Destination: Austin Family and the force behind Geneabloggers, slipped a tip into a recent Data Back Up webinar: Create a page on your blog that becomes a virtual research toolbox, filled with useful book titles, web sites, libraries, parks, people–resources that you never want to forget are available. I had had a similar thought as I set up my site and thought, “Oh, I have that covered!” But the image of this toolbox came to me each time I logged into my blog, and I was intrigued. You look at sources but you use tools. It was this latter behavior that I wanted to encourage–in myself and others. So, henceforth and forthwith, the page formerly titled Those Family Sources will be known as My Research Toolbox. (You can still find it in the Page Bar at the bottom of the Header.)
And to this box I would like to add this essential tool, linking you to the Cornell University Library Making of America digital collection.
The Cornell University Library Making of America Collection is a digital library of primary sources in American social history from the antebellum period through reconstruction. The collection is particularly strong in the subject areas of education, psychology, American history, sociology, religion, and science and technology. This site provides access to 267 monograph volumes and over 100,000 journal articles with 19th century imprints. The project represents a major collaborative endeavor in preservation and electronic access to historical texts.
I stumbled on this site (WHERE has it been hiding!?!) yesterday as I searched for period information about women/childbirth/soldier husbands. I spent an hour absorbed by the text of “The War of the Rebellion: a Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies” before backtracking into the main site. Once there I spent another 45 minutes winding my way through Harpers New Monthly Magazine, beginning with the 1850 issues. I have read 0.00398 % of this scanned collection! This site is one I will certainly revisit with regularity, so I best have a link handy in my toolbox!
Much of my family’s history was shaped around the American Civil War, so I have been eagerly anticipating the crisis’ Sesquicentennial. Photographs and documents, long held in private collections, are being sought for public collections, like that of the Civil War 150 Legacy Project at the Library of Virginia. Public documents, long preserved and accessed on site, are being digitized and shared on-line. Case in point, Ancestry just announced the assession of several new collections like the US Draft Registration Records and the US Confederate Pensions Collection, 1888-1958.
I discovered that my great-great-grandfather Ira Sayles had blue eyes and dark hair from his 1862 registration in the 130th Regiment NY Volunteers. And I confirmed that great-great-grandfather Francis Marion Minor of Greene County, Pennsylvania was drafted in 1863–but sent a substitute. In the Confederate (Widows) Pensions File of 1888, I discovered that great-great-granduncle Benjamin Franklin Dodson of the 34th Virginia Infantry (Mecklenburg County) was shot through the brain by a Union minnie ball on 6 July 1864 in the lines outside of Petersburg.
I am fascinated by the number of features in this Ancestry collection that prompt the user to explore beyond ancestral information. For instance, this timeline at the bottom of the page begs the reader to review events and examine how ancestor records fit in–pictures, timelines, graphs are often so helpful in this regard.
The events of the Civil War affected my ancestors’ life choices: a carpetbagging Clifton Sayles was prohibited from marrying young Lillie Dodson until after parents died and they were middle-aged. The Minor and Dodson family farms were ferociously tended, defended and passed on as coveted assets–safe havens for subsequent generations faced with their own economic crises. In taking the time to study the Civil War, I have deepened my understanding of my country and my family, past and present. I harbor this hope that I am building a shared memory with other family historians/genealogists, and that this common understanding of our country’s past might inform a more powerful, insightful understanding of our country’s present. Maybe, just maybe, this genea-community can be a force for creative, civil discourse as our country navigates the current economic, political and social crises.
A Joyous Easter from Cousin Leora Black
This pretty card was sent to eight year old Donald C. Minor of Carmichaels, Pennyslvania by his cousin, Leora Black of Fort Dodge, Iowa on 20 March 1910. There is no publisher’s trademark on the back, but the message more than makes up for that lack of information.
Dear Cousin: Recieved (sic) your card sometime ago so will send this —– Write again soon. How are you. I am well. We are having just fine weather here. Your lovingly Leora Black
As a postscript Leora added in the top left corner:
R. F. D No 4.
Leora Black was the daughter of Eva Stevenson Black, the sister of May Laura Stevenson Minor, my grandfather’s mom. Born in 1897 Leora communicated with her younger cousin (b. 1902) quite frequently as evidenced by the many cards I am finding in this collection. Perhaps this specific address will lead some cousin to new information about this branch of our family!