Citizen Archivists: Civil War Widows’ Pensions Digitized

Happily ensconced among yellowed pages, citizen archivists preserve a nation’s stories.  We sort, digitize and conserve family letters and ledgers, photographs and newspapers; we practice in our homes, and in our local genealogical and historical societies.  Those lucky enough to live within the Washington, D.C. metro area can even volunteer their time to projects within the National Archives.  One such project is currently digitizing 1.28 million Civil War Widows’ Pension case files, making these treasured collections available online to millions of fact-hunting family historians.  Ah! Were I close enough to participate!

If I Could Send You a Happy New Year Card, It Would Be. . .

One hundred and one years ago my grandfather, Donald C. Minor, gazed upon this Black-Capped Chickadee.  The four-leaf clovers may have sent him scampering to the window, frustrated by the snow or hard frost that separated him from his own patch of good luck.  January 1, 1911 in southwestern Pennsylvania would have been gray, damp and cold.

It’s been a year of challenges and quite frankly I am glad to see 2011 end.  I like the prospect of saying good bye to unsolved family dilemmas and saying hello to awesome new opportunities or the potential thereof!  Once upon a time, I would have wished friends and neighbors a New Year of warm, solid, predictability and good luck in all their endeavors – and eagerly sent my grandfather’s chickadee to bear that message.

But this year, I yearn for opportunities of innocent jollification and so send these gleeful elves to wish you a New Year full of laughter and affection!  Happy New Year!

Wordless Wednesday: Minors of Greene County – 1875

With my trusty Flip Pal scanner, I captured this image of a family heirloom.  The photograph is snugly framed, with a sturdily nailed backing that I didn’t want to disturb.  So I did the best I could and scanned from on top of the glass.  The image  will be useful in identifying other photographs that my mother is letting me take home, since we know the identities of these folks.

Seated are my great-great grandparents, Mary Jane Gwynn and Francis Marion Minor.  The little boy standing to their left is my great-grandfather, Robert Minor.  Standing behind the trio are the older children – Sarah Priscilla, John Pierson and Olfred Minor.  I know that Robert was born in 1869, and he looks to be about 5 or 6 here;  T W Rogers of Carmichaels, Pennsylvania took this photograph sometime in the mid-1870s then.

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The Sayles Professorial Gene Expressed

My brother speaks at the Clinton Global Initiative regarding his project, Action Network: Haiti.

I think Ira and Serena Sayles would be proud of the link to this descendant!

In Honor, In Memory

Someday, when the lion lies with the lamb and neighbors everywhere love their neighbor, we humans will no longer need soldiers.  But on this day I call to mind all those ancestors and relatives who died serving a greater cause; all those who witnessed the horror of war, returned home and lived their lives with grace and courage; and all those who set out today, on my behalf, to defend and protect our nation’s freedoms.

  • Abia Minor                    Pennsylvania                  Revolutionary War
  • William Rowlett             Virginia                         Revolutionary War
  • John Bradford               Virginia                           Revolutionary War
  • William Wills Green       Virginia                           Revolutionary War
  • John Pearson Minor     Pennsylvania                     War of 1812
  • Greene Dodson            Virginia                          Civil War
  • Ira Sayles                     New York                         Civil War
  • Anderson Strickland     North Carolina                     Civil War
  • George Strickland        Virginia                             World War I
  • Sidney Strickland         Virginia                               World War II
  • Clifford Strickland        Virginia                               World War II
  • Michael Strickland        Alabama                             Vietnam War
  • John Minor                   Pennsylvania                      Vietnam War
  • Michael Hanlon *         Pennsylvania                       Currently Serving

This Friday we stop to remember the courage and sacrifice of these Americans, and the support and perseverance of their families.  Thank you.

 

*My daughter’s childhood friend since Kindergarten, expected to be deployed in Afghanistan early 2012.

Originally posted here on Memorial Day 2011.