Saturday, March 29, 2008

A Family Affair: One Michigan Family's Civil War Experience - Part One

One of the few family stories that were passed down was that one of my ancestors was a Civil War veteran. Within the first year or so of doing research, I was able to prove that this family tradition was true. In addition, I discovered that my ancestor's brother-in-laws, wife's uncle and possibly two Oswalt men (living in the same county) that might be his brothers. In short, my ancestor's involvement in the Civil War was just as much of a family affair as it was for almost every other family in the United States at the time of the Civil War. (I say almost because another one of my ancestor's family did not have anyone serve in the Civil War, although they may have contributed to the war effort in other ways. I am still doing research to determine what they may have done.)

One detail I am wondering, though, about my Civil War ancestor is what made him sign up for service when he did. My ancestor did not enlist in a volunteer Michigan infantry regiment until February of 1865. I'm not sure, but hopefully, I will be able to find an answer in future research. In later posts, I'll write more about my Civil War ancestor and other relatives' experiences during the Civil War.

The Automotive Industry: One Family's Connection ...

When I read that the next carnival was on cars, I thought I would write about my family's involvement in the automotive industry instead of writing about cars my family has owned. Why? Well, I'm not sure when my ancestors began to own cars as I have never thought to ask when my family first owned a car. Of course, one could argue that I haven't thought about asking because I've taken cars for granted. (I didn't grow up in a time where owning a car was a luxury.) I realize it may seem strange, but I have mostly been concerned with the occupations of my ancestors, especially since ancestors and family members have worked in jobs connected with the automotive industry for the past four generations. Of course, if it weren't for the people who worked in the automotive industry, we wouldn't be a nation of car lovers.

My family's involvement with the automotive industry began with a few of my ancestors moving to Detroit in the early Twentieth Century, around the same time that the automotive industry was being formed. According to family tradition, my ancestors primarily worked for Ford Motor Company. While I am not completely certain as to the jobs my ancestors held, I do know that these jobs were primarily factory jobs. Since that time, someone in my family has worked in an automotive-related job.

Of course, my family did own cars some time around World War Two (maybe?), but I don't know exactly when. Even then, I think owning a car was more a luxury for my family than it was a necessity. From family stories, I've gathered that most of my ancestors traveled to work by streetcar, so I don't know how much of a need there was for a car. I guess I just assumed that owning a car wasn't necessary for my ancestors living in the early years of the Twentieth Century.

I know even less about the jobs my British ancestors had with the automotive industry, but I did have a few ancestors who worked in the automotive industry. They primarily worked for Vauxhall Motors. I'm not sure exactly when my family members became involved with Vauxhall because I haven't thought to ask. (I should start asking a few questions relating to automotive industry jobs.) In addition to knowing very little about my British ancestors' involvement with the automotive industry, I don't know when they began to own cars or if they did own a car, so I can't truly write about car ownership.

So, what could someone gather from my post? Well, I have to admit that I don't always think about how much of an impact that the automotive industry has had on my family. I've understood for a long time that jobs in the automotive industry has put food on my family's table. I'm sure that has been the case for many families that lived in and live in the Detroit area.

More Congrats and Awards ...

Yes, you read that correctly. Three genealogy bloggers have been recognized by the 2008 Artistry of Genealogy Awards, and I want to say, "Congrats!," to Jasia, Miriam and Renee.

I also want to mention that I first learned about these awards from Becky's post. Randy Seaver also wrote a post on these awards.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

What's My Accent?

I just happened to look at Thomas MacEntee's post on his accent, and I thought I would take the quiz myself. So, here are my results:

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The Midland

"You have a Midland accent" is just another way of saying "you don't have an accent." You probably are from the Midland (Pennsylvania, southern Ohio, southern Indiana, southern Illinois, and Missouri) but then for all we know you could be from Florida or Charleston or one of those big southern cities like Atlanta or Dallas. You have a good voice for TV and radio.

The West
North Central
The Inland North
The South
The Northeast
What American accent do you have?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

All I can say is that the quiz results did not surprise me as I have lived in Michigan all of my life; however, I had been thinking about regional accents since I read Terry Snyder's post on regional words and accents.

Why? Well, as I have done census searches of my ancestors and their siblings over the past four or so years, I have come across a few unusual spellings of my surname that I would not have thought of if I had not done a first-name only search in the censuses. A case in point would be the 1880 Census. When I first searched for my ancestors in the 1880 U. S. Census, I could not find the family (except for the youngest child), although I had a fairly good idea of where they were living. To be honest, I had expected from day one of doing research that I would have to look for variations in the spelling of my last name. I am used to it as my last name is misspelled by other people from time to time. It is not unusual for me to find my ancestor's surname spelled as Oswald instead of Oswalt as these surnames are virtually pronounced the same. So, how was their surname misspelled? It was written as Olswath. Yes, even in the image. The census had not been mis-transcribed. Even more unusual about the spelling was that the family was not together; the family was split up and everyone was living in separate households. Yet, the spelling of the surname was almost consistent for the whole family. Since the surname was consistently misspelled, I have a feeling that either my ancestor had an accent or the census taker had an accent. At the moment I am leaning towards the possibility that my ancestor had the accent, but then, I can't say for sure. Either way, accents do influence how one might find an ancestor's name spelled in a record. I don't know how many beginning genealogists keep this in mind when they search for their ancestors, but it is a very good idea for beginners to keep this in mind.