The Family History Library
I feel like a kid that ditched church to go fishing.
I was bad.
I was VERY bad!
Here I am in Salt Lake City, registered for the RootsTech conference, but spent 80% of my time at…..DRUM ROLL please….THE FAMILY HISTORY LIBRARY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The library has been a place I’ve sought to visit for the last 25 years. After checking in to my hotel on Wednesday, I made a beeline for the library and oriented myself to the various floors and holdings. Thankfully, it’s very user friendly and organized well. I made quite a few finds, but most importantly, found a book, written in 1991, on the Westcoat/Wescoat/Westcott/Wescott/Wasgatt family. There wasn’t a ton of new info on my own line, but I did get a few new hints to follow up on. In addition, I was able to review dozens of rolls of microfilm and books, and have completely overhauled how I’m handling my research log. (See my post about Excel, Evernote and Roots Magic here.)
Back to RootsTech…the sessions I did go to were very good. I will leave the details to the official bloggers who’ve done a phenomenal job covering the event. The energy and amount of interest in genealogy was awesome. Oh yes…also had to make my purchases in the Exhibit Hall.
Here’s my loot:
Books on researching, books on writing, and webinars by Thomas MacEntee, Marian Pierre-Louis, and Karen Clifford
I’m hoping to listen to Karen Clifford’s webinar, “Organizing For Success” at the airport on my way home tomorrow. While I may not have had as much time as I’d planned at the conference, my time here in SLC was certainly well spent!
Susan (Stanwood) Clark and daughter Beatrice, 1906 – Floodwood, Minnesota
My great grandmother, Susan (Stanwood) Clark is shown above, holding my grandmother’s sister, Beatrice. My grandmother, Goldie (Simpson) Edwards, and Auntie Bea were the only surviving children born to Grandma Susie, who was herself one of eight children, seven of which lived to adulthood. Her father, Albert Stanwood, however, was one of only four children. Albert’s father, David, was from a family of six, born to Benjamin and Betsy (Wasgatt) Stanwood. Surprisingly, I’ve stumbled on a fair number of 19th century families in my genealogy (primarily in the Wasgatt lines) where only one or two children were born to the couple, while they were married many years. While not uncommon during current times, it certainly was not the norm in days past. It made me stop and ponder the reasons for these smaller family sizes. Infertility? Possibly. Choice? Maybe. But how? The Comstock law of 1873 declared birth control both obscene as well as illegal. So, what methods of birth control did our ancestors have available to them?
According to the CDC’s MMR publication Achievements in Public Health, 1900-1999: Family Planning, discussing birth control, counseling women about family planning or distributing contraception was illegal under state and federal laws. Continue reading
Hannah (Thomas) Wasgatt’s signature is found in her husband Thomas’ probate record
Last Friday was a genealogist’s dream – I received five deeds and three probate files in the mail. Of particular interest was the probate record for my 5th Great Grandfather, Thomas Wasgatt, who died 19 May 1820. Shown above is the signature of his wife, Hannah (Thomas) Wasgatt, who acknowledged in writing her “allowance” from her husband’s estate. While most of Hannah’s female peers were giving their “mark” when a signature was necessary, she was able to write her name.
Hannah wasn’t the only smarty pants in the family. Nope, her husband Thomas clearly was a learned man. I was so tickled to find that the very first item listed in the inventory of his possessions was a desk. Continue reading