Hello followers! It has been many months since I have written. I could blame it on the virus, and I will. It did start because of Covid-19. When the students from my school were sent home in March, I had additional admin duties. Yes, I was blessed because I was considered “essential” and was able to work many hours from home, but I was swamped.
Being home, I spent a lot of time in my yard and garden in between having to be on the computer. I started concentrating on the garden as it reduced my stress level. I have blogged about this before; gardening helps you forget the world’s problems and be in the moment. If you want to follow my trials and tribulations with my “yarden”, follow me at @marleesyardening on Instagram.
I also wrote an article for Family Tree (U.K.), and it was published this month. You can read it here (although it looks much better in the magazine itself!) My Wolcott Family, I hope you enjoy it. You can also follow my Loganalogy posts at @Loganealogy on Instagram or @Loganealogy on Facebook.
Recently, I was able to help my cousin’s wife’s family with her mother’s history. Here is their story.
“Both my mom and my Aunt have been trying to replace their U.S. naturalization papers for years. After 9/11, they haven’t been able to renew their driver’s licenses, which means they can’t write a check, travel anywhere, etc. The problem has been the lack of documentation of their immigration from Latvia to the U.S. in 1949. Their names were missing from the ship’s manifest, the courthouse clerks I contacted told me they didn’t have a record of them, they weren’t listed at Ellis Island. It was like they didn’t exist. We consulted an immigration attorney, worked with Senator Bill Nelson’s office and spent countless hours on the phone with USCIS and the local USCIS field office. Aunt Roz was going through the same nightmare in California… she hired an immigration attorney, etc. Nothing.
A few weeks ago, we decided to ask Matt’s cousin Marlee, a genealogy consultant, for help. All we asked her to do was to verify the ship the family was on and what port they arrived. Last week, Marlee sent us 25 perfectly clear documents: scanned copies of the original immigration cards for my entire family, the amended ship manifest with their names on it, my grandparent’s work application, written notes about the camp in Germany they were in, and how they had to flee Latvia, even the list of items in my mom’s suitcase when she arrived. My Aunt and I were both in tears when we received it all. We are kicking ourselves for not seeking Marlee’s help sooner, but we are so thankful we finally did.”
I am happy to say that you’ll be hearing from me more often as I help others discover their roots and find connections, especially my own. If you know of anyone who would like help building their family tree, let me know.
In this 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge, Close to Home, I decided to write about Mary Yeula Wescott, my great grandaunt. She was born 27 December 1889 at Poyner’s Hill in Currituck, North Carolina, where her father, John Thomas Wescott, was the keeper of the Poyner’s Hill Life-Saving station. She was the third of six children born to John and a year younger than my great-grandfather, Albert.
At a very young age, Mary loved to read and write. She was first published at the age of 12 when she decided to enter a writing contest for the St. Nicholas Magazine: An Illustrated Book For Young Folks by Mary Mapes Dodge. The following was published in January of 1903:
Poplar Branch, N.C.
Dear St. Nicholas: I am a little girl twelve years old, and I live on one of the sand-bars of North Carolina, five miles from the mainland. The nearest store and post-office is five miles away. My papa is the captain of the Poyners Hill Life-saving Station. We are bounded on the north and south by sand-hills, on the east by the ocean, and on the west by the Currituck Sound. The land near and on which the station is situated belongs to the Currituck Shooting Club, the club-house is the nearest one to us except the station. The club does not allow any of the station men except papa to build on the beach. We live only a few steps from the station and a little further from the sea, while the club-house is on the other side of the beach. So you see, we have it lonely here sometimes. Inclosed [sic] find my contribution which I hope is worthy of a prize.
Mary Yeula Wescott
The poem she enclosed won her a silver badge.
BY MARY YEULA WESCOTT
My little friend Annie
Came over to play.
We stayed in the house,
As ‘t was stormy that day.
She had her doll, Susan,
And mine was named Jane ;
We dressed and undressed them
Again and again.
We made them fine bonnets
For each little head.
They wore them to parties,
Then came home to bed.
Ann stepped on my finger,
And said she was glad.
I got up and slapped her,
She ‘d made me so mad.
Then I knocked Susan’s head off,
And Annie broke Jane.
We cried, and we quarreled
Again and again.
Then I said I was sorry,
As much as could be;
So I forgave Annie,
And she forgave me.
Mary continued to send in poems and articles as did her brother, Albert, and her sister, Laura. However, it was Mary who continued to write to them until at least the age of 17.
My Dear St. Nicholas League: I am sending to you today my verses for the September competition and I am so sorry to remember that I have but three more. Does everyone get old so dreadfully fast?
Your subject appealed to me this month, for I have several relatives including my father, who are members of the Life Saving Service to which I have a reference in the poem. This small band extends along the coast of the United States and guards its coast from the ravages of the storm. They maintain a constant watch along the shore and at the appearance of a distressed vessel launch their frail boats and, pitting their strength against the force of the waves, give aid to the distressed seamen. When the sea is so high that launching a boat from the shore is impossible, the beach apparatus is used and the sailors are brought from the vessel by means of a ” breeches-buoy,” which is drawn shoreward over a cable that has been shot across the vessel from the shore and fastened to the mast of the distressed vessel.
On our part of the coast, storms are numerous, and a rescue of this kind is a frequent occurrence.
I thank you so much for the encouragement you have given me in my endeavors to win that coveted cash prize.
But whether I succeed or not, I shall ever remember with gratitude the pleasure and benefit I have derived from your interesting work. Long life to you, my dear St. Nicholas League, and best wishes from your devoted League member, Mary Yeula Wescott (age 17).
It must have been this magazine that sparked her love of books.
Mary went to school in Durham and graduated from Trinity College (now Duke University) in 1914 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree, Magna cum laude. She taught Latin in local schools and went back to Trinity. In 1920, she took a leave of absence to attend and then graduate with a Bachelor’s Degree from the Simmons College of Library Science in Boston, Massachusetts in 1924, where she also worked in a government position while attending school. Mary returned to Trinity College, her alma mater, to work at Trinity College Library (now Duke University Library).
About 1932, Professor William K. Boyd organized the work of the Newspaper Department and placed Miss Allene Ramage in charge of it. Miss Ramage, aided by Miss Mary Wescott and Miss Eva E. Malone, prepared a checklist of these papers under the title Bibliographical Contributions of the Duke University Libraries: a Checklist of United States Newspapers. This publication has been of value to many librarians and scholars throughout the United States.
Part I: Alabama––Georgia
Part II: Idaho––Massachusetts
Part III: Michigan––New York
Part IV: North Carolina
Part V: North Dakota––Vermont
Part VI: Virginia––Wyoming
~LIBRARY NOTES -A BULLETIN ISSUED FOR
The Friends of Duke University Library April 1953; Number 27
She worked there until she retired in December of 1954 as Head of the Catalogue Department. A dinner was given in her honor on 14 December 1954. Among the special guests was Lawrence Quincy Mumford, Librarian of Congress. Mr. Mumford, who had known Miss Wescott since his student days, summarized well her contribution to both college and university when he spoke of her retirement as the termination of “a valuable career in librarianship.”
~LIBRARY NOTES -A BULLETIN ISSUED FOR
The Friends of Duke University Library April 1953; Number 27
“Pride in her profession, friendliness, compassion, and a delightful sense of humor — these were the characteristics that made Mary Wescott deeply loved as well as highly respected. Exactly what her personal philosophy was, one would not presume to say. One feels though that possibly she expressed it in the last stanza of a poem she wrote long ago — “The Dream of the Sea.”
O my Heart keep young, we would cross that main
With its raging tide;
We would enter those fields of glad abode
On the other side —
And we, how we long for the mighty strife
And the waves’ wild sweep —
To battle our way to the rich reward
And then to sleep! “
Seven months after Mary retired, she died in her sleep. She never married.
By the way, I have never been able to determine where the name Yeula came from. The closest I found was that it could be an Indian word meaning Upward slope. Fitting for a woman who never stopped climbing.
Many people are taking DNA tests to try to figure out their heritage. When the traditional research methods are not working, a DNA test can help break through a brick wall by working alongside the “tried and true” family history research methods. A DNA test on its own is not going to solve the puzzle. I cannot stress this enough.
If your research hits a brick wall due to immigration or migration, name changes, or missing records, DNA may suggest clues that can lead you to new relatives, surnames, or locations. First, identify other descendants of your brick-wall ancestor who have also taken a DNA test (or ask other descendants to take a DNA test). Use the shared or “in common with” feature provided by your DNA testing company to identify other DNA matches connected to the same brick-wall ancestor. Review those matches and their trees. Look for people, surnames, or locations that match the information you already know about your brick-wall ancestor.
When I assist clients with their research, I mainly focus on the “tried and true” method I mentioned above. Starting with the client, gathering their vital records, birth certificate, baptismal certificate, marriage certificate, divorce information, etc. etc. Then their parents and grandparents, collecting the same information, including death certificates, naturalization records, land records, wills, newspaper articles, house history, etc.
Even if you know all this and have done your research, sometimes you just hit that proverbial “brick wall,” and it seems you can’t get any farther. In this case, you have to find other avenues. More and more archives are digitizing their records. And, if you read my post on my Facebook page, Loganalogy, then you know I have hit a couple of gold mines with the genealogical societies.
Please do not get scared off by their pricing on their pages. This week I will have received about eighteen pages, one family tree, and a source record from four different societies and was charged only $10 for the whole lot. Because I know how hard they work and the passion they have to help others, I paid a bit more as donations.
Some people may have the desire to know about their ancestry, but they do not have the time or resources to pursue it. That is where people like me come in handy. I am not a certified genealogist (it is on my retirement list); however, I am a Family History Research Specialist.
Let me customize a package that works for you, whether you need a whole family researched, one line, one person, or you need advice on where to go next with your research. I can help.
Visit www.loganalogy.com today, read my blogs, my finds on my ancestors, and let me help you find yours.