Monday, May 28, 2018

L/Cpl Lawrence Nimmo Dean

I only have one known ancestor who died serving his country in war, my Grand Uncle, L/Cpl. Lawrence Nimmo Dean, youngest brother of my maternal grandmother, Marjorie Elizabeth Dean. In each post about him, I try to introduce new material and thanks to my mother I do have something new to share again this year, his service medals.

Uncle Lawrence served in WWII, enlisting in Stratford, Ontario on September 28, 1939. His service record told me that he earned six campaign medals: the 1939-45 Star, Italy Star, France and Germany Star, War Medal, C.V.S.M. & Clasp, and the Defence Medal. Earlier this year I learned that my mother's cousin had entrusted these medals to my mother, and now she has entrusted them to me.

According to Wikipedia, these were campaign medals "instituted by the United subjects of the British Commonwealth for service in the Second World War."

The 1939-45 Star was issued to those who served at least one day between September 2, 1939, and May 8, 1945, the duration of the war in Europe.

The Italy Star was issued to those who served at least one day in Sicily or Italy between June 11, 1943, and May 8, 1945.

The France and Germany Star was issued to those who served at least one day in France, Belgium, Holland or Germany between June 6, 1944 - D-Day - and May 8, 1945.

The War Medal was awarded to full-time personnel of the Armed forces or Merchant Marines who served at least twenty-eight days between September 3, 1939, and May 8, 1945.

The C.V.S.M. (Canadian Volunteer Service Medal) was awarded to members of the Naval, Air and Military Forces of Canada who served honorably for at least 18 months or 540 days from September 3, 1939, to March 1, 1947. Those who served at least 60 days outside of Canada were also awarded a clasp, a silver bar with a maple leaf at the center.

The Defense Medal was awarded for non-operational service, but I'll refer you to the Libary and Archives Canada site for a detailed description here.

Two years ago, I wrote about a letter that my grandfather's brother wrote to my grandmother after hearing the news of Uncle Lawrence's death. In it, he wrote, "I trust you will have some consolation in the knowledge that his death like that of so many others, is for the salvation of millions."

That thought is comforting, but I am still sad today looking these medals. How many other families have similar artifacts; service medals still in their original boxes because their recipients would never wear them, symbols of unfinished lives, some barely begun.

The medals honor Uncle Lawrence's service, but the boxes illustrate his sacrifice and that of the loved ones that he left behind.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Happy Blogiversary to Me!

Six years ago today, I published my first post. I thought it would be cute to illustrate this post with a picture from my 6th birthday party but I took out the appropriate photo album today to look for one and there was nothing! The pictures go right from September to Christmas, which is two weeks after my birthday. So much for the spoiled only child myth. Looks like that Christmas Baby thing is real after all. Ah, well.

Instead of a cute photo of six-year-old me, I've illustrated this post with the same image that I used on my post six years ago, an obituary of my 2nd great-grandfather, Benjamin Smith, whose parents are as elusive today as they were then. I haven't worked on this puzzle in quite some time, but I'm planning a visit to the NYC Municipal Archives next month to look at some Brooklyn City Directories for clues so we'll see what happens then.

I'll find your family someday, Benjamin!

I'm sorry that I don't have time to write an appreciative post and reminisce about the last six years. Suffice it to say that your visits and comments mean a lot to me and I appreciate your encouragement to keep on blogging in spite of the GDPR. I hope to be back to regular length posts soon.

Thursday, May 24, 2018


While I personally do not collect data from visitors to my blog, Google must collect some information for the statistics that I am able to view which are part of Blogger and are not the same as Google Analytics.  In those statistics, I can see information such as the countries visitors live in and which posts have how many page views, but Google does not share your specific, individually identifiable information with me.

Commenters are asked for their name and email address. If you do not wish to share that information, please do not comment, or comment anonymously which I do allow when comments are open. If you wish to ask me a question privately please use the contact form. I will need your email to respond but will not share that information with anyone and can delete that information at any time by request. If you have left a comment in the past and wish your information to be deleted, please contact me.

I will not personally share any information about visitors or users with anyone.

Google's Privacy Policy can be found here.

This policy will be updated as I learn more about the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation.

I Can't Seem To Hit Delete Just Yet

If this blog is still here, Sunday will be my 6th Blogiversary. That is just one of the things bothering me when I consider hitting that delete button.

The other big one is that I have a couple of posts which are part of Heather Wilkinson Rojo's Honor Roll Project. Her links come back to my posts, so if I delete this blog, those links will disappear, and they have already helped at least one person.

Today before I leave for work I am going to disable comments and remove the contact form. Later I will post a temporary privacy statement.

I may change my mind later, I am still leaning towards moving my blog to another platform, but I just can't hit delete on something I've worked on for almost six years.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

GDPR and my Blog

Hi everyone.

I'm sorry to say that I just don't have the time right now to deal with what I would need to do in order to be compliant with this new law applying to readers from the EU and Google (Blogger) has not been responsive to requests for help from their users in any forum that I can find.

I have saved my posts and hope to move to a new platform in the next few months, or if I decide that I can keep my blog here I have 90 days to reactivate it once deactivated.

If you need any of the resources or instructions to find records that I have shared, please save that information for yourself in the next two days, I will be deleting my blog on the 24th, at least for now.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

New Records for my Swedish-American Ancestors

Anna Olivia Johnson, Selma Josefina Carlin, Mathilda Alfina Johnson

One of the many blogs that I read regularly is Randy Seaver's Genea-Musings. Among his regular features is a weekly post with new and updated record collections at Ancestry. Well, I must not have read his May 6th post very closely because I missed a new record set for my Swedish-American ancestors: U.S., Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Swedish-American Church Records, 1800-1946. Luckily for me, I stumbled on it yesterday but I'll have to be sure to read those posts more closely from now on.

I was very excited to find these records for two reasons. My Swedish ancestors settled in Manchster, Connecticut. A few years ago I was able to get into the vaults in their Town Hall during a Family History Day to look through their index books but discovered that the actual records are $20 a pop. This new record set gives me a lot of the same information in a different context, with additional information like the baptismal dates and burial dates that would not be found on the civil records.

Second, like Lutheran churches in Sweden, the affiliates of the Evangelical Lutheran Churches in America kept member lists and recorded when people joined the church as well as when immigrants entered the United States. For years I have searched in vain for any records pertaining to my great-grandmother Mathilda Alfina Johnson's immigration to the United States, now I have a big clue that I hope will help.

Click to enlarge

I knew from oral history that Alfina came with her sister Anna and their friend Selma, now I have this church record that confirms the same immigration date for the three women. Having a possible date is also huge, obviously, and confirms what I suspected, that if they sailed to New York and arrived on September 5, 1890, as stated above, they would have come through the Barge Office, the first federal immigration processing center which opened in April of 1890.

Although there is still much information that I need to confirm with other sources, I am very happy to have these records for now and the clues they have provided!