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"The ancestor of every action is a thought." Ralph Waldo Emerson

Entries in my tree (39)


* How to Get Military Personnel Records from the National Archives

Do you have a parent or grandparent who served in the US Military? Want to know more about their service? The National Personnel Records Center, Military Personnel Records (NPRC-MPR) has millions of records from WWI- present day.

If you are the veteran or the next of kin of a deceased veteran you can use the National Archives eVetRecs online system to start your records request online. You can also download form SF-180 to fill out by hand and send your request via snail mail. Even if you complete the online request, you still have to print out a form to sign and send via fax or mail to the records center in St. Louis.

I've had a great experience so far! When my family found my grandfather's WW2 medals, I immediately wanted to know more. We were limited with information, he is deceased and we didn't have any records or documentation. I completed an online records request and mailed in the signed form about 3 weeks ago. I was so excited yesterday when I checked the mail and found a nice thick envelope from the National Personnel Records Center!

I received many documents, including typed letters of recommendation submitted by a NJ Congressman and Senator to the Army in 1946 on behalf of my grandfather, his division information from WWII, and documentation for his medals. More to come on what I've learned from these documents!

This is a FREE service! Check out the National Archives Website for more information.


* Sightseeing Sundays: Historic Chincoteague, VA 

Chincoteague, Virginia- pronounced "shing-kuh-TEEG", is located on the Eastern Shore of the Delmarva Peninsula. The island of Chincoteague is very unique, boasting fresh seafood, history, and a beautiful beach! It's connected to Assateague Island National Seashore. I've been visiting since I was a baby. My grandparents once lived not to far from it. This is where I learned how to boogie board, dive through waves, and collect seashells.

The beach is a barrier island and with each year hurricanes and storms have slowly but surely eroded the sandy beaches. When I was little we used to buy a special pass, get there early, and drive our Izuzu Trooper down the sandy beach to find own private beach spot! Within the past 30 years the size of the beach has eroded to at least half the size it used to be. Gone are the bath houses, high dunes, and large parking lots. I hope it's around for my future generations to enjoy.

My sister and I dancing on the beachA nosy pony wants to meet my dad Old Bathing Houses at Assateague (date unknown) 






 A herd of wild ponies have inhabited this sandy, marshy, pine tree covered island for over 200 years. No one knows for sure how the Chincoteague Ponies ended up on this island. One popular legend is that when a Spanish ship sank off the coast in the 1600's the surviving ponies swam to the island. There is a protected wildlife refuge where the herds roam wild. When I was a kid, the ponies would venture all the way to the road- sometimes right up to your car! In the picture above you can see a nosy pony checking out our car! I'm in the back in my car seat, what a treat. But I haven't seen them get that close in the past 10 years or so.

A famous annual event is "Pony Penning Day". Selected young ponies are herded from Assateague into the bay and they swim across to Chincoteague. Following the short swim they are penned and auctioned off. This has been a long held tradition, 2011 marks the 86th year. The 2011 Pony Penning Day and Fireman's Carnival is this week! The ponies will swim on Wednesday July, 27, 2011 and the auction will be on Thursday July 28, 2011. I've never been but I bet it's a really amazing thing to watch!

A Famous Chincoteague Pony

The Island Roxy Theater, 2011Misty's Prints 2011

  "Misty of Chincoteague" was a wild pony born on the island, made famous in a book written by Marguerite Henry in 1947. Misty's story was brought to the big screen in the 1960s! The movie premiere of "Misty" was held at the Historic Island Roxy Theater. Misty herself walked down the center aisle before the show. To commemorate the occasion, her hoof prints were captured in the sidewalk outside of the theater. Since horses can't write their own name, it was Marguerite Henry who wrote "Misty" above the prints. I went to take a picture and I was surprised how worn down the dedication has become.  I think the hoof prints need to be preserved a little better! It would be such a shame for this historical landmark to be worn away don't you think? 

 The Island Roxy Theater is still in operation today! If you're looking for a beautiful beach on the Eastern Shore, I suggest you check out all Chincoteague has to offer. 


* How do you spell that? Understanding Lithuanian Surnames Ufuk Zivana © 2006Are you searching for a Lithuanian ancestor? A goal of mine is to learn more about my mom's Lithuanian roots. I've been researching my maternal great grandparents who emigrated from Lithuania to the US in the early 1900's. Without any knowledge of the Lithuanian language, I have been limited to the variations of their names as found in US records. The spellings are all over the place and I didn't know where to turn for information.

I posted a query on a Lithuanian genealogy forum shared by the Lithuanian Global Genealogical Society and Lithuanian Global Resources "Little Lithuania" to see if anyone could help me in my pursuit. Not only did I get helpful information to understand how Lithuania surnames are constructed, contributors were able to locate my ancestors! Within 24 hours I was lead to a ton of matching records- I still feel like I'm dreaming!

John Peters first responded to my post with a thorough introduction to understanding the in's and out's of how Lithuanian surnames are constructed and pronounced. In Lithuania, the suffix of the surname is modified to fit the gender role (male, single female, married female).

I found his breakdown very helpful and, with his permission, I want to share it with you!

To better understand the examples: My great grandfather's first name was either Laurentius, Lauros, or Roland; the English version of his last name was Alishusky. My great grandmother's first name was either Helen or Alexandra and her last name was something along the lines of Akamavicuis or Acamaviche.

"The surname is spelled today either as Alasauskas (pronounced ah-lah-SOWS-kahs) because the "s" has no marks over it.  The "sh" sound is represented by the letter "s^" ("s" with a little birdie over it, typed "s^" on non-Lithuanian keyboards).  There are several listings in the online phone book for Alasauskas but none for Alas^auskas.  It is possible that over the years, the "s^" has been simplified among Lithuanians to "s" without the mark.  Or it is spelled Olis^auskas and pronounced aw-lih-SHAUS-kahs.  So this may be the spelling of the surname you are looking for.

The letter "c" with no marks over it is pronounced "ts" as in the English word "bits", but never pronounced like the English "c" in "cave."  That "k" sound is represented in Lithuanian by the letter "k".  So the other surname is Akamavic^ius.  The ending "-uis" is an incorrect version of the common Lithuanian ending "-ius".  The letter "c^" is pronounced "ch" as in the English word "church."

As you may or may not know, the endings to these surnames are changed for women, depending on their marital status.  The ending "-iene" is used for a woman married to a man named Akamavic^ius (Mrs. Akamavic^iene).  Their unmarried daughter would be Miss Akamavic^iute.  Likewise, the wife of Mr. Alasauskas would be Mrs. Alasauskiene and their unmarried daughter would be Miss Alasauskaite.  Likewise, the wife of Mr. Olis^auskas would be Mrs. Olis^auskiene and their unmarried daughter would be Miss Olis^auskaite.

The given name for Catherine in Lithuanian is Katarina, Katryna, or Katre, sometimes Kotryna or Kotre. Lawrence or Laurence in Lithuanian is Laurencijus, Laurentas, Laurentinas or Laurynas. It is possible that at one time the short form might have been Lauras. Again, no "-uis" ending, but "-ius" or in this case "-ijus", pronounced virtually the same way.

Lithuanian doesn't use the letter "x" but "ks", so the male name Alexander is Aleksandras and the female version (Alexandra) is Aleksandra.

Helen is Elena, pronounced AH-leh-nah. Peter is Petras; Anthony is Antanas; Martha is Morta; and Cecilia is Cecile or Cecilija (pronounced tseh-TSIH-leeah)."

The different spellings I've found associated with my great grandparents surnames:



It might seem impossible to find ancestors with foreign or commonly misspelled names, but it can be done! You can learn SO MUCH by connecting with other researchers and genealogy communities. When I asked John Peters permission to share his response on my blog, he informed me of his "mission" to help others with genealogy research. He was inspired by the support and guidance he found in fellow researchers through his own personal search. I couldn't agree more! This blog is my way of sharing my "mission" to inspire and help YOU with your genealogy pursuits.


* Touring the streets of my Philadelphia Roots : Stamper Street & South Front Street

Lately, a big chunk of my genealogy research time has been dedicated to tracking down past residences of my ancestors. I've been mapping and researching census and vital records to learn more. Did they own their house? Did they live in a luxury apartment on the Upper East Side? Were they farmers working on their own farm? Is the house still there?? So much to be learned. I took to the streets of Philadelphia to find my Grimm and Nolen Roots...

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