Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Day Before Armistice Day

On this Veterans Day, I honor my great-grandfather J.T. Fairall.

On November 10, 1918, one day before Armistice Day, John Tyler Fairall, 1st Lieutenant, A.S.U.S.A. (Aviation Section, USA), a reconnaissance pilot and pilot instructor serving in France, wrote a letter to his mother.

Upon the front of the envelope:

In his writing:

November 10 1918

Dear Mother

I have just received my first mail at this post. Your letters of September 20th and 24th were in the lot. I suppose that by now every one knows that the German representatives are in France, and every one is waiting for the outcome of the conference. I surely hope that it will end so that I can get back. I am beginning to get tired of it all and will be glad to return to the U.S. There is quite a number here bemoaning the fact that they won’t get to the front. I can sympathise with them for it was an experience that I would not have missed for anything, but I am glad that it is all over but the shouting.

Paul Smith is evidently in the same fix as quite a lot more over there. It is new and having new experiences and is too busy to write. He is all right very likely.

I will write again in a day or so. This is all for this time.

As ever
Your loving son

J.T. Fairall 1st Lt. A.S.U.S.A.
St. Jean de Monts (Vender)

Thank you to all of our veterans serving us - past, present, and future.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Profiling Isaac Green Mask (1801-1877), Part I

Multitudes of my ancestors deserve a well-formed writing in memory of their lives.  A select few have left behind enough records, photographs, and/or property to an extent that I can dedicate a series of writings.

One such man, a fourth-great-grandfather of mine, is Isaac Green Mask.  According to his grave marker in the Reformed Graveyard in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, Isaac was born on October 11, 1801 and died on December 24, 1877.  Most federal census records confirm approximately his date of birth.  A daughter's death certificate and his obituary place his birth in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.  An obituary in The Baltimore Sun backs up his date of death, additionally pointing out he died in a daughter's residence in Shepherdstown. 

Isaac led a busy life, and he nearly lost his life as a political prisoner during the Civil War.  A combination of letters that he and an acquaintance wrote (that are now in my possession), along with Department of State records, document his experiences during the war.

The first written record that I have found mentioning Isaac is an advertisement promising a $100 reward for Isaac's return.  The ad, placed in The Baltimore Sun on April 8, 1818, shows that William Lusby, a Baltimore tailor, was looking for his missing apprentice boy:

The 1818 ad reads: "ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS REWARD.  Ran away from the subscriber, living in Baltimore, on Sunday, the 5th instant, an apprentice boy to the Tailoring business, named ISAAC GREEN MASK, about five feet four or five inches high, between 16 and 17 years of age - he had on when he went away, an olive cloth coat, blue cassimere pantaloons, buff and cassimere vest - fair complexion, very light hair.  All masters of vessels and others are forwarned employing, or harboring, or carrying off the said apprentice, as they will be dealt with agreeably to law.  Whoever takes up the said apprentice and secures him in any jail so that I get him again, or give information to me, at No. 100 1/2 Market street, shall receive the above reward.  WILLIAM LUSBY.  The following papers will copy the above four times and forward their bills: - National Intelligencer, Alexandria Herald, Fredericktown Examiner, Hagerstown Gazette, Lancaster Journal, York Gazette, and Democratic Press, Philadelphia. april 7 - dit."

The above ad gives me the best physical description of Isaac of any records I've found.  You can visualize what he looked like and what he was wearing in his adolescent youth.  As an apprentice boy, he was probably contracted as an indentured servant to Mr. Lusby.  He must have been suspected of having the ability or connections to make his runaway trip to a variety of locations.  The $100 reward in 1818 would be the equivalent of $1,740 in 2009 (see MeasuringWorth inflation calculator).  Quite a reward!  By the way, the word "cassimere" is a variant of cashmere.  A well-dressed tailoring apprentice!

While I don't know if Isaac was returned to Mr. Lusby, Isaac did follow the tailoring trade throughout his adult life.  He also maintained his rebellious streak.  More to come...

Monday, September 27, 2010

Memory Mondays: Living on the Farm

2007 Photo: Just outside Warsaw, NY in the fall
I recently received my long form birth certificate in the mail.  Aside from my slight disappointment in finding nothing surprising or new in the form (what did I expect?), which is actually a very good thing - the record starts out as a good segue into Memory Monday, a weekly blog post where I aim to bring up memories of my own or of a family member.  Today, I thought I'd go with a few bits of childhood memories of living on the farm.

Up until I was five years old, my parents, my older brother, and I lived in Wyoming County of western New York.  For the first year of my life, that was in a small house in the village of Warsaw.  After that, we moved to a farm on Dillon Road just a few miles northeast in Pavilion, NY.
My older brother and me (I look cranky) on the farm

On the farm, we had a little house on the edge of the road, with several acres of land.  We had some crops - my dad had a tractor he'd use to plow the land.  We had a barn with a silo next to it, lined with a fence.  Within the borders of the fence, we had several bulls and cows that were notorious for jumping the fence and getting loose.  My parents would then have to head out and round up the cattle.  Once one of the calves must have been feeling ill, and I vividly recall the calf was sitting in the house with some hay strewn about.  How many folks can say they had a cow living in their house?   My mom gave them some creatively morbid names such as Hamburger Patty, Big Mac, Angus (Gus), and Sir Loin.  They were ultimately sold for meat, poor things.

In the barn (no longer standing, sadly), we had some chickens.  There was a bottom level of the barn, but there was a ladder that led up to the top level.  I remember at some point in time, I was up at the top of the barn with my brother.  The radio was on, specifically playing the song "Flashdance" by Irene Cara (check out the official music video on YouTube!).  It's funny how songs can stick with your memories so intensely.  My brother would take pleasure in jumping off the top level of the barn onto a big stack of hay outside.

We also had some pigs on the farm, and I must say, I have a lingering mild dislike of pigs.  I had a little plastic pool filled with water, and at one time, the pigs decided to use the pool for some unsanitary business.  I couldn't use the pool anymore, thus a part of my childhood was somewhat ruined... by pigs.  Perhaps their escapades have influenced my love for BBQ pulled pork.  Bacon tastes pretty good, too.  Enough of that disturbing rant.

2007 Photo: Of the farm where we lived from 1980-1984

Onto a more pleasant thought, my dad would sometimes take the tractor into town.  There was a frequently occurring auction in town, and I suspect my parents got some good stuff at those auctions.  I remember sitting in my dad's lap taking one of those tractor trips down the hill into Pavilion.  It's a simple but happy memory!

The farm holds plenty of good memories for me.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Memory Mondays: Pepa

Memory Mondays: A tradition I intend to solidify on my genealogy blog.  Every Monday, I will post a memory either of my own or of a family member.  I begin Memory Mondays out of thankfulness for my paternal grandfather's efforts in researching the Goodhart family history and thus the inspiration he effected for my own interest in genealogy and family history research.

The following is the eulogy I wrote and delivered at my grandfather's memorial service on Friday, December 11, 2009.  I wrote this eulogy just a few hours before the service.  I have made just a couple small changes, such as a date of genealogical significance, to reflect historical accuracy.

A Eulogy in Loving Memory of Frederick Wilson Goodhart

For the last thirty years, my grandfather has brought many treasured memories into my life.  Many of my memories include both my grandfather and my grandmother, so it is easiest to share many of my thoughts today to include both of them.

We all tend to have certain nicknames bestowed upon us by different people in our lives without our asking, and at a young age when my older brother was a toddler and was attaching names to the grandparents, it started with my grandmother - Mema, which is a traditional grandmother name in the Goodhart family.  But in my brother's toddler logic, he took the word "Mema" and gave my grandfather the name "Pepa."  When I came into the world, I continued my brother's naming choices.  "Pepa" is an unusual name for a grandfather, but that was my brother's and my gift for him, even if Pepa didn't ask for it.

I recall many wonderful get-togethers over the holidays for Thanksgiving and Christmas at the Goodhart household at 224 South Main Street in North Wales, Pennsylvania, with Pepa at the head of the dinner table and Mema on the other side.  It was always nice when the family got together for our holiday dinners.  And the lively discussions and debates that we had over dinner certainly initiated some excitement, though meaningful, for various family members.  But these entertaining dinners are memories for which I am entirely grateful.  I recall after one particular family debate, when I first voiced my own opinions on the topic of the night, Pepa sat me down afterward and told me that he was proud of me for standing up for my thoughts, and that we live in a world where standing up for our beliefs is an exceptionally important trait to have.

I remember warm sunny vacation days at the condo in Ocean City, Maryland with Mema, Pepa, and my family.  The taste and aroma of crab meat still lingers in my senses today.  Eating crab was a Goodhart tradition, so I was informed, from when Pepa and my dad and uncle lived in Baltimore.  I miss Ocean City.

I am thankful that Pepa and Mema helped to pay for my way through private school at Norfolk Collegiate and college at Radford University, and I was so happy to be gifted with their presence at both my high school and college graduations.  Without Pepa's and Mema's assistance, I would not be where I am today in life.

One particular memory I have of Pepa is when I was about fifteen years old.  Pepa brought me up to his office and showed me printed pages several inches thick, full of thousands of names.  Pepa researched the Goodhart family history to such depth and detail, and this was the first time that he opened this magical world for me.  Pepa showed me all of these names of Goodharts - people's husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, grandfathers, grandmothers, sons, daughters, cousins - all truly numbering well over 1500 names that Pepa lifted off of pages that he copied down in courthouses and family research centers around the state for the last few decades.  And these names he himself brought forth into a pattern of the Goodhart family history.  Pepa traced the Goodhart family history all the way back to Germany in the late 1600's.  The first Goodhart to step foot on American soil was Heinrich Guthard in 1737 in the city of Philadelphia.  Our ancestry moved forward in time through the hills of Berks, Lancaster, and Lackawanna counties.  Farmers most of them were.  You see, Pepa planted a seed that day when I was fifteen.  A great passion - just three years ago, I chose to follow in Pepa's footsteps, to be not only the keeper but also the continual discoverer of our ancestry.  But not just the Goodhart ancestry, but also along all trees and branches of Mema's as well as my mother's side of the family.  I feel this is the greatest gift my grandfather gave to me.  In 2006, Pepa gave me access to the names, dates, places of birth, marriage, and yes, death - but most importantly, memories.  The memories of those 1500+ people will continue to live on.

There is a general concept about family history that goes like this: if your parents didn't meet up the way that they did and conceive you into the world; if each of your parents' parents did not come across each other perhaps one day spontaneously for the first time on a city street; if your parents' parents' parents didn't choose to board a ship across the Atlantic Ocean to the United States - and so on and so on, you would not exist or at least not as you are.  And so I look at my family history, and I am thankful for every single ancestor - every single person.  But today, I am most grateful for my grandfather, Frederick Wilson Goodhart.  His legacy lives on in all of us, and will continue to do so for all of time.  Pepa, thank you for everything that you have given to me.  I love you, and I will always miss you.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Green, Natural Burials

Planning for one's burial or a family member's burial isn't the most upbeat thought. But in my opinion, considering it in advance rather than waiting until death seems to be the smart thing to do, logistically and financially. I pondered whether to post about this topic on my personal blog or my genealogy blog, and I chose to go with the latter. After all, the location of an ancestor's burial site is one we usually tend to research as genealogists. We strive to visit an ancestor's grave and/or obtain vital information from a tombstone.

I recently had a brief conversation with my family about what we'd want done with our bodies when we die.  How morbid, right?  I think exploring the topic is somewhat fascinating.  This type of discussion doesn't come up often, but again, I think it's important. People usually consider two options (or a combination of the two): a) traditional burial in a cemetery plot or b) cremation. What many people don't know is there's a third option: natural burial.

What is natural burial?  The Centre for Natural Burial defines it as "an environmentally sustainable alternative to existing funeral practices where the body is returned to the earth to decompose naturally and be recycled into new life."  Typically, one's body is: a) not embalmed, and as a consequence, buried rather quickly after death, and b) buried in some form of biodegradable material.  It's not a new method historically, although as far as I know it's not common to most western European cultures.

I originally heard about the concept of natural burial from the HBO TV series Six Feet Under (in which the main character, Nate, is buried this way).  Additionally, there's a great book entitled Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach (it's referenced in Six Feet Under, as well).  I highly recommend both - they are a bit morbid but very entertaining!  I soon plan to read Grave Matters by Mark Harris.

Photo from Cedar Brook Burial Ground web site
There are only about thirteen places in the United States where one can be naturally buried, though more are in the works.  The only natural burial ground in New England is the Cedar Brook Burial Ground in Limington, Maine (just west of Portland).  A green cemetery, as it is often called, must be created in agreement with a private land-owner.  Grave markers are sometimes permitted, but only if they lie flat against the landscape and the stone is natural to the area (which means you'd still be able to visit a family member/ancestor there and/or retrieve vital information).  Sometimes a tree is planted at the burial site as a memorial.  A natural burial is much cheaper than a traditional burial or even cremation.  It's also more sustainable and environmentally friendly.  

From my personal perspective, a natural burial is a beautiful and spiritual connection with the earth.  Your body acts like a fertilizer, returning nutrients to the surrounding landscape, and while it wouldn't be a pretty sight to see the decomposition process, it certainly seems better than lying in a somewhat impermeable coffin (that would be an even worse sight over time).  I wouldn't want to embalmed - nor would I want an open casket as that's not the last memory I want people to have of me! - and while I often thought I'd want to be cremated, a natural burial seems to be, well, the most natural and "green" way to go.

Here are a couple informative web sites on natural burials:

The Centre for Natural Burial -
Green Burial Council -

So, what are your thoughts on natural burial?  Would you consider it?

Saturday, September 4, 2010

A Quick Note - "One Record a Month"

It has been quite a while since I last posted, and this one will be brief!  Work and life have been very busy over the last month, so I haven't had any time to devote to genealogy.  But things will begin calming down now, and posting a blog note is a good way to get back into things.

It's been about a year (possibly more) since I last sent out for any documents related to my (or any) family history.  Before that, I'd often send out for documents in large bunches and spend loads of money at once.  For the sake of my budget, but also to keep a steady and manageable research plan, I plan on requesting one document every month related to one of my family members.  No more, no less.  Considering I have many, many years ahead of me (hopefully) to continue my research, there really isn't a hurry! 

So the first record I'm requesting should probably have been the first record I ever requested when I started my research in 2006.  I'm forking out some dough to get the long form version of my birth certificate.  N.Y. State's processing fees are not cheap.  Presently I do have an abbreviated certificate that just lists my name, date and place of birth, and parents.  While I highly doubt I will find any new information in my long form birth certificate, I think it's good practice to have the most detailed available primary source that begins my genealogy.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Frederick Guthard: His Last Will and Testament (1791)

Frederick Guthard, probably as a young child, immigrated to the New World at the port of Philadelphia with his father Heinrich Guthard on August 30, 1737 from what we now know as Germany. The ship "Samuel" had brought them to their destination after a several months long journey from Germany to Rotterdam (of the Netherlands) and across the Atlantic Ocean. He settled in Pennsylvania. In 1790, he lived in the township of Exeter, population 893, comparable to most of the towns in Berks County at that time. This was rural farm country.

On Friday, May 6, 1791, Frederick and those close to him knew he didn't have much longer to live. His family helped draw up his last will and testament, and Frederick scrawled his signature on the piece of paper confirming his wishes for the distribution of his real estate and personal property. Within two days of that last stroke of the pen in his hand, he had departed this world and his body was buried near Schwarzwald Reformed Church in Exeter, PA. The church shared the name "Schwarzwald," the Black Forest of southwestern Germany, not far from Frederick's homeland.

217 years after Frederick Guthard's death, and about 100 miles southeast of his place of burial, one of his 6th great grandsons (yours truly) held Frederick's will in his hands. The yellowed and faded loose papers were neatly organized in a manilla folder in the files of the Register of Wills office in the Berks County Courthouse in Reading, Pennsylvania. I made photocopies, and in June 2010, I finally took a good look at my ancestor's estate record and transcribed it into a PDF document which you can easily view.

Take a look for yourself at the exquisite handwriting of the will in the image below (you can right-click on the image and open it in a new window to read it).

Frederick's will indicates he was survived by his wife Maria Catherina; six sons - John, Henry, William, Jacob, Frederick, and Peter; and two daughters, Catherina (widow of Isaac Wagner) and Magdelina (widow of Elias Wagner). The name "Frederick" has been very common along my Goodhart family line. Beginning with this Frederick Guthard of 1791, seven of my eight paternal ancestors have "Frederick" either as a first or middle name. Frederick means "peaceful ruler" in Old German.

Frederick was most likely a farmer, judging from the inventory of items listed in his will. Even if he had another primary occupation, the quantity of livestock and crops indicate he was able to live off the land he owned. For livestock, he had two cows, an old horse, six old sheep, three lambs, 6 "hoggs," five pigs (hogs are older and heavier than pigs), and "a half share of 4 hives of Bees." His crops consisted of wheat, rye, clover, indian corn, and flax. A "winowing fann" would have been used to remove the inedible parts of the grain crops. With a "flax brake," a "cloath press," and a spinning wheel, he (or other family members) were able to make linen bags, clothes, sheets, and various cloths, using the flax available on the land - or wool from his sheep. He was also part owner of an apple mill. Considering he had a grind stone, a crosscut saw, and an axe and hammer, he could have cut down trees on his land for firewood or to make furniture (or even his home).

Clothing was made of various materials - linen, flax, leather, felt, and even velvet. The family certainly could have produced the first four materials, but I'm unsure if they could have made the velvet "jacket" and "breeches." Velvet was probably not easy to make or come by.

He must have had an adequate kitchen (where his wife or daughters most likely worked considering the time period). He had a ten plate stove for cooking, along with kettles and pots. There was plenty of pewter kitchenware - more than a dozen plates, two dishes, two "basons" (basins - possibly used for keeping things cold), thirteen spoons, and a quart (for holding or serving drinks?). There was enough dining ware to serve the entire family and some guests.

He had a 30 hour clock, so they could keep track of the time.

Religion played a role in Frederick's life, as can be inferred from the place of his burial and the Christian references in the first paragraph of his will. He also owned a book of the new and old testament, as well as a "Folio German Bible." Oh, how I wish I could find that particular bible! Perhaps someone in another line of the family now possesses it.

I am fascinated with the knowledge that Frederick had a collection of various coins and currencies. I wonder where he got these - traveling? Did he hold onto these when he left Europe to come to Pennsylvania? Or were they passed down from his mother or father? In his possession were seven half Johannes coins (from Portugal), four Guineas (from England), eighteen French crowns, and 21 Spanish dollars. Since they assessed the value of all of Frederick's items, one can also get a sense of how much each of these currencies were worth in 1791 in Pennsylvania.

Frederick apparently had slaves according to his will, though they were not counted in the 1790 census. The slaves were considered one of the family debts in the inventory. Much of the money from the sale of Frederick's property was disbursed to neighbors. The reasons for this disbursement are not made known - maybe they were payments for services or products, before and after Frederick's death.

Frederick's wife Maria Catherina was given a third of the share of his personal property, and according to Frederick's will, she initially was to be given one third of the purchase money from the sale of his real estate. However, Maria Catherina later affirms (with her mark - meaning she was unable to write) that she was instead intended to receive one third of the interest made from his real estate. Was this a genuine mistake in the original will? Probably. Though it is interesting to think about the family discussion regarding this matter.

All told, the entirety of the financial matters seems to have been settled on or around June 17, 1792, more than a year following Frederick's death.

This was a learning experience for me in analyzing Frederick's estate record. Certainly, my research was not by any means exhaustive. Additionally, there is more I can do in looking at Frederick's entire life. Apparently, there are deeds and church records out there according to others' research, though I did not mention them here because I want to see them for myself before referring to them. It is amazing how different the terminology was compared to the present day. Many of the items listed in the inventory were completely unknown to me. Thank goodness for Google and Wikipedia.

Feel free to comment if you notice any errors - or if you have an observation or just want to appreciate the material!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

What I'm Presently Working On

Just a quick update on what I'm working on with genealogy right now. A couple of years ago, I made photocopies of the last will and testament of my 6th great grandfather Frederick Guthard at the Register of Wills office in Reading, Pennsylvania. Last night, I finally got around to transcribing it - and wow, it's definitely fascinating to read the inventory of appraised items he left behind back in 1791 when he passed away. If you're curious to read the PDF file I created of the transcription, you can do so here: Last Will and Testament of Frederick Guthard. Within the next couple of days, I plan on posting some of my thoughts and analysis of what I found.

Also, one thing I like to do is volunteer for FreeBMD - an online project to transcribe the Civil Registration index of births, marriages, and deaths for England and Wales. Once a month, I transcribe an index page for the site. It takes a couple of hours to do, but I feel like it's worth my time. It was through FreeBMD that I found indexes to records of my own ancestors. From those indexes, you can order birth, marriage, or death records from the General Register Office. If you're interested in volunteering to transcribe the indexes - or if you're looking for your ancestors' records, you can do so by going to the FreeBMD website.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

A 1907-1909 College Transcript

While academic records may not provide much in vital or relationship details, they can be useful in enriching knowledge of an individual's life background. College records can be especially rewarding since they can shed light on a person's educational or career goals. It is not difficult to obtain a copy of an academic transcript/record from a college or university, particularly if a significant amount of time has passed since the person was alive.

In my particular case, my paternal grandmother informed me that her father, John Tyler Fairall (b. 1892, d. 1972), had attended Shepherd College in Shepherdstown, West Virginia at some point in the early 1900s. His obituary also stated the same [see photo on right, he was 20 years old here - not too long after attending Shepherd College].

By calling the registrar's office of what is now Shepherd University, I was able to request his academic transcript with the estimated time frame of his attendance. I was required to provide documentation to support that I was related to J.T. Fairall, which again was not very difficult. The registrar searched through their old records (she also expressed how interesting it was to go through their archives since people typically don't request older records), and about a month later, at very little financial cost, I was delighted to receive a copy of his academic record, which you can see here. I took the liberty of electronically stitching together the sections of his record since it was photocopied on two different pages.

Academic Transcript for John Tyler Fairall
(You can right click the image and open in a new tab/window for a full view)

Source Citation: Academic Transcript for John Tyler Fairall, 1907 - 1909; Shepherd University, Shepherdstown, West Virginia; supplied 26 March 2007 to author; author's files.

The transcript shows his "date of entry" of Sep. 1907 into the college, at the young age of 15. No record was found of his graduation. J.T. Fairall was enrolled in the Cadet Corps, presumably with the understanding that he would be commissioned into the U.S. Army as an officer (he would later become a reconnaissance pilot during World War I in France with the rank of Lieutenant).

The parent's name is provided on the transcript, Mrs. A.E. Fairall (his mother, Anna Eliza).

He received credit for a few classes based on his prior education with "Grade 2 school and free school certificates." Though more classes are offered today in colleges, J.T. did have options from which to choose. He was a decent speller, according to his grades in "Orthography," a term for the study of spelling. In the study of languages, he mostly learned Latin though he took a bit of German, too. Latin wasn't his strong suit, though. Overall, he seemed to do well in classes but many of the examinations stumped him (perhaps an anxious test taker?). He had previous credit for penmanship - you certainly don't see penmanship as a college-level course anymore! At the far-right end of the transcript, there is a section called "Deportment," which I believe relates to his manners/behavior. He must have presented himself well and paid attention in class!

As you can see, his transcript showed clues of the directions toward which he was heading. What it doesn't show is whether he lived on the college campus or commuted. It is possible he made a short trek to the college as he had family living in Shepherdstown at the time.

Shepherd University Special Collections provides online access to previously published course catalogs and yearbooks.  During J.T.'s time, the institution was a State Normal School, and tuition was free to residents of West Virginia - a far cry from the costs of a college education today!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Moving to Blogspot

Just a quick note to say I've decided to move my blog to as this site is much faster. I also want to save space on my domain server for all of the images and documents.

I've also changed my blog title to "Take a Goodhart Look through Genealogy." I think it's catchy, don't you? :)

Saturday, May 22, 2010

An Overdue Update!

It has been so long since I last posted on my blog. I thought about what I would write and then I'd procrastinate - so I'm finally getting on here to try out a little free-writing. Where to begin?

Between January and April 2010, I am proud to say that I participated in Boston University's Certificate in Genealogical Research program. BU is just a 45 minute drive away, and I figured since I'm so close to the premier genealogical research program in the country, and since I have such a passion for genealogy, it made complete sense to pay out the big bucks and take the course. I believe it was completely worth the cost and the time. The course spans 14 weeks every Saturday from 9am-5pm broken up into five modules, so many weekends were sacrificed - no vacations away, etc. The course is taught by well-known and reputable individuals across the U.S. The class size is small, and I have particularly appreciated the opportunity to work closely with other dedicated genealogy researchers. To meet and get to know such wonderful individuals has made the experience in the program that much richer. The knowledge and skills that I have gained through the program will help me tremendously. I'm also looking forward to June 14th when we have our recognition ceremony and receive our certificates!

In very sad news, my "Pepa" (paternal grandfather) - Frederick Wilson Goodhart, Jr. - passed away on December 8, 2009 in Gwynedd, Pennsylvania. He lived to be 91 years old. I spoke at his service about his impact on my life in terms of family history and genealogy. I'm glad that I was able to publicly thank him for his work, and I'm equally grateful that he agreed to pass along his research to me. He is certainly an inspiration.

Regarding the Goodhart family website, you may have noticed that surname and name indexes have been taken down. One thing I have learned recently is the importance of proper source citation and verifying research. I am ever thankful for the research that "Pepa" tirelessly worked on for over thirty years during his life. However, he didn't cite anything, so I don't know where much of his findings came from. Though I have little doubt most of his research is accurate, there are bound to be some inaccuracies. I want every thing published on the website to meet what's called the Genealogical Proof Standard. The family tree that I posted to and Rootsweb have also been taken down or set for private viewing only. As I re-do the research, I plan on gradually publishing information.

In the mean time, you'll still be able to read documents that I have found, glance over various photographs, or of course - read this blog! I promise to be more diligent with updating my genealogical adventures and findings here!