Thursday, January 26, 2017

Kickin' it with Thomas W. Jones and Franz Ferdinand

I didn't learn how to read until I was eight years old. When I was in Kindergarten I was diagnosed with a learning disorder, but the treatment was expensive; my daddy was a gandy dancer and my mom was about to have her fourth child at the age of 23 and I was the oldest --- they had to prioritize. I coped by memorizing the order of the words on the page. I memorized the order of everything ranging from streets in my neighborhood to musical notes to conversations:  Memorizing sequences was my compensating strategy. When Mrs. Anderson discovered my ruse in third grade (it was a report on Andrew Jackson that took me down), and taught me how to read aloud and inside, the first book I both read and comprehended was Anne of Green Gables. Now that book was a good time! I have been compulsively reading from that moment on. Memorization worked to eek me through high school (barely) and college, but a semester before I graduated from college, my husband and I were able to finally have me retested for a learning disorder.  With the proper diagnosis of Expressive Language Disorder, and the necessary allowances (quiet room alone for testing), I was able to raise my GPA from below a 2 to 3.6. I have known for years that I process things differently than others, my brain is on hyper drive, creating lists, timelines, references and maps of what I have in front of me. There are only a few items and resources that slow it down to be in the moment, and when I was first studying genealogy (and to this day), the audio lectures and articles of Tom Jones are some of those rare moments.

In the October 2016 issue of The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, his article "Two James Greenfields from New England to New York" separates the interwoven timeline and identities of men of the same name, while also establishing a seed of truth in an undocumented online source, demonstrating how important it is for us to trace things back to their original sources (that provenance hunt). This article reminded me why I love genealogy so damned much.

Add some Franz Ferdinand to the mix along with some deep breaths and you will see that everything, everything, is gonna be alright.

The Record, NYG&B to get the most recent issue of The Record. Thomas W. Jones, "Two James Greenfields from New England and New York," The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record 147 (October 2016): 245-263.

Franz Ferdinand self titled album, Franz Ferdinand.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Kickin' it with Jean Stephenson and Wham!

I have a confession: I am a closet feminist. A few of you have known my secret for a while due to the socks I wear or my past Broad City references here on the blog. I am more of a first generation feminist than a second or third because my feminist leanings focus on education rights and the elimination of double standards. 

I grew up and was raised by factory workers. Men and women worked side by side and they all pulled their weight. It had nothing to do with a certain gender being unable to do something because all performed. I was never told that I would be treated differently just because of my gender and in all honesty, it never crossed my mind until I moved east.

I don't want to earn my place because of a statistical need for a person of my ethnicity or gender. I want to earn my place based on proven ability. It is a point of pride for me -- kind of like how I want to be a breadwinner and am fiercely independent. I want to blow up my balloon of success by working hard, not have the air let out simply because of the way I look. I have never used my body, family or circumstances to not adhere to a deadline because I want to keep that clock going.

As a society and community, we need to support each other. This is not about women rising up against men. In fact, I think women supporting women is something that needs to be more prevalent in society in general. When one woman is undercutting another woman based simply on difference of opinions or something simple like they way they look, we lose focus what we really need to do: support each other and raise the bar.

Jean Stephenson, one of the baddest genealogists you have probably never heard of, wrote a special publication for the National Genealogical Society in 1939-40 titled Heraldry. If you look at the history of heraldry in America and abroad, it was a male dominated field and still is. This was in 1939, people! Jean's knowledge is seen in black and white in this publication and is a must in your genealogical library along with any of her other publications. Study her career and see, clearly, how many glass ceilings she Super-Womaned through.

I was raised on Wham! and was saddened by George Michael's death, so I recommend this gem of a jam.