Connections to 2020 Cleveland Presidential Debate


Tomorrow night I will be watching the first Presidential debate leading up to the 2020 Presidential election on TV. For the record, I have some connections to the site of this debate in the Sheila and Eric Samson Pavilion at the Health Education Campus at Case Western Reserve University and the Cleveland Clinic.

For example, I attended Case Institute of Technology, earning a BSc degree in metallurgical engineering in 1960. Later, I attended the Weatherhead School of Business of Western Reserve University earning a MBA in marketing in 1967. That also was the year that the two universities “federated” to become Case Western Reserve University.

My late wife and I have been using the Cleveland Clinic as our healthcare provider for about 30 years. I have driven by the Samson Pavilion many times on the way to appointments on the Clinic main campus.

Finally, my grandmother Grace and her third husband Don Stafford lived on East 89th St just a long block from East 93rd St where the Samson Pavilion is today.

Their house was torn down a couple of years ago, as I posted under the title “OMG!!! Grandma Grace’s House Is Gone!”

In 2014, I posted about visiting this house:

And in 2016, I posted this about when she lived in this house:

So I will be right at home with the setting of the first 2020 Presidental Debate. I know the neighborhood!

Tracking My 2020 Mail-In Ballot


I have been voting in presidential elections since 1956 when I was first 18 years old. My oldest recollection is of voting machines where I placed a ballot sheet in a machine and then punched my choices, candidate by candidate and issue by issue. Later, I marked a paper ballot which then was inserted in an electronic ballot box for processing.

I began voting by mail in 2010 and found it very convenient. Not only did I not have to stand in line at my assigned polling place, but I was able to study the ballot and do some research on any candidates I wasn’t sure of, such as judges, without feeling the pressure of other voters waiting in line to cast their ballots. The Cuyahogs County Board of elections at has an online database recording my participation. Note: this does not indicate who I voted for!

For the 2020 election, I downloaded a ballot request form from the Board of Elections website, filled it in, and mailed it on August 10. Today, the website indicates that the request has been received and approved. Further, the website states that my ballot will be mailed to me on October 6.

Check this space for updates on my receiving my ballot and returning it.

Goodyear Connections


I was flabbergasted when I read earlier this week in the Cleveland Plain Dealer that our president had tweeted that his followers should boycott the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. and not buy its products. Apparently a social media posting to the effect that MAGA gear shouldn’t be worn at a Goodyear plant in Topeka, Kansas, get under his skin. Why did he take the time to post about it?

Well, I can’t answer this questions, but I can state a couple of my connections to Goodyear.

For one thing, I have a set of Goodyear Assurance tires on my 2015 Honda Odyssey. I bought them as replacements for the OEM tires before traveling to visit my daughter and her family in New York state last summer.

More appropriate to the genealogical theme of this blog, I do have a collateral relative who worked at the Goodyear company as a carpenter. My uncle, Frank Nikkari, listed as his employer on his WWII “Old Man’s Draft” registration card the Hunkin-Conklin Construction Co. that was doing contract work for Goodyear in Akron, Ohio.

It’s little connections like this that make genealogical research so fascinating.

A Photo Blast from the Past


This morning (20 Aug 2020), Sanford “Sandy” Baumgardner, an Andover High School classmate, sent me a photo from the 1950 Boy Scout Jamboree encampment at Valley Forge. The photo shows the scouts attending from northeastern Ohio. I am shown seated fifth from right. Next to me, fourth from right, is Sandy’s older brother Hugh (now deceased).

Scouts from Northeastern Ohio attending the 1950 Boy Scout Jamboree at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania.

We made the teepees from a waterproof composite material that I believe farmers used to line silos to store silage.

According to Wikipedia, the 1950 Jamboree was held from June 27 through July 6, and was attended by 47,163 scouts and leaders.

As a Kid, I Was Quarantined for Scarlet Fever


“I contracted scarlet fever as a young girl. I remember the red quarantine sign tacked outside our front door stating we were confined to our home and no one was to be admitted. Now I live in California. Before locking down the whole state, Gov. Gavin Newsom asked seniors to “isolate themselves” from others.” So began an article in a recent issue of the Wall Street Journal.

It reminded me that I also had been quarantined, along with my sister and brother, in Andover, Ashtabula County, Ohio, probably in 1946 or 1947.

I don’t remember much about the time we spent in quarantine so I contacted my siblings by email seeking their memories of quarantine. Our consensus is that we didn’t suffer too much from the symptoms of scarlet fever, including red rashes and sore throats. As kids of elementary school age, we probably drove our mother a bit crazy cooped up in the house for probably two weeks. We did recall that there was a red sign next to the front door of our house on South Main Street. We all recall seeing a photo of our house with the sign, but we have not been able to locate it. A Google search turned up this historic image:

A scarlet fever quarantine sign.

In doing some further research online about scarlet fever, I learned that the disease is quite contagious and that it is related to what is now called “strep throat.”

An article on Wikipedia.www states that it most commonly affects children between five and 15 years of age. I and my siblings were in the low end of that range. The article from Wikipedia further states:

“The bacteria are usually spread by people coughing or sneezing. It can also be spread when a person touches an object that has the bacteria on it and then touches their mouth or nose. The characteristic rash is due to the erythrogenic toxin, a substance produced by some types of the bacterium. The diagnosis is typically confirmed by culturing the throat.

“There is no vaccine. Prevention is by frequent handwashing, not sharing personal items, and staying away from other people when sick. The disease is treatable with antibiotics, which prevent most complications. Outcomes with scarlet fever are typically good if treated. Long-term complications as a result of scarlet fever include kidney disease, rheumatic heart disease, and arthritis. It was a leading cause of death in children in the early 20th century.

My brother recalled one other thing about our quarantine. At the time, we were receiving milk deliveries from a dairy in the next town. The delivery man was able to continue delivering the bottles of milk, but he could not pick up the empties until our quarantine was over.

Wikipedia URL —

Did Grandpa Dingman Die of the Spanish Flu


Today I watched a documentary presentation on the C-Span 3 network entitled “Influenza Pandemic and World War I..” The presenter was Nancy Bristow, professor of history, University of Puget Sound. The presentation was originally broadcast live on Nov. 1, 2019, from the National WWI Museum & Memorial in Kansas City, MO.

Prof. Bristow made the point in her presentation that the so-called Spanish Flu pandemic began in 1918 but recurred through 1920. She discussed how it started Camp Funston, an Army base in Kansas and quickly spread to many other Army bases and into the general population. What she related sounded eerily like what we are experiencing with Covid19 in March of 2020.

Do learn more about the 1918 pandemic, I turned to Wikipedia, which provided the following: “The Influenza pandemic of 1918 was a serious pandemic of influenza. It lasted for three years, from January 1918 to December 1920. About 500 million people were infected across the world. The pandemic spread to remote Pacific Islands and the Arctic. It killed 50 million to 100 million people— three to five percent of the world’s population at the time. This means it was one of the deadliest natural disasters in human history.”

Grandpa Wallace Betts Dingman died on 01 Apr 1920. As I pointed out in an earlier blog posting ( ), the cause of his death is a mystery. His death certificate was filled out by a doctor who reported “I have no knowledge as to cause of Death. He was treated by a Christin Cientist [sic]. “

An obituary I have from the Andover Citizen states that he was ill for several days and then attended an auction Shortly after that his condition worsened resulting in his death.

Having learned the extent of the 1918 Flu pandemic, I now suspect that Grandpa might have been a victim of that disease.

One final note: The 1918 pandemic was commonly referred to as the Spanish Flu.At the time, the U.S. government Wikipedia points out that: “To maintain morale, wartime censors reduced reports of illness and mortality in Germany, Britain, France, and the United States; but papers could report the epidemic’s effects in neutral Spain (such as the grave illness of King Alfonso XIII. This situation created the false impression of Spain being especially hard-hit.  It also resulted in the nickname Spanish flu.

Outbreaks, Epidemics, Pandemics


It’s official: The world is experiencing a pandemic with Covid-19, referred to colloquially as Coronavirus. The World Health Organization made that pronouncement today, March 11, 2020.

I have been checking on the latest developments in my state of Ohio. Our Governor Mike DeWine is holding frequent briefings and they are broadcast in their entirety by my cable provider Spectrum TV. He and state health officials seem to be on top of the situation, as much as we can be with all the changes day by day. Today’s briefing included the announcement that a fourth individual, a male in his 50s, had tested positive for Covid-19. A couple of days ago, it was announced that there were three proven cases in Cuyahoga County. The two situations were different because the first three had been exposed to other victims, but the fourth was not. This means that he caught the virus by the mysterious mechanism known as “community spread.”

I have learned from my grandkids that their universities have suspended in-person classes, switching over to online classes until further notice.

On a personal level, my Silver Sneakers exercise class, which meets three days a week, has been suspended until April 1. Also, some genealogical events that I was planning to attend have been canceled or postponed.

In news coverage of this pandemic, we are learning about the spread of this disease. First, it was an outbreak in China (localized), then it became an epidemic (wider regional spread), and finally a pandemic with cases in many countries around the world. So far, more than 100 countries have reported cases of Covid-19.

The term self-quarantine has been used more and more as people stay at home when they suspect that they might have been exposed to victims of the virus or at least are feeling some or all of the symptoms.


Again, on a personal level, I would like to record that my house in Andover, Ohio, was quarantined about 70 years ago. I and my sister and brother had to stay home from school for a few days because we were diagnosed with scarlet fever,

Here is a concise description of that illness found on the Mayo Clinic website (

“Scarlet fever is a bacterial illness that develops in some people who have strep throat. Also known as scarlatina, scarlet fever features a bright red rash that covers most of the body. Scarlet fever is almost always accompanied by a sore throat and a high fever.

“Scarlet fever is most common in children 5 to 15 years of age. Although scarlet fever was once considered a serious childhood illness, antibiotic treatments have made it less threatening. Still, if left untreated, scarlet fever can result in more serious conditions that affect the heart, kidneys and other parts of the body.”

What I remember about this event is that we had sore throats, but otherwise weren’t very sickly (thank goodness). Also, there were no lasting effects. I also remember that our house did have a red sign next to the front door announcing our quarantine.

I only hope we get through the Covid-19 pandemic as well as our family got through the adventure with scarlet fever those many decades ago.

Great Grandpa’s Headstone “Find” by Familysearch


This morning I received an email from informing me about finding my Great Grandpa Andrew Dingman’s headstone. Here is a screen capture of the message:

Email from FamilySearch

I’m very impressed by this information, not because it is new to me but because FamilySearch has the capability of connecting Grandpa Andrew’s information with the headstone image. I have visited the Park Lawn Cemetery in Jamestown, Mercer County, Pennsylvania, and photographed the headstone. I have even seen the image on Find A Grave.

Great Grandpa Andrew’s headstone in Park Lawn Cemetery in Jamestown, Pennsylvania.

What is impressive is that FamilySearch has written an algorithm to find a connection between the data I have entered in my family tree contribution on with the data on the Find A Grave website.

It makes me wonder what FamilySearch will develop for hinting in the future.

It’s Soon Time to be Counted in the 2020 Census


On April 1 this year, it’s more than April Fool’s Day. It is the official start date, or Census Day, for the 2020 Federal Census. You may already have learned some things about this upcoming Census, as the Census Bureau is making an extensive effort to educate the America public about how and why to participate.

One thing new this year is that households will be able to respond to the 2020 Census in none of three ways: with a paper questionnaire, or online, or even over the telephone.

Once again, the questionnaire is bilingual, with English and Spanish language versions. The Spanish version is provided primarily for Spanish-speaking residents who are U.S. citizens by virtue of residing in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, a territory of the United States.

Federal law requires residents to participate in the U.S. Census Survey. The census is required by the Constitution, which has called for an “actual enumeration” once a decade since 1790. The 2020 population numbers will shape how political power and federal tax dollars are shared in the U.S over the next 10 years. You can use the Internet to download a sample copy of the 2020 Census Questionnaire by going to this URL:

The sample version excludes some features that will be made available to households starting in March 2020, such as the URL for online response and the contact information for phone response.

You will be urged to respond to the questionnaire

The Census Day is important as that is the date used to determine the proper answers to questions of residency and age.

The Census has been conducted by Federal law every 10 years beginning in 1790. The official Census Day is when the enumerators were sent out to begin census-taking. The Census Day has varied from time to time, a fact that is important for genealogists to know who are interested in estimating birth years from ages recorded by census enumerators.

Several genealogical database providers make available online complete census data from 1790 through 1940. The census data has been released to the public 72 years after the census date. This means that the 1950 census will be release on or about April 1, 2022.

For your reference, here are the Census Days for the 16 censuses that have been conducted since 1790 and released for public use:

US Census Days

1790: Aug. 2
1800: Aug. 4
1810: Aug. 6
1820: Aug. 7
1830: June 1
1840: June 1
1850: June 1
1860: June 1
1870: June 1
1880: June 1
1890: June 1 (this was a Sunday, so census-taking began June 2)
1900: June 1
1910: April 15
1920: Jan. 1
1930: April 1 (Oct. 1, 1929 in Alaska)
1940: April 1

The Census Bureau maintains a website with a wide variety of interesting historical facts about the Census and census-taking at On the home page, you might want to click on the Genealogy drop-down menu for more information. To Remember WWII in 2020

by has announced that it will be commemorating the end of World War II during 2020. This year marks 75 years since the end of World War II. 75 years since the liberation of Auschwitz. 75 years since the first deployed atomic bomb. 75 years since many in the greatest generation made the ultimate sacrifice to restore peace.

Throughout this milestone-filled year, we’ll be sharing important collections that highlight the historic events of the war, beginning with the Ancestry Holocaust Remembrance Collection.