Binge Watching Life Stories of CNN Personalities

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I recently stumbled onto the following series of family history stories. It was broadcast in 2014, but I found it interesting and relevant nevertheless. The link below will give you access if you want to check it out. Note: you will have to endure some commericals.

ROOTS: OUR JOURNEYS HOME” kicks off Sunday, October 12th, with a two-hour primetime special airing Tuesday, October 21st at 9 pm ET

https://www.cnn.com/videos/bestoftv/2014/10/14/roots-cuomo-pkg-newday.cnn/video/playlists/roots/

Storytelling is at the core of what CNN does, and in a week-long series beginning Sunday, October 12th, thirteen of the network’s prominent hosts and anchors set out on a journey to find their ROOTS. A project one-year in the making, these journalists embark on an emotional journey across continents as they discover never-before-known details of their family histories.

ROOTS: OUR JOURNEYS HOME will kick-off on Sunday, October 12th at 9 pm ET with a special episode of Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown and will air across the network throughout the week, culminating in a two-hour special on Tuesday, October 21st at 9 pm ET. The following is the broadcast schedule for ROOTS:

SUNDAY 10/12
Anthony Bourdain – (9 pm ET) This investigation into the puzzling history of the Bourdain’s great, great, great, grandfather, Paraguayan émigré Jean Bourdain, serves as a springboard to his first tour of this South American country. In Paraguay, Bourdain explores both jungle and desert land, a rich culture, and savory local dishes that include Bife Koygua, Bori Bori, and Sopa Paraguaya.

MONDAY 10/13
Michaela Pereira – (6am ET on New Day) Michaela Pereira’s adoption journey began when she was very young—just three-months-old in Canada. Although she “hit the jackpot” with her adoptive family, she also knows that much of what you see in front of you—the color of her skin, the curl of her hair—comes from her biological parents. After a brief search years ago led to closed doors, Michaela embarks on her roots journey again—this time not in pursuit of her birth parents, but for the place that her ancestors came from—in St. James Parish, Jamaica.

Anderson Cooper – (8pm ET on AC360) Many people know Anderson Cooper as having come from one of America’s most famous families – the Vanderbilts. But growing up, Anderson was always drawn to the southern roots of his father, Wyatt Cooper. Anderson travels to Mississippi where his father grew up and discovers ties between the poor farming family and the rich Vanderbilts that existed before his parents ever met.

TUESDAY 10/14
Chris Cuomo – (6 am ET on New Day) The son and brother of two governors of New York, Chris Cuomo thought he knew all there was to know about his roots, but he discovers a mysterious figure, Germana Castaldo, at the heart of it. Chris travels to the bedrock of the Cuomo family in Italy to retrace her steps.

Jake Tapper – (4 pm ET on The Lead) Jake Tapper grew up in Philly, blocks from Independence Hall, steeped in Americana. He was surprised to learn his family members were Colonists. He was even more surprised to learn that, during the Revolutionary War, they were traitors who sided with British and fled to Canada. Jake travels to Canada to unravel the mystery of why his family remained loyal to the Crown, and how that changes his own story.

Erin Burnett – (7 pm ET on Erin Burnett OutFront) After 50 years of living on a farm in Maryland, Erin Burnett’s parents are packing up their memories and moving on. The move prompts Erin to learn more about her roots beyond the home she grew up in and loves so much. Her journey takes her to a remote Scottish island where she uncovers her ancestors’ struggle to survive the potato famine, and meets relatives who still call Scotland home.

Don Lemon – (10 pm ET on CNN Tonight) Because of poor record keeping, it’s nearly impossible for descendants of slaves in America to trace their ancestry past 1870. So CNN’s Don Lemon sets off to find his roots and fill the gaps in his family tree. It’s a journey that takes him from a Louisiana plantation to the hub of the transatlantic slave trade in West Africa.

WEDNESDAY 10/15
Christine Romans – (6 am ET on New Day) As a journalist, Christine Romans interviews newsmakers every day. But in her family, the real newsmaker is just an ordinary girl who had the courage to leave a small town in Denmark, and everything she knew, behind to start all over again in America. Christine goes there, to where it all started.

Wolf Blitzer – (5 pm ET on Sit Room) Wolf Blitzer pays a visit to Yad Vashem, the Israeli Holocaust museum. While there, this son of Holocaust survivors discovers his paternal grandparents actually perished in one of the most brutal extermination camps of WWII, Auschwitz. Wolf returns to his roots in Poland: to visit the camp where more than a million Jews were murdered by the Nazis. He travels to his father’s hometown in the neighboring village, where not one Jew lives today. Wolf also looks for any trace of his maternal grandparents – including his namesake Wolf Zylberfuden – a task made more difficult by a Poland completely rebuilt after the war. Wolf then heads to his own hometown of Buffalo, New York, where his parents managed to start a successful new life in America.

Sanjay Gupta – (8 pm ET on AC360) CNN’s Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, takes his family half-way around the world to uncover his roots. Their trip, from his mother’s tiny village in Pakistan to his father’s hometown just outside Delhi, is full of surprises. And you won’t believe how mom and dad actually met, right here in America. (re-air Saturday 9/18 at 4:30pm ET on Sanjay Gupta MD)

THURSDAY 10/16

Kate Bolduan – (6 am ET on New Day) Kate Bolduan just gave birth to her first child, a daughter, so finding out about her family tree comes at a perfect time. Bolduan grew up in the Midwest, and was surprised to learn that she comes from a long line of glass blowers from a tiny village in Belgium. Pregnant during her journey, Bolduan set off to find out more about the family business, learning her great great grandmother traveled to America while SHE was pregnant, too. And you’ll never believe what historic event happened just weeks before she set sail.

FRIDAY 10/17

John Berman – (6 am ET on New Day) Could John Berman be royalty? Is he related to the Dutch philosopher Baruch Spinoza, noted as the Prince of Philosophers? John Berman travels to Amsterdam, the country where his ancestors, the Spinozas, lived for 140 years in search of his “Inner Spinoza”… and the truth.

Fareed Zakaria – (8 pm ET on AC360) Fareed Zakaria takes viewers on a historical journey as he explores his family’s roots and discovers how his personal story intersects with critical moments in history. Fareed’s father, an orphan and self-made man who eventually became a Minister in India’s government, often claimed that he had Central Asian “warrior” ancestry. Given the lack of records in India, Fareed takes a DNA test to see whether his father’s jocular claims can be validated. True to form, Fareed puts what he learns along the way into greater historical context. (re-air Sunday 9/19, 10am ET on Fareed Zakaria GPS)

MONDAY 10/21

ROOTS: OUR JOURNEYS HOME – 9 pm ET – CNN anchors Anderson Cooper and Michaela Pereira will host a two hour special featuring 12 of the network’s hosts and anchors stories. The special will also include interviews with Anderson Cooper, Michaela Pereira, Erin Burnett and Dr. Sanjay Gupta about what the experience has meant to them personally.

Beginning Friday, October 10, a sneak peek at Roots will be available on CNN.com. As the journeys unfold on-air, viewers online will be invited to watch and share the segments as well as explore more of each anchor’s story through video extras, exclusive photos and first-person accounts of their individual journeys. They will also be able to compare their habits and hobbies to CNN’s anchors with a new “Which anchor are you?” quiz. Throughout, the Roots experience will extend across on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Tumblr using the hashtag #CNNRoots.

2020: Anniversary Year of the Mayflower

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Who’d a thunk it?

As a third-generation Finnish-American with a Finnish surname I inherited from my paternal grandparents, I would seem to be an unlikely candidate for membership in the Grand Society of Mayflower Descendents. Yet, I believe that Stephen Hopkins, a Mayflower passenger, and a Plymouth Colony stalwart, is my tenth great grandfather.

On Friday, 20 Dec 2019, I gave myself a Christmas present: a membership to the New England Historic Genealogical Society. This gave me member access to records about the Pilgrims who arrived in America on the Mayflower in 1620. I wanted to know if I could find a connection to any of these early immigrants.

From the biographies of the 51 Mayflower passengers on the NEHGS website, I was able to link the New England ancestors I knew about on my mother’s side to Stephen Hopkins and his son Gyles, both of whom born in England and who sailed to America on the Mayflower in 1620. I have attached a descendency chart showing how I am descended from Stephen Hopkins.

The inspiration for doing this was a podcast last year by Lisa Louise Cook in which she interviewed a representative from NEHGS.

If you want to learn more about Stephen Hopkins and his family, do a Google search. There are plenty of articles available online. He had a very busy life.

Connections to 2020 Cleveland Presidential Debate

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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: http://www.collectingancestors.com/2014/02/04/remembering-a-visit-to-grandma-graces-house-in-cleveland-her-button-collection/

And in 2016, I posted this about when she lived in this house: http://www.collectingancestors.com/2017/01/07/a-more-complete-timeline-for-grandma-grace/

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

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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 https://boe.cuyahogacounty.us/en-us/ 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

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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

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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

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“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 — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scarlet_fever

Did Grandpa Dingman Die of the Spanish Flu

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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 ( http://www.collectingancestors.com/2017/12/21/more-on-grandpa-wallace-dingman/ ), 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

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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.

Quarantine

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 (https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/scarlet-fever/symptoms-causes/syc-20377406):

“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

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This morning I received an email from FamilySearch.org 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 FamilySearch.org with the data on the Find A Grave website.

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