An Engineering Disaster on Edge of L.A. Left Nearly 500 Forgotten Deaths

The following excerpt is from newsweek.com

St.-Francis-Dam-250p

The remnants of the worst engineering disaster of 20th-century America sit about an hour’s drive from downtown Los Angeles…

Eighty-eight years ago, the St. Francis Dam burst in the middle of a March night, killing nearly 500 people. There are some images of the aftermath, but numbers tell the story better: 12.4 billion gallons of water rising to the furious height of 140 feet, surging 54 miles to the Pacific Ocean, an inland tsunami 2 miles wide leveling towns in its path. Some thought a saboteur had dynamited the dam. This would be easier to believe than the dam failing and people dying senselessly. But that was the case. And given the sorry state of American infrastructure, something similar could be the case again: the St. Francis Dam as portent, not aberration.

Read the full article.

This May be a Photo of the Iceberg With Which the Titanic Collided

Is this the iceberg that the Titanic hit? Following is a teaser from a fascinating article posted October 17, 2015 at the CNN website:

Titanic-Iceberg-250pw

(CNN) The grainy black-and-white photograph shows a pointy iceberg in the middle of a calm sea, with puffy clouds barely visible in the sky. But the simple picture, taken more than a century ago, just may show the most infamous iceberg in history — the one that sank the Titanic.

It was taken by the chief steward of the ocean liner Prinz Adalbert on the morning of April 15, 1912, hours after the RMS Titanic sank following its collision with an iceberg the previous evening. The Titanic had sunk by the time the Prinz Adalbert came along, and the chief steward was unaware what had happened.

The photo has been cited in historical accounts as possibly being of the iceberg the ship hit.

Read the full article.

Rhode Island Shipwrecks – An Amazing New Online Database

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In conjunction with the Beavertail Lighthouse Museum Association, Jim Jenney has compiled an online database of about 3,000 wrecks in Rhode Island waters…

Read an article in the Providence Journal about it.

Search the database of Rhode Island Shipwrecks. – It’s worth clicking over just to see the amazing visual effects used on the opening screen. Careful – don’t open your mouth, or you may swallow a good dose of saltwater!

Thanks to ResearchBuzz for the heads-up.

Deaths of Seamen & Other British Marine Returns of Deaths Go Online

The following news release is from the ScotlandsPeople website:

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A complete record of the deaths of Scottish seafarers from late Victorian times until 1974 is being made available online for the first time through ScotlandsPeople.

Among the 14,000 new records available through ScotlandsPeople are monthly returns of the Deaths of Seamen, which list Scots along with other crew members of all nationalities who were serving on British-registered vessels between 1897-1974.

The records were compiled by the Registrar General of Shipping and Seamen. Only the Scots can be searched for by name.

Other Marine Returns released online are the Returns of Deaths at Sea, 1902-1905. All the Marine Returns can be searched within the statutory registers by using the “Marine Returns” option under Minor Records.

Read more about the Minor Records available.

Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop, said:

“Scotland is a maritime nation with fascinating stories and an important seafaring history and these new online registers will provide wider access to this heritage. I welcome the addition of this new resource that NRS is making available, which is part of the story of Scotland and will encourage people from across the world and at home to find out more about Scotland’s seafaring heritage”.

Tim Ellis, Registrar General and Keeper of the Records of Scotland, said:

“The Returns of Deaths of Seamen and Deaths at Sea open a window into the lives of Scots seafarers in the first half of the twentieth century. They reveal the dangers experienced by seamen and passengers alike, and provide useful information for anyone wishing to discover more about their ancestors. Our commitment at National Records of Scotland is to continue to extend digital access to the key records that researchers want.”

Find out more about William M Murdoch, First Officer on the fateful HMS Titanic, and the crew on The Lusitania. Also discover other fascinating entries uncovered in the Returns of Deaths at Sea.

1915 SS Eastland Disaster Film Footage Surfaces

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The following excerpt is from the February 8, 2015 edition of the Chicago Tribune:

For years, Ted Wachholz had all the evidence he needed to believe that film footage of the 1915 SS Eastland disaster on the Chicago River existed, except maybe for the film itself.

The chief historian of a group dedicated to the capsizing that killed 844 people could cite newspaper clippings that refer to recording equipment and archived photos that show movie cameras on tripods.

That changed Saturday morning, when the founder of the Eastland Disaster Historical Society woke up to links on the group’s Facebook page to footage posted by a doctoral candidate at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

See the film footage itself.

Read the full article.

Thanks to my friend, Linda Petrasek, for the heads-up.

Last Weekend’s Records Warehouse Fire in Brooklyn Could Have Been Worse

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This last weekend, a seven-alarm warehouse fire in Brooklyn put many public records in danger. It’s now been determined that losses may not have been as bad as were initially feared. The following is from an article by Anemona Hartocollis, published in the February 5, 2015 edition of the New York Times website.

New York City has reassessed the extent of the damage to public records caused by a seven-alarm warehouse fire in Brooklyn over the weekend and expects it to be less than initially feared, city officials said Thursday.

The latest inventory has found that records from two city agencies were stored at the CitiStorage warehouse in Williamsburg: 40,000 boxes from the Administration for Children’s Services, and 32,700 boxes from the health department, including 28,000 boxes of correctional health inmate records from 2009 and earlier. Both agencies are still assessing the damage to those records and the impact on their agencies, city officials said.

The city’s Health and Hospitals Corporation stored 700,000 boxes of records there, of which 143,000 boxes were damaged. The agency believes that the impact on patients will be minimal because public hospitals switched to electronic records many years ago, officials said.

Read the full article.

Read the AP article about the fire.

Russian Library Burns

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The following excerpt is from an article at the New York Times website.

A major fire that threatened to consume one of Russia’s most important libraries was finally put out late Saturday, but scholars are only beginning to assess the damage from the flames, smoke and water.

The fire broke out at the Institute of Scientific Information on Social Sciences in Moscow on Friday evening and engulfed more than 21,500 square feet of the Soviet-era building.

.. most of the rarest volumes and manuscripts at the damaged library, primarily about economics, philosophy and Marxism-Leninism had been brought to the Soviet Union from Germany as war trophies.

Read the full article.

Read more in the New York Daily News.

Interactive Map Showing Where 83 Aircraft Have Disappeared Since 1948

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According to a graphic found at Bloomberg.com, “some 83 aircraft have been declared “missing” since 1948, according to data compiled by the Aviation Safety Network. The list includes planes capable of carrying more than 14 passengers and where no trace — bodies or debris — has ever been found.”

This is interesting…

Check out the graphic at: http://www.bloomberg.com/infographics/2014-03-13/vanishing-planes-mapped-since-1948.html

Thanks to ResearchBuzz for the heads-up.

The 1911 New York Triangle Shirtwaist Fire

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This morning I happened across an article published in an August 2006 online edition of Smithsonian magazine. The article was by David von Drehle, the author of Triangle, The Fire That Changed America. In the article, he tells of his search for records to document just what happened in what is known as the Triangle Shirtwaist fire of 1911. The garment factory fire took place near Washington Square in New York City, and was for many years the worst workplace disaster in the city. One hundred forty-six workers were trapped and killed within 18 minutes in the fast-moving fire.

I found that although many records are missing, there is a wealth of information on the Internet about the fire, and those hapless individuals who lost their lives.

The Cornell University site has a terrific section titled Remembering the 1911 Triangle Factory Fire. The website includes original sources about the fire which are held at the ILR School’s Kheel Center, an archive of historical material on labor and industrial relations.

Following are links to the Cornell site:

LEARN ABOUT THE FIRE
Read the story of the fire
Review original text documents
Listen to and read interviews of survivors and witnesses
View photographs and illustrations

GAIN PERSPECTIVE
View a timeline of events
Explore a model of the 9th floor

RESEARCH FURTHER
Find bibliographic resources
High school students: Get tips on using primary sources

COMMEMORATION
Remember the victims
Final six victims identified
Learn about reforms and outcomes of the fire’s legacy
Triangle fire commemoration events

Read the Wikipedia article about the Triangle Shirtwaist fire.

Dick Eastman Reminds Us: Back Up Your Genealogy.

Considering how easy it is too lose your data, we all need to heed this advice.

From “Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter” for November 01, 2013
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It is the first day of the month. It’s time to back up your genealogy files. Then test your backups!

Actually, you can make backups at any time. However, it is easier and safer if you have a specific schedule. The first day of the month is easy to remember, so I would suggest you back up your genealogy files at least on the first of every month, if not more often.

Read the full article.

Salt Lake Christmas Tour………. Week’s Peek

So many of our Christmas Tour Family live where there have been awful fires so far this year…….. New Mexico and Colorado and now Oklahoma. My heart cries for the dear folks who have lost their homes….. lost everything.

Today I ask YOU to imagine that you live in that house on the lower right…….. or even the house in flames in the top center. Are you safe from losing everything??? Of course not your house in these awful circumstances but how about your family history??

I still chat with folks who have not even one backup to their genealogy. Not even one! And, taking it a step further, if you have backups kept right next to your computer and all your notebooks are downstairs, will you be home when disaster strikes? And even if you are home, what will you save and how will you save it??

This question begs immediate attention in my opinion. I would counsel you to stop any further researching until you have crafted a plan to save your family history……. both the data and the artifacts (like grandma’s picture)………… from disaster. There are dozens of ideas and what works for one might not work for you. But it is vital that YOU do something NOW, TODAY while disaster is not at your door.

Want to share ideas???Stories? Experiences?

Donna, aka Mother Hen, until next week.

FGS Stern Fund Helps Make Sultana Disaster Records Available to the Genealogy Community

The following news release was received from Thomas MacEntee:

Free Access Provided by Fold3
May 4, 2012– Austin, TX: The Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) is proud to announce its recent participation in making the Sultana Disaster records available to genealogists and family history researchers.

When the boiler exploded aboard the steamer Sultana on April 27, 1865, more than 1,700 people lost their lives. The records include lists of survivors, along with their military service information, as well as information on those who perished.

Through a grant from the Malcolm H. Stern-NARA Gift Fund, FGS has helped to bring this important Civil War record set to the Fold3 website. The fund is a nationally supported program to finance preservation and imaging of valuable research materials now preserved in the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) in Washington, D.C.

In addition, FGS and NARA, with the help of the genealogical community, have begun an exciting project to digitize the War of 1812 pension files. There are 7.2 million pages in 180,000 pension files that have never been available in any other form before. The Preserve the Pensions Project is in progress to digitize and make every page of these information-rich files available as part of a bicentennial commemoration of this historic conflict. Learn more about this important preservation and digitization project at the Preserve the Pensions page (http://www.fgs.org/1812/) and get involved by making a donation today.

Here is the recent announcement from Fold3 about the Sultana Disaster database and the specific information to be found within the records:

When the boiler exploded aboard the steamer Sultana on April 27, 1865, more than 1,700 people lost their lives. Most of those aboard were recently released Union prisoners from Confederate prisons in Cahaba, Alabama, and Andersonville, Georgia. They were en route from Camp Fiske in Mississippi to Camp Chase, Ohio, but the explosion occurred only a few hours into the journey.

In addition to the faulty boiler, the ship was also grossly overburdened with 2,200 passengers on a vessel built to carry 376.

Records relating to the Sultana Disaster, April 1865, are now available on Fold3. They include lists of the former prisoners who survived the disaster, with military service information and brief comments on their injuries. There are also lists of those who perished, yet not of the civilian survivors or those who died.

The enormity of the disaster led quickly to investigations. By January 1866, a court-martial was convened to charge Captain Frederick Speed, the man who volunteered to coordinate the transfer of prisoners, with “neglect of duty to the prejudice of good order and military discipline.” There are 647 documents in the court-martial case with testimonies, witness accounts, and statements by the defense and prosecution. After “nearly six long weary months” the trial came to a close. Capt. Speed was the only person charged in the incident. He was found guilty, yet the charges were later dismissed by Judge Advocate General Joseph Holt.

The Sultana Disaster records can be accessed on the Fold3 website at http://www.fold3.com/title_797/sultana_disaster_april_1865/. The original publication was financed by The Abrams Foundation of Michigan through the Stern-NARA Gift Fund and the National Archives Trust Fund.

About the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS)
The Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) was founded in 1976 and represents the members of hundreds of genealogical societies. FGS links the genealogical community by helping genealogical societies strengthen and grow through resources available online, FGS Forum magazine (filled with articles pertaining to society management and genealogical news), and Society Strategy Series papers, covering topics about effectively operating a genealogical society. FGS also links the genealogical community through its annual conference — four days of excellent lectures, including one full day devoted to society management topics. To learn more visit http://www.fgs.org.

About Fold3
Fold3 (http://www.fold3.com) offers the web’s premier collection of original military records, gathering the best U.S. military records, photos and stories to help customers discover and share the stories of those who served. With more than 91 million historical record images already online and more being added every day, Fold3 brings the details of America’s military service to life.

It’s the 100th Anniversary of the Sinking of the Titanic

It’s now 100 years since the sinking of the Titanic. All kinds of materials can be found online about the ill-fated voyage. Following are just a few interesting and informative sites:

RMS Titanic – article at Wikipedia.com

Sinking of the RMS Titanic – article at Wikipedia.com

RMS Titanic alternative theories – article at Wikipedia.com

Titanic Chris’ Cunard Page

Titanic: Frequently Asked Questions – at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic website

RMS Titanic: Resource Guide – at the Nova Scotia Canada website – Includes images of passenger lists, fatality reports, etc.

Encyclopedia Titanica – Includes such things a linked biographies and pictures from lists of the survivers of the Titanic disaster

Ancestry.com’s 200,000 Document Collection

Titanic Records Available FREE Online at Ancestry.com Until April 15, 2012

More than 200,000 records reveal a story 1,517 people didn’t live to tell.

Discover fascinating details about passengers and crew who sailed aboard the doomed ship in our new Titanic collection. From occupations, names and ages of those who bought a coveted ticket to death records and coroner’s inquest files of those who lost their lives, you’ll find a story both tragic and heroic. You might even find your own connection to the most famous maritime disaster in history.

These records are available at Ancestry.com, free until April 15, 2012.

For more information, See “More than 200,000 Titanic records published online.

New Edition of Book on Pre-1906 San Francisco Research Now Available

The following news release was received from Kathryn M. Doyle, Communications, California Genealogical Society & Library:

“I’m Sorry. Those Records Were Lost”
California Genealogical Society Publication Gives Researchers New Hope


OAKLAND, California–July 25, 2011–The California Genealogical Society (CGS) announces publication of Raking the Ashes: Genealogical Strategies for Pre-1906 San Francisco Research, second edition, a guide to circumventing the enormous record loss in the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire. This authoritative book by Nancy Simons Peterson, Research Director at CGS, is a must have for researching San Francisco ancestors, providing invaluable guidance on which records were lost in the 1906 earthquake and fire, which records survived, and where to find them.

Peterson alerts the reader to lesser-known sources, recently published references, and newly discovered documents. Sources are clearly identified and evaluated, while graphics, statistics, and historical background enrich the text. Not limited to San Francisco, Peterson’s solutions for working around lost records and her emphasis on casting a much wider net than is customary will be especially welcomed by researchers wherever natural disasters have destroyed historical documents. First published in 2006, the second edition has been substantially updated and expanded.

ISBN 978-0-9785694-5-7
Format: Perfect-bound paperback, 242 pages
Dimensions (inches) 8.5 wide × 11.0 tall
Retail Price: $25.00
Publisher: California Genealogical Society
Additional information at: http://rakingtheashes.weebly.com

About the author:
Nancy Simons Peterson is a certified genealogist and author of numerous articles. She holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from Stanford University.

About CGS:
The California Genealogical Society, founded in San Francisco in 1898, maintains a library, gathers and preserves vital records, and offers research services and online databases. CGS disseminates information through publications, meetings, seminars, workshops and its website, CaliforniaAncestors.org