Linda's Orchard

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2016: An Educational Journey in Genealogy

ProGen 22 was a wonderful experience, an 18-month “course” where small groups of genealogists completed monthly assignments, critiqued the work of their peers, and engaged in chat-sessions. One of the assignments was to create a master educational plan. As such, 2016 is my year of education.

My first class of the year was Beginning DNA at the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy. What a fabulous event. Peg Ivanyo was the SLIG coordinator. A week of learning, networking, and socializing really paid off. The course was led by genetic genealogist, Blaine Bettinger, and included lectures with Angie Bush and CeCe Moore. Two of the highlights of the week were extracting DNA from strawberries, and winning the UGA tagline contest. My prize? Getting into the 2017 SLIG class of my choice. The biggest problem will be selecting a course. There are an array of fantastic choices.

DNA Daquiris

DNA Daiquiris

Looking for Ancestors but Finding Friends #SLIG2016

Looking for Ancestors but Finding Friends #SLIG2016

Next on the educational agenda was a guided research trip to the New England Historic Genealogical Society in Boston, led by Jane Lindsey. I had two areas of focus. First, I researched the earliest Japanese students at Harvard. NEHGS has a collection of college annuals and I used these to develop brief biographical sketches on these interesting ex-pats. Second, I focused on my Calkins line. Although most publications indicate that my Amos Calkins (born Vermont, died New York) was the son of Levi Calkins of Vermont, I spent several days collecting indirect evidence.

With Brenton Simons

With Brenton Simons at NEHGS

What’s next on my educational path? A guided research trip to Salt Lake City under the leadership of Lisa Gorrell and Jim Sorenson. I hope to collect additional evidence to prove my Calkins line. I also will spend some time on the British Isles floor researching my Orchard’s in 18th C Cornwall and my Prosser’s in 19th C London.

In June, I’m off to Jamboree, including DNA day. After attending the DNA institute at SLIG, I just can’t seem to get enough of this genetic genealogy. Jamboree will also include a ProGen get-together, a banquet with speaker David Rencher, and an opportunity to help the Nikkei Genealogical Society with Japanese consultations during the World Round Table sessions.

With Friend and Fellow Genealogist, Jane Neff Rollins

“Come as Your Favorite Ancestor” with Jane Neff Rollins

July is going to be full of travel and learning. First, I’ll fly to Washington DC for Gen-Fed (formerly the National Institute for Genealogical Research). This revamped course will focus on Federal Records. In the past, my research in DC has been all about WWII Internment Camp records. Now I have a chance to jump into the records of my own ancestors. This will be immediately followed by a flight to Pittsburg for the the Advanced DNA class at Grip! I’m nervous to attend this level of course, because I’m so new to DNA, but I’m also excited.

 

 

After that? Perhaps the Northwest Genealogy Conference in Stillaguamish, Washington, or FGS in Springfield, Illinois, or the APG PMC in Fort Wayne, Indiana? So many choices!

February 19 – A Day to Remember

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On February 19, 1942, then President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066. This legislation set the stage for approximately 120,000 ethnic Japanese to be incarcerated; the majority were American citizens. Many were initially housed in animal quarters at racetracks. Eventually, most were sent to live in “Internment Camps”  located in remote areas of the United States. There were also camps in Canada and Australia, as well as Hawai‘i. Eventually, Germans, Italians, Japanese Peruvians and others were also held without due process, primarily in Department of Justice Camps. Some were intended to be used in a prisoner-of-war exchange.

Throughout the month of February, community events, special church services and film festivals will be held in honor of those unjustly imprisoned. In Los Angeles, the Skirball Cultural Center has on display camp photographs by Dorothea Lange, Ansel Adams and Toyo Miyatake, which runs through February 21. The Nichi Bei Foundation will host an all-day Films of Remembrance on February 20. And on Sunday February 21, the National Japanese American Historical Society  will hold an event in San Francisco. Commemorations will also be held across the country, including an exhibit at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. Densho has developed a “Teach-In” consisting of five free digital lessons about the internment experience.

If you aren’t familiar with Densho, be prepared to be impressed. The website states that “Densho’s mission is to preserve the testimonies of Japanese Americans who were unjustly incarcerated during World War II before their memories are extinguished. We offer these irreplaceable firsthand accounts, coupled with historical images and teacher resources, to explore principles of democracy, and promote equal justice for all.”  

Seventy six years have passed. Let’s not forget.

Looking at DNA through Strawberry Colored Glasses

From January 11-15, 2016, I was immersed in the study of Beginning Genetic Genealogy, one of many tracks at the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy. Five hours a day for five consecutive days, a group of about forty eager students listened attentively as Blaine Bettinger, CeCe Moore and Angie Bush explained the ins and outs of DNA for genealogists. On the last day, the beginning and advanced classes merged to enjoy a hands-on activity of extracting DNA from crushed strawberries during our final lecture. It reminded me a little of Sister Christopher’s high school chemistry class. Fun!

DNA Daiquiris

DNA Daiquiris

I returned home with multiple DNA kits in hand. One was sent to an Etheridge cousin for a Y-dna study. Another was sent to an Okazaki cousin. An autosomal to another.

In the midst of this excitement I was invited to the home of yet another cousin to scan photos. Not just any photos. I am talking about very old photos from my Corville/Cullum line. In 2011, I used Y-DNA to prove the connection between my Corville line in San Francisco to an Emerson line in New South Wales, Australia. It was a perfect match. And now I have the photos to go with the DNA. I only hope I have as much luck with my Etheridge, Okazaki and Orchard Lines.

Here is a look at some Mitochondrial DNA:

Maria Prosser Cullum c 1867

Maria Prosser Cullum c 1867

Maria Cullum Corville c 1874

Maria Cullum Corville c 1874

Tuchia Corville Ambrose 1900

Tushia Corville Ambrose 1900

Ruth Margaret Ambrose Harms c 1920

Ruth Margaret Ambrose Harms c 1920

For more information about Genetic Genealogy, I encourage you to look at the ISOGG wiki, or follow one of the many genetic genealogy blogs.

A Reference Guide to Finding Your Japanese Roots

Finding Your Japanese Roots

I’m excited to announce that the second edition of my 6-page laminated quick guide to Japanese and Japanese American Genealogy is now available! The first edition sold out quickly. Order yours today for $12 plus shipping (8.5% sales tax in California). Aimed at those who are new to Nikkei genealogy, as well as seasoned genealogists who are new to these records, this guide provides a basic introduction to get you started and includes:

  • A brief historical overview and timeline of laws and events which impacted Nikkei (those of Japanese Ancestry) in the U.S. and in Japan
  • Clues in Conventional U.S. Records
  • Records Unique to Japanese Americans
  • Clues in Conventional Japanese Records
  • Glossary of Japanese Words Related to Family History
  • Online Resources
  • Bibliography

Contact LindaHOkazaki@gmail.com to place your order. Payable through Paypal.

It was a Beautiful Day for a Pilgrimage!

Second Annual Nikkei Pilgrimage to Angel Island

Angel Island Immigration Station

Angel Island Immigration Station

On 3 October 2015, the Nichi Bei Foundation hosted the second annual Nikkei Pilgrimage to Angel Island, in honor of the Japanese immigrants who arrived there between 1910 and 1940. An emphasis was placed on the women who immigrated, specifically the picture brides. There were over 300 attendees who journeyed by ferry to enjoy the music, dramatic presentation, speeches, bento lunches, and family history stations.

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Kenji Taguma, Nichi Bei Foundation

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Picture Bride, Produced by Judy Hamaguchi, SF JACL

Linda Harms Okazaki and Karen Korematsu

Linda Harms Okazaki and Karen Korematsu

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Learning about Picture Brides, inside the Immigration Station Barracks

There were honored guests and special speakers, including Karen Korematsu, who is perhaps best known as the daughter of civil rights activist, Fred Korematsu. On this day, however, she spoke about her grandmother, Kotsui Aoki, who arrived on Angel Island on January 12, 1914 as a picture bride. Karen addressed the importance a discovering family roots and understanding the experiences of our immigrant ancestors.

Following the formal program, six volunteers from the California Genealogical Society provided research consultations, including Todd Armstrong, Grant Din (also of the Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation), Fatima Ogihara, Linda Okazaki, Jim Russell, and Adelle Treakle. By far the most frequent question among the consults was “Did my ancestor come through Angel Island?”

Though most of the participants were of Japanese ancestry, there was a definite mix of ethnic groups represented. Guests had ancestors from Korea, China, Latin America, Canada and Europe. The genealogists were rewarded every time someone “found” an ancestor on an immigration record or census document. Those asking questions ranged in age, as well. One woman was 97 and had been incarcerated in an internment camp. Another young man was eight years old and very interested in family history. His parents listened intently as he asked questions about his great grandmother who was born in Mexico and was currently living in California. It was a teachable moment when he discovered the importance of interviewing the eldest living relatives. He is most definitely the “NextGen” in genealogy.

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California Genealogical Society Volunteers Gran Din, Fatima Ogihara, Adelle Treakle, Todd Armstrong, Linda Harms Okazaki, Jim Russell

 

Author’s Note: This blog publication can also be viewed at blog.CaliforniaAncestors.org, where it was republished with permission.






Japanese Genealogy


Finding Your Japanese Roots in Japan and in the U.S.
August 29, 2015
At the California Genealogical Society and Library

Shichi Go San

Shichi Go San

Are you a Nikkei who is ready to document your family history? Do you want to find those WRA camp files, Enemy Alien files or other records from WWII? Do you wonder if Obāchan was a picture bride? Or if Ojīchan was arrested and sent to a Department of Justice camp? Are you a genealogist who wants to know about different record groups? Or are you helping a Japanese American friend with their genealogy? Come learn how to find your Japanese roots.

When?
Saturday, August 29, 2015
12:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Where?
California Genealogical Society and Library
2201 Broadway, Suite LL2

Cost?
$30 for non-members (non-refundable)
Free for CGS members

How?
Register on Eventbrite

Manzanar Cemetery

Manzanar Cemetery

Lordsburg, New Mexico

Lordsburg, New Mexico

Part I of the three-hour seminar will be a brief overview of Japanese culture, history and language as it pertains to family history. Records available through the National Archives, USCIS, Ancestry.com, and FamilySearch.org will be covered.

Topics will include:

  • the early political climate in the U.S. and laws of the time
  • internment camps
  • post WWII experiences, repatriation, resettlement, and  redress

The second half of the seminar will focus on documenting your ancestors in Japan, from using the information in the American records to finding your koseki, understanding ohaka and kakocho, plus visiting relatives, cemeteries and temples.

This seminar is suitable for all levels of research experience. Limited to thirty participants; the fee may be applied towards membership on the day of the class.

Traditional Marriage

Traditional Wedding

 

Please visit our Eventbrite page to register for this seminar. Preregistration is required. Confirmations and a parking permit will be sent to the first thirty registrants.

Participants are invited to come early and meet others who share an interest in Japanese research. Use our computers, browse in our library, or bring a bagged lunch and meet at the library before the session. The library is open from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m.

 

Republished with permission by
California Genealogical Society and Library
Copyright © 2015

 

 

Who Are These People?

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Isn’t this photo spectacular?

The handwriting on the back is in Japanese and only identifies the date and the location: 5 December 1956, Wedding Place, Shimo cho, Kita ku, Tokyo.

The background appears to be a studio.

Wedding venues are common in Japan. No venue specifically for weddings appears to still exist in this town.

The groom and the young boy are dressed in western clothing, while the others are in Japanese attire. The young man in the back row on the right is dressed in a Japanese school uniform.

Who are the people in this photo? Why was this photo found in the United States?

My colleague who was possession of this photo has no additional information. She would like to return it to the rightful family.

So, genealogists and Japanese American friends, are you up for the challenge? Can you identify the people in the photo?

Send me your input. LindaHOkazaki@gmail.com

 

 

 

Northwest Genealogy Conference: An Opportunity for Nikkei to Find their Roots

This summer there will be a genealogy conference held in the Pacific Northwest, just outside of Seattle. Aside from Jamboree, which is held every June in Southern California, this is the largest genealogy event in the west. There will be some BIG name speakers including Lisa Louise Cooke, Luana Darby, Cindy Ingle, Angela Packer McGhie, CeCe Moore, Elissa Scalise Powell, Judy Russell, and many more. Classes are suitable for a variety of levels. This event combines the best of genealogy, from beginning classes to DNA to understanding the law. On top of that, there will be two classes geared for just Nikkei. The first lecture is “Finding Your Japanese Roots in the US” and the second lecture is “Finding Your Japanese Roots in Japan.” Bring your JA friends, and learn all about documenting your heritage. Come for a day or two or three. There are even some free beginning classes before the event. Registration opens April 15. See Northwest Genealogy Conference for more details.

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Church Camp? No, Not Exactly

Linda Harms Okazaki, Sumi  Utsushigawa Shimatsu, Maru Okazaki Hiratzka, Jan Jarboe Russell

Linda Harms Okazaki, Sumi Utsushigawa Shimatsu, Maru Okazaki Hiratzka, Jan Jarboe Russell

 

Most Americans know something about the internment of Japanese (immigrants and Americans) during World War II. Most of those incarcerated during this time were held first at Assembly Centers (primarily animal quarters at racetracks) and then sent to one of ten camps run by the War Relocation Authority. Few people know about the camps run by the Immigration and Naturalization Service. Fewer still realize that those camps also held Germans and Italians, their American families, and Japanese Latin Americans who were predominately from Peru. Crystal City was one of those camps. Located in south central Texas not far from the Mexican border, it was chosen for its distance from either coast. Created as a way to reunite enemy aliens with their families, the camp also served as part of an exchange program to bring Americans back to the United States. [i]

On 8 March 2014 I had the pleasure of attending a presentation and book signing by author Jan Jarboe Russell whose book, “The Train to Crystal City”, was published by Scribner in January of this year. She has toured the U.S. promoting this book. I was delighted to know that Northern California and Honolulu were on her schedule. Russell’s non-fiction book is noteworthy because in it she included all ethnic groups incarcerated in the U.S. during WWII. She not only described the events leading up to the detention of individuals, but she focused on the lives of two American girls, one of German ancestry and one of Japanese. Russell conducted many interviews in her research, but the lives of Sumi and Ingrid took center stage in the book. Russell also brought to light a different side of the prisoner of war exchange as she described the family of Irene Hasenburg, a Jewish woman who survived the horrors of Bergen-Belsen entirely because of this prisoner of war exchange program.

I was intrigued as Russell described her research to the audience of mostly Nikkei (people of Japanese ancestry) at the Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Northern California. Russell explained how, as a student at the University of Texas at Austin, she met architecture professor, Alan Taniguchi. He was the first Asian person she had ever met. When she asked him how his family came to Texas, he said they were “in camp”. Anyone familiar with Japanese American history knows the meaning of “camp”, but she innocently asked if he meant church camp? No, it wasn’t exactly church camp.

This early encounter with Taniguchi set the stage for what would eventually become a book about Crystal City. The events Russell wrote about are historically accurate, but the author created a work that also captivated me. As Russell described her book that sunny afternoon in March, her voice faltered, her emotions were palpable. This project touched Jan Jarboe Russell in unimaginable ways; she explained that during the writing process she found herself “weeping at the terrible injustice.”

Following Russell’s presentation of the book, two former internees participated in a panel discussion. Americans by birth, Nob Fukuda and Sumi Shimatsu both were detained at Crystal City; they and their families were featured prominently in the book. In addition, Irene Hasenburg’s son (she of Bergen-Belsen) was in the audience. There were 18 former Crystal City internees in attendance, all Nikkei, though Germans have attended other book signings. For many, it had been decades since they had seen one another. The passage of time made it difficult for some to recognize one another, but as the conversations bloomed, so did old friendships. Sumi has been instrumental in maintaining communication among these people. She has published a newsletter for Crystal City detainees for decades. For the Germans, there is a website that promotes communication about the experience: http://www.gaic.info/camp_doj.html.

Unfortunately, Crystal City did not close her doors until 1948, a concept difficult for many of us to imagine, considering that the war “ended” in August 1945.

From the perspective of a book lover, this was an interesting read. From the perspective of a genealogist, I found Russell’s method of citations to be interesting and unconventional. She chose to annotate her sources and notes at the end of the book, divided by chapter. Though unusual, I found this format to be academically useful; I can look back to her sources quickly and easily. As a genealogist, the first part of a book that I generally review is the index; I was not disappointed.

My ties to Crystal City are personal. My father-in-law was detained there, along with his siblings, parents, aunt and uncle. Except for one sibling, the family was repatriated to Japan at the end of the war. The consequences of this matter have impacted the family for decades. Due to laws of the time, my husband and his sibling were born stateless. The “Train to Crystal City” helps to explain this tragic time in our history.

This book is a must read for those who have ties to Crystal City, but also for anyone researching Alien Enemy records in the United States. Be prepared to weep at the injustice, just as the author did.

The Train to Crystal City panel discussion with Sumi Shimatsu, Jan Russel and Nob Fukuda

The Train to Crystal City panel discussion with Sumi Shimatsu, Jan Russel and Nob Fukuda

18 Former incarcerates from Crystal City Texas

18 former internees from Crystal City

 

 

[i] Texas Historical Commission, Crystal City Family Internment Camp: Enemy Alien Internment in Texas during World War II, 2011, (http://thc.state.tx.us/public/upload/crystal-city.pdf : accessed 16 March 2015); The Texas Observer, The Legacy of Crystal City, 14 January 2014, (www.texasobserver.org/otherness-among-us/ : accessed 16 March 2015); Denshō: The Japanese American Legacy Project, (www.densho.org: accessed 16 March 2015).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am SO there!

 

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Last year I attended the Southern California Genealogical Society Jamboree as a first-timer. Smaller than national conferences and less demanding than institutes, Jamboree was casual, fun and educational. Most of the speakers were nationally recognized. The icing on the cake? This event was and is held in my home state of California. I’ve registered for Jamboree 2015 and can hardly wait to attend, but I have to wonder, will there be another fashion show? Be sure to check out the website: http://www.genealogyjamboree.com.