Linda's Orchard

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Genetic Genealogy

DNA is the hottest topic in genealogy. It seems that everyone I know is testing. I’ve got kits from several different companies ready to go when the relatives show up for the holidays. I even tested my dog! But do you wonder what the results actually tell you? Are the admixture (ethnicity) estimates accurate? What about the cousin predictions? What kinds of tools are available to help you understand your results? Are there ethical considerations with testing? Do you worry about privacy? Disclaimer: I don’t.

There are classes available in many locations. The California Genealogical Society offers a series of DNA classes. There are websites, blogs, and YouTube videos. There are facebook pages galore. And there are conferences. Last week, the Institute for Genetic Genealogy was held in San Diego with speakers such as CeCe Moore, Blaine Bettinger, Angie Bush, Kitty Cooper, Schelly Dardashti, and more. Two days, 22 lectures, and all were recorded. Hopefully those recordings will be available for purchase within the next few months.

There are two big DNA events planned in northern California in 2018. The first is “A Day with the Genetic Genealogist: Blaine Bettinger.” Held at the David Brower Center in Berkeley on March 3, the day will feature four lectures and a catered buffet lunch by Greenleaf Platters. This seminar is sure to sell out and is one of the signature events planned in honor of the 120th anniversary of the California Genealogical Society. In November, the San Mateo Genealogical Society will host Genetic Genealogist, CeCe Moore, who will present a different line up of lectures.

Whether your ancestors came from Europe, Asia, Africa, the Pacific Rim, or the Americas, whether you can trace your ancestors back dozens of generations or you were adopted and don’t know your biological family, DNA has something for everyone. Join the fun and add DNA to your genealogy tool box.

Yoko Miyake Okazaki

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Yoko Okazaki passed away peacefully on 2 December 2016 at the age of 85. She endured Parkinson’s disease for many years. Although her health declined, her spirit never did.

Yoko was born 21 November 1931 in the village of Yorishima, along the Inland Sea of Japan. Her parents were Tomoharu Miyake and Ocho Nakamura. Yoko was the third child of six. Her younger siblings, Kazumi and Akimasa, predeceased her. The family moved to Kurashiki when Yoko was about 3 years old. Her sisters recalled that she was outgoing and social as a child, and always eager to be photographed. Yoko met Tee in 1946, when she was 15. They married in 1952, when she was 20. He was the athletic American, a renunciate who moved to Japan with his Issei parents following their incarceration during WWII.

As a young woman, Yoko was trained and licensed in Ikenobo, a traditional form of Japanese flower arranging. Later, she developed a passion for both singing and gardening. While living in Japan, she especially enjoyed cultivating tomatoes and zucchini.

Tee and Yoko moved to California in 2001, living first in Moraga and then in Walnut Creek. Even in the final weeks of her life, Yoko found tremendous pleasure in her Walnut Creek garden

Yoko is survived by her two sons: Ted (Linda) and Denis (Denise); five grandchildren: Matthew, Samantha, Bryce, Mariko, and Carson; three sisters: Kyoko Ogo, Shoko Miyake, and Mayumi Miyake; sister-in-law Maru Hiratzka; brother-in-law Sid Okazaki (Yuki); and many nieces and nephews. Her husband, Tee, passed away in 2014.

A celebration of Yoko’s life will be held at Hull’s in Walnut Creek on Thursday December 29 at 11:00, followed by a luncheon. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests a contribution to J-Sei (J-Sei.org/donate or 1285 66th St., Emeryville, CA 94608).

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), 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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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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