Genealogy Event: VIP Status

As I pondered whether or not to purchase VIP tickets for The Genealogy Event, I felt I needed more information, so I wrote to the founder and organizer, Bridget Bray.  She answered right away AND said I could share that information right here to help any potential attendees decide whether to go with that route!

Here are some of the benefits, verbatim:

  • Priority access
  • Lunch included and in a designated area (the space (i.e. the auditorium and the meeting rooms) don’t permit food in them and there is no food outlet in the building.  This means for non-VIPs they must step out to purchase their food and then re-enter via security so just needing extra time allowance to come back into the building)
  • Each of Fri & Sat there will be private tour/talk with NARA a “behind the scenes”, if you will, for VIPs
  • Pre-booking of one-on-one consultations will occur for VIPs approximately 1 month out from the event
  • Early communications
  • PLUS working on gaining some additional value adds in the lead up

I don’t know about you, but I’m licking my genealogy chops!

I’m sure as we get closer to October 17, there will be much more news.  I will keep you all posted!

Great-Grandfather George: The Accident

Our family always knew that my grandfather’s dad died in Baltimore when my grandfather was ten, and his mom when he was eighteen. For some reason, I never asked him how they died.

Of course that all changed once I began exploring Great-Grandfather George’s life. After my aunt died, her office sent me her personal effects, which included one small folder of genealogy papers. One of those papers was a request for Great-Grandfather George’s death certificate, but she was unsure of his death date – not even the year – so she never received a reply.

I later found out that my grandfather and his mom were back in Lynn, MA in 1933. Since my grandfather was born November 1921, he was ten primarily during 1932. The death year had to be 1932! So I started to look on-line at Baltimore’s 1932 death indexes. (Word of warning to anyone looking through these indexes: they are NOT in alphabetical order!) I had to look through each page until I hit on George Pleau. There it was: March 15 (yes, the Ides of March)! And out went the order for the death certificate.

 1932 George Pleau death

Fortunately what I received was not one of those sterile certified copies of death information, but a photocopy of the actual death certificate. That, along with some on-line newspaper articles I found later, provided me with the story of his tragic death:

In March of 1932, George Edmund Pleau was living at 3018 Mary Avenue in Baltimore, Maryland, with his wife Bertha and son George. Previously he had worked in a shoe factory, but at this point he was a salesman. (Did he sell shoes, I wonder?)

During the evening of Friday, March 4, George was walking on Harford Road, at the corner of Glenmore Avenue, just three blocks from home. I assume he was on his way home from work. He stepped out into the street, perhaps to cross, when he was struck by a southbound car, driven by Vincent Leva.

I’m certain that it wasn’t long before Bertha and George, Jr. became aware of the accident, although I don’t know how they were informed. George was brought to St. Joseph’s Hospital, having suffered a severe head injury and a broken leg. Whether or not he was conscious at all after the accident, he did cling to life for another week and a half, finally passing at 10pm on March 15.

What a burden Bertha had to bear in those uncertain days! She did spend some time in the hospital, having given the necessary information for George’s death certificate. Besides her own grief, she would have to comfort her young son. If she was still working as a music teacher as she was in 1930, she would have had to deal with cancelling lessons and trying to decide whether to reschedule. I do know from my grandfather’s brief account that Bertha also reached out to George’s family to inform them of his death. However, neither they nor her own family could be of immediate help to her, since they all lived so far away.

Three days later, the funeral was held at the E.I. Fanning & Son Funeral Home at 9:30am, followed by a 10am service at the Episcopal Church of the Messiah, which still exists at 5801 Harford Road. The hospital and funeral costs had to have financially devastated Bertha, as George was buried at Baltimore Cemetery without a headstone.

Vincent Leva, the driver of the unfortunate car, was exonerated of any wrong-doing.

I can see now why my grandfather never really spoke of his father or his death. It was a tragedy that he had to carry all his life.


Breaking News: The Genealogy Event NYC

I was going to post about my great-grandfather again this week; however, I just got such great news that if I don’t share it, I’ll surely pop. Tickets are now on sale for this year’s Genealogy Event in New York City!  It will be held October 17 and 18.

I’ve been attending The Genealogy Event since its inception in 2012. Since so many of the “big” conferences are usually so far away from the Northeast, I really wanted to support a more local conference, especially in the New York metropolitan area. After all, millions of people live around here, and there have to be a lot of genealogists in that population, right?
The Genealogy Event started out kind of small yet strong in 2012. In 2013 I convinced a friend to go with me and we were thrilled! There were some intermediate-level sessions that I went to, and my friend made some great discoveries with the help of none other than D. Joshua Taylor! (Oh, yes, I shook his hand and made a fool of myself!)
This year’s Genealogy Event promises to be even better. Here’s why:
  • it’s going to be at the National Archives in New York City, which is housed at its new historic location of the Alexander Hamilton Customs House at 1 Bowling Green in Manhattan. (Genealogy! Archives! History!)
  • there will be special advanced-level sessions for those who want more.
  • there will be awesome well-known speakers.
  • there will be a Friday social event so you can get to know your fellow genea-geeks!
  • although it will cost more than last year, it’s still less than one of the mega-conferences, and there is plenty of flexibility in the type of package you choose.  Plus, I believe you’ll be getting your money’s worth!
  • there will be a special DNA day on Sunday, October 19, with a session for beginners and advanced. (Final details are still being worked out.)
  • there is actually a hashtag this year: #tge2014 .  This makes it more tweetable, for sure!
Want to know more?  Go to and click on the links for New York City (NYC).
DISCLAIMER:  I’m not employed by or affiliated with The Genealogy Event.  I’m merely an enthusiastic cheerleader who wants more genealogy doings in her area!

Great-Grandfather George: The Music

I first discovered that my great-grandfather was a musician via the Rochester City Directories, which the Monroe County Public Library has made available on line. He is listed as a musician in 1902, then from 1910-1918, and as a shoemaker before and after 1902, then as of September of 1918. The only time his employment address was listed was 1914-1917 (282 West Main Street, which was the Empire Theatre).  1900 picture Empire Theatre Rochester

As I stated in my previous post, George seemed to get his first taste of performing while attending Our Lady of Victory School. In 1890, he performed in “Le Distrait”, and in 1891 he played Brun, King of the Gnomes in “The Interviewer and the Faries”, which was an operetta.

Like George, his younger brothers Albert and Eugene also became musicians and seemed to be more successful at it. (More on them in future posts!)

I had no idea what kind of a musician he was until I came across a 1902 ad in the Wayne County Review (which I found on , an awesome source for New York State newspapers). He was a pianist, just like his future wife Bertha and his son!

In a Google Books search (“Catalog of Copyright Entries:  Musical Compositions, Part 3, Volume 22, Issue 1”) I found that he wrote the melody to an unpublished song in 1927 called “Stop Time Buck Dance”.

I have no idea how he and my great-grandmother Bertha met, but I like to think that perhaps music had something to do with it. Did they sit side by side at the piano, singing songs? I’ll never know, but it is a nice mental picture.