President’s Message for March 2022

We had a packed house for last month’s general meeting and it was good to see not only our regular membership, but many returning guests as well. I appreciate Medardo Monzon’s presentation on The Genealogy of Genes. I found it both useful and instructive! We often take for granted the wonderful creation that is the human being and forget that we are all a lot more alike then we are different from each other. DNA can bring us back to the reality of our similarities.

Our beginning genealogy classes are over for 2022 and for the last class I introduced a DNA conundrum. A cousin had contacted me and believed she descended from a particular line of Martin’s in my family tree. She could not prove whom, but the DNA pointed to that likelihood. Our problem was identifying the child of Charles and Mary Martin of Highgate who was the Charles Martin who married Marguerite Commanda, an Ojibwa, her gr-gr-grandparents. Since my cousin and I will both write about our findings I’ll wait until then to provide the exhaustive details for everyone. Let’s just say we tracked Seleme Martin from his birth identity in Highgate VT and his marriage to Phebe Lucia, to that of Charles Martin who married Marguerite on the Nipissing Reservation in Ontario, to that of Samuel Martel who married Marie Presse in Sudbury, Ontario, Canada, and back to his original identity when he died in St. Albans, Vermont as Seleme. In this puzzle we had to traverse two different nations records to prove all three were the same man while the actual name of the man and his birth changed. Without the DNA evidence I can’t imagine I would have stumbled across the connection, even if I had stumbled across the two individuals. But when you put all three of their timelines together you get a perfect match! Those DNA tests… you never know what conundrum they’ll open in your family until you take a test!

Our meeting this month is a repeat guest, Frank Ofeldt, who has transcribed several letters and diaries of soldiers station at Fort Clinch and compiled them into a new book. He’ll bring the history of Fort Clinch to us using their words! Frank is always entertaining and always insightful, so come join with us on 15 March at 7pm at the Fernandina Beach Branch Library for our general meeting of “In Their Own Words” and learn a little about Fort Clinch.

We are making strides towards our membership goals for 2022. A reminder to everyone that memberships are what pay for the various activities of the society, the library books added to our collection, half of the Ancestry Library Edition subscription for the entire Nassau County Library system, and our administrative costs including insurance. We aim to break even each year, and that takes a certain number of memberships. How can you help? Thanks for asking! There is no paid staff, as we are all volunteers. So if you have an hour to give, or several hours each month, consider one of the many committees to volunteer for. If you haven’t the time available do you have a local friend interested in genealogy? You can help us out by referring them to our membership committee and they will reach out to them! Or here’s a thought, why don’t you bring them along with you Tuesday to Frank’s presentation? See you then!

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