R E S E A R C H ∞ L E A R N I N G ∞ F E L L O W S H I P Larimer County Genealogical Society Celebrating 35 Years Volume 29 Number 1 January/February 2009 In This Issue... Page Events Calendar Ramblings from Ken 2 Regular meetings are held on the 3rd Thursday at 6:30 p.m. in Let’s Go Site-Seeing 3 the Community Room of the Harmony Public Library at 4616 S. Shields Street (Front Range College Campus West Side) Society News 4 **January 6: Family Tree Maker Users Group - 7 pm Harmony Public Library in the Community Room Annual Board Elections 5 FTM 2009 software basics review presented by Bob Larson See page three for class information. Stories Of A Lifetime 6 January 8: Weld County Genealogical Society, Greeley - 7 pm Centennial Park Branch Library, 2227 23rd Avenue Program: Scrapbooking by Ila Leavy & Judy Atkinson. Technology Corner 7 January 13: Cheyenne GHS meeting - 6:30 pm Laramie County Library, 2200 Pioneer Avenue Program: “Look in Your Own Backyard!” presented by Sue Seniawski Program Highlights Presentation is on the genealogy collections at the new Cheyenne Library. January 15 Program: Our annual meeting includes Volunteer of the Year **January 15: Larimer County Genealogical Society - 6:30 pm award, a raffle drawing for sev- Harmony Public Library in the Community Room Program: 2008 society highlights video presentation and dessert social eral great prize, the election of See program highlights for details. new officers, President’s mes- sage, special video presentations **February 4: Family Tree Maker Users Group - 6:30 pm of our 2008 society highlights plus the recent Fort Collins Main Public Library in the Ben Delatour Room colorful Beijing Olympics pictorial high- FTM 2009 software basics review presented by Bob Larson lights, and our famous dessert social event. See page three for class information. Bring a friend for a great evening of fellow- ship, entertainment, dessert, and prizes! See February 10: Cheyenne GHS meeting - 6:30 pm Laramie County Library, 2200 Pioneer Avenue page five for the list of officers being elected Program: The Wyoming Newspaper Digitization Project” presented by Wyoming in 2009. State Library. February 19 Program: Sharon Greenlee **February 19: Larimer County Genealogical Society - 6:30 pm will present “Writing to Cap- Harmony Public Library in the Community Room ture Memories for Your Chil- Program: “Writing to Capture Memories for Your Children and Grandchildren” dren and Grandchildren.” She presented by Sharon Greenlee. Please see program highlights for details. will discuss various stories to February 21: Colorado Genealogical Society DNA Seminar - 10 am include in your family story to Denver Public Library, Lower Level Conference Center make it both interesting and One day seminar on DNA and Federal Records presented entertaining. If you’re planning on writing by national speakers Thomas (MD) & Patricia (CG) Shawker any family history, this will be a great learn- Cost: $30 per person. Please register with Carol Darrow at 303-287-6063 ing experience for you! or Lou-Jean Rehn at 303-333-2492 or at www.cogensoc.us/cgsevents.htm. Sharon is a Fort Collins Counselor and an author of two books. She has conducted **June 12-13, Colorado Family History Expo, Loveland Two day conference at the new Embassy Suites on The Ranch fairgrounds. Over workshops on "Writing to Capture Happy 25 national and local speakers will present 50 classes plus over 40 vendor exhibits. Childhood Memories," writing for self- Please register at www.fhexpos.com. Cost: $65 for the two day expo. understanding and peace of mind plus sev- eral for children and teens. She is an elemen- All programs are FREE unless noted and tary school teacher and counselor and does the public and friends are cordially invited to attend. special classes at University levels. Visit our updated website: www.lcgsco.org January/February 2009 Larimer County Genealogical Society LARIMER COUNTY GENEALOGICAL SOCIETY OFFICERS Ramblings President Vice President Ken Goldsberry Open 663-6698 from Ken Treasurer Paul Smith 613-1930 Recording Secretary Carol Stetser 495-1132 It was almost five years ago that Ty Curtis, Corresponding Secretary Hap Hazard 484-9194 was the last President of LCGS. He had Board Member Ceil Damschroder 226-2164 replaced Ceil Damschroder, who had guided the Society to Board Member Len Ray 282-0915 new horizons and Ty was keeping us on the same path. New COMMITTEE CHAIRS members were coming on board and many of them volunteer- ing to exercise their passions of working to make the Society Archival Sonny Hygh 204-1460 function more and more. Several present committee members Council Representative Marilyn Rudd 484-1197 have been involved for years...and please join me in a big Education Robert Larson 225-0491 thank you to them for their tireless work. A few volunteers Hospitality Open have come and gone...but left their mark on a still growing LDS Contact Pat Johnson 482-3385 society. Today, we have several Board members and commit- Membership Jan Hygh 204-1460 tee chairs and members who were active in other genealogical Publications Hap Hazard 484-9194 societies across the nation. I thank them for their many contri- Publicity Kathy Patrick 206-1664 butions that have helped make the LCGS more useful and Recycle Table Cathi Smith 613-1930 continue to grow. On the other hand, there are several mem- Researcher-Ft. Collins Carol Stetser 495-1132 bers that were active in other organizations and they too have Researcher-Loveland Al Boswell 669-8766 volunteered and provided outstanding contributions. NEWSLETTER STAFF At this point, I want to encourage all of our members to Editor Robert Larson 225-0491 step up to the plate when there is an opportunity. As our Soci- Publisher Kareen Whatley 377-0520 ety grows, so will the need for more members to become in- Distribution Julia Hillen 482-5957 volved. One simple way to assist is to participate in the BAG program...that means Bring A Guest...or obtain some calling Larimer County Genealogical Society meets at 6:30 p.m. on cards from Hap Hazard, our Corresponding Secretary, then the third Thursday of each month (except no meeting in create a conversation with anyone you happen to contact and December) at the Harmony Public Library, Community Meeting find out if they have worked on their family history...open the Room, 4616 So. Shields Street in Fort Collins, CO. door with conversation and follow it up with a LCGS card Dues are $18 per year for an individual or $27 per year for a and invite them to a meeting. family. The 2008 Holiday Adventure Dinner was hampered a little by the weather. The snow had stopped, but the temperature The newsletter is published six times a year. Please submit all was less than freezing, but the 30 attendees out of the 70 that articles and announcements to the newsletter committee at email address: firstname.lastname@example.org or to our signed up had a great time. Over $1000 of gifts were donated mailing address below. for the raffle, $1 raffle tickets were sold, and an HP printer, a 1 year World Deluxe Membership to Ancestry.com and 1 free Mailing Address: Larimer County Genealogical Society admission to the Family History Expo (12-13 June at the Em- PO Box 270737, bassy Suites at the “Ranch”) were the top donations. We will Ft Collins, CO 80527-0737 have about 20 donations to raffle at the January meeting. You will hear more about it every month...but the June 12- Web page: www.lcgsco.org 13 Colorado Family History Expo is something every person interested in their family history or genealogical connections will want to attend. There is room for 2000 people and this exciting activity will bring people from 100's of miles around Family History Center News us. Yes, our Society will be asked to help in many ways...and by Pat Johnson most or perhaps all of the volunteer positions will have free admission...so mark the dates on your calendar and raise your hand! ! ! Family History Center contact info: Fort Collins hours at 226-5955 (closed Dec 22-Jan 6) Also, the trip to the Salt Lake Family History Library has Loveland hours at 669-6498 been moved to September. Fantastic arrangements are being made...and it will be open to other society members in South- TIP: Go to http://familysearch.org and choose “Search ern Wyoming and Northern Colorado. Watch for the final Records.” The drop down menu directs you to “Record Search dates...and the total program. Pilot”. Even though this was mentioned last time, it is a good Well..that’s 30...A big thank you again and please con- thing to go here frequently to see what has been added since tinue to support your new President and Board. you last visited. When you see the World Map, just select Happy Digging, Ken Goldsberry , President “View all databases” to see the list. It continues to grow. 2 January/February 2009 Larimer County Genealogical Society Let’s Go Site-Seeing! More states and cities are posting their online databases on the Internet. Many of these databases include land records, other county courthouse or city records, etc. The State of Virginia recently added new databases to their Library of Virginia website, www.lva.lib.va.us which includes a new feature “Burned Record Counties Data- base” along with notes on the counties that have suffered loss of records due to Civil War and other natural dis- aster since the 17th century. The LVA offers many rolls of microfilm via interlibrary loan. So check out the li- brary for the many different available records. (Internet Genealogy Magazine January 2009) The city of Chicago recently added their vital records databases online at www.cookcountygenealogy.com. Ultimately, their web- site will include birth certificates over 75 years old, marriages over 50 years old, and death certificates over 20 years old. The fa- mous Chicago fire of 1871, erroneously started by Mrs. O’Leary’s cow, destroyed all records prior to 1871. To search their web- site, you must register, which is quick and painless, then search their databases. If you locate a desired record, the cost is $15 plus credit card charge. You can download the record image after payment is completed. More cities and counties are doing this for ad- ditional revenue and using employees for more important tasks other than research. More records will be added each week. (Internet Genealogy magazine January 2009) More and more older newspapers are being digitized across the world! The famous London Gazette published their first newspaper in 1665. This is the official newspaper of the United Kingdom and still is in operation today as the world’s oldest English language newspaper. You can search their newspaper archives for FREE at www.gazettes-online.co.uk. It’s not quite the newspaper in terms of personal articles, but has more government related articles. (Internet Genealogy Magazine January 2009) Genealogy Tidbits Preservation Tip of the Month--Photo & Scrapbook Albums by Becky Schipper with Allen County Public Library For those of you purchasing photo and scrapbook albums for yourself or others, be certain that you purchase materials that are acid free or archival quality. Not all materials are photo safe or acid free, and this includes paper, adhesives, photo corners, stickers, markers, and pens. Use only products that are labeled as archival quality or acid free. Acid causes paper and photos to disintegrate. The pH for acid free paper should be 7 or above. There are inexpensive testing pens that allow you to check for acidity. They can be purchased at most art supply stores and online. The one that I use here at the ACPL is an "Abbey pH Pen." They sell for around $5.00. If you want to include newspaper articles and or announcements in your album, photocopy them on acid–free paper as newspaper is very acidic. Retirement Records Online Did you know retirement records are available most everywhere? Besides the Social Security records since 1937 at www.socialsecurity.gov for a fee, there are the railroad retirement records at www.rrb.gov, military records and Civilian Conser- vation Corps records at National Archives at www.nara.gov, not to mention trade union records available at the different union headquarters, and finally state government retirement records available through each state’s, county, and city retirement boards. (From Internet Genealogy Magazine January 2009) Family Tree Maker Users Group The January 6 class will discuss the new FTM 2009 software beginning with the new Windows Vista ribbon menu format, the new screens, navigating the newly designed toolbars, details of the File and Help menu items, and entering family information into the family templates. Handouts will be available. Location: Harmony Public Library Community Room at 7 pm. The February 4 class will discuss exploring the different workspaces and building your family tree. Exploring the seven different workplace tabs on the main toolbar allows users to navigate between planning, people, places, media, sources, publishing and web search. We’ll discuss each of these in detail. Handouts will be available. Location: Fort Collins Main Library Ben Delatour Room at 6:30 pm. 3 January/February 2009 Larimer County Genealogical Society Society News Membership News Please welcome new members: Katherine Eberhard from Fort Collins and Carol Diaczun from Loveland! Loveland Public Library & LCGS Sponsors Scanners & Digital Cameras Workshop Over 25 genealogists and photographers attended our three hour workshop on Scanners & Digital Cameras spon- sored by the Loveland Public Library last October. Thanks to Jackie Kietzmann, LCGS Member and the li- brary’s adult programming supervisor for coordinating the event and Paul Smith, our society treasurer and tech- nologist, for presenting the workshop. Paul discussed digital camera and scanner technology fundamentals, researching and buying digital cameras and scanners, downloading, editing, filing, and organizing pictures and documents. He discussed the different features and options available on digital cameras and flatbed or all in one scanners/printers and finally, Paul gave several tips on using digital cameras and scanners to obtain great pictures and documents. LCGS Hosts Annual Holiday Adventure Dinner Over 30 members and their spouses attended the popular Holiday Adventure Dinner held on December 4 at the Golden Corral Restaurant in Fort Collins. President Ken Goldsberry gave several genealogy related stories after dinner. Members Fran Ek, Jan Hygh, Roger Long, and Gwen Kelly gave humorous genealogy quips or stories followed by banjo music entertainment with Carrie Graves. Members and their spouses drew for raffle prizes donated by several retailers including several restaurants at Applebee's, Olive Garden, Café Vino, 3 Margaritas, and Carrabbas includ- ing an annual subscription from Ancestry, Family History Expo tickets, HP printer from Office Depot, and everyone received coupons from Cold Stone Creamery. See the 2008 society highlights video for more dinner highlights at our January meeting and on our website in February. John Rinne with Santa prize President Ken Goldsberry with Carrie Graves Cathi Smith with Ancestry prize Mary Joy Hauk Receives 2008 Volunteer of the Year Award! The Board approved the Education Committee’s nomination of Mary Joy Hauk as our Volunteer of the Year award for 2008! Mary Joy became our first LCGS volunteer to receive this distinguished award. She has always been an admirable volunteer for our society since joining in 1991. Mary Joy was our Treasurer for two terms, filling in for Janet Lake, who passed away unexpectedly in 2003. She started the Family Tree Maker Users Group in 2003 besides managing several research projects with key research leaders in getting our latest county marriage, county divorce, and Wellington cemetery books published in 2006. She volunteered as a helper at several workshops and for booth duty at the Victorian Sunday in the Park last June and September’s Cemetery Stroll events. Besides all these activities, she volunteers for other groups too. Mary Joy re- ceived a certificate and a magazine subscription for receiving the first ever distinguished award at our December holi- day dinner and recognition at the January meeting. Congratulations Mary Joy! A personal note from Mary Joy: My thanks to the LCGS Board for the Volunteer of the Year Award. Also thanks to all of you who have worked with me on various projects - we've got a lot done and had some fun too. Hope to work with you again on some future project. The more of us that get involved, the better our club will be and the more each of you will get out of the club. THANKS AGAIN!!!!! 4 January/February 2009 Larimer County Genealogical Society Annual Board Elections Nominating Committee Selects Three New Officers for 2009 The Nominating Committee in 2008 (Carol Stetser & Barbara Sullivan) presented their recommendations to the Board last No- vember for President, Corresponding Secretary, and one Board Member At Large. Bob Larson is nominated for President, Hap Hazard for Corresponding Secretary, and Pat Walker for Board Member At Large. President Ken Goldsberry will ask the membership to approve the nominations at the general meeting on January 15. Other members can nominate any other member, providing that member is willing to serve on the Board for two years. If more than one member is nominated for a certain posi- tion, a ballot election is required. Bob will announce his Vice President’s choice replacing Len Ray, who stepped down last March due to personal matters. Here’s a profile of our nominated officers. Robert (Bob) Larson for President. Bob was born in Casper, Wyoming to Lawrence and Gayle (Pierson) Lar- son. He graduated from high school in Billings, Montana and received his Associates Degree in Electronics Engi- neering Technology in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He worked for the Santa Fe Railway (now BNSF Railway) for three years in their communications department. While working at Motorola for 28 years in a number of posi- tions in engineering, sales and product marketing management, he received his Bachelors Degree in Marketing from National University in San Diego and his MBA Degree from Pepperdine University in Los Angeles. He started his own manufacturing company before retiring in 2006. Bob traveled the world during his last six years for Motorola, visiting over 30 countries in Asia, Australia, Canada, Europe, and Central & South America working with many customers in marketing Motorola products. His hobbies include photography with over 18,000 pictures in his library and of course, genealogy, where he speaks regularly to many societies and conferences in Southern Wyoming and Northern Colorado besides teaching Family Tree Maker software classes since 2004. He published his first family history book The Coffin Pierson Legacy in 2007 on his ancestors with the help of 30 cousins. He has held six different chair positions in LCGS since joining in 2003. Gordon “Hap” Hazard for Corresponding Secretary. Hap was born at Chanute Air Force Base, Illinois to Oscar and Edith (Theye) Hazard. His father was a career Air Force officer, who was a survivor of the Pearl Har- bor attack in Hawaii. The Hazard family lived in Illinois, Texas, and Hawaii during Hap’s first ten years. Fol- lowing his father’s retirement, they settled in Belleville, Illinois and remained there until moving to Denver. Fol- lowing his Air Force enlistment, Hap moved to Fort Collins in 1974 and received his BS Degree from CSU. He retired from CSU in 2004, working as a Building Manager at the Student Center for 11 years and then worked for 19 years as a University Conference Coordinator. Hap had always had an interest in his family history, but not until the deaths of some family members in 2004, when the “genealogy bug” really hit. Using information recorded by his late mother and late uncle as his starting point, he began research- ing the Hazard, Gilpin, Theye, and Rector families. Hours spent on the Internet and trips to Kansas, Nebraska, Kentucky and Illi- nois have provided more information and more surnames to research. Many future road trips are planned to meet with cousins and visit cemeteries, libraries and courthouses. Hap has cheerfully served as Publications Chair and At Large Board Member since joining our society in 2005. Pat Walker for At Large Board Member. Patricia Walker was born in Alton, Illinois, the second child of Harry and Eleanor Walker. The family left for Texas soon after Pat’s birth and she spent her childhood moving back and forth between Texas and Connecticut. Although she got her degree from Colorado State University in political science, she always worked in information systems jobs. Her newfound experience in genealogy re- search and her love of history led Pat to a recent career change. She now works as a research assistant at the Fort Collins Museum Local History Archive. Here she gets to help others with their research and be an active con- tributor in preserving the history of the Larimer County area. Always an avid historian and archivist, Pat’s interest in genealogy started in 2000 when her brother began having children. She felt it was important to give her next generation a sense of where they came from. Since knowledge about the family tree was pretty sparse, she began what was meant to be “a few months” of research on her four grandparents, none of whom she met. From this ensued a passion for genealogy and family history. Pat joined our society in early 2008 and became our webmaster several months later. Editor’s Note: Thanks to our Nomination Committee and past Board members for their outstanding volunteer services! 5 January/February 2009 Larimer County Genealogical Society My Hammond Ancestors by Julia Hillen My Grandpa, Shuyler Augustine Hammond, was born in 1870 at West Chester, Pennsylvania. His ances- tors were Mennonites, who through religious persecution had been driven from Switzerland into Ger- many and later came to North America and settled in the Mennonite communities of Pennsylvania. In 1895, Schuyler Augustine Hammond married the daughter of George Leary Krebs, Ella Morris Krebs of Baltimore, Maryland. They had six children, Dorothy, Margaret, Krebs, Hilda (my mother), Schuyler Jr., and Ruth. The family lived in Gettysburg, where Schuyler was a civil engineer for the city and also with the "Battlefield Commission." He did much of the surveying and additions to the avenues of Gettysburg. He helped design the Gettysburg National Military Park for our veterans. The family was very active in community affairs. I remember grandpa walked into the room, carrying large sheets of blue paper rolled into a tube. He placed the papers on the table and said, "I have something to show you." "Not now Grandpa," I replied, "I'm on my way to meet some friends, for a coke, at the drug store" (I was silly-stupid and sixteen). It was a long time later that I learned those blue papers Grandpa wanted to show me were some of the original blue prints for the Gettysburg National Cemetery. He was a civil engineer and assisted Lt. Colo- nel Cope, who was appointed to develop the cemetery. The memorial plaque as shown below lists their names at the bottom. For health reasons, they moved to Denver, Colorado in 1908. Schuyler continued to work as a civil engineer and invested time and money in a mine at Russell Gulch, Colo- rado. These were happy times for the family. Shuyler & Ella (Krebs) Hammond 1895 My grandparents lived in a beautiful two- story house in Denver. Grandpa carried lead- ership roles at Trinity Methodist Church, the Masonic Lodge and was a member of the Sons of the My mother Hilda 1908 American Revolution. The stock market crash hit America hard. My grandparents had two daughters living at home. Times were tough, so they decided to move to Fort Collins, Colorado. In July 1921, they bought a home and acreage on the old LaPorte road (now named Overland Trail). The farm had a small lake known as Lee Lake. Today, this area is known as Nedra Acres. Grandpa belonged to the Grange, a social group dedicated to bringing a better life to farmers. I fondly re- member the Grange had a minstrel show during Christmas time. Grandpa and several other farmers played minstrels, a group of actors and singers dressed up as Negroes with black faces. My Memorial Plaque at Gettysburg National Cemetery Schuyler with sons Krebs & Shuyler Jr. 1910 grandpa and several Stories Of A Lifetime...continued on next page 6 January/February 2009 Larimer County Genealogical Society Stories Of A Lifetime...continued from previous page other actors were sitting at a table eating pancakes during the show. One actor said to my grandpa, “Want some molasses?” My grandpa jokingly responded, “Molasses, how can I say molasses when I have no-lasses?” I loved his minstrel show! In 1930, my grandparents moved to Long Beach, California, just one block from the beach and ocean. They lived there long enough to experience the Long Beach earthquake on March 10, 1933. Then the decision was made, they would live with their eld- est son in Oildale, California. Both grandparents died in Oildale, Schuyler in 1952 and Ella died three years later. Technology Corner NIST Guides Genetic Genealogy Labs Toward Improved Accuracy Anyone who has watched crime dramas on TV knows that forensic scientists can use DNA "profiling" to identify people from evidence gathered at a crime scene, establish a paternity link or help free an innocent person who has been wrongly jailed. A lesser known but rapidly growing application of DNA profiling is tracing a person's paternal ancestry - a process known as genetic genealogy. The laboratories performing this testing often differ in their results, making data comparison between labs difficult and casting doubt on reported genetic matches. Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) recently published a paper with recommendations for gene- alogy testing that they hope will improve the accuracy and reliability of the product. A man's paternal lineage can be traced using the DNA on his Y chromosome (Y-DNA), which, like many European surnames, passes from father to son. DNA profiling provides a genetic path that follows the surname through the years. Women who wish to know their ancestry can ask their father, brother, paternal uncle or paternal grandfather to take the test for them. Genetic genealogy works by studying the sequences of repeating nucleotide (the base components of DNA) patterns on the Y chromosome known as short tandem repeats (STRs). Each STR is considered a separate marker for potential genetic matching because the number of times it is repeated will be the same for related males. For example, a person may have one STR sequence that repeats 12 times, another 11 times, a third 17 times and so on. If another male has a Y chromosome with a high percentage of the same STRs, it is considered likely that they share a common ancestor. Accurately counting the number of repeats is a tricky task and the source of much of the error in genetic genealogy tests, causing genealogists to make incorrect matches or miss family connections altogether. In their paper, the NIST researchers explain the basis for the differing interpretations and recommend a solution using the agency's certified reference material for human Y-chromosome DNA profiling (Standard Reference Material 2395), a collection of Y-STR markers that can serve as a means for genetic labs to calibrate their testing equipment. The researchers "strongly en- courage [SRM 2395's] use to enable compatible and calibrated measurements to be made between different Y-STR testing labora- tories." Their sentiment is echoed by an editorial in the Journal of Genetic Genealogy that says of the NIST paper, "The advantages of having industry-wide standards are compelling for both buyers and sellers of genetic genealogy services." Source: Michael E. Newman, www.nist.gov (Dick Eastman’s Online Newsletter December 30, 2008) Past Program Highlights Carol Darrow, CG and President of Colorado Genealogical Society, presented November’s lecture on “The Tax Man Cometh.” Carol mentioned that the census taker came every 10 years, but the tax collector came every year. The tax records included not only the head of household, but also the assets that were taxed. The assets usually included the property, personal possessions, slaves before the Civil War, and dwellings. So why aren’t tax records used more in genealogy research? Carol explained not all tax records survived due to war, natural disasters, fire, and carelessness. Some tax records are hard to read and probably weren’t micro- filmed. Many types of tax records are available including early land taxes since the early 1700s, poll or head taxes, tithe taxes paid to the Church of England in Virginia, personal property taxes, land taxes, federal taxes and other miscellaneous taxes by each state. The records are available online through Ancestry and other services, on microfilm and online via the Family History Library, and state archives. So check the tax records for another great genealogy record source where your ancestors lived. 7 What’s new for 2009? See page 5. Address Correction Requested 80527-0737 Fort Collins, CO PO Box 270737 Genealogical Society Larimer County Genealogy Bookshelf Review by Carol Stetser Book and DVD: John Adams By David McCullough If you have Revolutionary War era ancestors, John Adams is a fascinating glimpse into that time. John Adams tends to get lost between the more colorful George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, but, without him, the American Revolution may well have failed. Since Adams was from Massachusetts, the book is especially interesting for those who have New England roots. David McCullough is a well-known historical non-fiction writer whose earlier book 1776 about the same period is another great read. Recently, HBO filmed a version of John Adams starring Paul Giamatti and Laura Linney as John and Abigail Adams. Ordinarily, I prefer the original book to the film version, but in this case, if you only have time for one, watch the film. From the vantage of over two hundred years, it’s difficult to understand what life really was like in the late 1700s. The members of the Continental Congress sweated their way through a Philadelphia summer, and candlelight really didn’t illumi- nate rooms very well. Even well-to-do people such as John Adams had terrible dental hygiene, and when people referred to “Toothless Adams,” they really meant it! It wasn’t just a metaphor for his ineffectual policies. The movie captures the details of everyday Revolutionary era life in all its grubby, sometimes bloody and ignorant glory. We all think we know what went into writing the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, but this film lets us see back into history to the people who lived it. I watched the film first and enjoyed it so much that I had to check out the book and delve even further. The book, an audio ver- sion of the book and the HBO film are available from the Fort Collins Library, or they can be purchased from Amazon.com. The Loveland Public Library also has the book and audio recording. The video can be rented from Blockbuster or other video rental firms.
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