Posts have been irregular of late, so welcome to my “Friday Five” – five short thoughts, tips, links, or comments that either aren’t lengthy enough to form a whole post or they actually have nothing to do with genealogy!
1 – The case of John Barnes and Stephen Damman
I was surprised that this piece of news wasn’t picked up by more genea-blogs. John Barnes is convinced that he is not really a member of his family. After too many unanswered questions about his birth, he began to research missing children. After learning of the case of Stephen Damman, a toddler kidnapped outside of a New York bakery in 1955, he wondered if he was the missing boy. Remarkably, the adult Barnes resembled the photo of the toddler – most notably his eyes and a similar facial scar. Damman’s sister, who was a baby at the time of the kidnapping, met with Barnes and noted a resemblance to her father. A “do it yourself” DNA test indicated the possibility that they were related. The FBI got involved to perform a more detailed DNA test to determine if Barnes was indeed the boy who had been missing for over 50 years. Sadly, at least for Barnes and the Damman family, the DNA test showed that he is not. Barnes’ own father is still alive and incredulous that his son thinks he was either adopted, switched at birth, or kidnapped. What struck me about this story is the fact that at one time or another, most of us have wondered if we’re related to our own parents and siblings. “Surely I was adopted! I am nothing like him/her/them!” But just about all of us that were not adopted have to admit that, whether because of shared physical traits or personality traits, we are our parents’ child. How sad it must be for Mr. Barnes to feel so disconnected from the family he grew up with that he believes he does not really share their blood. Perhaps he does not – I have not read any mention of a DNA test to prove his relation to his own father. But it is also sad for the elderly Mr. Damman, who had a glimmer of hope after years of missing his son, and also for his daughter who hoped to to know her brother. She and Barnes both said they felt a “connection”, which made the finding even sadder. This was an interesting genealogical mystery involving DNA testing, but it did not have the happy ending that everyone wanted.
2 – The Empire that was Russia
On Facebook, Thomas MacEntee posted a link to the amazing photographs of Sergei Prokudin-Gorskii, the photographer to the czar in 1905. He developed (no pun intended) a way to take color photographs using three colored filters. When the images are combined, it results in a color photograph. I knew our ancestors didn’t live in a black and white world like most photographs show us, but seeing these vibrant photographs of old scenes is amazing. See the photos at the Library of Congress Exhibit. Although I cherish even the few black and white photos I have of my ancestors, wouldn’t it be amazing to see them in color?
3 – Wireless Printers and Scanners
I’m shopping for a wireless printer-scanner. Does anyone have any recommendations?
4 – Local Historians
My local historical society found my local history article from the COG in May, so this week I’ll attend a meeting and likely join their group.
5 – Laugh of the Week
That’s all, folks. Have a happy 4th of July and enjoy the 3-day weekend if you are lucky enough to have one!