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18, March 2010

Census and Sensibility

This week many of us received the 2010 federal census form in the mail. While I was happy that it took only a few minutes to complete the form, as a genealogist I was disappointed that it asked so few questions. Future genealogists will surely find the 2010 census disappointing compared to some earlier enumerations.

In the early years, beginning with the first federal census in 1790, enumerators recorded the head of each household by name. Read more »

17, March 2010

Canstruction: How Can They Do That?

I’ve heard about Canstruction but have never seen it, so I’m really excited it’s coming to the History Museum next week. It’s a competition in which teams, usually of architects or engineers, make art out of cans of food. Read more »

17, March 2010

Fighting the Good Fight—The Fenian Brotherhood

Looking at the calendar on March 17, many of us make a mental note to wear green in honor of St. Patrick. However, history remembers many more Irish heroes. In the mid-19th century (around 1858), the Fenian Brotherhood was formed in the United States by Irish immigrants to help liberate Ireland from British rule. The Fenians, as members were known, launched several raids into Canada (then British North America) from 1866 to 1871. Read more »

13, March 2010

The Census Tour Is Coming

It’s 2010 and time again for the U.S. Census. You’ve probably received your form in the mail by now. If you’re not sure what to do with it, or if you’re just putting it off, the Census Bureau wants to let you know that it’s a piece of cake. Read more »

12, March 2010

Women Airforce Service Pilots Alight on Capitol Hill

On March 10, 2010, approximately 200 women pilots were honored on Capitol Hill with the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian honor (along with the Presidential Medal of Freedom) given by Congress.

Nearly 70 years after the war, these women, among the surviving members of the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP), are being recognized for their service during World War II. During the war, the women, under direction of the U.S. Read more »

10, March 2010

Transfer of Upper Louisiana to America, March 1804

In February of 1804, Captain Amos Stoddard came to St. Louis, having been appointed to represent the United States and France at the transfer of the lands west of the Mississippi River. Stoddard found St. Read more »

9, March 2010

You Don't Have to Be Famous to Learn about Your Ancestors

On March 5, 2010, the premiere episode of the NBC television show Who Do You Think You Are? traced the family history of actress Sarah Jessica Parker. While researching her family in a Cincinnati library, she discovered a document revealing that her ancestor John S. Read more »

6, March 2010

The Battle of Pea Ridge

March 6 marks the start of the anniversary of the Civil War battle of Pea Ridge, which took place over three days in 1862 in northwest Arkansas. Among those who participated in the battle was Henry Voelkner, a German-born Union soldier who served in an artillery unit organized in St. Louis. Voelkner wrote several letters (in German) to his family describing his experiences during the war. Here's a translation of his account of the Battle of Pea Ridge. This is one of hundreds of Civil War letters in the Missouri History Museum Archives. Read more »

2, March 2010

Charles Lindbergh's Boulevard and the Drive to Rename It

Recently, Missouri state senator Ryan McKenna proposed to rename a portion of Lindbergh Boulevard in honor of the late Dave Sinclair, a well-known car dealer in St. Louis. A look back through St. Louis history reveals that Lindbergh Boulevard has gone through a number of proposed name changes. Today, the stretch of Lindbergh running through Kirkwood bears the name Kirkwood Road. But residents of this west St. Louis County community may be surprised to learn that their town’s namesake road once bore the name Webster Avenue! Skeptical? Read more »

1, March 2010

A Brief History of…the St. Louis Board of Police Commissioners

Every now and then there is a call to abolish the St. Louis Board of Police Commissioners and give control of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department to the mayor’s office. This system goes back to the “metropolitan police” bill of March 1861, which established four residents of St. Louis as police commissioners with the mayor as the fifth member. Members would be appointed by the governor (at the time, Claiborne Fox Jackson) and paid $1,000 per year of their four-year term, according to Allen E. Wagner’s book Good Order and Safety: A History of the St. Read more »