Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Taking a Little Social Networking Spin of My Own

After jumping in, yesterday, on Marian Pierre-Louis’ discussion about the merits of networking, I spent the evening doing a little old-fashioned style of networking. I walked down the street to meet my neighbors at an annual event called National Night Out. I don’t know if it has been on account of the housing crisis this country has been through, but I have quite a few new neighbors I hadn’t yet met. It's fun walking out in the beautiful cool evening air and spending some time getting to know the people who live closest to me. I learn something new, make a few connections, and firm up plans for connecting again sometime soon.

That’s all networking is—whether we are talking about the age-old face-to-face variety or the high tech version. And I can’t see how genealogists and family history researchers can ply their craft without it.

Take this little example that showed up in my mailbox while I was away on my trip. Someone in Minnesota had been kind enough to send me a copy of an obituary that I hadn’t been able to locate any other way.

How did I get it? Simple: I networked.

Well, you will more likely recognize that network as the online community known as GenForum. I posted an electronic version of that old fashioned stock-in-trade of the genealogy community, the query. A GenForum reader spotted my post and decided she could help.

By helping me out with this look-up, my new-found GenForum connection provided me with the last bit of information I had needed to finish up one part of my Flannigan series of posts—the part about the descendant Catherine who married the flamboyant mining engineer, William H. Crago. (If you don’t remember that story, you can click here for a post that reviews some of his adventures.)

Clipping the notice posted in the Duluth News Tribune on July 14, 1949, my GenForum connection mailed me the following report.

            William H. Crago, 69, one of the strong independent members of the mining engineering profession, during the period of development of Michigan’s and Minnesota’s iron ranges, died suddenly Tuesday night in his residence, 711 Irving place.
            Active until the time of his death, Mr. Crago was widely traveled, having explored in Africa and investigated mining in Manchuria.
            He played a prominent part in mining litigations for many years, appearing as an expert witness.
            A resident of Duluth for the last 40 years, Mr. Crago was born in Newcastle-on-the-Tyne, England. He studied civil engineering at the University of Michigan and was graduated from Michigan School of Mines.
            The consulting engineer formerly was employed by the Oliver Iron Mining Co. for about 10 years. He was director of explorations for the Katanga Copper Co., Central Africa, from 1917 to 1921, and spent three years in Belgian Congo. From 1921 to 1922 he was consulting engineer for the South Manchuria Railroad Co., North China, and was a member of the American committee for the Japanese government investigating coal and ore mines in Manchuria. Other duties took him to Mexico and Canada.
            Mr. Crago was one of the initiators of the use of trucks and small power shovels in connection with open-pit work on the Mesabe range.
            During his association since 1940 with Hugh M. Roberts, Duluth mining geologist, Mr. Crago, with Mr. Roberts, was consulting engineer for the Steep Rock Iron Mine, Limited.
            Surviving are his widow, Catherine; a son, William H., Jr., Duluth; a daughter, Miss Jean Crago, San Francisco; a brother, Thomas, Virginia; and a sister, Mrs. Lillian Harvey, Virginia.


  1. I enjoyed this post, especially the reminder about the value of some "old fashioned" tools like GenForum.

    1. Thank you, Wendy. Glad you enjoyed stopping by.

      Websites like GenForum and Rootsweb have been mainstays for me for so many years, even though there are newer resources. I'm really glad that there are so many flourishing online sites where we can each help each other move forward with our family research.

  2. Did you get the feeling that the survivers of Mr. Crago were almost an after-thought in this obituary? I'm glad someone dug it out for you (and your readers!) and sent it to you!

    1. Glad you mentioned that feeling, Iggy. I was kinda wondering. I'm sure there is so much more to this family's story. Every amazing career has its personal impact, I'm afraid...

  3. I always think it's a shame when someone finds my blog by googling an ancestor's name - or copies some information off my tree in ancestry - but doesn't go the extra step and shoot me an email or leave a note. I have so much more information than just what I've had time to post! And I've gotten so much useful information by sending messages to people when it's me on the inquiring side. There is HUGE value in reaching out to individual people.

    1. Thanks for bringing up that point, Jessica. Even here, when I look at this blog's analytics, I see people landing on my pages, searching for specific surnames but never saying anything...and I wonder if they are distant cousins. Makes me wish they had left a comment, or at least sent me an email--anything to make a connection. We can all learn from each other's research. Why reinvent the wheel?


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