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Tips on Making a Family History Book

Gravestone of Blaine B. Barshinger in the WWI St. Mihiel Cemetery in France (Photo from Collections of S. H. Smith)
Gravestone of Blaine B. Barshinger in the WWI St. Mihiel Cemetery in France (Photo from Collections of S. H. Smith)

I’ve been asked for tips on making a Family History Book ever since my book “Barshingers in America” was published. The latest request was from Tom Brenner, who commented to Monday’s post.

I know several people have used the tip on how to get gravestone photos of United States soldiers that are buried in overseas cemeteries. Corporal Blaine B. Barshinger served in Company B, 315th United States Infantry, 79th Division, during World War I. Blaine was wounded in combat and died in France from pneumonia on October 15th 1918, at the age of 25. Blaine’s grave is located in Plot A, Row 25, Grave 19 of the St. Mihiel American Cemetery in Thiaucourt, France. This section is near the graves of the unknown soldiers.

Blaine’s ancestors lived in York County since before the Revolutionary War; and it was his grandfather Charles Barshinger that moved this Barshinger Family to Perry County in 1859. The Blaine B. Barshinger VFW Post 882 in Marysville, Perry County, is named in honor of Blaine.

St. Mihiel is one of 21 A.B.M.C. (American Battle Monuments Commission) WWI cemeteries, monuments and markers in Europe. Use the A.B.M.C. web site (http://www.abmc.gov) to locate the contact information to place decorations on these graves and you can get a photograph showing the gravestone and decorations. This photo shows decorations that I placed on Blaine’s grave during Memorial Day 2001. Since that time, several Barshingers have written me, thanking me for making them aware of this relative; indicating that they’ve done the same, in placing decorations.

The Making of a Family History Book

I’m speaking at The 36th Annual Lancaster Family History Conference on Saturday April 25th 2015. The Making of a Family History Book is the title of my afternoon presentation, which is a case study in the making of “Barshingers in America.” The talk includes a host of tips, with an emphasis on ways to get living descendants to respond positively to your requests for family history information.

The 36th Annual Lancaster Family History Conference is held at the Lancaster Host Resort and Conference Center, 2300 Lincoln Highway East, Lancaster, PA. Conference registration is available online at http://www.lmhs.org Registration deadline is April 15th. The conference kicks-off with an 8:30 A.M. Keynote Address by D. Joshua Taylor, host of the Genealogy Roadshow; currently in its second season on PBS. Two morning sessions, a buffet lunch and then two afternoon sessions follow the keynote. In each session, you have the choice of four speakers, with content suitable for the beginning to the advanced family historian. This is a neat, well-done, conference. In the last 20-years, I think I’ve only missed one conference.

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