Each week, American Routes brings you the songs and stories that describe both the community origins of our music, musicians and cultures — the “roots”— and the many directions they take over time — the “routes.”
This week (July 19 – 26, 2017), we travel to Sea Breeze Beach in North Carolina.
In the late 19th century African American beach communities emerged along the East Coast as havens for black vacationers excluded from white beaches.
Sea Breeze provided summertime leisure to African Americans throughout the Jim Crow era and became one of the few integrated places where blacks and whites could hang out, hear music, and dance together.
Nick Spitzer talks to Elder Alfred Mitchell and Brenda Freeman about their summer memories of Sea Breeze before white developers claimed ownership of the beach.
Enjoy the full program (11:22) at americanroutes.org.
By Nancy Gadzuk
Jennifer Daugherty, Special Collections Librarian for the New Hanover County Public Library, spoke on Your Genetic Heritage at the July 17, 2017 meeting of the History Center.
Jennifer explained that while some DNA testing can determine paternal lineage (y-DNA testing) and some maternal lineage (mitochondrial DNA testing), most DNA testing is autosomal. Autosomes are the chromosomes that do not determine sex, but determine the rest of a person’s genetic make-up.
She talked about three genealogical testing companies she has used. The companies – AncestryDNA, 23andMe, and Family Tree DNA – all are creating databases using the DNA of people who purchase their companies’ DNA tests. These people may self-identify with an ethnicity based on their personal history.
This identification by ethnicity, while not strictly DNA-based, becomes part of a larger geographical and historical component of the overall genealogical profile.
The more people these companies can attract to DNA testing, the larger their databases will become. This leads to providing, among other things, more robust family trees for participating clients. AncestryDNA has the largest database of client DNA, with more than 1 million genetic samples.
Both AncestryDNA and 23andMe sell their clients’ data to pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. Family Tree DNA has said it will not sell client data.
Jennifer listed briefly some of the characteristics of the three companies she discussed as a summary to her presentation.
Click image – to view images & videos
Want to take a walk along the new and improved Carolina Beach Boardwalk?
And learn something about its history from master storyteller and long-time resident Gil Burnett while you’re there?
Click the image or follow this link to a series of pictures from a recent History Center walk with the retired Chief Justice Court Judge. Click or tap on any image in the photo series to view images in full screen mode.
Video clips capture Gil’s experience as a 12-year-old setting up a successful sno-ball operation on the Boardwalk and provide some background on the evolution of shagging in Carolina Beach.
See you on the Boardwalk!
Monday, July 17, 2017 7:30 PM
The Federal Point Historic Preservation Society will hold its monthly meeting on Monday, July 17, 7:30 p.m. at the Federal Point History Center, 1121-A North Lake Park Blvd., adjacent to Carolina Beach Town Hall.
This month our speaker will be Jennifer Daugherty, Local History librarian with the New Hanover County Public Library.
Can your DNA tell you where you and your family are from? Learn the facts about all the new tests that are available and how accurate they are. We’ll cover the different kinds of tests, the best companies to test with, and how this can help you learn about your heritage.
Jennifer Crowder Daugherty has a particular interest in genetic genealogy and has attended the International Society of Genetic Genealogy annual conference as well as the Advanced Research Methodology course at the Institute of Genealogical and Historical Research (IGHR), now hosted at the University of Georgia. Daugherty took the Advanced Methodology and Evidence Analysis course at IGHR, which has expanded her ability to assist and train local genealogists.
Jennifer Crowder Daugherty holds a Master of Library Science from Indiana University-Bloomington and a Bachelor’s in English from Eastern Kentucky University. While in graduate school, she was chosen for a Fellowship Opportunity at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History Archives. Previously, a Local History Librarian at Cumberland County Public Library in Fayetteville, North Carolina, she is now the Special Collections and Local History Librarian at the New Hanover County Public Library in Wilmington, North Carolina. She serves as the Vice President of the old New Hanover Genealogy Society and the Publicity Chair of the North Carolina Genealogy Society.
By Elaine Henson
Our final local World War I soldier featured in our WWI exhibit is Arthur Bluethenthal. He was born in Wilmington in 1891 to parents, Leopold and Johanna Bluethenthal, who had emigrated from Germany after the Civil War. Leopold worked in his uncle’s dry goods business which he eventually took over in later years.
The family lived on Dock Street and later at 17th and Market Streets which remains across from the Kenan mansion, home of UNCW’s Chancellor. They also had a home at Wrightsville Beach built c.1897. The home, which was the oldest surviving on Wrightsville Beach, sold in 2015 for over $3.45 million, only to be torn down so the two lots it sat on could be relisted.
Nicknamed “Bluey”, Arthur was educated in local schools, then attended Phillip’s Exeter Academy and graduated from Princeton University in 1913, where he was a star on their football team. After college he did some football coaching at Princeton and UNC- Chapel Hill. He also worked in his family’s business.
Arthur joined the war effort in France in May of 1916, the year before the US entered the war. He was a volunteer ambulance driver before joining the French Foreign Legion as an aviator in May of 1917. He was shot down in combat on June 5, 1918 and was buried in France. Later his body was exhumed and shipped home. He was re-interred in the Jewish section of Oakdale Cemetery. On Memorial Day of 1928, the Wilmington Airport was renamed Bluethenthal Field in his honor and remained that until the 1950s when the name was changed to New Hanover County Airport.
The North Carolina State Archives has a collection of letters that Arthur Bluethenthal wrote from France during WWI. You can access the State Archives here and search for them and other North Carolinians’ letters from the “Great War”.
This is an excerpt from one of Arthur’s letters that we have on display at our exhibit:
Our own Cape Fear Museum has a collection from the Bluethenthal family. See it at: www.capefearmuseum.com Photo courtesy of Cape Fear Museum.
Family Night on the Boardwalk
Our Society will be participating in “Family Night on the Boardwalk” this summer. We will have a table with our brochures and information on the history of Carolina Beach and the Boardwalk behind the stage on Cape Fear Blvd.
We need volunteers to sit at the table and talk to people from 6:30 to 8:30 Tuesday evenings beginning July 18 and running through August.
Please call the History Center at 910-458-0502 to let us know which Tuesday you can work.
Gil Burnett’s Snowball Stand
2017 Summer Kids Activities
10 am to 2 pm
Saturday, July 14: The Anti-Aircraft Artillery Gunner. From 1941 to 1944, Fort Fisher was home to a US Army Anti-Aircraft training base. Soldiers from around the country were here to learn to shoot down enemy aircraft from the sky. Find out about this period in Fort Fisher’s history and find out if you have what it takes to be an AA gunner.
Saturday, July 21: Archaeology at Fort Fisher. Explore the history of Fort Fisher with Maritime archaeologist from the North Carolina Underwater Archaeology Lab. Find out about the amazing historical finds in the Cape Fear Region. Educational and hands-on activities will focus on the role of Archaeologists in understanding Fort Fisher’s history and how they accomplished their important work.
Saturday, July 28: Civil War Communications. How did Civil War units send messages over large distances without texting or cell phones? How could units be sure these messages would not fall into enemy hands? Come to Fort Fisher to learn the “Wig Wag” flag system to send messages and encrypt your own messages using cipher disks that you can take home!
Saturday, August 4: Protecting the Blockade. Join the Fort Fisher Signal Corps and learn how blockade runners supplied the Confederacy with much needed supplies under the protection of the Fort’s guns. Be your own blockade runner and see if you can safely transport goods to and from the Port of Wilmington. What will you decide is worthy of such risky transportation?
Saturday, August 11: The Whole Garrison has Gone to Gardening! The garrison at Fort Fisher had a big issue with fresh food to eat. To supplement their diet, the soldiers were ordered to create company gardens. Learn about how the soldiers at Fort Fisher fed themselves and fought off disease and take home their own potted plant!
Featured Business Member
Thanks to our new business member for donating to our World War I exhibit. If you are building or remodeling be sure to check them out.
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Builder’s Glass & Hardware
221-6 Old Dairy Rd., Wilmington, NC
By Darlene Bright, History Center Director
- The History Center recorded 68 visitors in June. We had 25 in attendance at the June Potluck.
- The History Center was used for a meeting held by the Got-Em-On Live Bait Fishing Club.
- Welcome to new business members Benson and Terry Hall of Richmond, Virginia. Also, Byron and Ramona Hovey of Carolina Beach.