The January - March 2009 issue of the NGS News Magazine (Volume 35, Number 1) features a case study by CGS member Barry E. Hinman about the immigration of his grandfather, Anton Radivoj. "The Immigration of Anton Radivoj" details the difficulties encountered when searching for Croatian names in citizenship and immigration documents and how he was able to find a long-sought record.
Mr. Hinman credits his interest in genealogy to his father's eldest sister, Vera Hinman McAuliffe, who succeeded her father, Elmore Brown Hinman, her paternal grandmother, Alice Jones Brown Hinman, and her paternal great-grandmother, Betsey Burlingame Hinman as "custodian of the Hinman family memory."
Barry sent this about his Aunt Vera:
She had in her possession unique family documents concerning the three families involved, which she shared with me as long as I can remember. Among others, there was "The Hinmans of New York" which linked my father to Michael Hinman, born in Connecticut in 1748 [see "The Connecticut Connection: A Family Paper Entitled 'The Hinmans of New York'" in The Connecticut Nutmegger 22:3 (Dec. 1989):400-403; "Michael Hinman of Roxbury, Washington and York State" in The Connecticut Nutmegger 16:4 (Mar. 1984:707-715; and "Addendum to Michael Hinman Which Appeared in The Connecticut Nutmegger" in The Connecticut Nutmegger 21:3 (Dec. 1988):422-423, all with slight errors in the texts as published].
All of this was interesting to the grammar school boy that I was, but I remember vividly what really got my interest in genealogy started. We were in Aunt Vera's garage, where she had boxes and boxes of things stored, and she gave me a little notebook. "This," she said, "was written by your great-uncle Gage. You might find it interesting." Titled "A Short Memoir of Silas Burlingame" it was a copy of what is essentially an obituary, but contained the following sentences: "Many hair breaths escapes he had. Three times shipwrecked, cast away and lost all but his life ... Once taken prisoner by a man of war, made his escape by jumping overboard and swiming to his own ship. Once barely escaped being made a prisoner by a British press gang. He fought in the old French war and also in the American Revolution ..."
Who could resist this? Adventures, American history, and my own ancestor. I was hooked.
Barry E. Hinman retired in July 2007 from the Department of Special Collections and University Archives of Stanford University and is now Special Collections Librarian for Cataloging Emeritus. He was educated at the University of Santa Clara (BA), Princeton University (MA) and San Jose State University (MLS). All eight of his father's great-grandparents and three of his great-great grandparents came to California between 1849 and 1858. His maternal grandparents emigrated from Austria-Hungart to New York City and moved to San Francisco in 1907, the year following the great earthquake. Mr. Hinman has been a member of CGS since 1976.
Photograph of Anton Radivoj courtesy of Barry E. Hinman.