Category Archives: Videos

Don’t Keep Your Genes in the Closet

Living free is much better than living with secrets, or in secret.

Witness the freedom celebrated and achieved by the LGBT community when those among them can come out of their closet.

Every family has secrets. Secrets are kept about everything, not just about who is gay or straight. The multitude of secrets a family keeps is never discovered. Usually, they are strictly enforced, whether by one or by many. Wherever secrets exist, harm exists also.

Usually, those who create, maintain, or propagate secrets, knowingly or unknowingly, rarely are aware of what harm they inflict. The harm is left for the victim of a secret to suffer, and if fortunate to discover.

Some secrets can inflict violence of a significant magnitude upon families and their members for generations, if not centuries, as occurred among the family of Frank and Jesse James. This is particularly true about secrets that are taken to the grave.

For others, like this world famous geneticist, the discovery can provide humor, but, more importantly, answers, explanations, and his release from the family secret the world knew, but he didn’t.

Book Review – Sustainable Genealogy by Richard Hite

Richard Hite

Legendary families often can prove troublesome. That’s what Richard Hite found out when he confronted his family genealogy as a presumed descendant of Hans Jost Heydt, well known to the Jesse James family as the progenitor of their cousins, Wood & Tuck Hite, and the Hite brothers’ father, George Burns Hite, who married the outlaw brothers’ aunt, Nancy Gardner James.

 

The unique subtitle of Richard’s book Sustainable Genealogy reads as: “Separating Fact from Fiction in Family Legends.” Legendary families come with all the baggage possessed by families not so famous. Every family is burdened with family lore, genealogy, and stories that should be scrutinized by every generation, especially if one’s intention is to produce an accurate and true genealogy of family history. The information handed down by one’s own family may not be correct. The Jesse James family certainly has wrestled with this problem for over 130 years.

Genealogy today is big business. The marketing of genealogical services tricks novices and professionals alike into believing one’s family genealogy will be produced with a simple subscription and a few clicks of a computer keyboard. That’s a deception. Many times commercial genealogy is as riddled with errors as one’s own family lore. Likewise, the genealogy one buys needs as much scrutiny and correction as the genealogy one inherits.

As an archivist for the Rhode Island State Archives, Richard Hite wasn’t going to fall into that trap. Like every serious genealogist, Hite knew that due diligence is the only means for achieving bullet proof results. In Hite’s experience, Hite quickly grasped that every exciting discovery leads to more discoveries that are just as exciting. And every disappointing error, that is proved to be error, raises the possibility of other wrong information that needs to be investigated, studied, and not overlooked.

Along Richard Hite’s path of discovery, Hite developed an extraordinary bag of tricks for verifying inaccurate information, that he now shares in his book. For each commonly encountered problem, Hite offers his unique solution. For uncommon problems, Hite offers uncommon solutions. Hite’s skills could become the envy of any private investigator. Genealogists will continue to use this book as a reference source when confronted by difficult brick walls.

– ERIC F. JAMES

Sustainable Genealogy: Separating Fact from Fiction in Family Legends
By Richard Hite (Genealogical Publishing Inc. 2013) 110 pp. soft cover, $18.95
ISBN: 9780806319827

 

Jesse James Gang & Family Reunion 2002 Video – Pt. 3

The 3rd video in our series of “home movies” from the Jesse James family’s reunion in 2002 is now available for viewing. In this video I offer a half hour presentation, talking about Jesse’s uncle Drury Woodson James, who founded Paso Robles, California, and who almost became governor of California, had not his wife Louise stopped it.

My talk was based upon the slide show about Uncle Drury that I had published on Stray Leaves in 2001. Our technology setup at the Paso Robles Inn went awry, and I could not project the slide show on the screen behind me. That’s why you see me reading off the small screen of my laptop, and why the various reference slides pop up in the video from the slide show. You still can review the slide show at your leisure, and read the text that accompanies each slide.

This video also will give you a preview of Volume V of Jesse James Soul Liberty, which will be devoted entirely to the biography of Drury Woodson James, far more comprehensively than you find in either this video or the slide show.

Jesse James Family & Gang Reunion 2002 Video – Pt. 2

Here’s another video in our series of the Jesse James Family & Gang Reunion from 2002. Watch Mayor Frank Mechum of Paso Robles as he dedicates James Founders Day to honor Drury Woodson James, an uncle of Frank & Jesse Jame who founded Paso Robles.

Jesse James Family & Gang Reunion 2002 Video – Pt. 1

YOU’RE INVITED… to view videos from today’s family of Frank & Jesse James, as they celebrated James Founders Days in 2002 in Paso Robles California, & Drury Woodson James, founder of the town. These videos have only been seen by the James family and their friends before. Now they’re available for you. Here’s the first. There’ll be more. Have a look, LIKE the video, and your comments are welcomed. Thanks.

The Caravaggio Discovery of Joan McGreevy Green & Her Father

Joan “Jean” McGreevy-Green

Jean Green, who appears in the chapter “Underrated Men & Unleashed Feminists” of the Jesse James family in my book Jesse James Soul Liberty, Vol. I, appears here in a video, produced by the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City.

Jean speaks about her and her father’s discovery of a Caravaggio masterpiece and its subsequent acquisition.

UPDATE: Feb 2, 2015

I’m in receipt of a letter from Joan McGreevy Green, dated Jan. 30, 2015. In the letter, Mrs. Green corrects the headline to this post which formerly stated, “The Caravaggio Donation of Milton N. & Joan McGreevy Green.” Mrs. Green writes,

The Caravaggio picture was not donated by my parents, my father or me. The painting was purchased by the William Rockhill Nelson Trust.”

I am grateful for the new information Mrs. Green has provided and most appreciative for her guidance in providing an accurate factual record regarding the painting’s acquisition.  Per Mrs. Green’s request, the former headline to this post stands corrected.

Ron Hansen Revealed

Ron Hansen’s novel The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford was published in 1983. In 2009, actor Brad Pitt turned the novel into a stunning film that sadly flopped at the box office.

Both Hansen’s book and Pitt’s movie are fictional depictions. Yet both survive as the most representative of their genres regarding the accuracy of their subject icon and his factual history.

When writing Jesse James’ Soul Liberty, author Eric James twice attempted to contact Ron Hansen, seeking an interview. Soul Liberty is a history of the James family. Knowing the connections of the James family to the Catholic order of the Jesuits and that Hansen taught at a Jesuit school, the author wanted to compare notes with Hansen about the spiritual life of the James family. No response came from Hansen.

The following video is about the closest Ron Hansen comes to revealing the spirituality that guides his life and connects him to his subject matter.

Watch Catholic Writer Ron Hansen on PBS. See more from Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly.

Northfield, MN, Rakes in the Cash off Jesse James

Every year the Minnesota town of Northfield places its civic pride on display in a three day festival called the Defeat of Jesse James Days. The town celebrates its historic dismantling of the James-Younger Gang following their robbery of the First National Bank of Northfield on September 7, 1876, two days after Jesse James’ 29th birthday. The Younger brothers were captured, convicted, and imprisoned. Five years later, Jesse James was assassinated.

Since then, Northfield ironically has been the only place to truly capitalize on the James-Younger Gang’s exploits with phenomenal success. For any cash that was lost on the day of the robbery, Northfield has recouped its losses in spades.

One of the town’s most favorite events is the re-enactment of the Northfield robbery. The actors authentically recreate the event with historical accuracy gleaned from first hand accounts. The only thing missing is dirt in the street.

Words by Charlie Chaplin & Daniel Lewis James Jr., a cousin of Jesse James

Daniel Lewis James Jr. co-wrote The Great Dictatorr with Charlie Chaplin. Dan James was a cousin of Jesse James. Like most warriors of democracy, Dan James found himself persecuted for his speech. Dan’s story is told in the forthcoming history of the James family, Jesse James’ Soul Liberty, Behind the Family Wall of Stigma & Silence.

Words by Charlie Chaplin & Daniel Lewis James Jr., a cousin of Jesse James

Daniel Lewis James Jr. co-wrote The Great Dictatorr with Charlie Chaplin. Dan James was a cousin of Jesse James. Like most warriors of democracy, Dan James found himself persecuted for his speech. Dan’s story is told in the forthcoming history of the James family, Jesse James’ Soul Liberty, Behind the Family Wall of Stigma & Silence.

Words by Charlie Chaplin & Daniel Lewis James Jr., a cousin of Jesse James

Daniel Lewis James Jr. co-wrote The Great Dictatorr with Charlie Chaplin. Dan James was a cousin of Jesse James. Like most warriors of democracy, Dan James found himself persecuted for his speech. Dan’s story is told in the forthcoming history of the James family, Jesse James’ Soul Liberty, Behind the Family Wall of Stigma & Silence.