About Me

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Lake Mathews (Perris), CA, United States
Born in Illinois, I grew up in Wilmette, a northern suburb of Chicago. I have one sibling, an older brother. I am married, for the 2nd time now, to Butch & got 4 children in the deal. They have gone on to make me grandmother 25 times over & great-grandmother to over 20!. After many years working in industry, I got my bachelors and masters degrees in speech communication, & was a professor in that field for 13 years. I retired in 2001 & returned to school & got my doctorate in folklore. Now I meld my two interests - folklore & genealogy - & add my teaching background, resulting in my current profession: speaker/author/entertainer of genealogically-related topics. I play many folk instruments, but my preference is guitar, which I have been playing since 1963. I write the "Aunty Jeff" column for the Informer, newsletter of the Jefferson County NY Gen. Soc. I work in partnership with Gena Philibert-Ortega & Sara Cochran as Genealogy Journeys® where we focus on educating folks about Social History. More about that: genaandjean.blogspot.com. More on our podcasts: genjourneys.podbean.com. More about my own projects: Circlemending.org.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Music and our Military Ancestry

It's Memorial Day (officially) and the weekend when we take time to remember those who served and, especially, died so that we can enjoy our freedoms. It's easy to take these things for granted, but there are many ways that those memories are brought back to mind. One way this is done is with music (you knew I was going there). Many songs born of wartime are still sung in all types of venues: in churches, around the piano in the parlor, and around campfires (the Boy Scouts sing a version of "Tenting on the Old Campground," many not realizing that this song is from the Civil War and the "Campground" was the area where revival encampments took place, not where folks pitched tents for recreation).

Many popular songs about war focus on the opposition to war (check Songfacts for a list of titles and links), but songs that recognize the service of our military personnel date back to the prior Centuries. WWI and WWII both spawned songs of patriotism and hope. The series "Songs that got us through WWII" is a perfect example. Wikipedia has a great article on the role of music in WWII. Perhaps by the 1940s they'd discovered that previous wars benefited from having music as an element of conflict: WWI had its songs, too (many are still sung today). And all of these are a carry over from the 1861-1865 conflict where music was prolific on both sides. There are so many websites devoted to this topic that it is hard to select just a few to share here, but here's an attempt:

The Music of the American Civil War
The Civil War Music Site
Keith & Rusty McNeil's Civil War Music Site
The Civil War Music Store
Check this collection of videos of the songs of the War of the Rebellion

My own CD of Civil War songs is also available on-line.

There are also songs from the Revolutionary War. Check these:

Songs and Ballads of the American Revolution
Keith & Rusty McNeil's Colonial and Revolution Songs
And this collection of videos of the songs of the Revolutionary War

So, as you remember the men and women who served this country to obtain and preserve our freedom, take a moment to make music part of that recognition.

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