from Betty Shelden Knopf, Ed.D.  (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

Happy New Year!  According to the 2019 Old Farmer’s Almanac, the year ahead will have some fascinating trends.  Examples include pet doors operated with microchips to allow entry only to authorized animals; older collectors will crave nostalgia and younger buyers will seek simple technology such as rotary phones, film cameras, and manual typewriters; and DNA kits will help us choose foods based on genetics.  In addition, people will have self-imposed smartphone-free time periods.


Mid-century homes are popular on television home-improvement programs.  Do you remember mid-century words and phrases such as 35mm, Super 8, Ektachrome, Kodak, flashbulbs, and slide projectors?  I am currently dealing with three, yes three, large plastic storage containers, not boxes, filled with 8mm films and 35mm slides.  My grandfather, George Webster Shelden, had a small movie camera that came out regularly on birthdays and family fishing trips.  My father, Roger F. Shelden, carried on the movie tradition using the same movie camera starting when his grandchildren were born.  My goal is to do something with the movie films, over 50 rolls, and the slides, endless boxes of slides. 

I have organized the movies by dates written on the boxes.  However, we have discovered the old movie projector does not work as the rubber belt has deteriorated and no replacement is available.   Contact has been made with a specialty belt manufacturer to make a new belt.  I will give an update later.
For the last three weeks, I have been diligently viewing, sorting, and discarding 35mm slides.  I have been using a flimsy slide sorter with a light.  This has been a huge undertaking!  I have decided to send my relatives the slides of their weddings, graduations, and trips.  However, I would like some of your ideas for how to store slides and how to you display them.  Surely, I cannot be the only person to have these mid-century photo challenges.  Please contact me with your ideas!!!!

Did you know that the first week of January 1892 saw the opening of the new U.S. immigration station on Ellis Island in New York Harbor?  A 15-year old girl from Ireland named Annie Moore became the first immigrant to be processed there.  Immigrants who crossed the Atlantic disembarked to be screened by doctors and immigration officers.  If they were in good health and their papers in order, they were allowed into the United States.  Over the years, 98 percent of all those examined at Ellis Island were admitted into the country.  More than 40 percent of all U.S. citizens can trace their ancestry through those immigrants.  Ellis Island closed as an immigration station in 1954.  In 1990 it reopened as the Ellis Island Immigration Museum. (Source: The American Patriot’s Almanac by Bennett and Cribb, 2010)

I would like to challenge SFA members to share their Ellis Island stories.  Genealogy includes records, evidence and oral histories. Did your grandparents share their experiences coming to America?  Write it down to share it with your family and with your SFA family.  Send your short story to our Quarterly Editor Michelle Masson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  (The deadline is February 15, 2019.)  Please let me know if you do this.

January 28 is Data Privacy Day:  According to the Winter 2019 issue of AAA/VIA Magazine.  Guard yourself against cyber crime by changing the passwords of your online accounts.  Choose a short sentence you’ll remember.  Use at least 12 characters and create a unique one for each website.

St. Louis Trivia:  Saint Louis University was the first university founded west of the Mississippi River in 1818.  The 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis popularized a number of new foods, including the hot dog, the ice cream cone, and iced tea.  The 2019 Sheldon Family Association Reunion will be held in St. Louis.  More trivia:  St. Louis County is the birthplace of our son, Kevin Shelden Knopf.

Starting 2019 with appreciation:  In response to the December 2018 Tidbits item on storing records and documents, an SFA member replied, “I’ve created a simple private website (I am not a web developer) where I store some genealogy and I can share it with family members who might be interested.  I can access it anywhere online, sort of like your ‘cloud.’”