This is a first for me: a video blog entry!
There’s not much in the way of genealogy here; just some random musings, some thoughts about my past, and maybe, a hope or two for the future.
- I think a lot of people don’t think about the impact that being a victim of a bully can have on your life. I can still tell you the name of guy from elementary school, two years older than me that would tease me until I cried. Even to this day, when stressed, I cry easily.
- We often hear about how catty high school girls can be to other girls, but in my high school, I never experienced that. When I was sixteen, I developed alopecia, and for the next ten years, had a bald spot about the size of a quarter on the back of my head. Rather than give me a hard time about it, the girls in my school watched out for me, and let me know if my hair needed adjusting to cover over that spot.
- I still remember the look on the face of the guy at Junior Achievement that thought it was cute to come up to me and say “Hey Baldy!” at the top of his lungs, trying to be funny. He didn’t think it was so funny when I grabbed him, and slammed him against the wall. While I do regret getting angry, the look of fear in his eyes said he probably thought twice before being a smart Aleck again.
- The words “I’m sorry” or their equivalent can have such a powerful healing effect. In my senior year in high school, a girl who had teased me in elementary school admitted she and a friend had been mean to me, but that she wished she hadn’t because I was “so nice”. Just thinking back to that in a moment when I’m not feeling very positive about myself can lift my spirits in a way that no self-affirmation ever could. And Brenda, if you ever read this, thank you. I don’t know if you remember saying it, but I still remember, and it still impacts my life in a positive way.
- I may not agree with my brother all the time, but he’s the only one in the world who could convince me to beat up a girl two years older than I was because he’d get in trouble for it (he wasn’t allowed to hit girls).
- Never, EVER trust a girl who comes up and randomly starts stirring your hot cocoa while you’re standing there, holding the cup.
- The ability to fight might come in handy, but the ability to talk your way out of a fight might save your skin.
- Never try to push a car by yourself on an icy hill.
- Reading aloud is one of the best gifts you can share with a child. Thanks, Dad!
- If I had ever had grandchildren, I always had wanted to say: “When I was your age, we didn’t have all these fancy games with their 3-D graphics, and digital sound. You know what we had? Pong! You know what Pong was? Two lines and a dot!”
- The best gift I ever gave myself is learning more about my family tree.
- My brother and I once got in trouble because we stayed in the Capitol Theater to watch a second showing of “Godzilla Vs. the Smog Monster“. Mom literally came in and dragged us out. Years later she asked me why I didn’t come outside on my own to wait for her. I looked at her and said, “If I had done that, I would have gotten in trouble anyway for being outside on my own. If I was going to get in trouble anyway, I might as well watch the movie.”
- The first field trip I ever remember taking was in Kindergarten riding the train from Flint to Durand. I still love to ride trains.
- The biggest act of bravery I can remember is when my Mom and I went from Delaware to Virginia and we crossed the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel. My Mom was very afraid of bridges, and while she didn’t make it all the way across (I drove the last few miles of it), she never showed any signs of panic, and she was able to make it to a vista point on the bridge where we could safely stop. Many people each year have to be taken off the bridge.
- I used to love to listen to my Dad play the piano. He would only play bits and pieces, but “Bumble Boogie“, “Moonlight Sonata“, “Jailhouse Rock“, and “Young Love” are all songs he would play (and the last two he would sing – he has a great voice too!).
- “Young Love” was the song I remember playing on the radio when I kissed my first boyfriend.
- One of the things I loved about my Aunt Marion and Uncle Howard’s house was sliding down their stairs.
- Roma’s Pizzeria still makes the best pizza I’ve ever tasted.
- Whenever I visit Flint, I have to eat a Flint Style Coney for one meal, and a Haloburger Supreme Deluxe with cheese and olives (with a side of onion rings) for another.
- California drivers do NOT know how to drive in the rain. It starts to sprinkle and you’d think that they were in a blinding storm.
- The thing I miss most about Michigan is having four seasons. California has only two seasons: rainy and sunny.
- I always said that I grew up on “Star Trek” and Godzilla movies. I have my Dad to thank for that (Thanks, Dad!).
- Dad may have been the one to read to me at night, but Mom taught me how to read (Thanks, Mom!).
- The proudest moment I had as a child was as a Kindergartner I went over to the first grade class and read to them!
- Mrs. Darby was my favorite teacher in elementary school. Besides being my home room teacher in IGE (Individually Guided Education) for three years straight, she taught me two songs: “Grand Old Flag” and “The Star Spangled Banner”. Thanks, Mrs. Darby!
- I loved playing on the swivel stools in the breakfast nook of my Aunt Jeanette’s house.
- I can still remember playing “I’m Going Downtown to Smoke my Pipe”, “Pussy Wants a Corner”, and “Bloody Midnight”.
- I never really skipped rope solo until my Aunt Jeanette offered to give me a dollar if I could skip it ten times in a row. It took a little practice, but I earned that dollar.
- I won’t be able to get it this birthday, but I do want a Flip-Pal Mobile Scanner.
- My brother and I both had the lead in an operetta our parochial school did when we each hit 8th grade. We also both had someone in the play poke us in the eye accidentally during one performance.
- One of the craziest (or stupidest) things I have ever done is swimming in Lake Superior, solo. Even in the summer, the water is freezing!
- I have never been able to get up on a pair of water skis.
- The place I think might hold the answer to a mystery for me is Central City, Nebraska.
- The place I most want to visit is Malden, Missouri. I want to see where my great-grandparents and my grandparents lived, and would love to meet some of my second cousins that are still there!
- They say “Whenever God closes a door, He opens a window.” I’ve always wondered what happens if you close the door yourself?
- I am probably the only person I know that wrote a letter to a teacher asking for demanding a lower grade.
- The only time I cut a class as a senior, I got busted.
- I have only once cheated on a test. It was in Geometry, and I was stuck on a proof. I only read far enough to get unstuck, but I still know that I didn’t get that A on my own. I still cannot believe the teacher left the key out on his desk (though to be fair, I did have to read it upside down and backwards in order to get the info).
- Being left-handed has its advantages (like the ability to read upside down and backwards).
- My first grade teacher had wanted to make me write with my right hand. My Mom put a stop to that (Thanks, Mom!).
- The one class that I took that has helped me through life is typing. I learned on both a manual and an electric typewriter. I would recommend typing/keyboarding skills to anyone who is going to use a computer on a regular basis.
- The place I would most like to go away on a romantic getaway again is the Green Gables Inn in Pacific Grove, California.
- Our anniversary is coming up (Bill: hint, hint. ).
- I would love to visit Mackinac Island again.
- I love koalas.
- The oldest koala I have in my collection was given to me by my Mom for my 16th birthday.
- It’s a plush music box, it plays “Waltzing Matilda” and it still works!
- It’s amazing to think how many changes have happened in my lifetime. From typewriters to computers, vinyl records to tapes to discs to MP3s, black and white TV to color, and vacuum tubes to circuitry, things have gotten smaller and faster.
- Meanwhile, I’ve gotten bigger and slower.
- I hope to be around in another 50 years so I can do a list of 100 random thoughts.
I ran across this picture the other day:
I had shared a photograph of my grandmother and her sisters in an earlier post. It’s interesting to look at the two pictures and see the changes in the faces over the years.
Since Aunt Rae was born in 1905, I’m thinking this one might have been taken around 1908. That would make Donna about 12, Jeanette about 8, my Grandma about 5, and Aunt Rae about 3.
I know that by 1910, the mother of these girls, Georgia Almeda, had died. I wonder how “Poppa” fared with raising his “Little Women”.
Ancestry.com, atlas, California, Cedar Point, Central City, Columbus, family, genealogy, journey, Library of Congress, Map, maps, Merrick County, Nebraska, Ohio, Putnam County, San Francisco, Tennessee, West Virginia
For as long as I can remember, I have always loved maps. Even from a fairly young age, I understood that a dot on a map represented something out in the world; a city, a place that I could travel to and explore. I would consult maps whenever the family planned a vacation. I wanted to see what roads we’d travel, and what cities we might go through. Even for lesser journeys, I might check a map. Our family would go to Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio every few summers, and especially as the park added more and more rides, I would check the map to find the quickest way to get to the next roller coaster. Even at the mall, I would consult a “You Are Here” map to see how to get to the new shop that just opened.
In my family, I typically took the task of the navigator on long trips. I would keep the road atlas with me, and would look at it from time to time, and let whichever parent was driving (usually my Dad), know when the next turn was coming up.
In a genealogical journey, you don’t necessarily have a map to follow. You might get some data that might point you in the right direction, but the final destination can be ever elusive. However, maps do have their use in genealogy. In particular, I’ve found that historic maps can be quite helpful in finding out more about the places my ancestors lived. Today, I’m going to share with you a few resources that I’ve found helpful in my own research. Clicking on any map will take you to its source.
From 1000 AD until the present, there are maps available from several sources that can be viewed online. You can use a map feature to find what you’re looking for, or you can type in a place to search for it directly. The maps show everything from topography and resources, to city streets.
While the maps of the David Rumsey collection can be viewed through the previous link, I wanted to make special mention of this group of maps. Many of these maps are rare maps of North America (the map above is part of the collection). The interface is virtually identical to that of Old Maps Online, however, I prefer the darker background of the Rumsey site for viewing.
Borders have a way of changing through the years. As territories became states and states sometimes spawned new states or disputed ownership of land with other states, the lines that designated where one place ended and the other began evolved. Even within states, counties grew, shrank, were created, or disappeared.
You can view these changes on this atlas. Choose the state you are interested in, type in a date, and you can view the borders at that time. You have the option of also comparing them with the current county borders. I have found it useful when trying to track down relatives when they haven’t moved, but the borders did.
Stanford University compiled data from the Library of Congress‘ “Chronicling America” project to create this unique map. Over 140,000 newspapers in over 3 centuries are represented. What I like about this map is it helps me to determine what newspapers were in print for a particular place at any given point in time. There are also links that will show where archives of these papers can be found in libraries across the country. Best of all, several papers are available digitally and be searched and viewed for free.
As you can see, maps can help in our research of our ancestors. They may give us a better view of the land as it was when they lived. Maps can show the surroundings and give us a better understanding of how things looked before modern streets, roads, and buildings became part of the landscape. Maps can show the changes in boundaries between counties and states, and perhaps help us track down a relative. Maps can even be used to give us a visual representation of data that might help us discover records unlocking key clues in our genealogical journeys. I hope that some of these resources might help you as much as they have helped me. If you have other map resources that you have found, please share them.
And no, I’m not talking about Disneyland. In fact, I’ve never been to Disneyland (or Disneyworld, for that matter). That’s not to say I’ve never SEEN it. After all, growing up watching Disney each weekend, every once in a while, you would get a feature about the park or, in the case below, plans for a new park.
But, for me, the happiest place on earth wasn’t an amusement park. For me, the happiest place on earth was a farm about a half hour’s drive from our home in Flint: the home of my Aunt Georgia and Uncle Neil just outside of Lapeer, Michigan.
Now Aunt Georgia did not always live out in Lapeer. Originally, she lived in a small house near Averill Avenue in Flint. However, Aunt Georgia and Uncle Neil owned property out in Lapeer, and they had plans to build a house on it.
The property was quite large. Even the aerial shot that was taken does not show the full extent of it.
You can see on the right side that train tracks ran along side the property. The road that Aunt Georgia lived on ended at the tracks and her driveway began on the other side. The tracks at that point were up a small hill; there was no warning signal for the crossing. You would have to drive onto the hill enough to look both ways, and then cross over. Sometimes in the winter, it was too slippery for the car to cross and so you’d have to park and walk to the house (which was also up a hill, so it wasn’t easy if it was slick). I can remember at least once where we had to stay the night because we got snowed in. Of course, I didn’t mind.
The seasons were always beautiful out there. Autumn was always a wonderful time to be visiting. Fall color in their woods was able to be seen from the house, and a walk on the property allowed you to see the variety of the season.
I spent many nights with Aunt Georgia in November. Uncle Neil liked to go hunting up North on weekends during deer season, and Aunt Georgia preferred not to stay alone. She would ask me to come stay for a few days, and of course, I would. During those visits we would sit for hours in her living room and talk of many things, including family and family history. My biggest regret is that I didn’t think about writing any of it down at the time. Aunt Georgia was the family historian, and between her and my Aunt Jeanette, I learned quite a bit, but much of it is locked away in memory that I cannot access.
In Spring, things would begin to bloom. On the hillside, a garden would be planted. Typically, there would be corn, green beans, tomatoes, and carrots. One year, Aunt Georgia put in some grape vines, and after a few years, she yielded Concord Grapes. There were also some fruit trees on the property. There was one apple tree in particular that I remember. It was old and eventually died off. I seem to recall that out of the dead stump a seedling came up. I seem to recall us calling the old one ‘the pregnant tree’ because of it.
In Summer, everything was green and beautiful. Aunt Georgia also kept a flower garden which made use of an old feature on the property.
As you can see, animals were a big part of life on the farm. I can always remember my Aunt Georgia having a dog, even from before when she lived in Flint.
When my Grandpa Taylor died, he had owned a dog called Yeller (he looked a little like the dog in the movie “Old Yeller“). Walter, if I remember right, was a stray, as was, I think, Nickla.
Litska was another matter. Litska was a retired show dog. Her owners asked Aunt Georgia to take her because they were working with their newer dogs. Even a retired dog needs to be put through its paces now and again, and they knew Aunt Georgia would give the dog both the structure and attention needed. Every one of my Aunt’s dogs were well-trained. She took each one to obedience training, and I remember watching her work with each one. I learned a lot of things from her by observation that I eventually used in training my own dogs. I can still hear her praising the dogs. ”Very nice!” she would say in an approving tone, and work time would end with a rub behind the ears, or a good petting. Even Felicia, the cat, was trained. She would not come onto the furniture unless called, and even then, I believe the only furniture she was allowed onto was Aunt Georgia’s chair. She also had taught her to sheath her claws when she was on people. A soft tap on her paw if the claws came out was enough to get her to bring them back in. Only the cat was indoors full-time. The dogs, with the exception of Rags, all slept outside. They had their dog houses or kennels, of course. However, in Winter, if it was bad outside, the dogs were brought in. They were all well-behaved, and it was nice having them in with us. However, dogs and cats were not the only animals on the property.
I think the horses were one of my favorite things on the property. When I wasn’t with Aunt Georgia, I would be out with the horses. I would pull grass and clover for them, I would talk to them and pet them, and on occasion, I was able to go to the corn crib and bring them corn, or give them apples that had fallen from the tree. There were five in all. Goldie was the oldest, and I believe was mother of both Shannon and Sand. She later had Kelly. The fifth was a pony that was a Shetland/Welsh mix called Toby. Toby is the only one I ever ‘rode’ (which my uncle leading me around). He could be an ill-tempered beast; even Aunt Georgia called him a ‘booger’ on more than one occasion.
The horses had a lot of property to range on. There was a large pond that was always a fixture on the property. The fenced area allowed them to range between several fields.
We had a lot of fun at the pond, too. There was an old raft made of oil drums and wood that floated around out there for several years. My brother and I would swim out to it and the jump off. The bottom of the pond was in places mucky with silt, so it wasn’t that great to come out. I think we sometimes had to wash our legs off with the garden hose before we could go into the house.
Uncle Neil built a small dock later. Usually, he had a cane pole sitting next to it, so it was easy to get some bait (he usually had some worms he’d dug up already), and go out and fish. Even as kids, we used to fish at the sides of the pond, but growing up didn’t make fishing less fun.
You can see I was having a good time in this picture, and why not? I was at my Aunt Georgia and Uncle Neil’s farm; for me, the happiest place on earth.
‘Travelling down the road, I look back’ – opening line of a poem I wrote several years ago
I just thought I’d share the 2012 Annual Report with some comments by me.
The new Boeing 787 Dreamliner can carry about 250 passengers. This blog was viewed about 1,700 times in 2012. If it were a Dreamliner, it would take about 7 trips to carry that many people.
I’m impressed, especially after taking such a long hiatus (darn writer’s block).
In 2012, there were 32 new posts, not bad for the first year! There were 93 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 534 MB. That’s about 2 pictures per week.
I’d be more impressed with the post total if they had been consistently posted. For a while I was posting like a mad woman, and then I posted a little less often, and then I started running out of ideas and then…nothing for months.
My writing resolution this year is to post at least twice a month. If I find inspiration to do more, that’s fine, but I want to focus on having a blog that is updated regularly with quality content. Even if it’s just a photo, I want you to know why that photo was so special. What image did it capture, and why is it important in our family history?
The busiest day of the year was June 11th with 76 views. The most popular post that day was In Search of…Baby Taylor.
That particular post was a favorite of mine, and I’m glad it was well received. Thank you for all those who took time to read it.
These are the posts that got the most views in 2012. You can see all of the year’s most-viewed posts in your Site Stats.
I really liked the combination in this top five. The first deals with family trees in general, and my reflection upon them. The second deals with my father’s side of the family. The third is about my own branch of the family tree, my husband and I. The fourth talks about my mother’s side of the family. The final item in the top five gives me a chance to highlight Bill’s side of the family tree. It was a very well-rounded collection, and gives a good summary of what this blog is all about.
Some visitors came searching, mostly for tree branches, oak tree branches,tree with branches, happy anniversary poems, and mike sabados jr.
Wow…other than the family member name, these are not the search terms I would have expected.
Thank you very much for all the referrals, especially to Sheryl! I’ve been a big fan ever since I discovered her blog, and I hope she gets lots of referrals through me as well.
Most visitors came from The United States. The United Kingdom & Canada were not far behind.
There were visitors from over 60 countries in the world. I’m glad you stopped by!
Sometimes, on a journey, you veer off the path you had chosen to take. Perhaps you saw a sign offering you a chance to see some great local sight. Maybe you just happened to look over and see something to the side of the road, and you wanted to check it out.
In one instance, my husband and I, while on our honeymoon trip, were enticed by a tape.
The tape happened to mention there was a statue of the Jolly Green Giant just a few miles away from where we were travelling. Of course, I wanted to see it. So, we went, and sure enough, there he was! You almost expected to hear the “Ho, ho, ho!” from the massive, 55 foot tall guy. We didn’t stay long, but we got pictures and enjoyed a quick break from our cross-country trip.
Lately, with my research, I’ve felt pretty much the same way. I try to focus in on one person, but I might catch a glimpse of something that leads me off my path.
For instance, I started researching my great-grandmother, Bessie Mae Layne Newell Massey. I was hoping to find some additional records about Herbert Newell, her first husband and my great-grandfather. Instead, I wound up getting more information about George Massey, her second husband. While interesting, it was not what I was looking for.
I did find one item today on one of these side trips that gave me some additional information on my grandmother’s family. I was looking for information on another great-grandfather, Manford Lawson, and came upon a death certificate for one of his sons:
James was another of the family’s “One Hit Wonders”. He made his one and only appearance in 1920 on the US Census.
Sometimes, being sidetracked can be fun, but at other times, it can be frustrating. I’ve had a particular post in mind, and it just seems like every time I start the research for it, I find myself on tangents. Even fruitful moments like finding the death record for James don’t make up for the fact that, right now, I should be finding other records for other family members.
Have you ever been sidetracked like this? If so, how do you break away from the side trips and get back to your genealogical path?
In my email today, I received a note from FamilySearch Indexing. Apparently, last night, I indexed my 50th batch of information. Most of the batches that I’ve indexed have been for the 1940 US Census. I’ve indexed over 1,700 names since I started. It’s probably not all that much, but every bit counts.
If you don’t believe that, check out the numbers from a few weeks ago on July 2nd:
Over 46,000 people indexed and arbitrated over 10 million records in one day! Pretty impressive, especially considering that they had set the goal at 5 million. In 16 hours, we had surpassed that goal. Yes, I participated that day, and I was able to post 400 names that day, all from the 1940 Census. So far, I’ve indexed records in 11 states, as well as in the District of Columbia. Most of the states I have indexed are those in which ancestors of myself or my husband have lived.
If you’re a regular visitor, you may see that the picture of my header has changed. The person that took the photo is Bobbie Creech, my first cousin, once removed. He has been a wonderful ally in my genealogical journey. We have shared many pieces of information back and forth, primarily on the Newell and Whittaker lines. In an email the other night, he said, “I think all this Genealogy should be open to all and you do have my permission to reproduce any and all of the photos I send to you.” I am very excited about this! I really don’t have any of the family photos myself, other than what my Dad or others have sent to me via email. Bobbie allowing me to share photos he has shared with me allows me to introduce other family members to you in both words and pictures.
The cemetery above is Henry Cemetery, located in Putnam County, Tennessee. Many of my relatives are buried there, including two of my great-great-grandparents, and several of their family members. It sounds like it’s not an easy place to get to. According to Bobbie, “It was so far back in the woods they had to pipe sunlight in…” It looks like such a wonderful place though; I’d love to visit it one day.
I’m going to post a Wordless Wednesday this week. I plan to introduce you to my Mom’s oldest sister, whom I’ve mentioned a few times before. So get ready to meet Anna Mae shortly.
I’ve been home getting over a stomach bug the last couple of days, so I’ve been able to keep up with my blog reading (love that Google Reader allows me one easy place to keep up with all of them). I was reading today’s post of “Barking Up the Wrong Tree“. There were several quotes collected from various sites, each making claims of famous ancestry, being able to trace their lineage to Adam and Eve; in other words, people who have probably not done a lot of research on their own, and have taken at face value trees other people have created.
One quote in particular stood out:
I don’t need ancestry at the moment because my tree is complete.
This sparked a comment from Lianne Lavoie, who wrote:
Also, people who say their trees are “complete” are hilarious. I’ve never understood quite what they mean. I guess if they don’t care at all about “sideways” genealogy, and every one of their direct lines has reached a point where you can’t reasonably go back any further (eg. with Acadian ancestors, you usually can’t go further than the original immigrants)? I guess there’s a point at which I would call my tree “complete”, but I doubt I’ll get there in a lifetime.
This got me thinking of the nature of trees, and how trees and family trees share many of the same traits. To LLG70 and LinnaeLavoie, my thanks for inspiring this rare midweek post.
I think one can never call a tree “complete”. A tree is a living thing. It has roots that go down deep into the earth, drawing from it water and nutrients to sustain it. From its sturdy trunk, branches come forth, sprouting new growth each season. It is the nature of a tree to grow. A tree without growth will eventually die.
In the same way, a family tree is a living thing. Its roots are our ancestors. They go down through the ages. They are the foundation of the family. Our ancestors, like roots, provide through their lives and histories sustenance, maintaining our place in this world. Their descendants spread out through the years, each generation providing new branches, new leaves, and new growth.
I think that only when the life cycle ends could a tree ever be called “complete”. However, a dead tree will eventually decay; its roots will shrivel, its leaves and branches will fall. It will become nothing more than a stump which will in time be reclaimed by the earth, all trace of it vanishing.
My family tree I hope will never be “complete”. Even if I in my lifetime could ever hope to discover every last root, and find the story for each of my ancestors, the story still would not be complete. For the true story of any family tree lies not only in its past, but in its future as well. The branches of my family tree spread wide, and there are many leaves among those branches.
My own branch will go no further; when my leaf falls, my part of the story ends. However, the branches of my brother and my cousins will go on. Many of their branches have new growth; branches that have forked and started leaves of their own. While my own branch may vanish into history, I can only hope that what I’ve learned keeps the roots of our family tree strong to nourish generations of new branches to come.
In May, I shared a book I had written in about second or third grade (about 40 years or so ago) about my Mother. Today being Father’s Day, I wanted to share the book I wrote for my Dad. I don’t know how long it’s been since he’s seen this.
The book formula is the same as the book I wrote for my Mom. Each page starts with “A father is to”, and then the illustration and words relate to what I felt a father was supposed to do.
It is interesting looking at them side by side to see the differences in what I wrote about. The roles of Mom and Dad are very different in the eyes of my younger self.
As I did with my post in May, I’m going to present the book page by page. If you scroll over the picture, there will be my comments as an adult looking back on what I wrote.
Though distance separates us, my Dad is always close in my heart. Happy Father’s Day, Dad! I love you!