Sunday, December 4, 2011

Christmas Ornaments- Advent Calendar

One of the greatest traditions throughout my lifetime in my family has involved the ornaments that decorate the trees of each member of my immediate family.

Of course as a child, they consisted of those wonderful large bulbs that we would unscrew from the plug in order to put a reflector behind it for added shine. A year or so ago as my mother cleaned out part of her attic she mentioned that she still had those light strands and reflectors and I asked if I could have a small box with some of them. I haven't yet decided how I will reuse them, but when my creativity allows and the spirits speak, I will know.

A Favorite From My Grandmother
A few years ago I wrote about a series of wooden ornaments (one pictured here) that belonged to my maternal grandmother. I so looked forward to these being revealed each year from the crumpled newspaper that protected them that I would just sit by the box or follow my mother around until she would finally give in and stop all other household chores so the tree decorating could commence. These had to be placed on the tree by me so that I could watch them when I laid on the couch in the dark watching the lights dance. To this day I could not explain their interest to me, but I would not trade anything for them today, and yes..... they now grace my tree.

Another tradition that has carried on through the years....... The Christmas Pickle.

By firepileRobin Zebrowski on Flickr- some rights reserved- must attribute

There are many versions of the story of The Christmas Pickle online and I would encourage you to spend a few minutes reading them, especially if you have any German ancestry, but the irony for me is that despite a strong German ancestry, I knew none of this until recent years. I just knew that in our family there was usually a pickle hidden in the tree with a hidden meaning behind each year. One year for us my mother had the girls in the family search for it. The first one of us ladies that succeeded in finding the pickle received a special jewelry gift. (Of course, we all in the end got some jewelry, but the fun was in the hunting). Another time she had something for the grandchildren. As each of us grew up and began families of our own, my mother gifted each of us with a pickle to carry on the tradition.

A couple of years ago, long after my daughter was basking in her gifts at our house, I mentioned that there was something hidden in the tree that was the key to one last gift. I laughed as I watched this intense hunt throughout the branches, all the better of course if the pickle is partially camouflaged. Once the glass pickle ornament was handed to me, I pointed to the den and two wrapped presents which were really her big presents that year.

We have one more ornament tradition..............Hallmark. These days if  you go to any of our homes in December our trees truly carry the story of our lives. I think I will save that for later this month.

I know that it has been a very, very, very long time since I was last on here. I will spare any explanations. Sometimes our today lives prevent focusing on our past lives, and that is that. Glad to be back.

Hope all is well with each of you as the hustle and bustle of the season surrounds you.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Serendipity Sunday- Geneabloggers Leads Me to New "Cousin"

Serendipity Sunday is one of my new inventions toward a more effective blog.. This idea came out of the realignment of my goals for this blog a few months ago (Changes, they are a coming). and I decided that if I gave it a name and a day of the week I will be more inclined to continue writing the entries I want to share with others.

Thomas MacEntee of Geneabloggers has a weekly salute to new blogs every Saturday. He lists them, their location, and some information about the blog. I look forward to this each week and read them without fail. I often add them to my reading list in support. After all, not too long ago I had the honor of being placed on that list and the support from others was (and still is) amazing.

Last week one of the blogs listed was My Family Orchard,  an individual family blog designed to "keep you updated on latest findings, brick walls, and mistakes among other topics. I always make it a point to read a bloggers Profile and any other special headers they have that describe their ancestral locations, purpose of the blog, and surnames important to them, as well as the type of writings and entries they choose to publish.

Lo and behold, I found what Ken calls a "shirt-tail cousin" in his wife. I don't know about you, but I'll take a cousin of any level when it comes to a common ancestor that was born in 1772. I was delighted when reading his blog and discovered that he had listed the surnames WILSON and LEE from Ohio County, Kentucky. I sat up straight, read this again, and before I a chance to say "Shazaaam!" out loud I was already finishing my first email post to the author of this blog (Ken).

Since that first contact, Ken and I have sent several emails back and forth about the family line and are already discussing plans to meet one another in the future.

I don't believe these events happen by accident. You see Samuel WILSON and his wife Winnie LEE are at the top of my research lists and are 1/2 of the reason I am planning another trip back to the Ohio County, Kentucky courthouse within the next two weeks. Having someone else within our blogging community to share information, ideas, etc., with is wonderful.

Next Sunday I'll share another event that is related to the last time I went to Ohio County.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday- 20 September 2011

Gilbert McDonald and wife Edna Fitzgerald, my Great Grand Aunt & Uncle
Gilbert born 16 Nov 1881 and passed away 4 Nov 1965
Edna born 8 April 1893 and she passed away 8 Feb 1983

They are buried in White County, Illinois

Monday, September 19, 2011

More Information on Lemuel for Military Monday

Now that I have regained use of the computer and scanner I can return to the goals for this blog, one of those being to use the records I am acquiring on Lemuel Tucker to discuss, share, and analyze as I work to see if I can't break through this long lasting brick wall on his ancestry.

Today I am going to show a timeline I assembled from his Muster Rolls while serving. I find putting them into list  form helps me visualize the information more clearly.

Lemuel's Muster In Date was 21 Dec 1863 in Carmi, Illinois as a Private in Company E 13 Regiment Illinois Calvary. Bounty paid was $60.
Muster Rolls for 13 Cav. Ill. state the folllowing:
21 Dec 1863 to Feb 29 1864- Present
Mar & April 1864- Present
May & June 1864- Present
July & Aug 1864- Present
Sept. & Oct. 1864- Absent month in Gen'l Hospl
Nov & Dec 1864- Absent month in Gen Hospt,  Bounty due, $2 premium
Jan & Feb 1865- Absent North Gen Hospt, Bounty due $2 premium
Mch & Apl 1865- Absent North in Gen. Hospl, bounty due
May & June 1865- Discharged May 3/65 for disability injuries rec'd in line of duty; *M. Roll of Mound City Hosp. for Nov & Dec 64 reports him "absent without leave." list of casualities for Nov. 1864 (same Hosp) reports "Furlough expired Nov. 24/64 reported deserted Nov. 30/64. Casualities for Dec 1864 report him "Readmitted from desertion Dec. 18/64".

The Hospital Muster Rolls from Mound City, Illinois and Jefferson Barracks, Missouri do not further describe either the cause of Lemuel's long standing illness that led to such a long stay or the circumstances surrounding his "absence without leave." However, that information is included in his discharge papers.

Here is part of his Certificate of Disability for Discharge from service that explains  the reason for his disability discharge.

Portion of Lemuel's Disability Discharge signed by Surgeon

Next time we will delve into the pensioner records that contain much more information about Lemuel and his family. Maybe some clues will begin to surface.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Stories From The Road- Childhood Home & House Plans

As stated in an earlier post of mine (Changes they a coming), one of my new regular features is going to be "Stories From the Road." This is going to cover ancestral homes and businesses, as well as places that played a role in the social history fabric of my family. Stories From The Road is also meant to cover some of our adventures while traveling in the pursuit of further exploration of the family.

Today this road leads to the front door of my childhood home. I couldn't really imagine starting any other place, since due to that home and all the memories that came with it, so began my earliest forays into the exploration of our family history. Ironically, at the time I had not dug enough into all the crooks and crannies of this home to  find the treasure of a 1911 history of part of the family written by my great-grandfather nor the earliest example of a scrapbook that my grandmother had done as a gift for her daughter to show the family history in photos. Those great finds came a few years later.

My childhood had had the distinction of being the family home on my maternal side of the family for three generations of the family for over 40 years! My maternal grandparents purchased the home newly built on a double lot in what was a growing part of Evansville at the time and actually now is only a few miles from the Ohio River in  many would consider to be part of the near Downtown area of Evansville. My mother grew up in this home, and with the exception of a few months in the beginning of their marriage, this was the home that my parents raised their children in, surrounded by our grandmother, and for my siblings for several years, an elder pair of great aunts of my grandmother.

Our home was 3 stories when you consider that we had a full basement that contained a fruit cellar, a converted laundry room that once was full of the coal that heated our home, and a large area for parties with a bar that I once converted into a paying haunted house for the neighborhood, but was used much more by my older siblings for their parties (which I enjoyed sneaking down and watching from the steps).

The upstairs held 3 bedrooms, a bathroom and 2 attics. My brother's room was in the middle in the hallway and I always thought the upstairs was spooky. Tthere was more than once that I took off in a dead run down that hallway to get to my parents, convinced a monster would grab me from my brother's doorway as I ran back. During the war years when there was so much building of war materials in Evansville (another story), my grandmother rented out the upstairs to boarders and also part of the main floor, which I've been told has been rearranged more times than my living room ever will.Getting to the main floor could only be done for me by sliding down the stairs as though they were my own playground.

Once I arrived downstairs my first focus was usually to the kitchen that ran across the back of the house, and to this day the memories and smells from my grandmothers special Christmas cookies and other recipes come flooding right back. From there I could either walk back towards the stairs and go into what was my playroom as a child and down the hall towards the front of the home, passing a sewing room and a small office/kitchen on the way to what ended up being my grandmother's bedroom once all the boarders and others had moved on. The other doorway took me into the family living room where we watched tv, and I can vividly remember where every one was sitting when we watched the first moon landing as well as the resignation of Nixon a few years later. The front room was the "formal living room" (you know, the one with the furniture we children weren't allowed to sit on except for Christmas Day, and even then I actually wound up on the floor.

We moved from this home as I was getting close to entering high school, and at the time I was full of anger and feelings too strong to be able to handle in all the right ways because it meant a new school and all the changes that came with it. My father knew what I didn't understand- that the neighborhood was changing and we needed to move while we could get the best prices for our home, but we sure made it hard for him.

I have recently reconnected with many of those friends and am grateful for that. A few months after we left I decided to draw a very detailed house plan for myself of the home because I was afraid I would forget all the little parts as time went on- wise beyond my years for that one. I am actually in the process of having my parents help me draw some house plans (not like an architect) of a few homes that have played such important roles in their lives. This includes the home in Maunie my father spent every summer at, the place by railroad he lived in as a child, and the first home his father ever bought for the family.

Why not do the same for yourself? Use some graph paper, place some photos on the table with you if you have any, and start with a very rough block the first time. Scale is not what is important. Turn on a recorder if you are doing this with others (or even on your on) because memories may come up that you don't want to miss, and these may also assist with further development of the plans as time goes on.

For our childhood home, my sister commissioned an artist she knew to paint the house twice- once as it looked during her childhood, and then again for my parents as it looked at the time we moved, and gave it to them for Christmas that year. What a treasure!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday

copyright KE for this blog only

Karl Martens
1824- 1888

My 2nd great-grandfather
Buried in Rose Hill Cemetery, Warrick County, Indiana

Monday, September 12, 2011

The 99+ Genealogy Meme- Come Aboard!

Becky at kinexxions developed a list of 99+ genealogy things you might have done, or may do in the future with the assistance of several others in the blogging community. This list was posted originally two years ago, and then Becky decided to revisit the list a couple days ago, which I am glad she did since I never saw the original.

Instructions are listed below. be sure to post a link on Kinexxions when you are finished.

The list is annotated in the following manner:
Things you’ve already done: bold face type
Things you’d like to do: italicize
Things you haven’t done and don’t care to: plain type

  1. Belong to a genealogical society.
  2. Researched records onsite at a court house.
  3. Transcribed records.
  4. Uploaded tombstone pictures to Find-A-Grave.
  5. Documented ancestors for four generations (self, parents, grandparents, great-grandparents)
  6. Joined Facebook.
  7. Cleaned up a run-down cemetery.
  8. Joined the Genea-Bloggers Group.
  9. Attended a genealogy conference.
  10. Lectured at a genealogy conference.
  11. Spoke on a genealogy topic at a local genealogy society.
  12. Been the editor of a genealogy society newsletter.
  13. Contributed to a genealogy society publication.
  14. Served on the board or as an officer of a genealogy society.
  15. Got lost on the way to a cemetery.
  16. Talked to dead ancestors.
  17. Researched outside the state in which I live.
  18. Knocked on the door of an ancestral home and visited with the current occupants.
  19. Cold called a distant relative.
  20. Posted messages on a surname message board.
  21. Uploaded a gedcom file to the internet.
  22. Googled my name.
  23. Performed a random act of genealogical kindness.
  24. Researched a non-related family, just for the fun of it.
  25. Have been paid to do genealogical research.
  26. Earn a living (majority of income) from genealogical research.
  27. Wrote a letter (or email) to a previously unknown relative.
  28. Contributed to one of the genealogy carnivals.
  29. Responded to messages on a message board.
  30. Was injured while on a genealogy excursion.
  31. Participated in a genealogy meme.
  32. Created family history gift items (calendars, cookbooks, etc.).
  33. Performed a record lookup.
  34. Took a genealogy seminar cruise.
  35. Am convinced that a relative must have arrived here from outer space.
  36. Found a disturbing family secret.
  37. Told others about a disturbing family secret.
  38. Combined genealogy with crafts (family picture quilt, scrapbooking).
  39. Think genealogy is a passion not a hobby.
  40. Assisted finding next of kin for a deceased person (Unclaimed Persons).
  41. Taught someone else how to find their roots.
  42. Lost valuable genealogy data due to a computer crash or hard drive failure.
  43. Been overwhelmed by available genealogy technology.
  44. Know a cousin of the 4th degree or higher.
  45. Disproved a family myth through research.
  46. Got a family member to let you copy photos.
  47. Used a digital camera to “copy” photos or records.
  48. Translated a record from a foreign language.
  49. Found an immigrant ancestor’s passenger arrival record.
  50. Looked at census records on microfilm, not on the computer.
  51. Used microfiche.
  52. Visited the Family History Library in Salt Lake City.
  53. Visited more than one LDS Family History Center.
  54. Visited a church or place of worship of one of your ancestors.
  55. Taught a class in genealogy.
  56. Traced ancestors back to the 18th Century.
  57. Traced ancestors back to the 17th Century.
  58. Traced ancestors back to the 16th Century.
  59. Can name all of your great-great-grandparents.
  60. Found an ancestor’s Social Security application.
  61. Know how to determine a soundex code without the help of a computer.
  62. Used Steve Morse’s One-Step searches.
  63. Own a copy of Evidence Explained by Elizabeth Shown Mills.
  64. Helped someone find an ancestor using records you had never used for your own research.
  65. Visited the main National Archives building in Washington, DC.
  66. Visited the Library of Congress.
  67. Have an ancestor who came over on the Mayflower.
  68. Have an ancestor who fought in the Civil War.
  69. Taken a photograph of an ancestor’s tombstone.
  70. Became a member of the Association of Graveyard Rabbits.
  71. Can read a church record in Latin.
  72. Have an ancestor who changed their name.
  73. Joined a Rootsweb mailing list.
  74. Created a family website.
  75. Have more than one "genealogy" blog.
  76. Was overwhelmed by the amount of family information received from someone.
  77. Have broken through at least one brick wall.
  78. Visited the DAR Library in Washington D.C.
  79. Borrowed microfilm from the Family History Library through a local Family History Center.
  80. Have done indexing for Family Search Indexing or another genealogy project.
  81. Visited the Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
  82. Had an amazing serendipitous find of the "Psychic Roots" variety.
  83. Have an ancestor who was a Patriot in the American Revolutionary War.
  84. Have an ancestor who was a Loyalist in the American Revolutionary War.
  85. Have both Patriot & Loyalist ancestors.
  86. Have used Border Crossing records to locate an ancestor.
  87. Use maps in my genealogy research.
  88. Have a convict ancestor who was transported from the UK.
  89. Found a bigamist amongst the ancestors.
  90. Visited the National Archives in Kew.
  91. Visited St. Catherine's House in London to find family records.
  92. Found a cousin in Australia (or other foreign country).
  93. Consistently cite my sources.
  94. Visited a foreign country (i.e. one I don't live in) in search of ancestors.
  95. Can locate any document in my research files within a few minutes.
  96. Have an ancestor who was married four times (or more).
  97. Made a rubbing of an ancestors gravestone.
  98. Organized a family reunion.
  99. Published a family history book (on one of my families).
  100. Learned of the death of a fairly close relative through research.
  101. Have done the genealogy happy dance.
  102. Sustained an injury doing the genealogy happy dance.
  103. Offended a family member with my research.
  104. Reunited someone with precious family photos or artifacts.

What would your list like? I'd love to know.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

September the 11th

September the 11th.

When one hears that phrase there is no need to add any explanation, much as June the 6th, or Hitler, or even some of the other words and phrases that exist in our vocabulary now that didn't exist then, such as Facebook or Google.

But this carries so much more to the people of today who only understand the earlier ones in history books or old movies being remade. I write this as I watch the tributes on television this morning and wipe the tears off my face, remembering just as vividly the feelings I felt that beautiful breezy morning ten years ago. I had sent my beautiful daughter off to school and was at home recuperating from a recent accident that was interfering from work duties, and had decided to turn on the television to catch up on the daily news. Like many, the view was of the first tower on fire and all the confusion as the newscasters were trying to determine what had caused this incident, and was staring at the screen when I clearly saw the second plane crash into the other tower. I immediately called my father to make sure he was watching the news and then can't remember the next time I left the television over the coming hours.

My daughter tells me that she learned of the terrorist attacks because her class was walking by the principal's open door of her office as several teachers and the principal were glued to the television in her office and expressing their own fear, which led to her own. As a mother (and a clinical social worker), of course my anger with the school was very high when I learned that they handled that so poorly with the children, but my job was to be a calm, reassuring mother when she came home that evening. I can remember that CNN actually had a professional on in the midst of the crisis of the day who told us parents that one of the worst things we could do was to keep the television flooded with the images of the plane crashes day and night. So, when she got home that night I asked her what she knew, and what she wanted to know. We knelt in our living room floor and prayed for everyone, later watched President Bush speak to the country, and then I made it my mission to make my daughter feel as safe as she could in a world that had just turned upside down.

My father began wearing a flag button on his shirt within a couple days of September the 11th.

He still wears it every day.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

I Wish I Could........

I wish I could......

publish my post about a typical meal around the table as a child

describe my childhood home as the first "Stories From The Road" entry as I had described earlier this month

scan in my next entry regarding the Civil War service of Lemuel Tucker as I work to fill in his life and search for ways to break through that wall

be part of tonight's "Saturday Night Fun" and explain how ironic it was that it led to further records in my tree

But alas, the technology gremlins have entered my household and stolen my abilities to enter photos onto my blog, disrupted the scanner to such an level that the poor girl refuses to work even though the rest of her all-in-one parts are cooperating, and even Microsoft Word has decided to enter into the party just for fun.

As I write this I am waiting for my laptop to return from an amazing technology marvel who blessedly enough is actually a "cousin" that holds my genealogy world (yes, it is backed up on external drives I can't use right now), and am using a newer desktop that is doing all the fighting I am referring to above that now is about to be worked on remotely by same blessed man.

All of this at the same time that I am trying to prepare for a courthouse trip for a couple days.

Thank God that I am one who still believes in keeping some of my work in paper form or I would really be up a creek.

I'd put a picture of that on here right now, but, well, ............ you get the idea.

Soon the moon and the stars will align again in my universe.  

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Eckardt- Tombstone Tuesday

Florence and Ervin ECKARDT taken by KE 
Florence was born in 1913 and died in 2003.
Ervin was born in 1904 and died in 1953.
They are buried in Oak Hill Cemetery, Evansville, Vanderburgh County, Indiana.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Military Monday- Lemuel Tucker

Lemuel Tucker is my 3rd Grandfather, and one of my tallest brick walls. There is much known of my 3rd Grandmother, Martha Ann Cozart and her line back to the Huguenots, but he is doing his best to be elusive. Some prefer to do that, and on my crazy days I would swear they do so just for the heck of it. Sometimes I find myself  imagining them sharing conversations much as the ghosts in the paintings in the halls at Hogwarts School in the Harry Potter movies.

The truth is I probably wouldn't want it any other way. After all, how much fun would family history be if I was just handed a 100% completed manual that contained every single record, connection, and story all the way back to Adam and Eve?

So when it comes to Lemuel I am assembling all the known data I can in the process of building his life, and his Civil War records at The National Archives are one of those sources.  I plan on sharing parts of those records over the coming weeks. Martha Ann Cozart had a brother, David, who served in the military at the same time. The difference in files in information and size is interesting, and I will later share parts of his as well to show how much they can vary.

Lemuel Tucker Volunteer Enlistment (provided by KE)
What I did learn from the Volunteer Enlistment of Lemuel Tucker on 21 Dec 1863:

He was born in White County, Illinois, was 21 years of age when he enlisted in the 13th Regiment Illinois Calvary, had gray eyes, dark hair, dark complexion, was 5 feet 11 inches tall, and left his mark instead of a signature.  

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Changes, they are a coming

I wrote a couple weeks ago that I was reevaluating my use of this blog and how I wanted to make the space more productive for myself and for others who read the contents. After giving myself some time to think through the possibilities, as well as my to-do lists, I am prepared to discuss them now.

When I first began this blog, I stated that I wanted to use the space to "display information about my ancestors and their life, as well as to use it as a forum for discussing other ancestors from the Tri-State of Indiana, Illinois, and Kentucky." I also wanted to use this blog to discuss brick walls I needed help with.

Over time illness had prevented consistent use of this blog and the blogging community I love and respect, and I have also failed to stay the course with many of the goals I initially planned for this space. Now with thought and planning, I have established the parameters for the next few months of this blog.  One of the first things I did was to revamp my "Surnames and Locations" page to place the surnames more specifically into the states and counties that are relevant to my research. I will be adding my "Research Toolbox" within the next week, as well as defining my stand more clearly on copyright and links to these pages.

Content coming in upcoming weeks will include the following:

Military Monday
Civil War Papers of Lemuel Tucker and David Cozart
Information regarding ancestors in World War II

Local Events in History in Newspapers and Other Media
Discuss events in history that affected the Tri-State area, such as the 1937 flood, 1925 tornado, and the Civil War

Serendipity Stories & Breaking Brick Walls 
Times when the heavens parted and all fell in place as well as the stories of recent brick wall discoveries AND the walls I still need help climbing

Courthouse Conquests 
My catchy theme for courthouse finds

Stories From The Road 
Ancestral Homes, Businesses, Places important to my family directly and by means of living in the area, social history related information

Character Sketches 
This idea comes straight from a recent webinar conducted by Lisa Alzo of The Accidental Genealogist . I would like to add these once or twice a month. This will force (make me- smile) to write the narratives I need to on my ancestors and add the sources correctly.

The Writings of Those Before 
It has been sometime since I quoted the entries from the 1911 journal of my great-grandfather, John James Raley. I would like to get back to those. In addition, there were some other members of my family who have written journals, books, etc. and I would like to add those writings at times to share.

Research Strategies & Tips 
The title is self-explaining

Of course there are other entries to continue with, including Tombstone Tuesday, Surname Saturday, Treasure Chest Thursday, and all the other themes that are described on Geneabloggers and suggested by fellow bloggers. I am excited about the possibilities for this blog, and expanding the options to not only include specifics about my family, but to also add more information about the Tri- State area and also the other areas relative to my ancestors.

Surname Saturday- Darling/Utley

It has been some time since I have added an entry to this category, so now is time to correct that. I prefer to protect the generations closest to myself for various reasons, so I will begin further up the branches,

1. Myself
2. My Father
3. My Mother
4. My Paternal Grandfather
5. My Paternal Grandmother
6. My Maternal Grandmother
7. My Maternal Grandmother

46. John Darling was born about 1830 in Massachusetts. It is possible that his middle name is Nathan.
47. Parthenia Utley was born about 1823 in Virgina to Wilson Utley and Rhoda Ann Moore.
           John Darling and Parthenia Utley married on 19 Oct 1851 in Gibson County, Indiana. They had the following children:

i.  John W. Darling , born about 1853 in Indiana

+ 23 ii. Rhoda Jane Darling , born 4 Oct 1855 in Gibson County, Indiana. She married John McDonald 18 Oct 1874 in Gibson County, Indiana and died 22 May 1931 in White County, Illinois where she is buried.

iii. Benjamin Darling, born about 1856 in Gibson County, Indiana. He married Anna Couch on 26 Dec 1892 in Gibson County, Indiana, and died 28 Mar 1902 in Evansville, Vanderburgh County, Indiana.

iv. Nathan Darling, born in 1860 in Indiana. Nathan married Ellen P. Deweese 3 Jul 1889 in Gibson County, Indiana.

v. Susan Anna Darling, born 20 Dec 1864 in Gibson County, Indiana. Susan married Henry Wilhite 19 Mar 1881 in Gibson County, Indiana. Susan died 13 Aug 1948 in Evansville, Vanderburgh County, Indiana, and is interred at Locust Hill cemetery. According to her obituary listed at, at the time of her death Susan left behind 5 daughters, 3 sons, 30 grandchildren, 77 great-grandchildren, 3 great- great grandchildren, and nieces and nephews.

94. Wilson Utley, born 20 Dec 1777 in Goochland, Goochland, Virginia. He died 16 Sep 1869 in Gibson County, Indiana.

95. Rhoda Ann Moore, born about 1795 in Virginia. She died about 1870 in Gibson County, Indiana.

          Wilson Utley and Rhoda Ann Moore were married about 1816 in Greenbriar, Doddridge, West Virginia. They had the following children:

i. Montraville Washington Utley, born 24 Jul 1817 in Goochland, Goochland, Virginia. He married Eliza Jane Wheeler on 21 Feb 1839 in Gibson County, Indiana and died on 17 May 1872 in Albion, Edwards, Illlinois.

ii. John Utley, born about 1822.

+ 47 iii. Parthenia Utley, born about 1823 in Virginia. She married John Darling on 19 Oct 1851 in Gibson County, Indiana, and died about 1905 in Illinois.

iv. James Utley was born about 1824.

v. Mary Utley was born about 1825.

vi. William Utley was born about 1826.

William Utley and his wife Rhoda Ann Moore are the only branch of the Utley family that moved from the Virgina area.

Please feel free to contact me if anyone listed above is connected to you in any way. I would love to share further information, discover connections, or meet cousins. The welcome mat is always open!!!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday

Arthur & Nettie DOWNEN
Dec  17, 1876               Jan 26, 1882
Jan  19, 1923                 Feb  7, 1950

Buried in White County, Illinois

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday

Eslie M White
son of
E. L. & S. A.
July 9, 1877
July 25, 1878
Deepest child thou hast
left us, And thy loss we
deeply feel, Tis the lord
that has bereft us, Of
one we loved so deeply

Cannon Cemetery, Ohio County, Kentucky

Monday, July 4, 2011

Proud To Be An American

I am the product of sentiment. I don't think I ever stood a chance. Tears rise and fall in situations that are as varied as witnessing my child in a sports contest, finding the answer at the conclusion of a long novel, or holding in my hands the actual marriage bond signed by an ancestor from 1814. I still fight tears even as my hands roll the drums whenever I hear the song made famous by  Lee Greenwood years ago.

I come from good stock,or at least that's what I tell my daughter in pride when something funny happens that reminds one of us of one of the mannerisms that is so like one of her grandparents. Today is the ultimate day to honor those brave souls who went through all manners of conflict and success as they chose this country over all sorts of sacrifice.

So today, ancestors of mine, know that you are not forgotten.

- those who fled persecution in far lands because of your religious beliefs
- those  who continued to face some of the same religious persecution once arriving
- the immigrants who arrived with no understanding of the language but refused to be deterred
- the brave souls who fought in every manner of conflict these lands have encountered since the beginning
- the women who ran the households, raised the children, worked the farms, or assumed the jobs of their husbands when they were lost to war, disease, or scandal

Independence Day is the reward for all these sacrifices.

Liberty Bell & Independence Hall copyright Kim Eisman
 "Proclaim Liberty throughout all the Land unto all the Inhabitants thereof" Leviticus 25:10
(inscription on the Liberty Bell) 

Friday, July 1, 2011

Happy, Happy Birthday!!

It's hard to believe that an anniversary has arrived upon this humble little blog today. Last year I neglected the fact for some time and I didn't want to make that mistake today or to let it appear that I am unaware of the blessings and lessons that have come from having this blog.

Some neglect has come upon this site in recent weeks and those that have been with me over time know that there are times when this occurs due to some severe health issues. Despite my best efforts and one A+ medical team the struggle for stability remains out of our reach for me right now, but we're not throwing in the towel. This year has resulted in several breaks in the infamous brick wall and exciting discoveries are right on the Golden Tree for the picking. I recently shared in general terms some of this information, and intend to expand on that in the future.

Birthdays are often times of celebration of the current, reflection on what passed, and redirecting energies onto those items that matter in the "bucket list.,or at least they are for me. Blog anniversaries follow this path as well. This space and those that take a moment to drop by deserve a thoughtful evaluation on my part, and so I  hope that in coming weeks you will notice the fruits of my assessment.

Thanks so very much to those of you who take the time to stop by and read my antics, leave a comment, and have encouraged me over these past couple of years. What a fantastic community we have!

Much I have learned with your support. Much remains to learn.

Thank you!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Surname Saturday

This is one area I have neglected here and decided that it's time I start entering this data. I never know, but maybe I'll find another cousin along the way. I am using the example that Randy Seaver of Genea-Musings uses at this time.

This weekend I am following part of my paternal's line back to John Rankin Tucker and his family

I    Me
II. My Father
III. My Mother
IV  My paternal grandfather

VI  John Rankin Tucker is my paternal great-grandfather.. John was born abt 19 Oct 1867 in White County, Illinois to Lemuel Tucker and Martha Jane Cozart.

John  married Rilda/Rildy/or Rilda E Cooper 21 Mar 1892 in White County, Illinois. John and Rilda had one child, a son Clarence Lemuel Tucker (No. IV) born 19 Nov 1896.  This marriage ended within a few years, but the reason is unknown up to now. (I still need to find a death record for Rilda or divorce proceedings).

John married for the second time to Virginia Kingery (born 4 Feb 1886 in Illinois)

Children born to this union were:

Adrian Tucker (born 15 Oct 1902 in White County, Illinois and died 26 Feb 1965) Adrian married Florence Allison and they had one daughter, Hazel Marie.

Snowdie Alice Tucker was born 19 Mar 1914 in White County, Illinois and died 26 Oct 1930 in White County. She was too young to marry at the time of her death.

Nothing makes me happier than to meet others who are researching the same families that I am. If any of these people are familiar to you and you would like to share or discuss information, please feel free to contact me. The welcome mat is always open.

Midyear Updates

I decided to take a moment and look back at the goals I made in January for 2011 since we are halfway through the year in order to ensure that I am staying the course and this is what I discovered:

1) Scan as many of the photos and documents in immediate family members possessions as possible

This is a continual process, but I am having success. I've attended Scanfest, and borrowed papers, and photos from family to ensure copies of all items are dispersed over several households.

2) Catch up and stay current in my ProGen Class

I continue to struggle with this

3) Continue to follow leads on the McDaniel/Munsey side of my family

This was a large brickwall in my family that is finally opening with trips to Posey County, Indiana. More trips are needed to see what records can be copied and studied for further study.

4) Visit White County, Illinois and Ohio County, Kentucky

Spent 3 days in Ohio County in March and should be back there for 2 days next week to do research and connect with some relatives we have met. White County will be later in June or mid July.

I feel fairly well about those at this point in the year, and have accomplished other steps as well:

I have taken several other courthouse trips for records throughout southern Indiana
Ordered some films from Salt Lake City
Attended  local workshops on history and genealogy topics and many webinars
Obtained military records from the Civil War and service records from St. Louis
Located a few naturalization records (Finally!)
Continued the process of the dream my mother has of joining the DAR

Sometimes I think we spend so much time spinning as we go about the process of "getting" that we (or at least I) forget to take a moment to breathe and really study what I actually have in order to put my family in perspective and treasure them even more. Taking a moment to see where I stand really can be inspiring.

Now it's time to get back to enjoying my family more and focusing on obtaining those goals.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Memorial Day 2011

My family has spent a large part of every Memorial Day weekend since I was a child (and before of course) going to the cemeteries and placing flowers on the tombstones of the family members that have gone before us.

As a child those days were of play and running among the stones, admiring the flowers and playing with all the little critters that were revealing themselves as spring turned to summer. No one stopped us and told us that pure quiet was the only sound allowed, that tears were accepted and laughter not. In some ways I miss those times. Don't misunderstand me- I shed plenty of tears this past weekend with my family as we loaded up in the van and visited some country cemeteries, especially as we laid flowers for dearly loved family members that last year were with us to share laughter and silly stories. Instead at one point I was singing a special church hymn as my father placed flowers for a sister he admired so much and could barely get through the words.

What I was able to appreciate as we left that little (and I mean little) cemetery in White County, Illinois and headed to another was the paradox of the day, because just an hour later I stood at another White County, Illinois cemetery that held my  great grandparents among other relatives and instead of tears and a hymn we were laughing and shaking hands with a new connection to the family tree that held some answers I had been wondering about for years.

These times however, instead of remembering myself as a child or worrying about whether my reactions were appropriate to others- I went back in time. As I climbed the hill where my great-grandparents and three of their children are buried I could almost see each of them at the site of the other when it was their time and their service. I am a big believer in "walking the ground" of my ancestors to a degree, and no where do I feel and sense them more than when walking through a cemetery. Maybe it is because of the deep emotions that are exhibited and felt on that land.

I have so many to honor today in my family for their service to this country and patriotism runs very, very deep within us. My father served in the Navy during WWII in the Pacific aboard the USS Remey at the same time his brother was on PT Boat 309 in the Mediterranean. My brother, brother-in-law and now deceased husband all played rolls in the service during Vietnam. There are ancestral ties to the Civil War, the Revolution, and battles in between and I proudly salute them throughout Memorial Weekend, but maybe I ought to follow the example of my father. He proudly wears an American flag pin every single day of his life.

Maybe its time I ask him if he has a spare..  

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Visiting Courthouses

As the dreary days of snow fade to budding trees and the sound of lawnmowers throughout the neighborhood, there also comes the indescribable itch within so many of us to begin traveling the paths of our ancestors.

Despite the growing amount of materials appearing on the internet, some records (or at least the complete file of those records) can only be accessed at the courthouse of origination. I have learned over time that I may find a copy of the "original record" online only to learn later that there are 4 or 5 other papers that go with that marriage record that had I not spent some time digging in the county I would never had known and would have missed some very important clues. Additionally, for me there is nothing like being able to actually hold in my hand the original record my ancestor signed in 1825. At that moment I can almost feel his or her presence and the emotions are high for me. After all, isn't this why I began this journey as a 13 year old girl eons ago?

I wanted to share a few tips I have learned through my experiences at the courthouses I have visited. No two are the same in personality even if they are generally laid out the same way.

For anyone who hasn't read this book yet, I would strongly suggest that you read Christine Rose's "Courthouse Research for Family Historians:Your Guide to Genealogical Treasures". She does an excellent job of taking the mystery out of the entire process, giving us the confidence to face any situation.

Another step I take before going to a new courthouse involves a little intelligence work. I call the local genealogical society to get the "low- down" about the way that particular courthouse works. Are they friendly? Is there a particular worker in the office I should ask for? How is the office laid out? What have been your experiences with them? Are  the records accessible to me or are they behind a counter?

I also ask about the local library. Checking their catalog and hours online is valuable as well. I have spent the day at the courthouse obtaining records then crossed the street to complete further work at the library. As always, not all records are at all libraries, etc. You never know what you'll the nearby library that isn't documented in catalogs. (I have a few stories to share there over the next few weeks) You may even find a living cousin!

Preparation is the key. Checking the counties' web site will tell you the hours, address, and usually the extent of records that are available within the county. I know in some cases in Kentucky there were courthouse fires, particularly during the Civil War. Do not let courthouse fires discourage your pursuits. In Ohio County, the courthouse burned but a local physician was successful in begging for time to get the records out of the courthouse first. In another county, original records are not in the courthouse at all, but in another building in town. Had I not taken the time to call the local library and ask for someone who works with genealogy records I would never had known that, and instead would have been rather frustrated.

I take a binder that includes my priority list of records I want on any trip. My lists are divided by category- Marriage, Death, Birth, Probate, Land, etc., then further divided by surname since the indexes are designed that way. I also include family group sheets, maps of the area, and any other notes I think will help, as well as noteboook paper.

In my bag I include the following:
a legal sized folder (to protect copies of papers I make that day)
butterscotch drops (help when I am thirsty)
a small flashlight (really helps when there is a word I can't read)
a 81/2 x 11" magnifying sheet to place over records difficult to read (coupled with flashlight its great)
paper clips, mini stapler, post-its (to mark the pages I need to copy), and pencils

I learned long ago that other people do not want to hear the history of my life (no matter how fascinating it may be), especially clerks in the courthouse who are busy with the work of the day, and to tell you the truth I think it really works to my benefit. When I arrive at the clerk's office I usually follow a script that has proven to be very successful for me, even in those counties that have their records behind the counter or in another room. Here's how it goes:

Arriving in clothing that presents me as a casual professional, I walk in with a level of confidence, make a point of a few greetings and comment on how busy they look to be. I identify myself as a family historian who does not want to get in their way ("after all, you have so much to do as it is, I would not want to make your job any more difficult while I am here today"). I tell them I am looking for a brief layout of how their office works "since every office has a different personality" and organization system , and do my best to get out of their way. As they see that I get to work, stay out of their way (unless of course the record I need is in a locked room ) , and appear competent in my duties, the eyes relax that watch me. I do make a point of developing a relationship with one or two employees that appear friendly which is often beneficial as well.

I love going to the courthouses, digging through boxes and indexes in search for all those treasures that fill in the blanks of my family. I wish all of you success in your endeavors as well!


Thursday, March 17, 2011

Aunt Faye, Losses, and Time

Unexpected events come into our world at the moments we tend to be least prepared. The last few days have been filled with a variety of events that will be shared over the next few weeks about many of my ancestors, but the ironies of life sometimes are the ones that hurt the most.

Yesterday afternoon I stood on the land of one of my ancestors with a previously unknown cousin that serendipity brought into my life. Finally I knew the location of the land they toiled over, and got the long awaited clue I have needed for 30 years about a family farm cemetery. Later we stood in one of the family cemeteries overlooking hills of ancestral land with the sun shining and I was amazed and awed by the strength of those that came before- as always. One of the great highs that come in this pursuit/passion of mine.

Within 48 hours of that time, my family is preparing for a weekend out of town  family funeral for a relative who died suddenly when she was out for a walk. Charlene is on my maternal side of the family, and although I had not had the opportunity to get to meet her in years, I was looking forward to the next time she was going to be in the area in order to learn about this woman that played a role in my family. Unfortunately, an accident took here away from those that love her prematurely. This weekend  will bring tears, memories, and the chance to reunite with family members from around the country- some for what could be the final time. There is always the part of me that wants to run around with family group sheets in hand and my tape recorder in everyone's face so that I don't miss any important information, yet respect the pain that each  person carries at the time of these events.

Then I awake to yet another set of sad news, this one digging deeper and hurting more.

Yesterday I lost my dear Aunt Faye.

Alma Faye Tucker and her husband, my uncle
Aunt Faye was one of eleven children born to Clarence Lemuel Tucker and Flora Maude McDaniel in Maunie, White County, Illlinois. When she was a child, the family moved to Evansville, Vanderburgh County, Indiana and lived at what was called the "LN & Y", actually a row of section houses at the railroad where Clarence worked. My grandfather later was proudly able to buy a home nearby for the family on the west side of Evansville. Aunt Faye went to Centennial School and Reitz High School, and worked as a secretary at the huge shipyards that were on the Ohio River in Evansville building LST's during World War II.

Later she moved to California with her husband and son. Her sister, Leona and family also moved to California and they lived closely to each other throughout their lives.

Aunt Faye was a character, a scrapper. She had a wicked sense of humor, loved to go out and have a good time, and was as sentimental as they came. I never had a conversation with her that didn't involve tears at some time.

Aunt Faye was one of the best dancers in the city, winning some contests, and taught my father how to dance. She also stepped in a couple times when he was in a fight as a boy and finished the fight for him (Faye is several years older). Aunt Faye was also strong-willed and determined, not afraid to stand up for herself when she was younger, and a bit rebellious.

I had learned something new about the family just yesterday (Irish news no less) and had planned to call Aunt Faye today to ask her about the information and to share a little gossip. Unfortunately, I will never get the chance. My angel is gone, but I have treasured every moment of getting to know her and to learn from her experiences.

Let this be a reminder to us all. My family is dealing with two losses this week. Don't say , "I'll call tomorrow...." when it comes to anything that you can possibly take just a second to call today about. We all have regrets about the missed opportunities when it comes to our genealogy, so let's not compound it any more. shall we?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Excuses For Knowledge Are Gone With The Wind

There was a time in the genealogy field when gaining new knowledge for me was limited to the books I could purchase, from attending an annual day long conference in the area, or by trial and error. The cost of going to Salt Lake City was beyond and still is my reach as well as so many of these amazing conferences held in areas like California, Arizona, Boston----well you get the idea.

Those days are gone and I am thrilled. I am actually in learning overload and loving it! There really isn't any excuse anymore for me that prevents my ability to gain further skill sets needed to improve my knowledge, assist in breaking through walls, and further round out the story while practicing the new skills.

And the best part? The cost, which involves nothing more than a pad of paper, a pen or pencil, a possible drive down the street, and some time.

Here is a list a recent opportunities as well as upcoming or continued opportunities:

Family Search has an entire learning center called "Research Courses" and its many categories include Research Principles & Tools (Descendancy Research, Inferential Genealogy, Using Research Logs, using different online databases, as well as other strategies), Reading Handwritten Records, USA Research (census, military, Colonial, Native American are among the list), Foreign Country Research (England, German, Spanish, Ireland, Italy, Russia, New Zealand, and Poland) as well as areas for Professional Genealogists. These are videos, many which include a handout to assist in the process.

Legacy Family Tree has a series of webinars that are excellent and well done. I have attended several and there are some worthy of thought upcoming including "More Blogging for Beginners" by DearMYRTLE scheduled for Wednesday, March 2nd, and "Building a Research Toolbox" by Thomas MacEntee  scheduled for Wednesday, April, 6th. What I appreciate is if I am unable to attend the discussion the webinar remains on Legacy for several weeks for review.

I am going to put in another plug for my nearby libraries as well. I am so impressed with the drive they posses to offer services that keep those of us interested in the historical aspects of our ancestors as well as to learn more about the resources that exist locally .

Willard Library (our local genealogical treasure for me) is the host of "Evansville and the Tri-Sate After the Civil War" to be held on Thursday evening, February 24, 2011 at 6:00 pm. Harold Morgan is a local author that has assembled several books including "Home Town History: The Evansville Indiana Area, A Photo Timeline", and "Home Front Heroes: Evansville and the Tri-Sate in WWII". Harold is an excellent presenter and I am sure there will be a crowd to see how Evansville and the area responded after the Civil War.

Evansville-Vanderburgh Public Library is in the midst of a series called "Preserving Our Past" that continues until May the 11th. Upcoming classes include: Maps (learning about our Digital Sanborn and Historic MapWorks collections), Historic Architecture, House Histories (what it is and how it can be used), Local History on Demand (learn about ContentDM), Scanning Documents and Photos, and Textiles.

I know there are other opportunities in each of our communities and online increasing all the time.

Maybe the Jetsons really are on the way! - Personal Genealogy Week 8

What are some of the technological advances that happened during your childhood? What types of technology do you enjoy using today, and which do you avoid? These are the questions asked this week in "52 Weeks of Personal History & Genealogy" created by Amy Coffin of We Tree fame and listed each week on Geneabloggers for our enjoyment.

I recently made a list with my teenage daughter about the amount of advances that had come into the world during my lifetime as part of a discussion in which she felt our generation was the best one due to all the "cool things that happened in our era." I was told there would be no new John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr., the experiences that we went through as this nation grappled with civil rights issues, or the excitement of the first man on the moon. She told me that no sport figure would compare with Michael Jordan, the 95,000 fans that were cheering on the women's soccer team when they won in overtime in the Rose Bowl, etc.

I tried to remind her that in her few years she has seen the revelations of the smartphone into its own little computer, the e-reader, the Ipod, LeBron James, Tiger Woods in his better days, the first African American President, and what the power of the people can do with their actions recently in Egypt, but I am not so sure she is convinced yet. I think time will change her mind.

The technology I have watched through my childhood include:

cell phone as big as a suitcase
Kodak cameras
cable Television (and of course color tv before that)
a dryer that doesn't involve a crank
home computers
8-track, cassette, and CDs and their players
and one of my favorites at the time--------- PONG!!!!!! What could possibly be more exciting than watching a white ball go across a black screen to hit  a white paddle over and over? I can still hear the music! My neighborhood was so excited that my father had brought home that game you would have thought we were royalty. Luckily, Ms. Pac-Man and Donkey Kong came along and took over my heart later. There was nothing like the arcades.

The toys of my adulthood include:

laptop computer
SLR camera
home and portable scanners
big screen television
high speed internet
meals that nearly magically cook themselves (I'm still waiting for the robot, but children do help)
and my trusty GPS that I chose to name Jill

I avoid to the best of my intentions:

the tech guys who choose to live outside the United States and I know much more than I'd like to admit
detailed instructions  (unless it involves anything needing to be assembled- then I am a woman on a mission that no person can keep up with!)

There is so much I could include you would be reading until tomorrow, but that Reader needs to move on, so until next time:

May all your genealogical pursuits be successful!!!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Thankful for Scanfest!- Tombstone Tuesday

In my determination to continue onward with several projects (one which involves putting many family photos- the older the better- into a digital frame for my parents as an anniversary gift) I decided that I couldn't miss the opportunity to participate in Sunday's Scanfest sponsored by Miriam Robbins Midkiff on her blog AnecStories: The Stories of My Ancestors.

Scanfest is typically held the last Sunday of the month, and the future dates (as they stand at this moment) are actually listed on The February 2011 Organization Checklist at DearMYRTLE's Genealogy Blog. I would highly recommend taking a look at those lists, even if you have utilized last years' because she revamps them as neeeded,and as we all know, genealogists always need more organizing.

Anyway, Scanfest was fantastic for me on so many levels. I connected with some  new people, have a list of more resources to check, got advice for ways to scan different items such as an old journal and suggestions for documents (the consensus is 300 to 600dpi and always in tif, not jpg, by the way), and just the camaraderie of it all kept me at the scanner the whole time. As a result, a mystery in my family was solved.

My paternal grandparents are buried in a little country cemetery as big as most current families house lots called "Little Prarie" in White County, Illinois. There are few markers in this little place in the middle of nowhere. Bbecause the family was so poor they couldn't afford to engrave the stones and instead attached a metal sign to the front of them.

Over time those signs have gone away, and I have not known which stone representated my grandmother and which was my grandfather-until I happened to find a few photographs among a file that I decided at the last minute to scan.

Even as I placed the photo on the scanner I didn't realize that my answer to the question was in front of me until I got out  my magnifying lupe to see, but now I can proudly place a photo on this blog for Tombstone Tuesday of my paternal grandparents:

Flora Maude McDaniel (left)    Clarence Lemuel Tucker
Little Prarie Cemetery  White County, IL

Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Day I Was Born- Saturday Night Fun

The weekly theme created by Randy Seaver of Geneamusings theme for this week consists of the following:

1) What day of the week were you born? 

On February 10th, which was a Sunday morning. My parents had gone to an Aces basketball game the night before followed by dinner when my mother said she had had enough and wanted to get out of there NOW!

2) What has happened in recorded history on your birth date (day and month)?  

1840     Queen Victoria married her cousin Albert von SaksenCoburg
1855     US citizenship laws were amended so that all children of US parents which were born abroad were  
granted US citizenship
1933     Hitler proclaims the end of Marxism
1940     Tom and Jerry [the cartoon] created by Hanna and Barbera debuted by MGM
1947     World War II peace treaties signed
1990     South African President de Klerk announces that Nelson Mandela will be free on February 11

3) What famous people have been born on your birth date? 

1893     Jimmy Durante (comedian)
1929     Jim Whitaker (first American to climb Mount Everest)
1939     Roberta Flack (singer- famous for song "If Ever I Saw Your Face")
1950     Mark Spitz (nine Olympic Gold medalist, swimmer)
1958     Sharon Stone (actress)

Friday, January 28, 2011

Space Shuttle- 25 Years Later

Time moves so quickly, yet some experiences remain intimately connected no matter how far in the past, and the explosion of the Space Shuttle Challenger was one of them for me.

Still enamored by all events space related (I always watched the space launchings and landings starting in  childhood when the men landed on the moon on our old black and white TV), I couldn't wait to watch the launch that cold January morning.

I knew the astronauts by name (Michael Smith, Dick Scobee, Judith Resnik, Ronald McNair, Greg Jarvis, Ellison Onizuka, and teacher Christa McAuliffe) and was so impressed with NASA because of the diversity of the crew and of course that we had a teacher on board. Christa had an infectious smile and laugh whenever she was interviewed that just pulled me in all the more.

Feelings that ran from anticipation, fear, excitement, shock, tears, and anger were all part of my day. The images that have always remained with me included the dismay on the face of Christa McAuliffe's parents as they continued to look to the skies for an answer that would never come and the students siting in the auditorium with their noisemakers who appeared to believe the disaster was a joke at first, but so accurately demonstrated the emotions we all felt that day.

Who can forget the immortal words of of President Reagan that night when he spoke of how they were now
                                           "touching the face of God."

The Flood of 1937

Patricia Sides, the Archivist/Historian at Willard Library here in Evansville gave a presentation Thursday (January  27) on Evansville during the 1937 Flood titled "Water, Water, Everywhere" before approximately 40 guests as well as library staff during the lunch hour.

Pat did a very good job with the presentation, combining photographs from the ever growing collection that Willard has (many which are available for view online) with newspaper, oral, and other written accounts about the flood and the effects this devastation had on our city and so many others that were based on the Ohio River from Pennsylvania and other points east down the river to the Mississippi.

My parents were children at the time of the flood and I had the opportunity to ask my mother her recollections this week, not sure what she remembered. My mother told me that the house that she grew up in was not one of those flooded, so instead her father brought home a co-worker's family with two small boys who were not as fortunate. My grandmother was a hard worker and a spiritual woman, but I can only imagine how different that house must have been with three energetic children who my mother said would run around the circular layout of the main floor repeatedly. Mom also said that they kept their bathtub full of water everyday, which she didn't understand, and that men would come everyday and open the covers over the sewers to check the water level because they were blowing all over the city. (I learned today that because the water plant was well under water clean water was brought in for consumption, thus the full bathtub. The American Red Cross was very fearful at the time that there would be an epidemic of typhoid and/or scarlet fever, so precautions were taken very seriously),

Aerial View of Evansville (Knecht 2108) Courtesy of Willard Library

Listening to Patricia Sides in the presentation and in watching the photos, I gained a larger perspective for all that occurred here.

I didn't know that at one point the National Guard was brought in and martial law was enacted in order to protect property and people. Many people had evacuated. (Tonight my mother told me of a friend of hers that was on the last railroad train leaving the city and that water was actually lapping the wheels as they were moving down the track). I know of a family closer to Cincinnati  in which part of the family went to Indianapolis and the family never was able to reunite.

Patricia reminded us that this flooding came on the heels of a year of serious heat, a time of depression, and that the flooding was coupled with ice storms, snow, and other weather events. So much went on in this city during that time, and those of you that lived in adjoining areas know the story well. Because of the popularity of the session, Willard Library will repeat the presentation in the evening in April for those who could not attend today. I think I am going to attend again. As we all know, the more knowledge we have about the daily lives our families lived, the better.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Now For My More Rational Side

I have had many hours to think this whole situation regarding Ancestry and the rapid demise of Expert Connect in favor of promoting its acquisition of ProGenealogist as its research base, not all of them good I have to admit, but its time to look at what this change can offer.

I spent some time connecting with family and friends, connected with Thomas MacEntee of Geneabloggers and  High -Definition Genealogy  among his many other activities, and read the blogs of Marian Pierre- Louis (Roots and Branches), Kerry Scott (Clue Wagon), and Amy Coffin (We Tree). I also went to several of my message boards to read the opinions of other researchers (those who used Expert Connect and those who did not), which I must admit was at times insightful and at others quite frustrating.

The very last move I made was to go to the ProGenealogist site and look at it from a professional perspective and as a prospective client. One of the areas I always prided myself on as a strength in my life was the ability to look at an issue from every single angle.This served me very, very well as a Masters Level Social Worker who worked with very traumatic children/teenagers that the world considered were going to be the next serial killers (I'm not kidding. Some of my kids were the ones that have would have been on TV shows today. Working with them and seeing their angle, connecting with their parents, getting along with judges, etc. helped increase that strength.)

Anyway, I have looked at all the angles and now believe I am at a better place with the whole situation, but not completely. Researchers and clients were not treated respectfully or professionally by Ancestry by the way the program was shut down.

 I believe that researchers who worked with and for Expert Connect should have received a more professionally written letter prior to the information being sent to our clients. Would the word have leaked out? Absolutely, but I suspect a great percentage of our clients would have received the word personally from their professional researchers FIRST instead of becoming alarmed or dismayed. 

The more I look at various items from Ancestry it is clear they knew this was coming before Monday afternoon. Further warning instead of 8 days would have been more professional. I know that the bidding situation on Expert Connect probably played a role in how they needed to shut the program down, but I also think they could have simply put up some information for potential clients to let them know that they needed to  look at a shorter time frame.

I do appreciate the fact that Ancestry is allowing professionals the opportunity to make private arrangements with clients if projects cannot be completed within a certain time frame, or even if we choose to do so immediately. That I consider the one positive for researchers.

Expert Connect was not a perfect system, nor is the professional genealogy field itself, and I am sure that allowing a subsidiary to conduct all the procedures, deal with the customer service, etc. is better for Ancestry.  For as many successful stories and situations there were on Expert Connect there were some problems (the Ask a Question to a Professional section comes to mind here).

The Pro Genealogist site still contains reference materials for all of us to access, a newsletter to subscribe to, and the most detailed description of the the research procedures for potential clients that I have ever seen. Costs may be a concern in the future, and I will be interested to see what effect this has on the research profession. For all they can do, unless they hire hundreds (at least) of professionals, not all research can be completed by them nor at Utah. We all know that there are many items that are not microfilmed, or if so, still may need to be viewed in person for many reasons.

What will I do?

Continue with my Pro-Gen class (and catch up with all my assignments)
Complete the work I am currently assigned and do a bang-up job in the process
Continue to do all I can to increase my knowledge of all things Kentucky, Indiana, and Illinois, especially in my geographic area given that this region plays such a huge migration role for so many families
Get may face out there in a variety of means
Attend more conferences

In the meantime, consider this:

         There are two ways of meeting difficulties: you alter the difficulties, or you alter yourself to meet them.
                                   - Phyllis Battome 

This is my final word on this issue. Now its time to move on and ahead.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

When Ancestry Owns The World Part II

Late last summer I wrote with some trepidation about Ancestry acquiring the professional genealogy company known at the time as ProGenealogy. I questioned why this already well connected organization needed to go out and buy a company when Ancestry had already developed an in house professional research service known as ExpertConnect.

Researchers throughout the United States and the world contracted with Ancestry to provide research services to customers needing assistance beyond the "shaking leaf." I need to admit as I write this that I have provided some limited services on the site since its inception, so I do have some bias, with successes and times of mixed results, however I always felt as though I was treated with respect by the employees working in the department and must say that here as I finish my impressions of the "Big Guy."

Yesterday the bottom fell out towards my impressions of "Mr. World." I came home from a day at a local courthouse (whose records by the way are not all living in Utah) to open my email with 3 frantic messages from clients questioning why Ancestry is closing ExpertConnect! This was before I even knew the news for myself that Ancestry was closing the service. That news came a few emails later.

Yes, with a total of 8 days notice, researchers were honored with an email to state that Expert Connect was closing effective February 3 and we were encouraged to do whatever we needed to close our current projects or make private arrangements.

I could not help but think how curious that date was knowing that the second season of "Who Do You Think You Are" is premiering on February 4th and that I am sure there will be several commercials for the "shaky leaf" as I would expect given the increased interest. After thinking about it a little more, I went to the Progenealogist blog today, and lo and behold (as my grandmother would say)- it has a whole new look!!!

It now is an Ancestry research service! What do you know! What I find interesting is that for Ancestry all the answers are in Utah. It is an interesting site. They list the prices of all their competitors, tell you in absolute detail (and I mean detail) what they cover, etc.

The rest I will let you read for yourself.  However, should you need a researcher for southern Indiana, Kentucky or southern Illinois, let me know.  

My calendar is going to be free soon (and I go to courthouses) (Sorry, sometimes I just can't help myself).

Your Library Has Databases- Tuesday Tip

I am in the process of determining which databases, magazines, journals, and societies that I am going to remain attached to at this time of increasing gas prices, food, and the need to keep a child in college. I also would like to go to one of the major conferences this year- God willing!

Can you imagine how surprised I became at myself when I discovered or rediscovered that my local genealogy library had its own subscription to one of the newspaper archive databases that I could use at my leisure from home instead of paying a monthly fee? All I need to do is enter my library card code whenever I want to use it.

My local public library also has access to other databases that will assist in cutting my costs and allow me to allocate those funds to other priorities (including some late fees, darn it). For example, there was an obituary from our local newspaper a year old that would cost a fee to acquire through Scrips, but by accessing the local library and checking its databases I was able to obtain the obituary for free.

January might be a good time to check your local repositories to see which databases you can access for free. Also, many genealogy societies provide access to other online databases through your membership. That might be a way to consolidate as well.

Good luck! Just wish I would have caught this one sooner!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Thankful Thursday- Suggestions Come From Our Blogging Friends

One of the greatest aspects of blogging in this genealogy sphere is the interaction that comes in getting to know other researchers going through all the ups and downs of this crazy field we love right along with us.

One of those people is Amy Coffin of We Tree fame who has given all of us reasons to learn more about our families through the past years in the series named "Jump Start Your Genealogy Blog: 52 Ideas, 52 Weeks", "52 Weeks to Better Genealogy", and this years series "52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History" which just began and is one I would strongly encourage for everyone. There is no pressure to complete all the prompts, just join in when you can.

There are many of the prompts I have completed, but many more that I missed and I think I will some day go back and actually use some of those I missed for further learning.

But that is not why I am writing this today- SOURCES is.  I have a family program on my computer as many of us do, and when I was trying to decide about keeping Family Tree Maker or moving to another program Amy was one of those who sent a message my way. When I went back and read some of her entries she was lamenting the chore in which she was going back through her program and citing each fact and coming along quite well with the process (I say with clenched teeth).

That's when I knew what I was going to do, and that's why I am thankful for Miss Amy (no big head my dear).

I purchased my new program and I am only entering people and data as they are fully sourced, no matter how tempting it gets to jump the fence early.  So, my name went first, followed by all the data off my birth certificate, and so on. If I do not have records to source a fact, then I am not entering the information yet. Instead, I use my "working tree" which is FTM 2010.

I like it this way. I feel more in control of the data on the tree and know that I can show how it got there. Thanks, Amy.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy/History- Week #1 - New Years Memories

Did your family have any New Year's traditions?

Yes we do, and of course it centers around food. Don't so many traditions?  I cannot say when this special meal started, and ironically, after spending the day with part of my family on New Year's Day when I was asking a million questions about everything under the stars, I can't believe I never asked about the origins.

But this is what I do know:

My parents (actually my father) sold Wearever cookware for years before I was born and when I was very small. Actually he won an award one year for being the top salesman in the nation, but even today he just shrugs that off. He and my mother would load up the cookware and go to a person's home and cook them a meal in it, then Dad would go back the next day and cook breakfast in the Wearever for a second meal to show them how they could easily cook a meal on top of the stove with good cookware.

Now I can tell you that in my own household I have personally gone through 4 sets on non-stick cookware and too many skillets to name, but my parents are using that same set of Wearever and it still looks brand new.

Every year on new Year's Day we get together at their home for a meal of roast, cabbage, turnips, black-eyed peas (for luck), cooked raisins, steamed carrots, and my favorite- riced potatoes with gravy. Riced Potatoes are actually baked potatoes that have been put through a special collander that turns them into rice. The meal always ends with granny cake.

It's a good time to relax after all the craziness that came from Christmas, a chance to sit back and enjoy family and a still moment before the daily grind gets back in the way sending us all in so many different directions. 

Thank God for Wearever.

My Intentions for 2011

  After reviewing the successes and mis-steps from my 2010 Genealogy Goal Plan, I spent the past several days deciding what I would write on this blog as my 2011 Genealogy Plan, knowing that once it is out into the netherworld, reality must play a role.

I kew I didn't want to write a book or make too many goals that were beyond sanity, so I decided to change this up a bit, and am going to break it up into quarters. So, for the first part of the year, these are my goals:

- Scan as many of the photos and documents in immediate family members possessions as possible
- Catch up and stay current in my Pro-Gen class
- Continue to follow the recent leads on the McDaniel/Munsey side of my family
- Visit White County, Illinois and Ohio County, Kentucky

If my health will cooperate and the good Lord deems appropriate, in about 3 months I will come back with an update on this list and make another set of goals for the next 3 months of 2011.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Where Has The Time Gone?

One of the best aspects of genealogy (and the worst in honesty) is the fact that there is always one more bend in the road to take before stopping for the night, one more index to compare, just one more article to read, and so it goes...........  and has commenced in my life over the past several months.

I have learned that I can have fantastic weeks of being a blogger only to fail short then at scanning some of the slides from the 1960's that my mother has recently entrusted to me. Or that my organization soars as my completion of Pro-Gen assignments get behind. Rearranging my den/office to be a true office with desk, reference materials, and space to complete reports and research means that several boxes now sit in our living room screaming for some attention.  And on it goes......

I have taken the past couple of days to look back at the extensive list of goals I set for myself at the beginning of 2010, an ambitious list I must admit, but then as you can see that's the way I roll. Today I will look at the positives, my pats on the back. Tomorrow I will make a new plan.

-Joined several genealogical and historical organizations related to professional and personal skill building
- Significantly built up my genealogy library with not only reference material but I have also been lucky
   enough to come across a few rare books about the family as well
-I have made interviewing my parents a priority this year and carry a portable digital recorder in my purse at
 all times. You would be amazed at what can be done in 5 minutes. I also put the recorder down in front           of my plate at Thanksgiving to catch all the stories.
- My brother and I completed the DNA testing process on my father
- I have completed establishing the binder system for my records that stay at home, now knowing exactly
  where to find "X.s marriage" record if I have a copy.
- 1/2way through the process of completing the mini binders for my mother and myself to carry anywhere
- I did take my first class at the National Institute for Genealogical Studies and liked it (planning for more)
- I also have tried several of the workshops on FamilySearch (assisting with early writing, research analysis,
        and more)

I am particularly pleased with two areas of my goals for 2010:

Breaking through a brick wall that seemed impossible 6 months apart is crumbling under my feet and I am thrilled! Enoch McDaniel had parents, and so did his wife! Further information on this family will be shared in later posts, but just knowing they didn't just land on Earth is cause of celebration on this special day.

I also spent time focusing on the Raley line of the family, but there is much left to do. The reunion trip to St. Mary's County, Maryland for my mother, my daughter, and myself was special not in the actual reunion itself (newcomers had do some fending), but in the celebration of family and heritage and all that makes each of us who we are. There is much to learn of my Maryland roots, and Massachusetts, and.....

That's another day.