Monday, April 21, 2014

Easter Memories

I'm a day late writing this because I couldn't decide whether to post about Easter or not.
I remember family Easter egg hunts in our house--the eggs hidden in the "holes" in our bamboo furniture we brought from Japan.
When we still lived at Vint Hill Farms, Virginia, I have a vague recollection (perhaps from a photo?) of getting all dressed up on Easter Sunday, my sister and I usually dressed in matching outfits, and going off to church on the Army base where we lived. I'm sure there must have been a big post-wide egg hunt, but I don't remember them.
As our children were growing up, we did the egg dying and hiding of both "real" egg and plastic eggs stuffed with candy and coins. Those hunts were almost always inside, thanks to the early spring weather in Seattle. But the kids loved them.
But my fondest Easter memories were when I was growing up in State College, PA. I don't remember exactly when I joined St. Paul's United Methodist Church and the church choir, but I looked forward much of the year to the annual Easter sunrise service on the steps of Old Main.  Old Main is the original administration building for Penn State University and is basically across the street from our church, which was on College Avenue, the street that separated "town and gown" in State College.
For Easter, there was always a brass band at the top of the stairs, between the columns and in front of the building's doors. Our youth choir was usually right in front of them, or to the sides. I so loved hearing the clear brass tones ring out, echoing under the overhang, and watching the sun come up. Luckily I've forgotten the Easters when the weather was cold and snowy or rainy.
After the sunrise service, we would all go over to the church for breakfast, then sing for one or two more services. Most of my best friends were in the choir with me, so we always had a good time.
I've never found a similar service here in Seattle. A couple of years ago a cousin and I attended Easter sunrise service in Weaubleau, Missouri, but it was held inside the church. How useless is that? You couldn't see the sun come up!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

SNGF: Random Research

This week's Saturday Night Genealogy Fun challenge from Randy Seaver at the Geneamusings blog asks us to:
1. Go to the Random Name Generator website and generate a name (first and last);
2. Enter that name in the SEARCH box at;
3. Research the person by that name who appears in the first census result listed;
4. Learn whatever you can about that "random" person;
5. Share your findings.

Since it's a rainy, crappy day in Seattle and I'm climbing the walls from being laid up for over a week, I'll try this one.

1. The first name generated for me, Allyson Bentley, had NO census results at using the "exact match" requirement on the name. The second name, Charles Shelton, had 4087.

2. The first Charles Shelton who shows up in the census results is for the 1940 US Census:

1940 United States Federal Census
about Charles Murphy 

Name:Charles Murphy
[Charles Shelton
Estimated birth year:abt 1918
Marital Status:Single
Relation to Head of House:Daughter
Home in 1940:Washington, Marshall, Iowa
Map of Home in 1940:View Map
Inferred Residence in 1935:Rural, Marshall, Iowa
Residence in 1935:Rural, Marshall, Iowa
Resident on farm in 1935:Yes
Sheet Number:5A
Occupation:Hired Man
Attended School or College:No
Highest Grade Completed:Elementary school, 8th grade
Hours Worked Week Prior to Census:80
Class of Worker:Wage or salary worker in private work
Weeks Worked in 1939:52
Income Other Sources:No
Neighbors: View others on page
Household Members:
Note that the census listing is actually for a Charles Murphy, NOT Charles Shelton. It's not clear why Ancestry gave the alternative name. I'm a bit suspicious that this is an error, given that they didn't record the guy's gender and relationship correctly (clearly an "M" and "hired hand" on the census page).

3. I attempted to find more records for this "Charles Shelton", born about 1918 (+/- 1 year), born in Minnesota and came up with zero results at I think this person is Charles W. Murphy, for whom I found an "Iowa World War II Bonus Case Files" record indicating that he was born in Spring Valley, Minnesota, on 25 Feb 1919. In May of 1949, when this application was processed, he was living at 116 No 11th Ave., Marshalltown, Marshall Co., Iowa. Mr. Murphy served from 16 June 1943 until 2 Sep 1944 and was credited with three months of foreign service, from 14 Dec 1943 until 24 Mar 1944. He served in the 762nd Tank Battalion, 6th Army.

4. Curiously, I couldn't find any other records for this Charles W. Murphy born Feb 1919 in Fillmore Co., Minnesota on I've done some Minnesota research in the past, so know that birth certificates from 1900 to 1934 are indexed on the Minnesota Historical Society website. There I found that Charles Wilson Murphy was born on 25 Feb 1919 in Fillmore County; mother's maiden name was Lindamond. I returned to and entered "Charles Wilson Murphy" as the name, relaxing the "exact match" a bit, and his mother's maiden name and found him in a submitted tree titled "Elliott Family History." It lists his parents as Harry Guy Murphy and Ruby Ila Lindamond and says he died in Jan 1976 in Phoenix, Arizona. No records or sources are attached; 5 sons are shown as living. I found an apparently matching record on FindAGrave (name, birth year, death year) showing that he was buried in Riverside Cemetery, Marshalltown, Marshall Co., Iowa, along with his wife, Doris V. Murphy, who died in 1999.

5. See above. An interesting exercise, but a bit frustrating that it's based on an erroneous census listing on As a side note, I was hoping that Charles Ira Shelton, a first cousin of my mother's, would show up as the first census record.  ;->

Sunday, April 13, 2014

SNGF: Source/Citation Stats

This week's Saturday Night Genealogy Fun challenge posted by Randy Seaver on his Geneamusings blog is as follows:

1)  Have you done a good job of citing your sources in your genealogy management program or online family tree?  How are you doing?  How many source citations do you have, and how many people are in your tree?  What is the sources to persons ratio?

2)  Which master source (e.g., 1900 U.S. census, Find A Grave, specific book, etc.) do you have the most citations for?  How many?  How did you figure this out?

3)  Tell us in your own blog post, in comments to this post, or on Facebook or Google+ in a post.  Be sure to leave a comment with a link to your post on this blog post.

When I read this challenge yesterday, I drew a blank. I could not figure out how to obtain the requested information from my FTM2014 databases. Russ Worthington kindly provided some insight into where some of this information is contained in Family TreeMaker.

So....using my SWICEGOOD FTM2014 file, which contains primarily just my maternal line, in the "Plan" area I see the following statistics:
     Number of People: 14,968
     Number of Marriages: 4,962
     File size: 29,344 KB
     Generations: 13
     Surnames: 2536
     Facts: 50,227
     Places: 4,779
     Sources: 580     Templates used: 0
     Citations: 4,368
     Media: 29

The 580 Sources are actually "master sources"; there are multiple unique source references within each of these source groups. I see that I have a LOT of work to do to clean these up. I've been using genealogy software since the 1980s and just keep transferring my old files to newer software over the years, keeping all of my old sources and citations. Much of my real source information is in the "Notes" sections of each person's entry, not in the "Facts" entries.

As an example of how totally un-standardized my sources are, these are the "Sources" for the 1880 US Census:
     1880 Census > includes 16 different "citations" that link to 41 different "facts"
     1880 Census listing > includes 6 different "citations" that link to 29 different "facts"
     1880 Soundex > includes 2 different "citations" linked to 6 different "facts"
     1880 United State Federal Census > includes 1 "citation" linked to 10 "facts"

For the master source "", I apparently have 50 different citations! They appear to be linked to 196 different facts. I'm guessing this is the source with the most citations, but I would have to work through each source to figure that out.

Needless to say, the sources and citations in my FTM2014 Swicegood file need a lot of work. In my own defense, there were no templates or suggested formats when I started creating my sources, so I just created my own with as much information as I had at hand. It's obviously time to either (a) work through all of these sources and citations and standardize them, or (b) start over with a new FTM file and carefully source/cite EVERY fact in a standardized fashion.


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Redlands Connection

Many years ago I began ordering the Hickory County newspaper, The Index, on microfilm from the State Historical Society of Missouri. I'd order them through ILL (Interlibrary Loan) at my public library and spend 40-50 hours per roll reading and transcribing them, also printing longer articles and family obituaries. I have hundreds (if not thousands) of pages of notes from 1885 until the early 1930s.

Hickory County has never had much to offer young men coming of age. There's never been any industry in the county to speak of, so jobs have always been scarce. Farms were usually pretty small; certainly not large enough to divide among multiple sons and be economically viable. Many Hickory Countians ended up migrating to Redlands and vicinity in San Bernardino County, California. I found some old letters from my great-grandfather to my great-grandmother when they were courting in 1891 and 1892 that were postmarked Messina, Calif. From what he writes, I assume this place was near Redlands, but I can't seem to find it in a gazetteer or on a map.

In working through my Index notes from 1885 through 1911, I've found the following names of people who either moved to or were already living in the Redlands area:
before 1890 - John D. Cooke (died Sep 1892)
1906 - E V McShane; J E Brock; Mary Lightfoot & Mrs. Anna Solberg (sisters); Miss Mary Bandel; Miss Ethel Brent (married Ed Moore, Oct 1906); Robert Clark
1907 - W H Gist; Harve Paxton; Miss Winnie Paxton; Mr. & Mrs. D. A. Pine, daughter Missie (living at 202 Washington St., Redlands); Edward Brock
1908 - Clark Sutt (lived at Dearborn SE & Sylvan); J. D. DeWitt; Homer Bennett & daughter Rebecca
1909 - Mr. & Mrs. S. R. Bailey, son Elmer; C. V. Edwards; Mr. and Mrs. W. L. Pine; John Crates, Buell & Clifford; John D. Blair
1910 - W. Y. Harlan; George Wilson & wife; Miss Mada Edwards & Otto D. F. Krull; C. E. Hinkle; S. E. Pine, pastor of Holiness Church; Cora Langford; W. E. Rickett (sister of Cora Langford); Denton Iams & wife
1911 - Walter Delmont (East Highlands); Stephen Nix; B. W. Whelchel; Mrs. Jennie Hinkle-Poe; Luther & Leonard Gist; Arie H. Harlan

I'm hoping to visit the Heritage Room at the A. K. Smiley Library in Redlands next week and learn more about these people. The library is in this incredible historic building. Built in 1898, the building has been used as a library since its construction and was donated to the City of Redlands by Albert K. Smiley, a wealthy hotelier. It is noted for its archives. I'm hoping they'll have information on some of these Hickory County transplants and be able to help me understand why so many moved to the Redlands area.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

SNGF: Surname Counts

This week's Saturday Night Genealogy Fun challenge from Randy Seaver asks us to figure out how to count the number of people with each surname in our genealogy management program and report on our findings.

I use Family TreeMaker (FTM) as my genealogy management program. Unfortunately, I don't have all of my families in a single FTM database. I maintain 3 separate files: my mother's lines; my father's lines; my husband's lines. Since I started using genealogy programs many, many years ago, I had to split my files to be able to back them up onto floppy disks and because, in the early days, the programs just couldn't handle very many names, dates, places, etc.

I upgraded to FTM 2014 last Christmas (thank you, Sara!), but still had two of my main files in FTM 2009. 2009 apparently doesn't have the capability of counting surnames, so I had to import those two files into FTM 2014 for this task.

In FTM2014, select PUBLISH; then PERSON REPORTS; then SURNAME REPORT. Select to include all individuals and to sort by count. To find alternate spellings, I also sorted alphabetically.

BROOKSHIRE = 777 individuals (+69 with variant spellings), 1680-1994
SWICEGOOD = 268 individuals (+21 with variant spellings), 1600-1995
SHARP = 174 individuals (+28 with variant spellings), 1655-1985
WOOLERY = 177 individuals, 1739-1919
RYASON/RYERSON/REYERSE = 164 individuals, 1664-1893
SOMMARSTROM = 156 individuals, 1778-1988

Numbers 1, 2 and 4 are from my mother's side; #3 and 5 are from my father's side; #6 is my husband's line. Because his line is Swedish/Finnish, the surname Sommarström wasn't established until the late 1770s. Before that the family used patronymics, changing the surname each generation.

One of these days I need to combine my three main files, but I keep thinking I should get them all cleaned up first. Somehow that just hasn't happened.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

SNGF: Sharing Childhood Memories

Randy Seaver's Saturday Night Genealogy Fun for this week is derived from Judy Russell's keynote address at last week's RootsTech 2014. Judy asked if you knew the stories of your parents, grandparents and great-grandparents and posed six questions. Randy asks that we answer them for OURSELVES.
  1. What was your first illness as a child?
  2. What was the first funeral you attended?
  3. What was your favorite book as a child?
  4. What was your favorite class in elementary school?
  5. What was your favorite toy as a child?
  6. Did you learn how to swim and, if so, where did you learn?
These are hard for me to answer for myself, let along for my parents or grandparents!

For me.....
1. I have no idea what my very first illness was, but have seen pictures of me with the mumps when I was about 2-1/2 years old.
2. The first funeral I attended was my father's in 1978. He died at 60 and the only way I kept myself from falling apart was squeezing my 3-month-old daughter.
3. My favorite book as a child was Misty of Chincoteague. It was a bit of a let-down when I visited the island in 1970.
4. My favorite GRADE in elementary school was 4th grade with Mrs. Torkelson. I still have a postcard she sent me the next summer. As for subject, I always loved math, even if girls weren't supposed to [until 9th grade geometry, that is].
5. My favorite toy would have been whatever sporting equipment was needed for the season. Baseball, glove and bat; bicycle; ice skates; skis; tennis racquet; basketball.....
6. I learned to swim at the officer's club at Vint Hill Farms Station outside of Warrenton, VA at about age 7. I remember begging our Dad to swim with us and that after he did, he spent weeks with his ears painted with some red-orange stuff. But it sure was fun being tossed around in the pool!

I keep hoping our kids will be interested in our lives at some point, so hope this blog will still be around when they are!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

SNGF: Children/grandchildren in Matrilineal Lines

Randy Seaver's Saturday Night Genealogy Fun challenge for tonight involves counting the number of children and grandchildren for each woman in your matrilineal line--so mother, mother's mother, mother's mother's mother.....

My matrilineal line:
1.      Nancy Leah Swicegood (1917-1996) had 5 children (1 died in infancy), 2 grandchildren
2.      Molly Fay Brookshire (1894-1966) had 6 children, 15 grandchildren (1 died in infancy)
3.      Nancy Jane Collins (1873-1966) had 3 children, 8 grandchildren
4.      Rebecca Jane Campbell (1842-1882) had 8 children, 25 grandchildren [3 husbands; 3 children died young]
5.      Sarah Anne Crabtree (1817-1856) had 8 children, 30 grandchildren
6.      Rebecca Sally Holeman (1774-185x) had 10 children, no idea how many grandchildren
After a long day of driving, I was too tired to generate outline descendant charts for each woman and seriously study the results. I just looked at each generation in FTM 2014 and added the child counts. I think my research is pretty complete through the 5th generation, but haven't researched most of Rebecca Holeman's children.