Saturday, September 13, 2014

SNGF: ImageChef Creations

Randy Seaver has come up with yet another Saturday Night Genealogy Fun challenge on his Genea-Musings blog tonight. We are to explore the ImageChef website and create a few images.

I'm not feeling very creative tonight, but managed to come with three images to share:



I can see how playing with images on this site might get addictive!

Thanks for the challenge, Randy.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Thoughts on Grandparents' Day

Today is apparently Grandparents' Day.
It's not a day I've every celebrated.
I'm not a grandparent and never lived near my or my children's grandparents.
But as I read other people's accounts of their grandparent memories, I feel a huge whole in my heart.

I never met either of my paternal grandparents.
Never heard their names spoken.
Never knew anything about them.
My father left home to join the Army while still in his teens and never looked back. Apparently he never even wrote to his parents or siblings.

When I was in high school I had an assignment to create a family tree. I started asking my Dad questions about his family and carefully recorded his answers. Amazingly, my Mother saved that project and I found it after she died. The information my father had provided was incredibly inaccurate. Whether he really didn't know his mother's maiden name, where his parents were born, any of his grandparents' names I have no way of knowing. But he sure didn't share the correct information with me back in 1965!

My Dad died at age 60 in 1978, just two months after the birth of his first grandchild, my daughter, who he never met. Ironically, his mother died two years later. Since his mother died without a will, his siblings had an attorney track down my father. They found my mother and she signed away any interest in my grandmother's estate. One of my father's brothers made a trip from Texas to Florida to meet my mother and tell her about the family she never knew. She never told me about this visit or the scribbled family tree he left with her. I found it after she died in 1996. By that time three of my father's six siblings had died. I did manage to speak to my father's only sister, my aunt (after whom I might have been named), one time, but haven't been able to track her down since. I suspect she's in a nursing home somewhere in the Houston area. One brother is apparently also still alive (the one who visited my mother) in the greater Houston area, but he's no longer listed in any telephone directories I can find.

Will I ever meet any of my SHARP relatives? I have no idea. Someone in the family has posted a tree on Ancestry, but won't respond to my messages. Maybe someday I'll get to Houston and look up some of my cousins....if I can find them. But there's absolutely no chance I'll ever meet either of my Sharp grandparents, Harold Herbert SHARP and Virginia Corinne MELDRUM.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

SNGF: How many Sarah LNUs?

This week's Saturday Night Genealogy Fun challenge from Randy Seaver is as follows:
  • How many "Sarah" persons without a last name do you have in your genealogy database? How many of them are your ancestors?
  • If you have a "Sarah LNU" who is your direct ancestor, have you looked recently to determine if there are more records online that might help you determine her surname?
  • Tell us about your "Sarah LNU" ancestors with no surname.
In my SWICEGOOD database (my mother's lines), I have 19 Sara/Sarah first names with no last names. None of these are my direct ancestors.

My Sara/Sarah LNUs are as follows:
  • Sara, wife of Adam BECK, mother of 5 children born between 1808 and 1818 in Davidson County, NC
  • Sarah, wife of Alexander SHARPE, b. 1 May 1824; d. 20 Jun 1897 near Tyro, Davidson Co., NC
  • Sarah, wife of Joseph W. WOOLERY, b. abt 1825 in Missouri
  • Sarah, wife of Daniel GIBSON, b. abt 1848
  • Sarah, wife of Thomas H. MALLORY, b. Nov 1850 in Missouri; d. 1930 in prob. Jasper Co., Missouri
    • There's a Missouri death certificate for Thomas in 1916, but none for Sarah, so suspect she either remarried (in her 60s?) or moved to another state to live with one of her children.
  • Sarah, wife of Thomas CRABTREE, mother of 7 children born between 1806 and 1836
  • Sarah, wife of Christian HAUSSER, b. in Germany, no dates
  • Sarah, wife of Charles BROOKSHIRE (b. 1796 NC; d. 1880 IN)
  • Sarah, wife of William PITTS, mother of Addie PITTS (1907-1999)
  • Sarah, wife of Conrad DAVIS, mother of Maurice DAVIS (1769-1830)
  • Sarah E., wife of Joel BROOKSHIRE, b. abt 1833 in Tennessee; mother of 7 children born 1857-1876 in TN
  • Sarah E., wife of Mathias JACOBS, mother of 2 children born 1857-1859 in Missouri
  • Sarah E., wife of FNU QUIGG (b. 1886, Hickory Co., MO)
    • My notes indicate that this wife might be an erroneous entry. I only have a birth record for her supposed husband and attached the wrong family to him.
  • Sarah Ella, wife of William Brazil BROOKSHER, b. abt 1848 in Georgia; mother of 2 children born 1868 & 1875 in Missouri (?)
    • FindAGrave lists a Sarah Ella BROOKSHER, 1848-1898, wife of W. B. BROOKSHER, buried in Cassville Cemetery, Bartow County, Georgia. No information on parents or children.
  • Sarah J., wife of John Franklin QUIGG; b. abt. 1840 in Pennsylvania; mother of 9 children born 1858-1880 in PA, MO, and KS
  • Sarah J., wife of Alfred CRABTREE, b. abt 1825 in Tennessee; mother of 4 children born 1842-1860 in Missouri
    • No Missouri death certificate or Missouri burial found. Probably remarried, as husband died about the time last child was born.
  • Sarah J., wife of John W. JACOBS, mother of 10 children born 1850-1878, some in Missouri
    • No Missouri death certificate or Missouri burial found.
  • Sarah M., wife of James Emery MEREDITH. b. 1867 in MO, d. 1923 in MO
    • Her Missouri death certificate gives maiden name as OWEN, daughter of James B. OWEN and Lucy VICKIS?? [DICKERSON in FindAGrave memorial]; buried in Osceola cemetery. F'indAGrave indicates that James MEREDITH was her second husband and includes an obituary for her first husband, parents and sibling names.
  • Sarah S., wife of Levi BRESHEARS, b. Jul 1859 in Missouri; mother of 7 children born 1881-1898 in Missouri
    • I checked for a Death Certificate for Sarah, but did not find one. She is listed on her husband's death certificate "S. E. Breshears" in 1919, so apparently have her middle initial wrong. I checked FindAGrave for the cemetery where Levi is said to be buried on his death certificate, but neither Levi or Sarah is listed there.
To be perfectly honest, none of these "Sarah LNUs" are very close relatives, so I'm not inclined to spend much time searching for information on them. I did some quick-and-dirty lookups in two databases--Missouri Death Certificates, 1910-1963 and FindAGrave--but wasn't inclined to dive into Ancestry.com or FamilySearch.com.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

SNGF: Two Degrees of Separation

Tonight's Saturday Night Genealogy Fun challenge from Randy Seaver's Genea-Musing blog is quite interesting:

Using your ancestral lines, how far back can you go with two degrees of separation? That means "you knew an ancestor, who knew another ancestor." When was that second ancestor born?

My results:
1. On my paternal side, I've never met anyone but him. Dad was born in 1917, so could conceivably have met his maternal great-grandfather (mother's mother's father), Herman Sonnen, who was born in 1833 in Germany and died in 1919 in Houston. His paternal great-grandparents died long before he was born and lived in Kansas.

2. On my maternal side, my grandfather's parents both died before I was born, and his paternal grandparents died before he was born. His maternal grandparents lived until he was in his teens and lived across the street, so I'm sure he saw a lot of them! They were born in 1828 (Squire Coffey) and 1833 (Drusilla Parker).

3. On my maternal side, my grandmother's father died a year before I was born, but my great-grandmother lived until two months before I graduated from high school. She was my idol and I absolutely adored her. Mammo, Nancy Jane Collins, was born in 1873. Her great-grandfather, Jacob Bartshe, died in 1874 in the same county, probably within 10 miles of where she was born. Chances are pretty good that they met. Jacob was born in 1801 in Pennsylvania.

So I can't make it to before 1800, though I was born in 1948. The span is still over 200 years, but I'm disappointed at not getting into the 1700s.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

SNGF: My Genea-Bucket List

This week's Saturday Night Genealogy Fun challenge from Randy Seaver is to create and share my genealogy bucket list. Specifically, he asks...

What is on your Genealogy Bucket List? What research locations do you want to visit? Are there genea-people you want to meet and share with? What do you want to accomplish with your genealogy research? List a minimum of three items--more if you want! Tell us about it in a blog post.....

This isn't something I've actually thought much about. I've got lots of research questions, but they don't seem to be what Randy's looking for. I'll list a few places I'd like to go and people I'd like to meet, in no particular order.

1. I'd like to do a leisurely research trip from Missouri to Virginia, backtracking my maternal ancestors' migration pattern and spending time in the places where they lived. All of her lines appear to have followed fairly similar routes, so I should be able to answer a few of my research questions.

2. I'd like to spend some time researching in Texas....and possibly meeting some of my paternal relatives. I've never met any of my father's kin or had any luck getting them to respond to my letters and calls. But as far as I can tell, there are still a bunch of them in Texas.

3. I'd like to travel to several areas in Sweden and to the Åland Islands, where my husband ancestors came from. He has a cousin who still owns the old family home on Föglö, which I'd love to see.

4. At some point, I really need to publish all of the research I've been doing for 40+ years. It would be fantastic if I could come up with a meaningful way to share all this information with my kids and cousins--a way that might actually interest them. I've done several short individual stories to send to my maternal side cousins every other year, but can't seem to get my head around pulling everything together. It might help if my papers and files were more organized, but that doesn't seem like a valid bucket list item.

5. Unlike Randy, I don't have any great desire to attend any more large genealogy conferences. I've found to ones I've attended (FGS, NGS, RootsTech) quite disappointing and don't think they're worth the time or money. I would, however, like to attend one of the genealogy institutes for a week, preferably one taught by either Tom Jones of Elizabeth Shown Mills.

I've shared my genea-dreams. What are your's?




Saturday, August 9, 2014

SNGF: Elementary School Memories

Randy Seaver's Saturday Night Genealogy Fun challenge for this week is to share some elementary school memories. I've noticed that the first two responders posted multiple appropriate photos with their blog posts, but I'm not that organized and don't have the energy to go looking for photos to scan. So....

I was an Army brat until the summer before 4th grade. I was supposed to start kindergarten in Groton, Massachusetts, but refused to go. Kindergarten must not have been compulsory back in 1953, because my Mom apparently humored me and let me stay home with my little brother.

The next summer we were transferred to Vint Hill Farms Station, near Warrenton, VA. When we lived there it was out in the country. Now it's practically part of Washington, D.C. and is a private development. I rode a school bus with my older brother and sister to the elementary school in Warrenton, VA. My recollection is that it was an older brick building with a primarily dirt playground and an annex on the far side of the playground with an auditorium and some more classrooms. I must have attended that school for three years, until my Dad retired from the US Army in June 1957. My only memories of grades 1-3 are:
  1. My first grade teacher was mean. She would make us "nap" with our heads on our desks. One hand had to be draped over the edge of our desk. She would walk around and lift our fingers to see if we were asleep. If we weren't, she'd rap us with her ruler. Not a fond memory.
  2. The first of May was a big deal. The older kids did a "May Pole Dance" with fancy costumes and there was a program that included a minstrel show. My older brother had to put charcoal on his face to be in the show. Even at age 8 I thought it was stupid.
  3. One time we got caught in a hurricane while on the school bus heading home. The bus flipped and my brother's mouth was bleeding all over. The boy next to me broke his arm and the bone was sticking out. I don't remember getting hurt, but I do remember being scared out of my wits!

In 1957 we moved to State College, PA (home of Penn State) and rented a small house on Aiken Place. The town had just built a big new high school, but was woefully short on elementary schools, so I attended 4th grade in one wing of the high school. My younger brother, older sister and I walked to school through a little "pocket park," down a hill and across a huge field. My teacher was Mrs. Torkelson, who I've always remembered fondly. Somewhere I still have a postcard she sent me the next summer when she was on a trip to the west coast. Imagine my astonishment when I read her obituary in The Seattle Times a few years ago. Since 1977 I have lived about 2 miles from where she was living when she died. If I'd only known.....

The summer of 1958 my parents purchased a home across town from the rental house. It was HUGE--6 bedrooms, 2.5 baths--partly unfinished on a huge lot that had no landscaping, just lots of wild blackberries. My folks got a great deal on the house because the builder went too far in debt and couldn't finish it. We lived there until after I was out of the house. Corl Street Elementary school was just a long block from that house, down a pleasantly treed path and across the playground from our house. For 5th grade I had Mr. Cox and for 6th grade I had Mr. Lee. Mr. Cox became principal the year after he taught my class and Mr. Lee had a heart attack while teaching my class. We must have been a challenge. I remember Mr. Lee having a terrible temper. One time he got so mad at a kid who was sassing him that he picked the kid up and then threw him down to the floor. That stunt was quickly followed by a heart attack. We had subs for a long time after that. After my mother died in 1996 I discovered a book about the early families in Centre County that was written by Mr. Lee. Pity I hadn't discovered genealogy yet when I was in 6th grade.

I was always into sports. Neither of my brothers (one older, one younger) ever had any interest in athletics; nor did my sister. But my Dad had been a semi-pro bowler and I think had played every sport available to him growing up. He tried to sneak me onto the Little League team, but no girls were allowed. The boys my age wanted me to play; the parents wouldn't allow it. But I always got to be the pitcher when we played during or after school. And the boys always came knocking at the door when they wanted to get a pick-up game going.

My Dad started me bowling when I was 8 or 9. He started the "Bantam" league at the local bowling alley in State College. He would take me out to the alleys around noon on Sundays (the PA Blue laws didn't allow them to open on Sundays) and make me practice picking up spares. I didn't mind, except when he gave me too much advice. Then I'd get ticked off and throw a straight ball--not the hook he had taught me--and invariably get a strike or pick up the spare. The first year I won the high average trophy for my 99 pin average. Not bad for a 9-year-old.

I don't remember liking any particular subjects. I read voraciously in grade school, finishing all of the Hardy Boy, Nancy Drew, and biography books in our school library. According to my sister, I was always "Miss Goodie Two Shoes" and vying for teacher's pet. I don't remember it that way, but it was probably true. When we were young, she was the boat rocker (a year ahead of me in school) and I was the "good" kid.

I was in the Brownies and then Girl Scouts. Each of our mothers helped us with a different badge. Carol Confer's mom was a home ec teacher and did the sewing badge with us. The sock darning was a bit tedious, but I loved the rest of it. My mom taught the music appreciation badge. In hindsight, that was really amazing. She had a tin ear and knew nothing about music. My Dad subscribed to some "great music" records, so she just read the descriptive information and played the records for us. I don't remember what other badges we did, but I stayed in the Girl Scouts all the way through high school, was a troop leader in college and grad school, and again when my daughter was old enough to join.

I'm impressed that others can remember who their best friends were in each grade. I can't. Not a clue. After we moved to Metz Ave. in 1958, there was a big bunch of us who were together through high school. We had a group of 5 or 6 girls who did all sorts of things together, but I don't remember any one of them being my best friend.


Saturday, July 26, 2014

SNGF: Ahnentafel Roulette

Once again, Randy Seaver of Geneamusings blog, has posted his Saturday Night Genealogy Fun (SNGF) challenge, and I'm tired enough from gardening to need some respite. So.....

1. What year was one of your great-grandfathers born? Divide this number by 80 and round that number off to the nearest whole number. This is your "roulette number."

My father's father's father, Alvah Clyde SHARP, was born in 1871. 1871/80 = 23.39, rounded off to 23. I'm beginning to suspect that everyone's number is going to be 23.

2. Find the person in your ahnentafel chart with that number. Who is that person and what is her vital information?

Number 23 is my father's mother's mother's mother, Elizabeth MOHR, b. 17 Dec 1838 in Germany, d. 1 Mar 1888 in Houston, Texas. She married Herman SONNEN in New Orleans, Louisiana, ca. 1858.

3. Tell us three facts about that person.
4. Write about it in a blog post....

I don't know a lot about Elizabeth, but I'll see if I can come up with 3 facts.
   * Elizabeth and Herman had at least 9 children born between 1860 and 1879.
   * The family moved from New Orleans to Houston between February 1871 and March 1873, based on children's birthdates.
   * Elizabeth is buried in the family plot in Washington Cemetery, Houston, Texas. Her maiden name is misspelled "Moore" on the tombstone.
   * At the time of Elizabeth's death in 1888, she apparently still had relatives living in New Orleans and St. Louis, Missouri, as her very short obituary in the Houston Post ends with "New Orleans and St. Louis papers please copy."

I have tried numerous times over the years to identify Elizabeth's family with no success. If anyone has any suggestions for finding them, please let me know.