Welcome ! Come join me and find out what we may have in common

Picture a welcoming place to sit, a warm, friendly enviroment,

maybe a steaming cup of coffee or tea and a smiling face that is intereted in sharing many thoughts....I have a curious mind and if you are reading this my guess is you do too...let's share a few minutes and some conversation as friends old and new.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


A newbie genealogist can made so many wrong asumptions. Many get hung up if the ancestor's name is mispelled or the Census shows them by his or her middle name. What about religion? YES, "OH they can't be Quakers" I said. We don't have any Quakers in our family. WRONG...sure enough I was soon to learn we had a parcel!!! Everyone has some idea their ancestors were 1) no good,2) very famous, 3) married to an Indian ( that's cool these days) or some other story that's called "family lore". After doing genealogy for years you learn YES we all have an ancestor who is a scoundrel ,YES, we have a few we would love to have known, and thanks to shows like "Who do you think you are?" we might have mixed racial lines, or some other surprise in store to be discovered. I started collecting stories on some of the more interesting ancestors. I found one actually wrote a letter to me...well, not JUST me to his descendants which includes me, now wasn't that a special treat!
Approach Genealogy as you would a treaure hunt using every clue or wild card and not discounting or assuming
anything. If you do you are apt to find the treasures you are looking for. OH, did I mention the one ingredient
everyone who STICKS with this hobby has to have or acquire in short order......patience and I might add creativity. No one of past generations (with maybe a few exceptions like my grgrgrgr grandfather who wrote to his descendants) EVER thought someone would be looking for them and want to know all about them. Don't ever say "they didn't go to the Gold Rush or they didn't move 4states away....sure they did! What was happening in history around the time they were living? Did the acquire land in another state? Did they fight in another state then decide to go back there? Did they get caught up with a church that sent them as missionaries to a far off spot?
Many churches from New England sent out missionaries to teach the Indians in the South and they stayed there,
so don't ever make a newbie mistake in thinking small. I would love to hear your family discoveries...drop me a line sometime. We are all fishers of ideas.

Friday, November 19, 2010

FOUND...what a surprise!!

I had been doing genealogy for some time when, I received a phone call from my daughter.
She told me she had something she wanted to give me. We arranged to meet for lunch and as I put down the phone I noted she seemed especially excited about "something".

I will back up and tell you my maternal grandmother lived with us for several years after the death of my grandfather. In her dresser were pictures, a bible, letters and other momentos that were dear to her.
When my mother passed away, my sister and I had to go through not only my mother's things but Gramma's
room as well. If you have ever had to do this, you know it can be daunting. I had things I wanted to take home and my sister had things and many things did not seem very important as the work progressed.

In the years after, I moved, divorced, and things got boxed up, some things were never found again and in all honesty I forgot about things like yearbooks,and other items I now treasure as a genealogist.

Our lunch was special because my daughter had 'found" a friendship book belonging to my gr grandmother
(my grandmother's mother) and knowing it's importance to me, she presented it with a huge smile at the end of our meal. WOW!!! a friendship book....it was faded and worn but I was actually holding something that was my
gr grandmother's ! It might contain leads to other discoveries.
In our throw away society, coming across a friendship book or some other ancestor's belonging can be so very special. I hope you have such an experience in your lifetime! Tell me about a discovery you made in an old trunk, box, or attic.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

You Needed Me

There are so many people to meet and in thinking about the people who have had the greatest effect on my life ( aside from immediate family) it has NOT been the famous, rich, powerful, well-known people ...it has been
God's most humble. There was an opportunity to meet and befriend a lady of very simple means who lived by herself in the country with a yard full of dogs. She had little but took in and shared what she had with her animals. She had no family and her beloved husband was beaten up and left for dead on the road side on his way home. He had just been paid and was walking down their road when he was attacked. "Betty" lived in a house you could see light through her walls...her family pictures were of the Cartwrights from TV' Bonanza and other people who she did not personally know. She was 1/4 Cherokee Indian and had been raised by her grandmother.
I do not know what happened to her parents. She needed to get some prescriptions filled and there was concern voiced she might be suicidal...she was grieving and depressed. My children and I went to meet her. Before we went into the house I told my two children to mind their manners and then we waited for Betty to put up the dogs.
It took a while and we learned later she was putting down two Jacob's coat braided rugs to spruce up her place.
She was delighted to see us ( especially the children) and we had a nice 1st visit. It was the start of a friendship not only with my family but including others in our religious community. Her first request was PICTURES. Did we have any she could have? She had no bathtub so after some community consultation and a new dress...we found a tactful way of freshing Betty up. She was sweet, innocent and funny and with some time, she became part of our community family. She couldn't read but had more common sense in her little finger than most folks acquire in a lifetime. When she got her welfare check at month's end aside from some cigarettes for herself her main concern was feeding her dogs. She could be somewhat manipulative, but never mean spirited...if she ran out of cigarettes ...somehow she would manage to get you or someone else to drive her to get a few more (and pay for them) with the promise she would pay it back "when her check arrived" :)
She just adored it when she was invited to join out family for a dinner out in a restaurant...she sat there like the proud gramma she had become. There are so many things I could share about my friend and might in future blogs ...when she heard Anne Murray's song "You needed me" she said "that's my song "as we wiped our tears away. I will never not think of her as deeply connected to that song. The lessons we all learned from this humble
spirit will be a part of me forevermore.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

How interesting to uncover your family roots!

Years ago, I was challenged to take some genealogy notes my grandparents had done ( the old fashioned way) by going to courthouses and cemeteries and libraries and expand on it. I was living in the south and my heritiage was New England so I foolishly thought I would not find much. At our library I found the Revolutionary War pension records....and to my surprise there were my ancestors!

The real "discovery" came when on a trip west my husband ( who has spent many more years in genealogy) suggested we check out Powells Used Bookstore In Portland, Oregon. While taking in the large genealogy/history section we found a book about Durham, Maine. I knew it to be the town my grandfather came from so  bought it along with a couple of other interesting books . One evening while hubby was immersed in the baseball game, I remembered our books. How did this book about a small town in Maine get to Portland Oregon? I looked to see who it might have belonged to but the name inscribed didn't sound familiar. I started reading...OMG...these were MANY of my ancestors!!! They started this town... I was overcome with this new information so my husband was interupted several times with my excitement ... these were MY people !! As if it was meant to be I found two obituaries that were neatly cut out of the newspaper a placed in the back pages of this book. I did not recognize the first one but as I read the send one I could hardly breathe...the book was about my father's side of the family and the second obituary was my mother's second cousin!!! WOW...talk about messages from beyond! I WAS supposed to find this treasure.
Since that discovery much has change in my life and in my attitude...which will be a blog for another time.
Other genealogists have told me..unusual findings have happened to them too....care to comment and share?