Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year!

I just want to wish everyone a happy New Year. Enjoy!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

2007 in Review: So, How Did I Do?

I don't have any resolutions to compare my genealogy accomplishments for 2007 as I did not start blogging until this past March. Even though, I did not have any resolutions, I did have some goals that I wanted to accomplish.

Goal One: Obtain the death notices and obituaries for my ancestors and their siblings who lived in Detroit. Results: I obtained some of the death notices for this branch. I was only able to go through the Detroit Free Press, and I did not find all of the notices. I have not yet checked the Detroit News, so the notices might still exist.

Goal Two: Order microfilms from the LDS of church records for the area of England that my ancestors lived. Results: I was able to order a couple of microfilms, but I was only able to find a couple of ancestor's marriage records. I did not find any baptismal records for my ancestors.

Goal Three: Order Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania probate records on microfilm. Results: I was able to order one microfilm from the LDS. I found the probate entry for my ancestor. It confirmed the name of his two sons, but did not mention the names of any other possible children.

Goal Four: Find the naturalization records for one of my ancestors. Results: I have not found it yet, but I have not had any time to go the state archives and look up the naturalization records.

Goal Five: Look up the death record of a possible sibling of an ancestor. Results: I was able to look up the record, and have a couple of the leads. I am still looking for more information to confirm the relationship.

Goal Six: Visit the local family history center. Results: I went a handful of times to the local center. I was not able to as much research as I liked, but a did a little.

Goal Seven: Find the marriage record of my great-grandparents. Results: I was only able to go to the state library once, and I did not have a chance to search for to search for their marriage record. I hope to find it this upcoming year.

Well, I remember of any more goals that I set-up as I did not write them down. As you can see, I did not accomplish all of my goals. I had hoped to be much further a long now than I am. I know I still have a lot more researching to do, and I hope to do more this summer than I did this past summer.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Genealogy Resolutions for 2008

Even though I did not come up with a genealogical list of New Year's resolutions for this past year, I've decided to come up with some for 2008. So, here's my list:

  1. I hope to get a chance to go to the Grand Rapids Public Library this year. The main branch of the library has records of the Old Soldiers' Home where my ancestor spent the last two years of his life. I am hoping to find more information than I did at the state archive of Michigan.
  2. Order more microfilms of probate records for Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania.
  3. Look up and print other probate records of ancestors who lived and died in Saint Joseph County, Michigan.
  4. Order birth, marriage and death records of ancestors from the United Kingdom.
  5. Order microfilms of Trippstadt, Germany's civil records.
  6. And last, but not least, I hope to make more connections and to find more ancestors and relatives.

Well, those are my resolutions. I realize that it is not a lot, but I believe that I probably will be able to accomplish most of these resolutions. Well, I'll just have to wait until next year to see how I did.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Irish Research

I do not have any experience in researching Irish genealogy. I do have a couple of ancestors who were born in Ireland, but I'm not sure if they are Irish or Scottish. I haven't had much time to do research on those ancestors, so I don't know much about Irish records. I know more about English records, although my research has only been done on a long distance basis.

I do know, though, that FamilySearch Indexing is working on indexing the births, marriages and death indexes for Ireland at the moment as I have helped to index a couple of images. These index books, unsurprisingly, look like the indexes for England and Wales. (Ancestry and Free BMD do have images of the pages of the England and Wales' books' on their sites.)

Outside of that, I do not know anything about Irish records. Hopefully, I'll get some time in the summer to read up on the subject.

Poll Results

The poll is now closed, and the results are in! The question for this poll was, "Where in the British Isles are your ancestors from?" Nine people voted, and the results are:
  • England - 8 votes
  • Scotland - 4 votes
  • Wales - 2 votes
  • Ireland - 6 votes
  • Other Islands - 0 votes

I think this has been one of the polls that has had the most participation. To those who voted, thank you for voting. Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!

I just want to wish everyone a wonderful Christmas. Enjoy!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Celebrating Christmas Eve ...

On Christmas Eve, my family usually goes over to my grandparent's house. Usually we have dinner, and then we open gifts that they bought for us. We would spend several hours at their house, eating and talking. In all, I don't believe our Christmas Eve tradition is very much different from other families' celebrations.

2nd Edition of the Carnival of Central and Eastern European Genealogy

Here is the second edition of the Carnival of Central and Eastern European Genealogy. The topic for this carnival was on Christmas traditions of Central and Eastern European countries. Unfortunately, this carnival is short since I did not receive very many entries.

First off, we have Russian Holy Supper written by Marcie of A Child Chosen. This article is about the traditions of a Russian Christmas dinner.

Next, we have Getting Across Germany Cheaply, Part One written by poetloverrebelspy of Less Than a Shoestring. This article is on how a person can ride the trains in Germany cheaply. Although this article does not fit with the subject, I added it as I did not have any other articles to post.

Well, that is it for this carnival. The topic for the next carnival is on stories. Do any of your ancestors have stories of their homelands from Central or Eastern Europe? Are you familiar with any stories or folklore of countries from Central or Eastern Europe? The Next edition of the carnival will be due on January 25. You can submit your article here.

Day 23 Posted!

Day 23 of the Advent meme has been posted! You can read it here. Enjoy!

Day 22 Posted!

Day 22 of the Advent meme has been posted! You can read it here. Enjoy!

Friday, December 21, 2007

About the Next Edition of the Carnival of Central and Eastern European Genealogy ...

So far, I have only had one submission for this upcoming carnival. I realize that today is supposed to be the deadline for the carnival. Since I haven't received very many submissions, I will still accept submissions that are submitted tomorrow as well.

Christmas Catch-up ...

As I haven't had time to write posts for the last five days, I've decided to play catch-up with this entry and include the past entries in this post.

When I was in elementary school, each classroom would have a Christmas party on one of the last few days before the Christmas break. Usually, we would make Christmas ornaments for our parents, and maybe have some snacks. As I got older and went to Middle and High school, I didn't have classrooms that had parties. Instead, my classmates and I would either watch a movie or would make stuff such as Christmas decorations or little Christmas boxes. In my German classes, we would make Christmas cards in German for our parents. As far as I can remember, most of the schools that I attended did not have any Christmas pageants. When I attended my second high school, the school had a Christmas concert in the gym. I don't know if one would consider it a Christmas pageant, but I believe that is the closest that I have come to one. ...

As for Christmas celebrations or Christmas services, the churches that my family attended always had a Christmas Eve service. I have only been to a couple of Christmas Eve services. At Ward's, the first church my family attended, they had an evening service. The pews would be decorated with garland-wrapped poles and lit candles on top. From what I can remember of the service I attended, the sermon was on Jesus' birth. In addition to a Christmas Eve service, Ward's had a Midnight New Year's Eve service, but I never went to one of the services. After my family moved, we attended another church. This church had at least two evening Christmas Eve services. Again, the sermon was on Jesus' birth, but there would be music at the services. A couple of times, my mom played the piano for the services. Another difference was that all of the attendees held candles that were lit during the service. (Yes, even kids were allowed to hold candles, but the parents kept an eye on them. They were only lit for a couple of minutes, and then they were blown out.) In addition to holding candles, we would also sing songs. ...

As for stockings, both my brother and I had stockings. We did not hang our stocking up every year, but when we did, we hung on the mantle of the fireplace. The few times that we did hang up our stockings, our stockings were filled with small presents, like socks or movies. Of course, the presents in our stockings were not the only the presents we got. We did get other presents. ...

Speaking of presents, they had to be bought. Until the past couple of years, I didn't really buy Christmas presents. I don't know when my parents went shopping as I never went looking for my parents' hiding place for the presents. I only started to buy gifts a few years ago, and when I did, I bought gifts at book sales on my school's campus. I guess you could say that I bought gifts early since the sales were at least a couple of weeks before my school went on Christmas break. ...

When it comes to Christmas, though, I don't associate remembering dead relatives with Christmas. I don't visit cemeteries at Christmas time, since my ancestors are buried in cemeteries to far away from home. As for remembering deceased relatives, we would talk about fond memories that we had of them. Of course, we did not just talk about relatives. At one Christmas dinner, we reminisced about one of the pastors at Ward's who had passed away just a few days before that Christmas. ...

As for music, we listened to Christmas music in the car and on the radio on days before Christmas and on Christmas. (I don't have a favorite Christmas song, but I like several of the Christmas songs.) We did not go caroling, although one year a group of neighborhood children went door to door caroling. ...

As you can see, I've had quite a bit of catching up to do. Hopefully, I'll be able to contribute to the next two entries.

Day 21 Posted!

Day 21 of the Advent meme has been posted! You can read it here. Enjoy!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

New Poll Created!

A new poll has been created! The question for this poll is, "Where in the British Isles are your ancestors from?" The choices for this poll are:
  • England
  • Scotland
  • Wales
  • Ireland
  • Other Islands

You can choose more than one choice, and you have about a week to vote. Enjoy!

Poll Results

The poll is now closed and the results are in! The question for this poll was, "Where in Southern Europe are your ancestors from?" Two people voted, and the results are:
  • Spain - 1 vote
  • Portugal - 0 votes
  • Italy - 1 vote
  • Greece - 0 votes
  • Other Balkan Peninsula countries - 0 votes

To those who voted, thank you for voting. Please keep an eye out for the next poll. Enjoy!

20th Day of the Avent Meme Posted!

The advent meme for day twenty has been posted! You can read it here. Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Day 19 of the Advent Meme Posted!

The 19th entry of the advent meme has been posted! You can read it here. Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Day 18 of the Advent Meme Posted!

The 18th day of the advent meme has been posted. You can read it here. Enjoy!
(Again, I did not have time to write an article for this day.)

Carnival of Genealogy Posted!

The carnival of genealogy has been posted! The topic for the next edition is genealogical New Year's resolutions. Enjoy!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Day 17 of the Advent Meme Posted!

The 17th day of the advent meme has been posted! You can read it here. Enjoy!
(Again, I did not have time to write an entry.)

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Day 16 of the Advent Meme Posted!

The entry for day sixteen of the advent meme has been posted! You can read it here. Enjoy! (I didn't submit an entry this time. I would have liked to submit one, but I did not have time.)

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Day 15 of the Advent Meme Posted!

Day 15 of the Advent meme has been posted! You can read it here. Enjoy!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Carol of the Blogs ...

FootnoteMaven has come up with a meme where bloggers post their favorite Christmas carols. I haven't been able to post my favorite carol as I haven't had much time lately, but now I do have a little more time.

One of my favorite carols is Silent Night, Holy Night:

Silent night, Holy night,
All is calm, all is bright,
'Round yon Virgin Mother and Child
Holy Infant so tender and mild,
Sleep in heavenly peace,
Sleep in heavenly peace.
Silent night, Holy night,
Shepherds quake at the sight,
Glories stream from heaven afar,
Heav'nly hosts sing Alleluia;
Christ the Savior is born,
Christ the Savior is born.
Silent night, Holy night,
Son of God, love's pure light
Radiant beams from Thy holy face,
With the dawn of redeeming grace
Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth,
Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth.
This song was originally written in German. For more information on the song and the lyrics in German and English, go to this website: (Note: I got the lyrics of the song from the website above.) Have a Merry Christmas, and Enjoy!

Day 14 of Advent Meme Posted!

Day 14 of the Advent meme has been posted! You can read it here. Enjoy!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Day 13 of Meme Posted!

Day 13 of the Advent meme has been posted! You can read it here. Enjoy!

New Poll Created!

A new poll has been created! The question for this poll is: "Where in Southern Europe are your ancestors from?" The choices for this poll are:
  • Spain
  • Portugal
  • Italy
  • Greece
  • Other Balkan Peninsula countries

You can choose more than one category when voting. The poll will close in about a week.

Gingerbread Houses ...

One of my most favorite things to do around Christmas time was to make a gingerbread house. Most of the homes that I made were done when I was in elementary school. I always loved putting the icing and candy on the house. I remember mainly that I ate the candy after I had taken the house home and the icing had harden. I never really finished eating the gingerbread house that I made, and my mom always stated that icing was unhealthy and inedible. Of course, that never stopped me from eating some of the icing.

My family knew that I liked making gingerbread houses, and a couple of times I received a gingerbread house kit for Christmas. And, yes, I did put them together. I haven't made a gingerbread house in a few years since I've been up to college and have not had the time to make one. Either way, if I ever get the time to do so, I'll make one.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Reminder ...

I just want to remind everyone that the due date for the next Carnival of Central and Eastern European Genealogy is December 21. The topic for the next carnival is on Christmas traditions, either traditions that your ancestors from Central and Eastern Europe passed down in the family or Christmas traditions of countries from Central and Eastern Europe.

Fruitcake ...

I think in my life I have only eaten fruitcake once, and I know I did not like it. I think it might have been given to my mom as a gift from work, but I can't say so for sure. Personally, I have never received fruitcake as a gift, and I don't believe that I will ever give fruitcake as a gift. I don't think my parents have ever given fruitcake as a gift, but then I could be wrong. I know my mom does not like fruitcake. I think fruitcake must one of the most loathed foods out there as every comedy on TV has some type of skit that revolves around fruitcake and Christmas. At least it seems that way to me.

Day 12 of the Advent Meme Posted

Day twelve of the Advent meme has been posted. You can read it here. Enjoy!

A Show at the Fox Theater ...

When I was five years old, my grandparents, parents, brother and I went to downtown Detroit to watch The Nutcracker at the Fox Theater. To be honest, I really do not remember very much of the show, and I don't remember if my brother was there. I am assuming that he was, as I remember that I went with my parents and grandparents.

I do remember that the inside of the theater was very ornate. Sadly, all I remember of the show is the beginning and the scene right before the intermission. I don't have much of a memory of anything else about that show.

Advent Meme Day Eleven Posted!

The entry for day eleven of the advent meme has been posted. You can read it here. Enjoy!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Poll Results

The poll is now closed and the results are in. The question for this poll was, "Where in Scandinavia are your ancestors from?" Six people voted, and the results are:
  • Norway - 3 votes
  • Sweden - 3 votes
  • Finland - 0 votes
  • Denmark - 1 vote
  • Iceland - 1 vote

To those who participated in the poll, thank you. A new poll should be coming out soon Enjoy!

Day 10 of the Advent Meme is Posted!

The advent meme for day ten was posted earlier today. You can read it here. Enjoy!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Advent Meme Day 12: Volunteering

I haven't really done any volunteer work during the holidays, although I have volunteered before. I have mainly done volunteer work with clubs that I have been a member of. A couple of years ago, the bible study group I was in crocheted scarves for the homeless in the area. I learned to crochet in that group, and I am sure that someone out there has the scarf I made. I hope it is keeping that person warm.

Day Nine of the Advent Meme Posted!

Day nine of the advent meme has been posted. You can read it here. Enjoy!

Somewhere Else for Christmas ...

There have been a couple of times when I have not been in my hometown to celebrate Christmas. Of those few times, I have spent time in Florida visiting relatives. Two of the times my family and I have gone to Florida, I think it was because it was easier for us to go visit our relatives than it was for them to come up to Michigan.

For both trips, we drove down to Florida, and it would take us two days to get down to where our relatives lived. One of the years that we went down was 1998. That was the year that we had a Ford Expedition. I remember when we were driving through Tennessee, my dad noticed that the price of gas per gallon was $0.69. Needless to say, my dad got off the highway and filled up our gas tank. Later, my dad said that he had not paid that amount for gas since the '70s. (And that was a novelty. Remember when we thought a $1.30 per gallon was expensive? How would we know that within about a decade we would be paying about twice that amount?)

Once we got to Florida, we stayed with relatives. We did not stay in a hotel. While we were down there, we visited a flea market and the Ponce De Leon lighthouse. I remember climbing all the way up to the top of the lighthouse, and when I had to go back down, I was so afraid that I had to hold onto my dad's hand. I also remember that at the beginning of the trip the temperature was in the 70s and that was it very humid. I could actually wear shorts. (For being someone who has experienced almost every Christmas in Michigan, it is a novelty.)

Other tings that I remember is that the only thing in the news on the way down was about the sex scandal in the White House. I also remember that while I was down in Florida, the Midwest got hit by a snow storm. The Detroit airport got about six inches of snow, and had problems clearing the snow which resulted in backlogs and the stranding of people at the airport. It was a total disaster. On the way home, I remember that we were racing to get home because another snow storm was on the way home and we did not want to get caught in it. We were lucky, and we made it home the day before the storm hit. On January 3rd, the storm hit. My parents still went to work, but my brother and I stayed home because school had been canceled. Of course this storm only added to the problems at the Detroit airport. Even after school reopened, I remember that some students were not back in school. (One classmate and her family got stuck in Hawaii, and I clearly remember the teacher saying, "Nice place to get stuck at.")

After reading over this, it is hard for me to believe that it has almost been a decade since this has all happened. I don't think I ever imagined then what I would be doing in ten years.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Advent Meme Day Eight Posted!

Day Eight of the Advent meme has been posted, and it's on one of my favorite foods! You can read it here. Enjoy!

Friday, December 7, 2007

Day Seven of Advent Meme Posted!

Day seven of the advent meme has been posted! You can read it here. Enjoy!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Advent Meme Day 10: Christmas Gifts

I always like getting history books for Christmas, and I like to give books because one doesn't have to worry about making sure that it is the right size, as which with clothes. I don't think I have much more to say about that. Again, I don't ask for anything for Christmas anymore because I don't have time to really think about what I want.

Advent Meme Day Six Posted!

The advent meme for day six has been posted. You can read it here.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

'Tis the Season for Parties ...

Has my family ever hosted any parties around Christmas time? If you count parties that have only family and friends, then I say, "Yes!" I can't say that my family hosts a party every year because we switch off with my grandparents and uncle and aunt. Most of the parties are just with family and a few close friends.

The majority of my memories of parties are of family Christmas parties. And all of the parties seem to be the same every year because they are with the same people - my family. Christmas is special to me because it is a time when I get to see family members, and since I've gone to college, Christmas is even more special because it is one few times in the year that I get to see all of my family members. Christmas is also a time when I actually have a break from school and I get to relax. So, for me, Christmas parties are not as important as just being home with my family.

Day Five of the Advent Meme Posted!

Day Five of the Advent meme has been posted. You can read it here. Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Day 4 of Advent Meme posted!

Day Four of the Advent meme has been posted! You can read it here. Enjoy!

Cookie Baking ...

Let me begin by saying that I love cookies. (Yes, I have a big sweet tooth.) A few days before Christmas my family would always make a variety of desserts and most of those would be cookies. The chocolate chip cookie would almost always be among the types made. And I usually would help my mom by making cookies.

About five years ago, my family hosted a Christmas party, and I helped my mom by making the cookies. Among the cookies that I remember making were Russian Tea Cookies and these brandy-and-chocolate cookies. I don't remember the exact name of them, but I do remember that they tasted very good. (I also remember one of my cousins reaction to trying one of these cookies. He didn't like them because they tasted different.) Oh, I do remember that I accidentally poured a little bit more of the brandy into the mix than was called for, and no it was not intentional.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Wonderings About Christmas Celebrations ...

I realize that this might seem a bit random, since this is not a post on my memories of past Christmases. Instead, it is a post about some questions on my mind.

As Christmas comes around, I wonder how my ancestors celebrated Christmas. So far, I have not been able to find any diaries or letters written by my ancestors, so I have no idea. I have ancestors from the British Isles and from Germany, and I realize that the traditions of both areas are completely different. How was Christmas celebrated in the Nineteenth Century and early Twentieth Century? How did farmers in the Midwest celebrate Christmas? I don't have the answers to any of these questions. To me, this sounds like a good research topic. Does anyone have any idea where to start looking for information?

Carnival of Genealogy Posted!

The carnival of genealogy has been posted! You can read it here. The topic for the next carnival is on the memories of the Millennium. What memories do you have of New Year's of 2000?

Day 3 of Advent Meme posted!

Day three of the Advent meme has been posted. You can read it here. Enjoy!

Letters to Santa

Although I don't believe in Santa anymore, when I was a little girl, I did make lists of what I wanted for Christmas. But I never mailed the lists. By the time I got to middle school, I just stopped asking for stuff for Christmas. I think I originally stopped because I did not know what I wanted, but as I got older, I didn't ask for anything primarily because I was busy with school and did not have the time.

As a little girl, my parents took both my brother and I to see Santa and sit in his lap. For a couple of years my family would go to the Twelve Oaks mall on the weekend, and we would eat at the restaurant in Hudson's. There would be a Santa sitting at the entrance, and after we had breakfast, my parents would let my brother and I go talk to Santa. Of course the Hudson's restaurant was not the only place that I talked to Santa. Over the span of my childhood, I think I talked to several Santas. I don't remember how many. I've lost count.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Advent Meme Part 5: Putting the House On Show

Every year we decorate our house and the shrubs in the front yard with lights, but we don't go overboard. Not that I have anything against people who decide to do so. I actually think that those houses are most interesting and cool. We don't have a lot of time to decorate, so the decorating has to be simple. I'm sure that is the case for most people as well.

Of course there is always someone who really decorates his or her house. In the city where I used to live, there were a couple of subdivisions that that had homes that were decorated. (They looked as though they had been done professionally; that's how amazing they were.) Word of mouth would spread around about the houses, and people would drive around the subdivision looking at the houses. If we happened to be out and noticed homes that were decked out, would drive by those homes. I have always enjoyed looking at homes decorated with Christmas lights. There is something very comfortable and cheering about decorated homes.

Second Advent Meme Posted!

The second part of the Advent meme has been posted. You can read it here. Enjoy!

The 1st Edition of the Carnival of Central and Eastern European Genealogy

The first edition of the Carnival of Central and Eastern European Genealogy is here! The topic for this carnival was a carousel, so articles on any topic were accepted. Since this is first edition of the carnival, only six articles were submitted. I have chosen only to present five of the articles after reading through them because I felt that one of the articles (and I did read other articles from that person's blog to double check) was anti-Semitic. I will not post articles that are anti-Semitic (or are hateful to other people) because I cannot tolerate articles such as those and because my blog is meant to be family friendly. With that said, it is time to go on with the carnival.

First off, we have Just What Happened 99 Years Ago in Tunguska, Siberia? written by GrrlScientist (I do not know her real name) of Living the Scientific Life. This article is about the explosion that occurred in Siberian Russia in 1908, and it explores one of the theories over the cause of the explosion. (Although I was not thinking about scientific articles when I created this carnival, I have included this article because the article deals with a scientific and historical mystery from a country in this carnival's region.)

Next, we have Riding the Russian Rails written by Poetloverrebelspy (Again, I do not know this person's name) of Less Than a Shoestring. This article is about trains in Russia, and how a person can find out more information on traveling by train in Russia.

Next, we have Grandfather, the Springmaker written by Stephen Danko of Steve's Genealogy Blog. This article is about Steve's research into the occupation of his grandfather and his grandfather's uncle, and the questions that he has.

Next, we have Researching German Ancestors written by Jessica Oswalt of Jessica's Genejournal. This article is about Jessica's research into her German ancestors, and some of the sources of information that she used to find an ancestral village.

Last but not least, we have What color is your heritage? written by Lisa of 100 Years in America. This article is about the multicultural heritage of Americans, and how you can make your own flag to reflect your heritage. She also writes about how one can can share the flag he or she had made.

Well, that is it for this edition of the carnival of genealogy. The next edition will be on Christmas traditions. Does your family have any Christmas traditions that came from your Central or Eastern European ancestors? Or are you familiar with the Christmas traditions of countries that are located in Central and Eastern Europe? Articles for the next edition are due by December 21. You can submit your article here.

The Weather ...

I usually don't write about the weather where I am at, but the weather has turned a bit ugly over this past day. (As it is December, those of who live around the Great Lakes know, the weather can get bad at winter time.) Earlier, it snowed and rained on the west side of Michigan. Unfortunately, the rain froze on top of the little snow that we got, and so it is very slippery. If you live on the east side of Michigan (and farther east), the bad weather is heading your way. I just want to let people know.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

First Edition of the Advent Meme Posted!

The first edition of the Advent Meme has been posted at Thomas' blog. You can read the entry here. Enjoy!

Friday, November 30, 2007

Advent 4: Christmas Cards

Like everyone else, my family receives and mails out Christmas cards every year. Personally, I like Christmas cards, and I enjoy looking at all of the different and unique styles. Usually, we display the cards that we get. When we lived at our old house, we taped the cards to the door of the foyer closet. We still display our cards at our new home, but we tape them onto the spindles of the staircase in the kitchen. (It looks a lot better than how I wrote it, honestly.)

Of course, almost all of the Christmas cards are addressed to the whole family. Usually, the only Christmas cards that my brother and I would get addressed to each of us would be cards from our grandparents. I say usually because from the age of eight until I was in high school, I used to receive a Christmas card from the family of the then Governor of Michigan. How did I get on his mailing list? Well, when I was in the third grade, the Governor Engler's wife gave birth to three daughters, and I wrote a little letter congratulating the Governor and his wife after reading about it in the newspaper. I received a card back from the Governor's family. My little letter probably wasn't read, but for an eight year old, getting a card back in response meant a lot. (I don't remember that if I also received a Christmas card that year because the daughters, if I remember correctly, were born in the middle of November. Either way, it doesn't matter.)

I may be old-fashioned, but I love sending and receiving Christmas cards. And if I had any time, I would rather write letters than to send e-mails. (But that is for another post.)

Advent Meme 3: Christmas Food

I don't believe my family has any special Christmas dinner dishes. In the past, we have usually had either turkey or prime rib or both for Christmas dinner. The meals vary depending upon who is hosting the family's Christmas get-together. Either my parents, grandparents or my uncle and aunt host the party at their home, and those not hosting, usually bring a side dish or dessert, even though the main meal is made by the host family.

On Christmas morning, before my brother and I open our presents or have breakfast, we have to take our two dogs out. For the past couple of years, my mom has made a special French toast for breakfast, and it is delicious. Other than that, I don't believe my family has any unique dishes for Christmas.

Researching German Ancestors

Although I have German ancestors, I haven't done a lot of research into my German ancestors, when it comes to German records. So far, I have only been able to trace a couple of branches back to their town or village of origin. Before I go any further, I must state that a family tree had been done previously on one of the families. I am still going through and reconfirming the information since I don't have the original researcher's notes, and I do not know what records he used. I must also mention that in going through the data, I have come across errors, especially when it comes upon information on people who lived in the United States. The errors are exactly why I am going over the information, and the arrangement of the branches make determining relationships very difficult. The tree is completely in German, and even though that is not a major problem for me, there are German words that I have come across that I can't find in my German dictionaries.

So, what have I done to confirm or disprove the information on the tree? I have used obituaries, passport applications, passenger ship lists, marriage records and death certificates. Of course, this isn't an exhaustive list, but as I am still working on determining where most of my German ancestors came from, I'm still looking for more records.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

More Genealogy Blogs Added!

I have just added two more genealogy blogs. The blogs added are:
  • Destination: Austin Family
  • Where am I from?

You can find these and other blogs on the lower left side of the page. Any suggestions for other genealogy or history blogs are welcome.

Advent Meme 2: My Family's Ornaments

I believe that most of my family's Christmas tree ornaments were either bought by my parents or given to my family as gifts. The majority of ornaments that are put on our tree, I remember, were put on the tree as long as I have been alive. Of the ornaments that are on the tree, I remember when they were bought or given as gifts. Many of the Christmas ornaments that were bought were from places that my family had visited on vacations. Of course, there are also the Christmas ornaments that my brother and I made when we were both in elementary school.
There are a couple of ornaments that I treasure because they were made by my great-grandmothers. Neither of my great-grandmothers are still alive, so these ornaments that were made to them are precious to me because they are one of the last links to my ancestors. All of the rest of the ornaments are commercial-made. My family has never strung popcorn and cranberries on our tree probably because it would have been too messy. Instead, we string Christmas tree lights around the tree.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The Colors of My Flag ...

Earlier today, Jasia posted an article about the flag she made. You can read her article here. Here is my flag:

As you can see, the three flags are the flags of my heritage.

Some Other Interesting Articles ...

Over the past the two weeks or so, I've noticed that several interesting blog articles have been posted. I have already written about interesting Thanksgiving posts here. Some of the articles that I've noticed are:

These articles are ones that I thought were interesting. If I have missed any interesting article, please let me know. Enjoy!

Monday, November 26, 2007

New Poll Created!

I've just added a new poll to this blog. The question for this poll is, "Where in Scandinavia are your ancestors from?" Your choices are:
  • Norway
  • Sweden
  • Finland
  • Denmark
  • Iceland

You can choose more than one answer for this poll. The poll will close in about two weeks. Enjoy!

Reminder and Other Things ...

I just want to remind everyone that articles for the Carnival of Central and Eastern European Genealogy will be due on November 30. The topic for this carnival is a carousel. I have already received articles for the carnival, but I just want to let everyone know when articles are due for the upcoming carnival. You can read more about the carnival here.

On another note, I will not be posting very many articles this week primarily because I am busy with school work.

Poll Results

The poll is now closed, and the results are in. The question for this poll was, "Where in Eastern Europe are your ancestors from?" Four people voted, and the results are:
  • Poland - 2 votes
  • Russia - 3 votes
  • Lithuania - 0 votes
  • Estonia - 0 votes
  • Latvia - 0 votes
  • Ukraine -1 vote

To those who voted, thank you for voting. At least two or three more polls will be posted in the future, so keep an eye out for them. Enjoy!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

An Advent Meme: My Family's Christmas Tree

Within the past couple of weeks, Jasia and Thomas have come up with a Christmas meme, and I have decided to participate. There are supposed to be about 24 entries, and the first entry for December 1 is on Christmas trees memories and traditions.

For as long as I can remember, my parents have always had an artificial Christmas tree. My grandparents, on the other hand, have always had a real Christmas tree. Either way, the trees that my family had have been around six or seven feet tall - probably the average height for a Christmas tree. Of course, the trees couldn't be any taller than that because the height of the ceilings in the houses my parents and grandparents used to live in were probably no higher than eight feet. In short, the ceilings were pretty low. (I have to estimate the heights here because I do not remember what the height of the ceilings were of the house I used to live in. I'm just recalling this from my memory, so the height could be incorrect.)

When I was a young child, my parents mainly decorated the tree. If my brother or I did any decorating, it was in helping hang ornaments on the tree. As my brother and I got older, we participated more in helping put the tree together and decorating the tree. By the time I was a teenager, my brother and I probably did most of the decorating of the tree, and putting the tree together. (Our dad would still help in putting the tree together, as my brother and I were still not tall enough to put the top on.) One year, I believe, if I remember correctly, I put up the tree all by myself, and I also strung all of the lights on the Christmas tree. Everyone else ended up putting ornaments on the tree the next day. Since I have gone to college, I haven't helped as much in putting up the tree because I have been busy with school work. I didn't put help with the tree this year primarily because I had school work that I had to do.

Some Interesting Thanksgiving Posts ...

Even though I haven't posted very many articles on Thanksgiving and it is now after Thanksgiving, I still want to mention some articles on Thanksgiving that I thought were interesting. The articles are:

I realize that is not a large list of articles. I have been very busy lately with school work, and these were the articles that I noticed the most. If I have missed any other articles, please feel free to let me know. Thanks. Enjoy!

Friday, November 23, 2007

The Carnival of Irish Heritage and Culture Has Been Posted!

The first carnival of Irish Heritage and Culture was posted yesterday at Lisa's Small-leaved Shamrock. The topic for the next carnival is recommendations of books, resources and databases that have been useful to you in doing Irish genealogy. Article entries are due by December 28. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

All I Want For Christmas Is ...

Okay, I realize that it is still too early to write about Christmas, but I'm doing this ahead of time primarily because I probably won't have any other time to post this between now and December 1st.

So, what would I like for Christmas, genealogically speaking? Well ...
  1. More time to do genealogy. (Obviously, this is probably what every genealogists wants. I'm hoping I'll have some time to do research over the Christmas break.)
  2. Break down a few "brick walls"/ difficult areas on a couple of branches.
  3. Find Marriage records for a couple of my ancestors and their siblings that I have not yet been able to find.
  4. Order a couple of microfilms of German records.

Well, that is all that I can think of. I realize that this a pretty generic wish list, but then, I don't really have the time to sit down and think about what I want exactly.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

New Carnival Created!

I have created a new carnival. This carnival is the Carnival of Central and Eastern European Genealogy. This carnival will cover a diverse and large area; an area that stretches from Germany to Russia to the Balkan Peninsula. Topics can be on genealogy, history or culture of these regions.

For this first carnival it will be a carousel, so any article that focuses on Central or Eastern Europe is welcome. The first submission is due by November 30, and I will post within a couple of days. I will probably have carnivals every second and last Friday of the month. You can submit your articles here.

Please feel free to spread the word about this new genealogy carnival.

Monday, November 19, 2007

An Ancestor Meme!

John of Transylvanian Dutch blog came up with a new meme a couple of days ago in his Can you top this? article. I don't believe that I can come up with an ancestor who has fathered more than 22 children because I have only been able to go back only 150 to 200 years so far. But I do have a couple of female ancestors who had at least 11 children. I have to wonder, though, how common was it for women in the late 1800s to early 1900s, to bear eleven children? Most of my female ancestors that I have researched so far have had between six and eight children. I could be wrong, but having eleven children, to me, would still seem to be an accomplishment, especially if the majority of the children survived to adulthood. Since we live in an age of antibiotics, I don't believe we can fully comprehend what life was like when antibiotics and vaccines were pretty much non-existent. (When I say non-existent, I mean when they were uncommon or not readily available. Edward Jenner came up with the first vaccine back in the 1700s.) Of course, I can't comprehend because I was born way after antibiotics became readily available. So what do think? As always, you can leave a comment.

Carnival of Genealogy Posted!

The carnival of genealogy has been posted at Jasia's blog. The topice for the next carnival is on genealogy wish lists. Enjoy!

Oh I Just Can't Wait ...

In a couple more days I'll be going home for Thanksgiving, and I'll get to see my family. I've been dying for a break for a while, and it will be nice to get a break. Of course, I still have school work that I'll be working on, but at least, I'll be able to relax a little. Have a Happy Thanksgiving! Enjoy!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

New Poll Created!

I have just added a new poll. The question for this poll is, "Where in Eastern Europe Are Your Ancestors From?" The choices are:
  • Poland
  • Russia
  • Lithuania
  • Estonia
  • Latvia
  • Ukraine

You can choose more than one location in voting. The poll will be opened for eight days. Enjoy!

Poll Results

The poll is now closed and the results are in. The question for this poll was, "Where in Central Europe did your ancestors come from?" There were eight choices, and ten people voted. Here are the results:
  • Germany - 6 votes
  • Austria - 2 votes
  • Switzerland - 4 votes
  • Hungary - 1 vote
  • Czech Republic - 1 vote
  • Luxembourg - 2 votes
  • Slovakia - 0 votes
  • Liechtenstein - 0 votes

To those who voted, thank you for participating.

The 161 Meme

I'd like to say that I was tagged for this meme, even though I haven't been put on a list. I read Terry Thornton's blog earlier, and he tagged everyone who read his blog to do this meme. Therefore, I'm going to post for this meme.

For this meme, I am supposed to go to the 161st page in a book I am reading, and then post the sixth sentence of this book. I am always reading, and at the moment, I am reading several books. I won't list sentences from every book that I am reading because I am reading way too many at the moment. So, I'll just choose one book.

One of the books I am reading is Carol McD. Wallace's All Dressed in White: The Irresistible Rise of the American Wedding. Here is the sixth sentence:

"Sometimes a movie had a broader effect on fashion - Sabrina from 1954 popularized a shallow scooped neckline called the 'Sabrina neck' that was popular on wedding gowns throughout the mid-1950s."

Obviously, this sentence is part of a paragraph on how movies influenced the design of wedding dresses.

Now I have to tag five other people. So here are the five people that I am tagging:

So, now I encourage those I just tagged to do the same. Enjoy!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Thanksgiving Memories - Part One

In light of the fact that Thanksgiving is only about a week away, I've decided to write about some of my memories of Thanksgivings that my family have celebrated. So, what do I associate the most with Thanksgiving?

Well, besides being with family, the turkey dinner has always been prominent. I think almost every Thanksgiving dinner has included turkey, cranberries and stuffing. Most of the turkeys that my family had were baked for about four hours in an oven. (Well, at least it seemed to be about four hours.) So, when we had turkey, it would most likely be baked, that is, until a few years ago. A few years ago, my parents learned about frying turkeys and my dad decided to try cooking a turkey that way. He went out and bought a fryer and bought the oil needed to fry the turkey. So, now my family has a new tradition: frying the turkey. Why do we do that? Well, frying the turkey, depending upon the size, doesn't usually take more than two hours. So it is much quicker. (Of course, if I had to choose between a fried turkey and a baked one, I would rather have a baked one. That is not to say that fried turkeys don't taste good. I'm just old-fashioned.)

So, what memories do you have of Thanksgiving? Does your family have a turkey for dinner? If so, how does your family cook it?

Poll Results

The poll that I started yesterday has now closed. The question was: For the next few days, which holiday would you want to read about in articles? Five people voted, and the results are:
  • Thanksgiving -4 votes
  • Christmas - 1 vote

From this poll, it appears that most people want to read about Thanksgiving, so I'll write about Thanksgiving in articles in the days following up to Thanksgiving. Thank you to all of those who voted.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Genealogy and History Thoughts - Column Eight: Or Why I Prefer to Not Use Online Translators

I know there are genealogists that use online and computer translators to translate old documents, and my intention is not to attack those who use these translators. I realize that not everyone knows another language and that translators can be helpful in saving time. And money. My problem with online translators is that they translate terribly, and if a document is poorly translated, one can miss some important information. Also, not every word of a language is included in an online translator, especially if it is an old word. Or the actual meaning of the sentence can be skewered by an online translator, since that online translator probably does not take in context of the endings on nouns and adjectives or of the case. For example:
  • Latin - depending up the ending of the noun, one call tell the gender of that noun, if the noun is singular or plural, and what case that word is in. (When I speak of case, I mean such as: possession -in the case of Latin, called Genitive, indirect object - Accusative, direct object - dative, subject - nominative, and two more cases that I can't recall off the top of my head. It's been awhile since I've dealt with Latin.)

  • German - Again, it is the same with Latin, except German only has four cases: nominative, accusative, dative and genitive.

So, as you can see, if an online translator ignores the case of the noun, one could potentially miss some important information, especially if the information on a document (like a vital record) is in a sentence instead of a form. One could potentially miss out information such as how someone is related to someone else if the document mentions more than one person. So, the case of a noun is quite important when it comes to translating a document.

And then there is the issue of translating something in English into another language. Online translators could very easily use the wrong word in translating a sentence. If someone was trying to write a letter in another language for information, that person could easily use an online translator and get something back that might mean something else to a native speaker reading that letter. (Obviously, they would be able to tell right away that the letter was written by someone who isn't fluent in the language.) A human translator does a much better job than an online translator, but I realize that can cost quite a bit of money, unless you can find someone who is willing to do it for free. The other option is to try to learn that language, but then again that costs money and time.

Even though I am taking German language classes, I am not fluent in German yet. I still make quite a few mistakes, but unlike a computer, I can probably come up with a better translation (with a dictionary) than a computer's literal translation. I know that these online translators can be awful because I decided to test a couple for fun. (Yes, I wanted to see how bad they were.) I have a document in German and know roughly what the document says. I decided to try Microsoft Word 2003's translator (okay, this one isn't on the internet, but I think it falls into the computer category.), and well, it did a poor job. One of the reasons was that it restricted the number of words that could be added at a time. The problem is that sentences in historical documents can be quite long and the sentence meaning will be skewered if words are cut out. In German, there are times when the verb can be at the end of a sentence, and if one does not have that last verb, the sentence meaning will be wrongly translated (if it makes any sense at all). So, for me, the Microsoft translation was quite funny because of all of the mistakes it made. (Again, I did this just to make myself laugh.)

Here is an excerpt of my document in German:

"Worüber wir gegenwärtige Urkunde in Gegenwart der nachgenannten vier Zeugen: 1. Philipp Jantzer/Jentzer, Kaufmann, drei und dreißig Jahre alt wohnhaft in Waldfischbach;2. Ludwig Schäffer, Bäcker und Wirth, fünfzig Jahre alt, wohnhaft in Trippstadt;3. Johannes Drescher, Schullehrer, sechs und dreißig Jahre alt, wohnhaft in Trippstadt;4. Jakob Jung, Kaufmann, ein und dreißig Jahre alt, wohnhaft in Kaiserslautern,alle vier mit den Brautleuten nicht verwandt und nicht verschwägert,gefertigt und mit denselben und den kontrahirenden Theilen, benebst den anwesenden Eltern, nach geschehener Vorlesung unterzeichnet haben.So geschehen zu Trippstadt im Jahre und am Tage wie Eingangs erwähnt."

Here is Microsoft Word's translation:

" ... 1. Philipp Jantzer/Jentzer, Buyer, three and thirty years old resident … all four related to the bride people not and does not verschwägert manufactured and with the same and the contracting Theilen, benebst that present parents, after happened lecture signed. As happened at Trippstadt in the year and by day as entrance mentions."

(Note: I have elipses in this excerpt of the Microsoft translation because Microsoft's program restricts the number of words to about twenty-five and by the time I got to the end of the document, I was tired of having to continually copy and past.)

As you can see, Microsoft's translation of this excerpt is not very good. It left several words in German, and the sentance clearly does not make sense.

The other translator that I have tried is Babelfish. Babelfish did only a slightly better job. Here is Babelfish's translation:

"About what we present document in presence of the following four witnesses: 1. Philipp Jantzer/Jentzer, buyer, three and thirty years old resident in forest fish brook; 2. Ludwig Schaeffer, baker and Wirth, fifty years old, resident in Trippstadt; 3. Johannes Dre, school teachers, six and thirty years old, resident in Trippstadt; 4. Jakob young, buyer, and thirty years old, resident in Kaiserslautern, all four related not verschwaegert to the bride people and not, not manufactured and to the same and the kontrahirenden Theilen, benebst present parents, after happened lecture signed. As happened at Trippstadt in the year and by day as entrance mentions."

And here is my translation of the excerpt:

"We, four witnesses were present at the aforementioned deed:
1. Philip Jantzer/Jentzer,* merchant, 33 years old, resides in Waldfischbach; 2. Ludwig Schaeffer, Baker and innkeeper (or land lord), 50 years old, resides in Trippstadt; 3. John Drescher, school teacher, 36 years old, resides in Trippstadt; 4. Jacob Jung, merchant, 31 years old, resides in Kaiserslautern; neither of these four are related to the bridal couple, and they happened to be present in the signing of the contract, instead of the parents' presence. And so came to pass in Trippstadt in the year and day mentioned."

(*I had someone transcribe my document for me because at the time I could not make sense of the German hadwriting, and the transcriber wasn't sure if the letter was an a or an e.) If anyone can come up with a better translation, please feel free to correct me.

Of course, when it comes to only translating one or two words, these online translators can do a fairly good job, but I wouldn't use it for phrases or sentences. Also, I noticed that these dictionaries do not have archiac words in their databases. So, if you're looking for the translation of an old occupation, the chances are greater that you might not find it. I did do some browsing a few minutes ago, and I found a website that has translations for old German occupations. Here is the link: I can't vouch for its accuracy, but it appears as though it might be helpful when it comes to looking for older words.

Again, as I mentioned before, I am not attempting to attack those who use online translators. I just want to let others know that these online translators are not as accurate as they might appear. If anyone has a better translation of that excerpt, please feel free to leave a comment correcting me. So, what do you think? Feel free to leave me a comment.

Blog Changes

I have changed the blog again and this time, I have added a picture I took in one of the cemeteries where my ancestors are buried. Please let me know if the font color is unreadable. Enjoy!

Update, Nov. 15 - 10:55 P. M.: I have made the text more bold and changed the text color to orange. Please let me know if this is difficult to read, and I will make changes.

Silly Thanksgiving Quizes

I decided to take some silly Thanksgiving quizzes. Here are my results:

You Are Mashed Potatoes

Ordinary, comforting, and more than a little predictable
You're the glue that holds everyone together.

Your Pilgrim Name Is

Faith Standish

You Are 77% Thankful

You are a very thankful person - for both the big and little things in life.
Your optimism is powerful. Getting through hard times is fairly easy for you.

I realize that I did not post as many quizzes this time. There were very few quizzes for Thanksgiving. Anyhow, these are just silly quizzes.

New Poll Added!

I have just added a new poll to this blog. This poll will only last for the next 23 hours. The question is: For the Next Few Days, Which Holiday Would You Prefer Reading About? Your choices are:
  • Thanksgiving
  • Christmas

If you have a preference, please let me know. Thanks. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Silly Christmas Quizes

I decided to take a couple of Christmas personality quizzes since it is getting closer to December. (Of course, I can't wait for Thanksgiving. I'm looking forward to going home.) So here are some of the results of the quizzes I took:

You Are a Practical Gift Giver

Your gifts are useful, appropriate, and custom tailored to each person.
In your opinion, the best gifts are gifts that someone will actually use.
Your gifts may not be the most glamorous, but they are always appreciated.

You Are a Snowman

Friendly and fun, you enjoy bringing holiday cheer to everyone you know!

Your Christmas Song Is

It's The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

It's the most wonderful time of the year
With the kids jingle-belling
And everyone telling you
Be of good cheer
It's the most wonderful time of the year

Hands down, Christmas is your favorite holiday ever
And you always enjoy every moment of it

You Are a Cranberry and Popcorn Strung Tree

Christmas is all about showcasing your creative talents.
From cookies to nicely wrapped presents, your unique creations impress everyone.

You Are a Gingerbread House

A little spicy and a little sweet, anyone would like to be lost in the woods with you.

You Are Prancer

You are the perfect reindeer, with perfect hooves and perfect flying form.

Why You're Naughty: Because you're Santa's pet, and you won't let anyone show you up.

Why You're Nice: You have the softest fur and the sweetest carrot breath.

I realize that this is a long post, but these are just only a few of the quizzes that that site has on Christmas. I only picked the ones that I liked. A few of the quizzes, though, I thought were not very appropriate, especially for children.

More Genealogy Blogs Added!

Today I have added several more genealogy blogs to this blog. The blogs added are:
  • Anthony Smith's Genealogy Possum Kingdom
  • Braswell Genealogy
  • Carol's Ruth Campbell Smith 1925-1927 Diaries
  • Genealogy Friends
  • Gordon Buck's Buck Family of Virginia
  • McMahon Family Research
  • MoSGA Messenger
  • Pam Anderson's Pieces of Wild Rose, WI Area and My Own
  • Terria Tucker Fleming's Tucker Family Genealogy
  • Westport (Massachusetts) History

You can find these and other blogs on the lower left side of the blog. Any suggestions for other genealogy and history blogs are welcome.

Monday, November 12, 2007

An Interesting Irish History Book

Although I don't know yet if I have Irish ancestors, I do know that very few stories were passed down into my family. In spite of a lack of family stories, I want to recommend a history book that I am reading. Thomas Cahill's How the Irish Saved Civilization: The Untold Story of Ireland's Heroic Role from the Fall of Rome to the Rise of Medieval Europe (New York: Nan A. Talese, 1995). (I realize that very few people would be able to trace their genealogy back this far but as a book on background history of Ireland, this book would be a good read.) As the title suggests, this book is on Ireland's history from the late Roman Empire to the Seventh Century. Ireland's Pre-Christian culture is explored as well as Ireland's culture after its conversion to Christianity. And the role that Ireland played in preserving civilization is discussed. So far, I have found this book to be very interesting, but I must add that this book is written for adults. There is some adult subject matter in the book, so I wouldn't recommend this book for children. Other than that, I believe this book makes an interesting read.

More Genealogy Blogs Added!

Today I have added a few more genealogy blogs to this blog. The blogs added are:
  • Frank's The Lucas Countyan
  • Bernard Doddema's DoddemaGen
  • Cat's Genealogy - Diggin up Dirt

You can find these and other genealogy blogs on the lower left side of this blog. Any suggestions for other genealogy or history blogs are welcome.

On a side note, this is my 15oth post. It is hard for me to believe that I have published that many posts.

An Interesting Tip ...

I happened to be looking at Ancestry's Weekly Journal Blog, and I noticed an interesting tip. This tip offered a link to a paper on New England grave stones. Here is the link to the tip:

Sunday, November 11, 2007

A New Carnival Has Been Created!

Lisa, of Small-leaved Shamrock blog, asked me to inform others about the new carnival that she has created. The new carnival is the Carnival of Irish Heritage and Culture, a carnival for Irish genealogy. Articles for the new carnival are due by November 19, and the first posting of the carnival will be posted on the 22nd. Thank you, Lisa, for letting me know about this carnival.

Honoring My Family's Veterans

Today is Veteran's Day and in honor of this day, I want to briefly mention the veteran's in my family. I have briefly mentioned before that I have an ancestor who served in the U. S. Civil War. I don't have a picture of him, although I wish I did. The pictures directly below are his grave and the grave of another Civil War veteran who I believe to be his younger brother.

Copyright 2004: Civil War graves of Adam and Benjamin Oswalt, Riverside Cemetery, Three Rivers, Michigan.

Both Adam and Benjamin survived the civil war. I did not just have an ancestor who served in the civil war; both of my grandfathers served during World War Two, and my great-grandfather served on the British side during World War One. I believe the picture below is of the regiment that my great-grandfather served in.

I do not know where or when this picture was taken, other than that it was during World War One. The photo was printed on a postcard. There was no handwritten note on the back of this card, but the printing on it was in French. The French suggests that the picture was probably taken in either France or Belgium. I don't have any information on what regiment he served in, but his marriage certificate who suggested that he served in France at some point.
Again, I cannot imagine what my veteran ancestors and other people's ancestors went through while they were serving. All I know is that they and those who are serving today deserve our respect and honor. So, I just want to say, "Thank you," to those who have served and our serving today. Thank you!
Update, November 11, 2007 - 11:30 p. m.: I forgot to mention that I posted a link to a news article on another one of my blogs.

Here's a Cute Quiz ...

I decided to take another personality quiz, and this time it is on handwriting. I definitely believe the subject is fitting for this blog. Here are my results:

What Your Handwriting Says About You

You are a fairly energetic person. You know how do pace yourself, and you deal well with stress.

You range from very outgoing to very shy. You are a shapeshifter who is very versatile. You adapt well, and you look at things from many angles.

You are balanced and grounded. You know how to get along well with others.

You need a bit of space in your life, but you're not a recluse. You expect people to give you a small amount of privacy, and you respect their privacy as well.

You are conservative, old fashioned, and a little stubborn. You are resistant to change.

You are a good communicator. You work hard to get your ideas across effectively.

I can't say that the quiz fits me exactly, but it is only for fun anyway.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Speaking of the Know-Nothing Party ...

Earlier today, I read Janice's article on the Know-Nothing Party in New Hampshire, and the article sparked my memory of reading old newspaper articles that mentioned the Know-Nothing Party in the county where my ancestor's lived.

Over this past summer, I learned about Pennsylvania State University's digital collection of Pennsylvania Civil War Newspapers. One of the newspapers in the collection is for Huntingdon County, which is the county where several of my ancestors lived. As I was searching for articles that included my ancestors, I stumbled across a political petition that had my ancestor and one of his sons listed on the petition. The petition was printed in the paper before the 1856 election, and the petitioners were calling upon their fellow Whigs to not join the Know-Nothing Party. Apparently, these petitioners believed that the Know-Nothing Party went against the democratic principles of the United States. (As a side note, when James Buchanan was elected President, the newspaper rejoiced in a large ad. The paper was overjoyed that sectionalism was defeated in that election, but in a sad, ironic twist, the U. S. would erupt into civil war only five years later.)

So what exactly was happening? The Whig party collapsed as a political party by the 1856 election, and the tension between the states was increasing. Sometimes I think it is hard to imagine what people were feeling during that time period. I believe newspaper articles help open windows into what people were thinking and feeling during the time period right before the civil war.

In case you want to read other Huntingdon County newspapers, here is a link to some of the other early papers:



Friday, November 9, 2007

I Am My Own - Well Not Quite ....

Earlier today, Randy Seaver posted about songs on genealogy, and one of the songs mentioned was "I am my own grandpa." Randy's post reminded me of an ancestor who participated in a situation similar to the situation described in the song and I decided to write about it.

My ancestor, Jacob Detwiler, was married twice. He first married my ancestor, Barbara Housholder/Householder on 8 December 1836 in Pennsylvania. They had at least six children who lived to adulthood. By the 1870 Census, Jacob and Barbara were living on their own, as their children had all been married by then. By October of 1871, Barbara had died. I was not able to determine when she died exactly from her grave marker, even though it appears as though there might once have been a date of death on the stone. The cemetery transcription for Riverside Cemetery suggests that she died on 25 April 1871, but since there isn't a death registration for her, I have to find some other record that would indicate when she died. I have not yet checked with the Sexton of the cemetery to see if there are any records on her burial. It may be possible that I'll find more information on her and what the cause of death was.

How do I know that Barbara was dead by October of 1871? Jacob remarried that month, to a much younger woman. On the 24th of October 1871, Jacob married Alwilda Arnold in South Bend, Indiana. Although I have not been able to find any church records that give birth dates for Jacob, Barbara or Alwilda, census records do indicate when they might have been born. Barbara was born either before or about 1810. Jacob was born about 1815, and Alwilda appears to have been born about 1850, give or take a couple of years. The most shocking instance for me about Jacob's second marriage is that Alwilda was almost the same age as Jacob's youngest daughter. In other words, Jacob was old enough to be Alwilda's father. The newspaper articles listed that both Jacob and Alwilda were residents of Three Rivers before they got married in South Bend.

I wonder, though, why they married in Indiana. I realize that the Saint Joseph River runs through Three Rivers and South Bend. It may be that Alwilda had family there, but one has to wonder how Jacob's grown children felt about his remarriage or how the community might have felt about the marriage. If Barbara did die in April of 1871, Jacob remarried within six months. To me, remarrying within six months of the death of a spouse seems too early. As far as I know, Jacob did not have any young children living in his household, and all of his children were grown by 1871. Is it possible that either Jacob's children or his neighbors were against him remarrying because his wife had been dead for only a short amount of time? Did Jacob and Alwilda get married in Indiana instead of Michigan as a result of possible disapproval? At the moment, I don't know what Jacob's faith was because he and Alwilda and several of his children were married by a Justice of Peace, so I don't know if there are any records that might indicate why he chose Indiana.

Jacob and Alwilda would have at least one son, Charles, who lived to adulthood, and they may have had another son who died at the age of one. There is a death record in the Saint Joseph County, Michigan County Clerk's office for a Casey E. Detwiler who was born in Indiana. The problem is that the mother is listed as Emma. It could be a mistake for Alwilda's name since the marriage record gave her first name as Elwilda. I have not found any other Jacob Detwiler's in the Southwestern Michigan and Northwestern Indiana area who would have been old enough to have been the child's father. It is always possible that this child is another couple's child. Whether or not Jacob and Alwilda had one or two children, the birth of Charles probably confused later descendants of his relationship to other Detwilers in the area. As I mentioned before, all of Jacob's older children were married and had children. Jacob was already a grandfather before Charles was born, and Charles' birth would automatically make him an uncle to the children of his older half-siblings. I can only wonder how confusing it might have been to be one of Jacob's grandchildren; several of Jacob's grandchildren would be older than their own uncle.

Jacob Detwiler died on 21 December 1879 in Saint Joseph County, Michigan. I have not yet found his probate file, but it is always possible that I missed it while looking for other probate files.


(I don't have my sources with me, but I have tried to list as much of my sources as I can remember.)
  • "Married." Huntingdon Gazette, December 28, 1836, page 3,
  • Household of Jacob Detwiler. 1850 U. S. Federal Census, Walker Township, Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania. (Note Detwiler for this family is spelled Ditwiler in this census.)
  • Household of Jacob Detwiler. 1860 U. S. Federal Census, Lockport Township, Saint Joseph County, Michigan. (Detwiler is spelled Detweiler in this census.)
  • Household of Jacob Detwiler. 1870 U. S. Federal Census, Lockport Township, Saint Joseph County, Michigan.
  • Saint Joseph County Genealogical Society, "Riverside Cemetery," in Cemeteries of Saint Joseph County, vol. 4.
  • Saint Joseph County, Indiana Marriages, Saint Joseph County Clerk, book 6, page 391. (Note: Detwiler is spelled Detwilder and Alwilda's name is given is Elwilda.
  • Saint Joseph Valley Register and National Union, (no date or page number. These newspaper articles and the marriage record above were kindly looked up for me at the beginning of this year.)
  • Household of Alwilda Detwiler. 1880 U. S. Federal Census, Lockport Township, Saint Joseph County, Michigan.
  • "Death record of Casey E. Detwiler," Saint Joseph County, Michigan death records, book one, page 59.
  • "Death record of Jacob Detweler," Saint Joseph County, Michigan death records, book one, page 122. (Note: Jacob's last name is spelled Detweler in this record.)