26 June 2013

Happy Birthday, Mommy

About 1945
Today is the 91st anniversary of my mother's birthday.  It has been a little over seven years since she died.

Mommy was one of the reasons I started genealogy: she knew nothing about any of her grandparents and she especially wanted to know something about her mother's ancestry.  Later, my research showed that only one of her grandparents had lived to see her birth and that grandmother died when my mom was 18 months old.

It was only when we were clearing out the house after my mother died that we found an old letter literally stuck between two boards in a high closet.  That 'find' eventually led me to connections that proved that my mother's mother's parents were Patrick Keating and Catherine Dooley.  My mother would have been so tickled to have that info.
Summer, 1948; Temple City, California

With every new thing I find, I think about what she would have said and how her face would have looked when I told her.  Here's the earliest surviving photo of the two of us.

I miss you, Mommy.

09 June 2013

Jamboree: Day Three

I'm sort of sad as I write this: home and no more conference to go to... but it was a great last day at Jamboree!

Records of the Poor in England with Kathy Warburton  --  What a great way to start the day! Excellent presentation, excellent notes in the conference syllabus.  She perfectly balanced history with records and how to find them.  I've got lots to follow up on here.  

Lost in Canada? with Dave Obee  --  After walking out of one room, I ended up here and I couldn't be happier.  And I don't have much reason to really research in Canada.... He was absolutely excellent! Syllabus notes, presentation graphics, and his sense of humor were all excellent.  His website, Can Genealogy, is like a Cyndy's List for Canada alone.  The session block was 90 minutes and Dave used the extra time so well that it all flew by.  I'd love to hear him on more topics.

After lunch, I went to the Demonstration Stage in the foyer for

Exciting Way to Use Google Earth for Genealogy with Lisa Louise Cooke.  I heard Lisa on this topic about 3 years ago and went again today mostly for lack of an exciting alternative.  But, I am very, very glad that the genealogy spirits took me back to Lisa!  She had done a lot more work and had new info to share.  As always, she was very well organized and had lots of content with clear examples. Note to self: I must work on using these techniques more and do a family history tour video.  It would be perfect for my Missouri trip photos and showing everything Cousin Donald took us to see.  I'll get Donald to help with annotations! I have to find a way to preserve everything he knows....

So, now, it's over... except for the fun I'l have going over the whole, huge 426pp syllabus and all the goodies from the exhibit hall and the notes I made to myself when inspired in a session and all the new websites and the list of great things goes on ....

08 June 2013

Jamboree: Day Two

I hit the exhibit hall first thing in the morning.  The highlight of that tour was a nice chat in the British Isles Family History Society table.

I was room monitor for a session in each of the next two slots.  Each speaker seemed unprepared for the presentation, one of them even began the talk by saying so!  Also, the content was not really what the descriptions said.  Had I not been room monitor, I would have left after 10 minutes and tried something else.  Consequently, I'm not naming names.

For my third session...
A Look at the FamilySearch Family Tree with Mike Provard  --  Right on topic, well organized, and a good overview.  I've stayed away from FS Tree, waiting for more of the bugs and tips to be worked out.  Now, I think I want to jump in, but there are issues I have to work through.   I'm still a bit bothered by the ease with which other users will be able to change my input.  Also, while gedcom uploads are possible, it doesn't really work with their structure of one tree rather than user "owned" trees.  Fixing the "duplicate" entries that a large upload would create would be awfully time consuming, but the thought of manually adding/checking a large number of people individually would be at least as time consuming.  And, then, if someone indiscriminately changed one of my well sourced entries ... This needs a lot more thought on my part, I guess.

Staying Safe Online with Thomas MacEntee  --  Excellent presentation on an important topic that requires seemingly constant study to stay on top of all the new onslaughts.  Lots of good tips.  I really like his inclusion of prevention and taking action against the perpetrators where possible.  Several helpful websites provided.

The free popcorn in the convention lobby was especially good! Less traffic on the trip home was nice.  Being passenger in a car with good popcorn to eat and little traffic is a great combination!

Daddy as Big Brother

Don't you love it when photos are fully labeled?!  This photo shows the Hegwer's in the front yard of their home at the Utah Power and Light Company power plant at Lifton, St. Charles, Bear Lake, Idaho where my grandfather was the superintendent. The fence posts you can see on the right run along the road and the north shore of Bear Lake would be on the other side of the road.  The power plant is a ways behind the photographer.

If Daddy had not labeled this photo, I still would have recognized the location and probably Grandma, but I would never had been sure about all the children, especially my own dad.  All my memories of him are with jet black hair!  I never knew they ever had a dog.

Both the older cursive note and the more recent (1979) printed note are in my father's handwriting.  Daddy has dated the photo as being from the late summer of 1918.  However, the info I've found on the births of the children make me think it's much more likely 1919 or maybe even 1920. If I'm right, Daddy is 6 or 7, the baby about 1, Margaret 4 or 5, and Ray is 3 or 4. And, if it's 1920, Grandma is pregnant with Leila.

If my dad's estimate is correct, he would be almost 5, Margaret 3, and Ray less than 2.  Don't you think Daddy is older than 5? And, Ray older than 2?  And I think it's very possible that Grandma could be about 7 months pregnant....  What I really need is an official birthdate for baby Harry.  My father left me with full birthdates for everyone except Harry, which he wrote only as 1918.  Census ages are consistent with his being born late summer 1919, which fits well with Grandma possibly looking pregnant here.

07 June 2013

Jamboree: Day One

Today was my Day One at the Southern California Genealogical Society Jamboree!  I'm commuting from home daily...it's only about an hour away except for rush hour coming home today which made it 90 minutes which is still better than the 2 hours traffic could make it.  I'm an SCGS member and one of many conference volunteers.

The Friday morning sessions are free to the public and were well attended.  I was a room monitor and saw both sessions with John Phillip Colletta on NARA.  I have used his They Came In Ships for years, but I restrained myself and did not ask him to autograph it.  I settled for getting to bring him 2 cups of water.  He's very articulate, charming, humorous, and presented oodles of solid content.  His syllabus was especially good.  I learned: There's a 3-volume set of books, Guide to Federal Records in the National Archives of the United States from 1995.  Colletta said it deals with each record group and the 3rd volume is an index.  Still being a book-in-my-hands person, I'd like to see this set!

After lunch, I saw and room-monitored:
Organization and Presentation is Everything by Philipp Mayer  --  A career engineer's system for record organization.  Key quote: "You put everything into your database, but what are you getting out of it???" Note to self: I'm not doing enough with spreadsheets to organize my research.

ArchiveFinder and ArchiveGrid by D. Joshua Taylor  --  Well presented.  The relatively new relationship between  WorldCat and ArchiveGrid sounds potentially super for genealogists.  Some of my ancestors were in one of his example slides!  Note to self: Go to ArchiveGrid and search my Connecticut names, especially in the Connecticut Historical Society holdings. I should probably also seriously check out the society's own webpage.

DNA Panel  --  I'm so glad it wasn't beginning beginner's content.  I'm all motivated to get back to analyzing the DNA tests I had done a few years ago.  Note to self: Whoa! This one is potentially a genealogy emergency... I need to get beneficiaries designated on all 4 tests I paid for my cousins to take! Well, actually, I need to get them to specify beneficiaries...even though I paid and I deal with the online stuff, it's still their DNA and rights.

All in all, a great start to the conference!  And, if you've been reading many other blogs in the last few weeks, you know that you can see many of these sessions online yourself!  Enjoy!

05 June 2013

Ohio "County Histories" -- Easy Access

The most recent of the Ohio Genealogical Society Quarterly (2013, Vol. 53, Issue 1, pp. 23-38) has the greatest article about the published county histories of the state of Ohio!  Professional librarian (retired), Robert Foster Seal has compiled a listing of county histories currently available online digitally "free of charge to all researchers" at FamilySearch, Google Books, Internet Archive, &/or HathiTrust Digital Library. I had not previously heard of HathiTrust, but it was the easiest of the four for me to actually use for my counties!

Most of the books listed are available on more than one of the sites.  For instance, the 1881 edition of History of Knox County, Ohio: Its Past and Present is at all four sites, as is the 1880 edition of Morrow County and Ohio.  On the other hand, the Historical Atlas of Paulding County, Ohio of 1892 is available only at Internet Archive.

Each of the 88 Ohio counties has at least one book listed, but many have more than one.  For example, Ottawa County has only one listed, but Knox County has four and Seneca has five!

It is a great treat to have this resource list readily available in one place.  The journal editor added a note saying that OGS will add Seal's list to their website and will accept additions of listings for other histories available at free sites.  I am so glad I am an OGS member! I think this article alone was worth the price of my last renewal....!  Thank you, OGS, and thank you very much, Mr. Seal!

01 June 2013

Founders Memorial Park: History to be Repaired!

For a little over a year, I have been volunteering with Find A Grave, answering people's photo requests for cemeteries near here.  I enjoy it a great deal and people are always very appreciative.  I hope it, at least partially, repays the kindness of all the volunteers who have fulfilled my requests across the nation.

One of the first requests I received was for a cemetery in the city of Whittier that I had never, ever heard of and that was supposedly in the same neighborhood as my dentist's office.  How could that be?

Long story short: Founders Memorial Park, aka Whittier Cemetery, was actually two adjacent cemeteries near Uptown Whittier that were abandoned by the 1930s.    The earliest burials were from the early 1880s and continued until at least the 1930s (and possibly into the 1950s).  In 1968, the city took over and eventually made them into a beautiful park of about 4 acres.  Attempts were made to contact family members.  Remaining headstones are now kept at the Whittier Museum.  The museum website includes a brief story of the cemeteries and a listing of all the known burials.  I had been driving by this park every six months and had no idea of its history!

Each cemetery is commemorated with a large,  double-sided memorial. There are a few benches and some paved pathways.  It was purposely kept simple and meditative.  There are no picnic tables, no playgrounds, and no ball courts ... just lots of older trees and the very appropriate memorials.

The memorials feature large bronze plaques with the names of those who are buried at the site.  Unfortunately, just a few days before my first visit to the site, vandals had defaced one side of the Mount Olive memorial and stolen the title plaque and 5 of the name plaques, probably for their metal value.  In my September 2012 photo showing the defaced side, you can see how lovely the overall park is and you can make out the Broadway Cemetery memorial in the distance.

But driving by for my dentist's appointment in November 2012, something didn't look right from the road. I parked to investigate and was extremely saddened and very angry to see that the remainder of the plaques had been stolen and both memorials attacked ... for lack of another word.  Here is what was left of the 4 sides of the 2 memorials:

I was so very upset. Last month, though, there was finally some good news!  The city of Whittier has just made their budget for 2013-2014, and although it will require going into the reserves, repair of the Founder's Memorial Park memorials has been approved.  The estimate is that repairs will cost $50,000 (boy, that seems low...) and insurance may cover some of it.  The newspaper article did not say how or if the repairs will attempt to prevent such damage in the future....