Archive for June, 2008

Yesterday, my youngest daughter graduated from high school.  That’s 4 graduations in 8 years!  As each of my children’s big day drew nearer, I would offer up my own hopes and dreams for them.  For the first three – their futures took turns and twists that were either unexpected or a change of mind and heart.  Some of the decisions and choices they made worked out well and others didn’t.  Something I learned long ago is that we are all our own person – being able to think, feel, and face opportunities and challenges for ourselves.  We’re not locked in to a plan designed by our parents, grandparents, teachers, siblings or friends. 

The influence I’ve had on my children’s educational accomplishments is much the same as the influence I’ve had on the rest of their successes or lack thereof.  For the most part it seems we, as parents, like to accept all the credit for how well our children do but don’t want any of the blame for incorrect decisions.  I did my best to model appropriate behavior and extol on the virtues of a high school diploma and some type of higher education – whether it was a four year or higher college degree, an associates degree, technical education or continuing education in a field of their choice.  I don’t think college is the cure all/be all its supposed to be.  There are many people who just won’t be happy or successful at a four year university right out of high school.  The world and our economy still needs hands on blue collar workers – the craftsmen, masons, road and building construction, plumbers, electricians, cosmetologists, etc.  The world still needs people to serve up a Big Mac and fries who enjoy serving others.  The world still needs the armed forces.  There are many choices.

There are those who know what they want to do with their life from the time they are very small.  Others might take the first couple years of college or after-high school life to figure it out.  I would never have thought that I wanted to do graphic arts had I not been hired in a marketing/graphics field after I graduated.  Yes, I regret that I didn’t go on to get that four year degree.  But I do know that if I had, I wouldn’t be happy with the field I was pursuing.  And so it goes with my children.  Their future and their lives are their’s.  The most I expect is for them to be productive members of society who are happy with their choices.

Graduation yesterday brought up some thoughts – of the genealogical nature – for me.  I don’t think I’ve ever asked either of my parents what their graduation experiences were like.  Here’s a picture of my mom in her cap and gown.  So this summer when I visit her, I’ll ask her these questions:

  1. What time of day and what day of the week (& date if she remembers) did she graduate?
  2. Where was the ceremony held?
  3. How many people in her family were in attendance?
  4. Was there a party or dinner for her afterwards?
  5. What had she planned to do after high school?
  6. What color were her cap and gown?
  7. How many were in her graduating class?

Possibly those questions will engage in more dialogue.  Those will be questions I’ll ask my dad and my sister as well. 

Other items you might take note about when doing research into your family’s educational history.  Did both of your parents graduate high school/college/technical school?  Head straight into the military after high school (for those who finished school around the time of WWII or Viet Nam)?  Did any of your grandparents make it through high school or even college?  Has your parents’ or grandparents’ high school completion or college (or lack of) influence your decisions on finishing high school or going on to higher educaion?  Do you have a copy (scanned or otherwise) of their diploma or degree?  Did they know what they wanted to “be” before getting out of high school?  How did they pay for college or higher learning?  Did they live on campus or commute?  Did they go to college far away from home?  What was that like?

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I wanted to share the goals I have in my family history search and be able to report on each item once I’ve actually accomplished it.

  1. Enter all “loose” data into my Family Tree Maker program.  I have lots of newspaper clippings, genealogical letters and other documents that need to be organized and transcribed.
  2. Scan all the old photos, slides, documents, and letters in my possession. 
  3. Copy said scans on a flash drive or CD and keep separately from my other items (just in case!)
  4. File and organize all the genealogy files I have so I can find things quicker.
  5. Realize what I can keep and what I can’t keep and purge as needed (are those old printouts more up to date then when I printed them 10 years ago?).
  6. Check sources for accuracy.

Mainly I need to get more organized this year.  What are your genealogy goals?  Perhaps visit cemeteries, court houses, the Local Family History Center or Library, go on a genealogy “tour”, go through all the old photo albums, take down some oral histories? 

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The 49th Carnival of Genealogy – Swimsuit Addition has now been posted!  I urge everyone to go take a look and read through the stories.  There are wonderful old pictures of people in swim “gear” and some stories to go along with them.  Jasia, the host, even has her pictures put up on a really cool digital scrapbook page.  I spent about an hour this morning reading quite a lot of them and posting comments.  I want to thank everyone who shared their amazing stories, memories and photos with the genealogy world!

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In my earlier post, Where Have You Gone, I listed several cities and states that I’d either visited as a tourist, as passing through or to visit family. Thanks to Where I’ve Been website, you can register (Free) and pinpoint exactly where you’ve been on the map. This would also be good to do for an ancestor you are researching to see the migration.

This is what my map looks like! (obviously it is not showing the map – you’ll need to click on the folder for Ciities and it shows the list). 


You can generate your own map to embed in your myspace or facebook site.  Good Luck!

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The Social Security Administration Popular Baby Names Website is a site to be checked out to see what the most popular baby names are.  You can also scroll down and input your birth year to see what the most popular names were the year you were born.  Or insert your first name to see what the popularity of it is.

How this all played out for me – 40+ years ago (no, I’m not telling my birth year!) the 5 most popular baby names for girls were: Mary, Lisa, Susan, Linda, Karen – which explains why I had lots of people in my class with those names!  For boys the names were: Michael, David, John, James, and Robert.  In 2007 my name (Wendy) ranked at #378.  The year I was born it made it in the top 100.  I couldn’t tell though as there was no one in my class with the same name until I got to Junior High.  The most exciting time was when I was a sophomore and there were three of us named Wendy in my English class.  One from each grade.  I also have a cousin (born several years after me) with the same first name.  For me it’s always interesting to hear what the middle name is and put the two together to see how it sounds.

In the 1960s (decade of my birth) – the top five female and male names were: Lisa, Mary, Susan, Karen, and Kimberly and Michael, David, John, James, and Robert.  The decade of my mother’s birth her name was the most popular girl’s name!  My dad’s was number 24.  My grandmother, Vesta, was born before 1900 and the furthest back I could get was 1908 (ten years after her birth).  At that time, her name ranked #338.  I haven’t encountered anyone born in the last 30 years with that name (probably longer!).  It didn’t even make the top 1000 in the last 40 years.  That same year – 1908 – my grandfather’s name (Glen) was #150.  In 2003 it ranked #964. 

This site also lists the most popular names for twins.  Jacob/Joshua; Matthew/Michael; Daniel/David; Isaac/Isaiah; Ella/Emma; Madison/Morgan; Taylor/Tyler (I would just give up on this one!); and of course a little further down is Faith/Hope!  In my graduating class there was Teri & Tina (Theresa and Christina) and Kristi and Kandi.  Both of these sets were identical – mirror images of each other.  For one set one twin actually wore glasses for awhile before both got contacts.  The other set used to fool the teachers on who was actually in the class – one had a mole on their cheek – that was one way to tell the difference. 

There is also a category of baby names and city names.  Alexandria, Aurora, Austin, Boston, Dallas, Dayton – the list goes on.  Quite interesting!

When my oldest daughter was born, the state’s most popular girl names were: Jennifer, Jessica, Amanda, Crystal and Melissa.  Her name didn’t make the top 100.  My 2nd daughter’s name didn’t make the top 100 either.  My son’s name made the top 5.  My youngest daughter’s name was #30 in the state the year she was born.

So how does your name stack up?

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For those who need some sort of validation about anything – now’s your chance to get on the bandwagon!  Jasia at Creative Gene posted that the Carnival of Genealogy is featured on Blog Carnival. I suggest you head over that way to check out what they’re saying! It’s a couple days late to submit for this Carnival but tomorrow all of the submissions will be posted & the new CoG will be announced. Why don’t you join the CoG?

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Back in the mid 1960’s during a reunion trip to Coshocton, my parents had discussed finding a house that my dad’s mother had grown up in (or was born in).  I don’t remember which one.  So we headed toward the country and rural areas and started looking for said house.  Apparently my dad had been there before when he was a boy.

We came across the dilipadated white house that to me seemed in the middle of nowhere.  There were lots of trees around it and the drive was rock and grass covered.  Sitting in the white Pontiac looking upon it, the house seemed rather sad.  Obviously empty and forgotten about, some of the windows were cracked and caked with dust and dirt.  Vines had found their way up onto the porch and the sides of the house.  Seemed that it had been empty for quite a few years. 

Mom mentioned that there might be things left inside.  I think she wanted my dad to take a look to see if it really had been the house he was searching for.  No dice.  I remember she and I starting up onto the porch when my dad told her not to go any further.  He was afraid that the porch wouldn’t hold us and cave in.  I think that’s when I started being a little frightened of front porches not built on a slab.  I always thought that as soon as I took that last step up on that porch that it would collapse and I would find myself underneath with all the rats and vermin.  That was another thing my dad cautioned about.  He was sure there were rats, snakes and who knows what else living in the house and amongst the grown up yard and vegetation.  So we never got to see the inside of that house. 

I was left to wonder all these years many things:  Was it my grandmother’s childhood home?  What did the inside look like?  Were there ancestral treasures to be found in there?  Who had been the last occupants and why did they leave?  How long had it sat empty when we came upon it?  What’s become of it since that time – at least forty years ago?  Unfortunately, I’ll never know unless by some serendipitous chance I come across it again which is very doubtful.

I was able to see the home my mother was born in and spent the first year of her life living in – located in Anderson, Madison County, Indiana.  When I was fifteen, my mom, sister, niece and I spent a week on “vacation”.  We traveled from Southwest Ohio to Indiana and toured the Connor Prairie Living Homestead Museum in Fishers, Indiana.  From there we went to Madison County and Mom pointed out the house as we drove by.  Again – we didn’t take pictures – although I have some of my mom as an infant showing parts of the house.   I do have a picture of the home my mom grew up in located in Greene County, Ohio.  Originally the home had been in Osborn (before it and Fairfield merged to form Fairborn).  Then as she explained, it was put on these big rollers and moved to Fairfield.  My aunt had thrown toys from the second story window.  Here’s a picture of that house with my aunt and my mom sitting in front.  I also have pictures of my maternal grandfather’s childhood home in Anderson. 

Departing Advice: Photograph and map out ancestral homes and land.  Take photos of the home you live in now and those that follow.  Check old city directories for information that might assist you in locating these homes or businesses.   Plot the locations of places lived on a map to see where your ancestors lived and migrated. 

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