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Archive for July, 2008

In my post for the 51st Carnival of Genealogy - Independent From Birth, I wrote about my grandfather’s foster sister, Eva. Toward the end of my post I wrote, ” wish I could have met this woman – my grandfather’s younger sister – as she lived for many years after his death. Whenever the family discussed his relatives, we all knew he had a younger sister but I truly think that they had fallen out of touch many years earlier. It isn’t known who stopped communicating. Possibly it was a bit of both. Knowing my grandfather he would have talked and talked until he was blue in the face about “straightening up” and flying right to her. As independent as she seems, Eva probably decided to do what she’d always done – dance to her own music and “if all you’re going to do is lecture me, I’m not listening anymore.” Theories that are probably closer to the mark than not. It seems rather sad to me that no one contacted her – or knew where to reach her – when my grandfather passed away. We never sought to visit her when we were in Indiana. I hope that in her later years, she finally found what she was searching for. Life is really rather short in the grand scheme of things and family ties – no matter how strained or tenuous – should never be broken.”

During my trip back to my mom’s house, I asked her why no one ever contacted Eva when my grandfather died.  Her response was, “She had died about 30 years before.”  When I told her that wasn’t true, she was surprised.  I told her what I knew about Eva’s later life and how she and her son had a falling out about the time Eva realized she was going to be an older, single mother.  My mom then figured that her son said that she’d died because he wasn’t on good terms with her anymore.

So that solves the mystery on why we never contacted her or saw her.  I would guess that Eva really did feel as if she was all alone in the world.

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Did you miss me while I was gone?  Looked like I had quite a few hits while I was away.  Our family just spent a week and a half on vacation visiting family out of state.  While at my mother’s, I did more digging in the photos and ephemera that are in boxes and found some more information.  Then we were in Missouri for my in-laws’ 60th wedding anniversary celebration (a month early).  It was wonderful to finally meet one of the granddaughters-in-law and three of the great-grandchildren as well as the daughter of one of a grandson’s fiancee’.  The in-laws have lots of land and the kids got to fish in both of their ponds, see interesting wildlife they don’t usually see, and enjoy the fresh air and sunshine in a slightly cooler environment than our normal 100 degree temps here in North Texas.  There was much food consumed (read that as A LOT!), many dishes washed and dried, many loads of laundry washed, dried, folded and put away, and lots of hugs and laughs.

I have some updates for a couple of the posts I’ve previously written so I will be getting to those as soon as I can.  Today though – it’s back to the real world which includes work, grocery shopping, bookkeeping and doing laundry!

Thanks for not forgetting me while I was gone!

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Often families share traits or talents that may include creativity, logical thinking, type of humor, mannerisms, and even musical inclination. 

Four of my dad’s uncles had a small band, my uncle played the organ, my dad played the steel guitar, my niece and daughter played the flute, my son played the trombone, and my uncle (Glen Johnson Jr.) played the Sousaphone (first person in the Ohio State Band to dot the “i” in the Ohio Script!).  I’ve tried to play the keyboard (I’m not coordinated enough to play with both hands!) and the guitar (guess I need to play through the pain, calluses and hand stretching!).

My children have beautiful voices, my dad always was singing, two of my first cousins sang – one professionally in Las Vegas.  I can not for the life of me carry a tune!  That didn’t stop me from being in my 9th grade choir.  I was just a tiny little voice of 200!  Or my church’s choir while I was growing up.  The director didn’t care much as long as there was a warm body there!  My children have politely and not so politely asked me to NOT sing anymore!

My dad is a prolific writer of poetry and so am I.  Two of my daughter’s have also enjoyed writing poetry. 

My mom was in Toastmasters years ago and I love to give speeches.  None of my children have issues with getting up in front of people to talk.  I think we all like an audience.

What traits or similarities have you discovered within your family tree?

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(I’ve written these posts to be published while I’m away from the computer – so you won’t have to actually live without me!)

Almost 8 years ago I came across a gold mine of genealogical information which I’ve alluded to before in previous posts.  My mom told me I could search everywhere for anything pertinent.  It was also another way for her to unload stuff on me.  In the very back room of the basement – where she keeps the washer and dryer, inside clothes line, freezer and small appliance items she uses rarely – I opened a large box.  Inside were a couple more boxes.  One had old photos that I pulled out and went through.  Another box held my “artwork” and silly letters I wrote as a young child – items that parents try to keep.  Another box had more photo albums and papers.  Now most of that is in my possession. I came across my mom’s and grandmother’s report cards, pictures of my dad’s family, pictures of my great-grandparents and my mom’s baby sister at death in their caskets (my family is morbid like that!).

Then I went through every single photo album in my mom’s house (at least I think I did!) and removed “old” pictures or photos she told me I could take.  We spent time trying to label photos – especially really old ones of people I didn’t recognize. 

In another part of the basement is a big trunk.  My parents used it to pack clothes and household items when they moved to and from Japan in the 1950s.  Inside were blankets, un-cut material my mom had purchased to make clothes, and then in the very bottom was a box.  Written on the box was “Letters from WWI”.  My first thought was “no!”  There was no way any letters from WWI survived or that my mother would have them.  I opened it and sure enough there were letters.  One was dated May 1916 – my grandparents were still courting!  A hundred letters is an understatement. 

Then my mother found two more boxes with more letters – her letters from Japan to her parents; letters from my grandmother’s mom and siblings to my grandmother; later letters from my grandparents to each other when one of them was out of town.  Then my mom handed me a big manilla folder that contained letters my grandparents wrote her when they were stationed in Wiesbaden, Germany (I’ve posted some of the letters in a previous post).

Then I opened a filing cabinet that had belonged to my grandfather.  Inside were my grandparents’ memorial books, their 50th anniversary book, newspaper clippings, and two rather old looking school notebooks.  One was filled with minutes from my grandfather’s family reunions – Johnson-Shively – held almost every year since before 1920 until after 1920.  Most of the entries were very short and sweet and included the pertinent business meeting information – how much was in the reunion treasury, who was elected President, Vice-President, and Secretary, where the next reunion would be held and quite often the names of those who had passed away, married or born during the year.

When my husband saw the piles of materials that I was going to bring back home, he just shook his head and declared that we were going to have to add another wing to the house!  I feel very fortunate that I ended up with all these materials instead of them being lost to a landfill or to someone who wouldn’t know the importance of these items.  Each time I look at this memorabilia, I discover something new.

How has your treasure hunting been?

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Scheduled Posts

So you won’t have to live without me while I’m tending to some family obligations, i’ve written some posts that are scheduled to post in the next several days.  So stay tuned for more!

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No Posts For Awhile

I don’t want anyone to leave me but wanted to announce that for the next two weeks, I won’t be able to post any new information.  I have some family obligations that will keep me from being on the computer.  I’ve already posted my entry for the next Carnival of Genealogy. 

Please go check out some of the links I have to the right or within my many posts.  There are many great genealogy blogs that have tons of information – I hope you’ll enjoy yourself!

While I’m away from the computer, leave me some comments on posts you would like to see or blogs you’ve read and enjoy.

Please come back now, you hear!

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The theme for the 52nd Edition of the Carnival of Genealogy is AGEAs family historians, we take time to carefully mark the birthdates of our forebearers. We print out family tree charts including this all-important data. We make it a point to note at what age family members have married, had children and passed away.  Take some time to look over the data that you have collected on members of your family tree, and share a story of age with us for the upcoming edition of the carnival. Do you have a member of the family who went to work to support the family while still of a tender age? Someone who accomplished something that was typically done by others beyond his or her years? A couple who married young? A couple with disparate ages? A family member who accomplished something of note at an advanced age? How about family members that lived many years, outlasting many of their relatives and friends? With the understanding that “age is often a state of mind”, share your family story about someone whose story stands out because of their age, either young or old.

I found myself thinking “what am I going to post about?”  How about some statistics concerning age within my family tree?

Marriages:

  • My parents were married when they were both 22.
  • Glen Johnson and Vesta Wilt (maternal grandparents): 18 [1916]
  • Lloyd Amore and Ella House (paternal grandparents): 21 & 20 [1903]
  • John L. Johnson and Katie J. Blazer (maternal g-grandparents): 22 & 18 [1883]
  • Joseph Wilt and Martha Stern (maternal g-grandparents): 22 & 18 [1890]
  • Henry Amore and Annie Werts (paternal g-grandparents): 20 & 17 [1872]
  • James House and Frances Ogan (paternal g-grandparents): 24 & 26 [1873]
  • James W. Johnson and Amanda Mullis (maternal g-g-grandparents): 24 & 19 [1852]
  • Frank Blazer and Malissa Goul (mat. g-g-grandparents): abt. 22 & abt. 26 [abt. 1858]
  • Isreal Wilt and Christena Nash (mat. g-g-grandparents): 29 & 20 [1857]
  • Emmanuel Stern and Nancy Caylor (mat. g-g-grandparents): 22 & 16 [1857]
  • William Amore and Charlotte Imons (pat. g-g-grandparents): 20 & 22 [1851]
  • William Werts and Louisa Bookless (pat. g-g-grandparents): 22 & 18 [1852]
  • Florus House and Julia Lewis (pat. g-g-grandparents): 25 & 23 [abt. 1838]

I didn’t go as far back as I could, but I thought that information would give a sampling.  A few things I noticed: most of the time they were married at or before age 20 or in their early 20s.  Only in two cases are the wives older than their husbands by at least a year or more.  There isn’t too many years difference between a husband and wife.  Even though the time spans over 100 years, there isn’t many changes in how old/young the couple was upon marriage.

AVERAGE AGE AT DEATH

  • Grandparents: 76 3/4 years old
  • Great-grandparents: 77.5 years old
  • Great-Great-Grandparents: 57 years old

There is a span of average age at death of almost 20 years between my g-g-grandparents’ generation and my g-grandparents’ generation.  There were several who died at a young age: Charlotte Imons died at the age of 34; William Washington Werts died at 27; Christena Nash died at 39; Franklin Blazer died at 33; Amanda Mullis died at 35. 

Then I looked at my dad’s line and discovered another interesting fact.  My Grandpa Amore’s brothers lived long lives.  Isaiah (Zade) Amore: 100;

Roy Amore: 95; Rollo Amore: 87; Herbert Amore: 93; Clarence Amore: 80.  His sister, Clemmie Amore, died at the age of 82.  Only my grandfather, Lloyd, died before the age of 80, when he was 72.  My dad’s siblings also have lived long lives: Gertrude: 98; Paul: 91; Norman: 86; Bervil: 81.  My aunt is still living and she is 99.  Only my Uncle Gail died in his 70s from cancer. 

What that tells me is that especially on my paternal side – longevity is more than likely in the genes as opposed to the environment.  For the Amore’s grew up close to coal mines and many of them lived a pretty hard life. 

All in all – age is only what we make of it.  Whether we marry young or in our maturity; have our first child young or as an older, more patient parent.  If we live very long lives, are we making the most out of our time or just passing through?

(Photos: Top – Henry and Annie Amore; Center Right: Emmanuel and Nancy Stern)

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