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Each Saturday evening, Randy Seaver over at Genea-Musings posts Saturday Night Genealogy Fun – a little game for all the geneabloggers. Unfortunately due to my recent schedule I haven’t been able to play as often as I’d like. But when I saw this post on Your Paternal Grandmother’s Patrileneal Line”, I couldn’t resist. So what if I’m a couple days late!

What was your father’s mother’s maiden name?
My paternal grandmother was Ella Maria HOUSE.  She was born June 22, 1882 and died on July 3, 1946 in Coshocton, Ohio.

What was your father’s mother’s father’s name?
Ella’s father was James Emory HOUSE.  I wrote a biography that you can find here.  He was born May 2, 1842 and died October 1, 1924 in Coshocton, Ohio.

What is your father’s mother’s father’s patrilineal line? That is, his father’s father’s father’s … back to the most distant male ancestor in that line?
The father of James Emory HOUSE was Florus Allen House born January 5, 1813 in New York and died June 25, 1891 in Coshocton, Ohio.

The father of Florus was Allen HOUSE born June 13, 1791 in Hartford County, Connecticut and died September 1, 1845 in Milford, Michigan.

Allen’s father was Lazarus HOUSE born April 14, 1748 and died after 1817 in Hartford County, Connecticut.

Lazarus’ father was William HOUSE born September 9, 1713 and died March 20, 1788 in Hartford County, Connecticut.

William’s father was also William HOUSE born abt. 1684 and died in 1742 in Hartford County, Connecticut.

William’s father was another William HOUSE born in 1642 and died 1703/1704 in Hartford County, Connecticut.  He may have been born either in Connecticut or England.  It is thought that he traveled from England to America as a crewmember on board ship.  Very little is documented about this man.

William’s father was John HOUSE (HOWSE) born about 1610 in Somersetshire, England and died in 1644 in Connecticut.  This informaton is still speculation and has never been documented.

Can you identify male sibling(s) of your father’s mother, and any living male descendants from those male sibling(s)? If so, you have a candidate to do a Y-DNA test on that patrilineal line. If not, you may have to find male siblings, and their descendants, of the next generation back, or even further.
Ella had six brothers and one half-brother (through her father). 

Her half-brother, Edward HOUSE had one son, Waldo, who died in 1966.  Waldo has two sons – still believed to be living – Richard and Donald and Donald has one son – Dan.

Ella’s oldest full brother, Florus (named after his grandfather), had 3 sons.  It is believed there are still several male descendents still living.

Brother, John, had one son who died in 1983.  I don’t know if he had any male descendents.

Brother, Alford Elmer, died at age 4.

Brother, James, had two sons – Raymond and Wilbur.  The latter died at age 1.  I have no further information on Raymond.

Brother, Charles, died at age 12 in a farming accident.

Brother, Alva Lester (see Part One and Part Two of his biography), had three sons.  Arthur died at age 2 months from pneumonia.  His last child, an unnamed male, was stillborn.  His fourth child, Jarold, had four sons – all presumed to still be living.  Jarold died in 1980.

The conclusion is that there are still several males to do a Y-DNA test on – however, I’ve never actually met any of these men so the odds of the test being done are slim to none!

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Last summer I found a large quantity of postcards that had once been in my grandfather’s collection which my mother had put away.  I brought them back home with me.  Most of them showed scenes of World War I or buildings in Europe.  Most were black & white.  A few, however, were tinted.  The following three postcards show (what appears to be the same) soldier and young woman “pining” for each other.

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“Cette lettre contient
mes plus tendres
baisers!”

“Find in this Letter
my sweetest
Kisses!”

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“Ton image cherie
est constante
a mes yeux!”

“I always have
in my Eyes your
beloved Face!”

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“I’m thinking of you”

On the bottom right of the first two are: DIX  975.  The bottom left of the last one is: FURIA 2071.

Apparently, these cards were made in Paris, but with the American Flag in the third one, leads me to believe they were American Patriotic cards produced for the Americans fighting in France to send home to their sweethearts.

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The 11th Edition of Smile for the Camera is “Brothers and Sisters”. “Were they battling brothers, shy little sisters, or was it brother & sister against the world?”

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Mom (Mary), Glen and Genevieve

My mom was the third child born to Glen and Vesta (Wilt) Johnson.  Glen Jr. was the oldest, born in 1917, and Genevieve born in 1920.  The siblings had a baby sister born very premature in 1927 and who died at 6 weeks.   Mom always felt that her parents considered her brother the “golden boy” of the family and that he could do no wrong.  He was, after all, the oldest child and only son.  Mom and Aunt Genevieve were battling sisters.  One story I’ve heard is that when Mom had to wash the dishes, Aunt Genevieve would dry them but put them back in the “mix” to be washed.  When the two sisters got into it, my grandmother would sit them in chairs back to back and tell them they couldn’t touch each other or talk to each other.  And they they all got older, married, and had their own families.

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 Mom, John & Genevieve, Glen & Mary

This was probably one of the last photos taken of the siblings together before my Aunt Genevieve passed away in 1958.  My parents had been stationed in Japan since 1957 so Mom hadn’t seen her sister in at least a year.  As adults, the siblings visited each other for holidays and spent quite a bit of time together.  My mom and her brother grew very close especially after my grandparents passed away in the early 1980s.  Unfortunately, Mom lost her brother in June 2001 – just two months before she lost her only son.

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My sister, me, my brother

As the youngest of a family of three children, I felt more like an “only” child since my siblings were older than me.  My brother had been married 9 months by the time I was born and my sister was in high school.  A few years later she would be married and go on to have two children – who were more like siblings to me than my nephew and niece.  How I envied my brother and sister!  They had been able to live in Japan – not once, but twice!  They had gotten to grow up with our first cousins!  They had gotten to learn how to fly a plane!  What I didn’t learn until much later was how they envied me.  I got to live in the same house growing up, go to the same school, keep the friends I made and of course – have a swimming pool in the backyard!  My brother became the male figure in my life after my parents’ marriage ended.  How I did not like my brother telling me what to do!  My sister tried to be a sister but it was awful hard splitting loyalties between a young sister and her own two children.  She tried to mother me when I was an older teen but even that was difficult for her to do.  She wasn’t sure if she should be a sister, mother, friend or what.  We had many rocky moments in my early adulthood.  Even though we worked in the same area of the same building for the same company, it was very rare that we actually were “friends”.  It wasn’t until my first marriage ended that I realized what a treasure I had in my siblings.  Unfortunately my brother was several hundred miles away but my sister was still close.  We became much closer than we ever had.  Then she moved out of state – just when we’d “found” each other again and settled into a friendship.  Luckily as technology grew and we both became email “junkies” – there was hardly a day that didn’t go by that we didn’t email each other.  When she moved back to the area in the mid-90s, I’d spend hours sitting with her at her table just talking about everything and nothing.  We learned so much about each other that we hadn’t known before.  Once again she moved away but we remained close through email and ocassional phone calls.  The day she showed up at my house in March 2005 and told me they were moving back to North Texas, I think I cried continuously – out of joy – for days.  Even now it brings tears to my eyes.  I’m so lucky to have been blessed with such a beautiful, inspiring, and unique sister – who also happens to be my best friend.

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my brother – Jim

This was one of the last pictures I took of my brother – Thanksgiving 1998 – at our dad’s house.  Jim had moved away from our “hometown” area over a year before so he was even further away.  It was wonderful for both of us to share a holiday together with our dad.  Little did I realize that this would be one of the last times I saw Jim.  As I became older, he and I settled into a comfortable sibling relationship.  He was always one of the first ones to call me on my birthday.  Always quick with a joke or one of his “tricks”.  I could count on him to make me smile or laugh.  There was no laughing in August 2001 as he was deathly ill with pancreatic cancer.  There would be no more birthday phone calls, no more jokes, no more “tricks”, no more hearing him call me “sis”.  Now my sister and I have taken that mantle.  I don’t think we ever called each other “Sis” until after our brother departed this life.  I think that is our tribute to him and our hope that someday we can hear him call us that again. 

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My four kids were pretty close in age.  The oldest girls were 23 months apart, the next two were 19 months apart and then the last two were a little less than 5 years apart.  Traveling was always an adventure – especially after the youngest no longer needed to be in a car seat.  I had to be very careful who sat with whom and where the dog would end up as well!  The youngest and 2nd youngest shared a room and due to their ages being almost 7 years apart, they grew close.  However, they had their fair share of disputes.  They were like the Odd Couple – one meticulous – the other not!  The older three would play games together leaving the youngest one out.  They would all yell “He/She is touching/looking at me!”  Then they grew up.

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And became FRIENDS!  After a rocky start at young adulthood and their relationships with one another, I start smiling when I think of the brother finding out what a great oldest sister he had or the youngest and oldest sharing confidences or the fact that they call and email each other more than they do me!  I remember the day a long time ago I told them that someday they would be friends and the looks they all gave me!  

Three generations of “battling siblings” all turned into relationships of Best Friends Forever.  What a wonderful family legacy that is!

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The 65th Edition of the Carnival of Genealogy is “The Happy Dance. The Joy of Genealogy” and will be hosted by Becky Wiseman (one of my distant cousins!) of Kinexxions.

I’ve had several “Oh, Yeah!” moments.  One of them I wrote about in A Goldmine – about discovering a box of letters written by my grandparents to each other when they were courting in 1916 and during 1918 when my grandfather went to Signal Corps Training and during his overseas duty during WWI.

Another moment I had was when I was looking for my maternal 2nd great-grandfather, Emanuel Bushong Stern.  As I was going through the 1850 Census looking for him in order to get information on his parents and siblings, I wasn’t having any luck.  Obviously, they had disappeared during the Census.  And then just by chance, I came across Peter Sterne living in Clay Township, Hamilton County, Indiana.  The last name was spelled wrong – with an “e” at the end of the surname but the names for known siblings was correct.  I think I jumped out of the computer chair at this find!

Another “happy dance” moment came a couple years after I had posted a query on a message board giving names of my paternal g-grandfather’s half-siblings and their children.  I received an email from the daughter of one of his nieces.  She had quite a bit of information about the Johnson line including the first wife of the man I was researching (James Wilson Johnson) who was my 2nd great-grandmother.  And my cousin was actually descended from James’ 2nd wife.  Since that time several years ago we have exchanged (with a couple other Johnson cousins) more information.

It doesn’t take much for me to do the Happy Dance!  Each tiny rock I turn over or piece of information I find that leads to bigger and better finds, is reason for me to stand up and shout “Oh Yeah!”.

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Denise Olson, at Moultrie Creek is hosting the Christmas Tour of Blogs that will kick off on Dec. 15th. Genea-bloggers are encouraged to create a post describing their family’s Christmas decorations – past or present.

So sit back and enjoy my tour!

goldwreath
This is the gold wreath – made out of newspapers and painted with gold spray paint – that my mom made for our home when I was growing up.  It hung above our fireplace mantel.  On the mantel were Christmas decorations. 

 

 

60s-83This was the garland hung around the wrought iron railing by the front door.

 

 

 

 

60s-130Me in front of the Christmas tree probably about 1969-1970.  Notice the end table next to the tree has the red Christmas candles on it.  Our windows also had a single electric candle that we lit after the sun had gone down.  For a few years we even decorated the fir trees in our front yard with lights.   In the photo below, you’ll notice that our large, picture window had several of these “candles” on the sill.

 

christmastree

My first real “adult” Christmas in my own apartment included a wicker chair strung with garland and red satin balls because I was too poor to afford a Christmas tree!  The first tree I bought was in 1984 at the local Gibsons that cost $14!  It was pretty lonely looking (sort of like the tree on “A Charlie Brown Christmas”) until the lights, decorations and tinsel was put on.

We moved into our home 20 years ago, so we have had two decades of creating new and wonderful memories at Christmas time.  My husband would bring the tree and all the decorations down from the attic either the first or second weekend of December.  After setting up the tree and stringing the lights, I would hand each child one ornament at a time to place on the branches.  Of course as they grew older, they each had several of their “school” made decorations to use.  For the very first ornament, I took a picture and once the entire tree was decorated (after I hung the garland or threw the tinsel), I would position them on the floor gazing up at the tree in wonder for a photo.

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Generally the only other decorations that go up are the Santa Stocking, given to our youngest daughter many years ago by some good church friends, the Christmas Wreath (it has changed only a few times in 20 years),

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and the gold “Jingle Bell” that hangs between our dining and living room.  The bell belonged to my grandparents and as a child, I loved to pull the string and hear the tune as Santa and his reindeer (on the outside) spun around it.  I was fortunate enough to end up with it many years ago.  If you look at to the upper right of the tree over the floor lamp, you can see the bell.)  My children have on occasion put lights in their bedroom windows and once I wrapped holly vines over the top of the living room arch.

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I’ve either strung regular silver garland on the tree or “thrown” tinsel on each branch.  However, the tree above (2003), I strung pearl beads as garland.  The tree to the right (2006) I draped ribbon down from the top with bows tied on each length at different intervals. (The Jingle Bell is more visible in this picture.)

We’ve had the tree in two different places in our home.  For the last ten years (at least) it has sat in this exact spot.  This tree was purchased at an after Christmas sale, many years ago for half off the sale price!  In 1999 some good friends were moving and gave us their pre-lit Christmas tree.  It had so many white lights on it that we could feel the heat as soon as we walked into the room.  Needless to say we gave it to our oldest daughter the following year and went back to using our well loved tree.

I hope you have enjoyed my tour of Christmases past and present.  And may your family have a very Merry Christmas!

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Yes – THAT James Madison. Fourth President of the United States. He would be my 2nd cousin, 7 times removed. Alright, so that’s a bit of a stretch!

james_madison

And no, I haven’t been holding out waiting to spring that on everyone. I didn’t know! Just found out yesterday. As I’ve mentioned before, when I bump (or crash head long) into a brick wall, I turn around and go in another direction. It eases the stress level that those walls can create and keeps me from getting too bored. It had been awhile since I looked for the ancestors of my 3rd great-grandfather, John Blazer, so yesterday as I went about my research, lo & behold, I was blessed to finally find out his wife’s (my 3rd great-grandmother’s) maiden name!

John Blazer married Mary Ann Nelson, daughter of John Griffith Nelson and Mary Dickenson Arbuckle, around 1834.

Mary Dickenson Arbuckle was the daughter of William Arbuckle and Catherine Madison (daughter of Humphrey Madison and Mary Dickenson). Catherine’s grandfather (James Madison III) and President James Madison’s grandfather (Ambrose Madison) were brothers – making Catheirne and the President 2nd cousins.

President Madison, according to Wikipedia, was considered the “Father of the Constitution”, one of the founding fathers of our great nation, and the “Father of the Bill of Rights”.

I think it’s fitting that John and Mary Ann (Nelson) Blazer lived most of their married life and died in Madison County, Indiana – named in honor of President James Madison – a cousin of Mary Ann’s and mine. I wonder if Mary Ann realized that she was related to a President of her parents’ generation and if she did, what did she think about it?

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This post was written on July 13, 2008 and has been updated for the 61st Edition of the Carnival of Genealogy!

Webster’s Online Dictionary defines Tradition as: 1 a: an inherited, established, or customary pattern of thought, action, or behavior (as a religious practice or a social custom) b: a belief or story or a body of beliefs or stories relating to the past that are commonly accepted as historical though not verifiable2: the handing down of information, beliefs, and customs by word of mouth or by example from one generation to another without written instruction3: cultural continuity in social attitudes, customs, and institutions4: characteristic manner, method, or style <in the best liberal tradition>”  It is Synonomous with: convention, custom.  Related words include: ethic, form, mode, mores, norm, values; birthright, inheritance, legacy; folklore, lore, superstition; culture, heritage, lifestyle.

Many families have passed down traditions such as:

  • A family story that has been told to each generation.
  • A custom associated with an event (wedding, holiday, birth, etc.)
  • An heirloom that has a certain function at a certain time.

There are many others.  As you’ve accumulated information about your ancestors and distant relatives, what traditions – or customs – have you found AND recorded?  In small towns or villages in Germany there is a wedding custom of “kidnapping the bride”.  German Wedding Traditions list this tradition as: “kidnap the bride and the groom has to find her. Normally, he has to search in a lot of pubs and invite all people in there (or pay the whole bill). Sometimes this ritual ends badly.”  Irish Wedding Traditions mentions that “An old Irish tradition calls for the wedding couple to walk to the church together before exchanging their wedding vows. As they walk down the main street to the chapel, onlookers would not only throw rice to bless the marriage, but larger items as well, such as pots and pans.”  Holiday Traditions – England mentions that “The day after Christmas is known in Britain as Boxing Day, which takes its name from a former custom of giving a Christmas Box – a gift of money or food inside a box – to the deliverymen and tradespeople who called regularly during the year. This tradition survives in the custom of tipping the milkman, postman, dustmen and other callers of good service at Christmas time.”  And in America, we know that the tradition on July 4th is to view fireworks as a celebration of our Independence.

Yet, sometimes it’s the unusual traditions that tell us more about our ancestors.  We may learn important things about their character, their financial situation, their environment or even why a tradition changed.

My family has the usual traditions:

  • Christmas Eve meant going to services at church and coming home to await Santa Claus’ visit.  How it evolved – when my own children were small, we’d go look at Christmas lights after church and then come home to a “finger food/appetizer” type of meal.  Afterwards I read “The Night Before Christmas” and the Biblical Nativity story.  Then to bed for the kids!
  • Memorial Day was the first day my grandfather bought a watermelon and we’d have a picnic.  How it evolved – with both of us working, most of the time Memorial Day is just a Monday we are off work and take a moment of reflection to honor and remember those who gave their lives or a part of their time to serve our country.
  • July 4th – we’d go to parades and then watch fireworks.  How it evolved – if we are at my in-laws’ in Missouri (where it is legal to shoot fireworks) – they are being popped all day long!  If we are at home, it means our big church ice cream social and watching the fireworks from the parking lot (which has a great view!).pb270363
  • Thanksgiving – a large family dinner, watching a football game, and the men sleeping.  How it evolved – not much!  Except sometimes even Mom gets to nap!
  • New Years Day – we would have roast beef or roast pork and watch the parades as soon as they began in the morning and then the Rose Bowl Game (especially when Ohio State was playing!)  How it evolved – since I live in Texas and am now required (since I’m in the south) to cook black eyed peas, I fix a big pot of them with cornbread and ham.  Sometimes I’ll have pork and sauerkraut too (just to cover my northern roots!).  Only the grandson really watches the parades and when was the last time Ohio State was in the Rose Bowl?  There’s no more Cotton Bowl parade (which is pretty local!).  Generally the Christmas Tree is being taken down as well.christmas-looking-at-tree
  • Putting up the Christmas Tree – I really don’t remember much traditions associated with this except I loved to hang these ornaments of my mom’s that looked like huge, red teardrop earrings and I was allowed to hang the ornaments I’d made.  I enjoyed watching my mom decorate our house more than anything.  How it evolved – I don’t have a lot of stuff to decorate the house (because that would mean having a place to store it afterwards!) – but when the kids were little, I’d take a picture as each child put their first ornament on the tree and then take a picture of all four of them gazing with wonder at the lit, decorated tree.  It’s evolved even more – now my husband puts the tree up, he and the youngest daughter put the lights on & everyone haves at it putting the ornaments on while I just watch.  I get to put on the garland – sometimes strands of beads, other times I “throw” the tinsel, and the last couple years it has been ribbons.  But I undecorate it so I can put all the ornaments back into their rightful places.
  • Birthdays – it was “your” day.  Mom would make me a devil’s food cake with homemade chocolate icing and I got to lick the bowl afterwards.  Sometimes there were friends and other times it was just family (having a birthday right by Thanksgiving can sometimes cause problems).  I usually picked my favorite meal and we had the birthday song, blowing out the candles, and opening gifts.  How it evolved – sometimes I make the cake and sometimes I buy it.  It’s still the child’s “day” and is special.  They request what they want for dinner and the type of cake. 
  • Weddings – something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue.  Not evolved – still the same!
  • Easter – getting dressed up in a little more than Sunday best with new clothes, new patent leather shoes with a new hat and gloves and an Easter Basket on the end of the bed when I woke up.  How it evolved – the Easter Bunny leaves the baskets on the kitchen table.  New clothes and still attending Easter services (no hat or gloves though!).  A big dinner at mid-day (which is one of the few Sundays I even cook – see below!)
  • Sunday Dinner – my mother never fixed a regular evening meal on Sundays.  As a kid, she always fixed a big lunch but dinner – you were on your own.  That was sort of nice – ice cream, a big bowl of popcorn, peanut butter on a spoon right of the jar (see “food” traditions below), a bowl of cereal, etc.  How it evolved – Mom still doesn’t fix an evening meal on Sundays and neither do I!
  • Food Traditions – my dad is the one we “blame” for most of these.  Pepper on cottage cheese; chocolate cake (no other flavor) in a bowl of milk; peanut butter on a spoon; fried baloney; tobasco sauce on everything (my sister does that but I don’t!); sardines; slim jims, beef sticks or hot sausages (the kind you find at bars!); steak once a week (yeah, I don’t get that as often anymore!); pepper on everything; bleu cheese or roquefort salad dressing.andy
  • Taking pictures of other people taking pictures!  (See Unusual Photos – that I posted back on June 23, 2008)
  • Singing a very long and convoluted version of “I Found a Peanut” when we go on vacation as well as “100 Bottles of Beer”.
  • Going through all the photo albums at my mom’s when we are visiting – each time we are there, all the albums come out.  I was even able to show my sister some photo albums she hadn’t seen before!
  • When all four of the kids are home we watch two or three of their musical videos taken when they were all in church musicals years ago.

So what have you learned from your ancestors?  Please share your family’s traditions – either in the comments section or on your own blog.  Please provide me the link so I can send others to read your post!

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