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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!

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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.

 

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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.

christmas-looking-at-tree

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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Blog Action Day is October 15th and (in my opinion) couldn’t have come at a more appropriate time. Not only due to the current circumstances of the United States’ and the World’s economic situation but because October has generally been the month of the year when horrible things have happened to the stock market.

In the news of late, there is a lot of blame going around.  Is it the banks’ fault?  Is it the mortgage companies’ fault?  Is it Washington’s fault?  Is it the fault of those who are so greedy or seem to want more than they can possibly afford?  Is it just the fault of circumstances beyond our control?  Instead of pointing fingers and dismissing any responsibility we, as individuals might have, it’s time to focus on the positive. 

We are in a positon now to change our own behavior – to learn from not only our personal history but the history of our forebearers.  I didn’t live through the Great Depression of the 1930s, but my parents, grandparents and great-grandparents did.  Through their values, actions and stories, I learned many things. 

Even after the Depression, my grandparents always kept a stock of items that at one time had been hard to come by or had been rationed during World War II (paper and canned goods).  There would be packages upon packages of toilet paper, paper towels, napkins, canned food, dry cleaner bags, re-usable gift wrap, foil, and plastic bags in their closets, pantry and spare bedrooms.  To this day there is a box in my mother’s basement that is filled with dry cleaner bags and saved gift wrap.  Not only were they stocked up but they were saving money by reusing items instead of disposing of so much that would just clog our landfills (this is a pre-recycling era).

My paternal grandparents lived in Coshocton County, Ohio – close to Appalachia and the mining towns.  In fact, my grandfather, Lloyd Amore, some of his brothers and nephews, were miners at one time.  How my grandparents managed to feed all of their children during that time, I don’t know.  They probably didn’t have too much to begin with other than land, a home, basic necessities, and a will to work hard.

My maternal grandparents were part of the military network.  My grandfather, Glen R. Johnson, had begun serving his country during World War I and by 1930 were living in Ohio close to (what was then called) Wright Field (now Wright Patterson Air Force Base).  They were able to receive medical treatment and their groceries from the military services.  My grandparents tried to live a debt-free life except when it came to buying a home and probably a car which I’m sure came from living through the Great Depression.

My great-grandmother, Martha (Stern) Clawson, moved to Washington State from the Midwest before the Stock Market crash of ’29.  She had a garden and there were animals that were slaughtered for meat so they didn’t go hungry. 

As I don’t have too much “fleshed out” information about any ancestors that immigrated from Europe, I can only imagine that they moved from their homeland due to economic, religious, and social reasons.

Today, as we watch stocks plummet and listen to the dire news reports, we can all pledge that when we recover as individuals, that we’ll move forward with a goal to better our situation.  It’s very unpopular to forego the use of cable, digital TV, or sattelite.  What would we watch on the television?  Give up the cell phone with all its bells and whistles?  What happens if someone needs to get in touch with me?  Wait before running out to buy that new appliance, car, electronic toy, or furniture?  How will I compete with the Jones’?  Buy my groceries using coupons, rebates and shopping guides?  Buy clothing or other items from garage sales or resale shops?  What will my neighbors think?  Hang my clothes out to dry on nice and warm days instead of wasting energy drying them?  That takes too much time!  Take a vacation somewhere local or at a more frugal destination instead of that cruise or Disney World Family vacation?  The kids will be upset!

For one thing – we’ve all lived without a lot of things before.  I grew up before cell phones were even around (let alone answering machines!).  People called back!  We had others on emergency lists in case we couldn’t be reached.  We weren’t tied to the office 24 hours a day! 

Libraries have DVDs and movies that can be borrowed.  When regular shows are in reruns and nothing else is on, we throw in a movie to watch as a family.  Better yet – turn the television off (saving energy) and do something as a family – take a walk, ride bikes, play a game, sit outside and enjoy kids being kids!

If your appliance, furniture, etc. isn’t broken, why do you need a new one?  Just to keep up with your friends and neighbors?  So when they go bankrupt and their properties are foreclosed on, will you also try to keep up with them?

Memories are made by what you do – not the most elaborate vacation in the world.  How long do you want to be paying off the credit charges on that once in a lifetime destination? 

It’s time we all take responsibility – not only for our own greed and indebtedness that places so many in danger of bankruptcy and foreclosure, but for the solution to get back to the basics.  To pull together without playing the blame game.  And as our forebearers before us, we can be just as patriotic by pulling together for the good of our country as well as the good of those who will come after us.

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An article in one of my husband’s magazines explained how Family Tree DNA began. It spelled out the differences between mtDNA (mitochondrial DNA) and paternal DNA. Mitochondrial DNA is passed from a woman to her children (both sons and daughters) but only to her daughter’s children through the female line. The paternal DNA is passed from father to son to son and so on.

Reading this, I decided to follow the female line to see where it would take me – both in personal terms (how they are related) and geographical (where were they born and lived) to get a clearer picture on where my female ancestors originated.

Me – born in SW Ohio


Mary – born in Eastern Indiana (mother)


Vesta Christena Wilt – born 1898 in Noblesville, Hamilton County, Indiana;
died Jan. 1984 Dayton, Montgomery County, Ohio (gr-mother)


Martha Jane Stern – born 1872 in Clarksville, Hamilton County, Indiana;
died Nov. 1956 Lane County, Oregon (gr-grandmother)


Nancy Caylor – born 1840 in Wayne County, Indiana;
died Dec. 1900 in Noblesville, Hamilton County, Indiana (2nd gr-grandmother)

Susannah Miller - born bet. 1800-1804 in Dayton, Montgomery County, Ohio;
died Nov. 1859 in Noblesville, Hamilton County, Indiana (3rd gr-grandmother)

Catherine (or Katherine) Botafield – born 1780 in Pennsylvania;
died Oct. 1855 Washington Twp, Tippecanoe County, Indiana (4th gr-grandmother)

Now it’s time to start researching the Botafield family and especially Katherine in order to find her mother.  I also need to do some documentation in order to verify that Katherine was indeed Susannah’s mother.

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In Searching for Buried Treasure I listed my course of action to find some “buried treasure” in my genealogy files/ephemera.

My search took me a little off course – which is nothing unusual for me.  Before I actually pulled out the box of letters that I was going to look through, I noticed a box on my vanity that I’d only looked inside of one time.  That was a few years ago when my dad first gave it to me.  So I decided to open it back up to see exactly what was inside of it.

Upon opening the clasp and lifting a lid, there was an envelope on the top of the stack.  It was addressed to my grandmother, Ella Amore, and was from the US Army Recruiting Office at Fort Hayes, Columbus, Ohio.  Apparently it was sent upon my dad’s enlistment in the Army Air Corps and wanted to make sure that all of his statements were true.

  

Behind that were other envelopes containing pictures I had actually sent to my dad many years ago as the kids were growing up.  He returned the pictures to me.

Next were two handkerchiefs.  One was sent from my dad to his mother when he was stationed in Iceland and the other was one that he had given to her when he was a young boy.

Underneath the hankies was a Webster notebook.  My dad had used it in 6th grade.  Apparently it was for History as he had pasted a photo from a magazine, book or newspaper on one page and opposite that wrote a brief explanation that related to history.

On the right hand side next to the books and documents were a horseshoe, a film canister filled with sand that was labeled White Sands, New Mexico 1933, a tiny lapel or tie pin that was labeled with my Uncle Paul’s name, a small lock, a watch without the wristband, a mother of pearl handled pocket-knife, a ceramic ashtray and a football with something inside.  My dad told me that he hasn’t opened that football in over 50 years.  He thinks there is a pecan or a nut inside the football. 

 

Underneath the notebook was a book on Agriculture.  I think my father either had an Ag course in high school or he bought it to read.

This gave me just a small glimpse into my dad’s younger life.  Items that he thought were important – or at least important to him.  And if they were important enough for him to keep in a trinket box, then they are important enough for me to hang on to in order to always have a part of my dad with me in the years to come.

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Julie Cahill Tarr at GenBlog started a meme on the topic of what heirloom(s) you would save in the event of a disaster.  You can read her story here.

As I’ve had a couple weeks to think about this, I think I’ve actually answered this question in some of my posts.  In this post I described the christening gown made by my maternal great-grandmother. And in this post I told you about the CDs I’d received that were made from some reel-to-reel tapes recorded between the late 1950′s and late 1960′s. Here I wrote about the hundreds of letters in my possession that were written by my grandparents when they were courting and after my grandfather was in training and then overseas for WWI and other letters including the Letters from Germany my grandparents wrote while they were stationed in Wiesbaden in the early 1950s.  All of those items I would save.

I would, of course, save every photo that I have in my possession (and negative and slide), the videos of my wedding, the sonogram I had when I was pregnant with our youngest, the church musicals the kids were in, and other family type films.

One thing that has gone with me no matter where I’ve gone, is the box containing all the poetry and other stuff I wrote years ago.  Other items include my Sister-Belle doll (which still “talks” when you pull her string!) and a teddy bear that’s lost most of its fur.  There is also the flower girl dress my mom made for me to wear in my cousin’s sister’s-in-law wedding made from red velvet; shoes worn by my children when they were babies; my wedding dress.  A Hummel I inherited from my grandmother would also have to be saved as well as the German Tea Set she gave me.  Also from my grandparents would be the German Woodcut kitchen scene they bought in Garmisch and the Christmas Bell that plays “Jingle Bells”. I would also grab the scrapbooks I’ve made over the years documenting my childrens’ school years, my parents’ travel to Japan, and other events.

Hopefully, I will never have to evacuate due to a disaster and if I do, I hope that most of my “copy-able” items will have been scanned and saved to a disk, flash drive, or external hard drive that is somewhere else to weather out such an emergency.

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The Carnival of Genealogy 55th Edition is “Show and Tell”.  “Remember that fun little exercise you used to do in your grade school days? Here’s your chance to do it again. Show us and tell us about an heirloom, a special photo, a valuable document, or a significant person that is a very special part of your family history. Don’t be shy now, show us what you’ve got! This is all about bragging rights so don’t hesitate to make the rest of us green with envy! This is your chance to brag, brag, brag, without seeming like a braggart (you can’t be a braggart when you’re merely following directions ;-)… so show and tell!”  This edition of the Carnival is hosted by Jasia at Creative Gene.

Do to the time constraints I have right now – I will be re-running one of my older posts on “The Christening Gown”.

The Christening Gown (originally published on May 28, 2008)

One of the items that I treasure is the Christening Gown my great-grandmother Katie J. (Blazer) Johnson hand made.  I first saw this gown when I was in high school and needed something that had been passed down through the family for an oral report.  Mom dug it out of the storage trunk and handed me the box.  Inside was this off-white gown and some pictures.  In the old photos were babies wearing this gown: my grandfather – Glen R. Johnson; his son – Glen R. Johnson, Jr.; my aunt – Genevieve; and my mother.  I’m not really sure they were all actually baptized or “christened” in this gown as I have other documents and oral histories about each one being baptized as an older child.

The gown is actually in 2 parts.  The slip which is plain gets put on the baby first and then the “dress” goes over that.  It has hand tatted lace and exquisite handiwork.  There are been some rust stains scattered here and there and Mom actually soaked the dress is carbonated water to remove most of them (old laundry hint!).

The dress remained at my mother’s and when it was time for my nephew’s first child to be baptized, the gown came out of storage and used.  When my first born grandson was to be baptized at six weeks, my mother shipped the box from Ohio to Texas to me.  Then my youngest grandson also wore the gown at 2 months when he was baptized.  The Christening Gown has been worn by 3 out of five generations (I don’t believe any of us – children of my mom, aunt or uncle or our children - have worn the gown).  It truly is a treasure that I will keep for future babies to use.

(Picture is of my youngest grandson wearing the gown at his baptism in October 2006.)

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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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