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Archive for the ‘personal’ Category

George and Jo Littrell

(original photo in possession of Wendy Littrell, Address for private use)

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Driver’s Training Certificate

During my scanning “marathon” a couple of weeks ago, I found this amongst other photos and papers that were in a box that belonged to my brother. This is his certificate from Driver’s Training School, 6000th Transportation Squadron at Fuchu Air Station in Japan. He completed this training on February 22, 1958 at the age of 18 years old. I don’t know the length of this course – whether it was a few weeks or longer (I’m hoping my sister will comment if she knows how long it was!).

 

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Marie and Gertrude Amore

sisters, talking

my paternal aunts

Coshocton, Ohio

(original and digital photo owned by Wendy Littrell)

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When the 1940 U.S. Census was released in digital form earlier this year, I used the 1930 Enumeration District converter by Steve Morse to begin locating grandparents and my parents. As each state was indexed in entirety, it became much easier to find relatives. Now that Ancestry has the complete 50 state index (and Familysearch is not too far behind), I wanted to see how many of my aunts and uncles I was able to find.

The verdict: all but two out of 8!

My paternal grandparents, Loyd and Ella Amore, are empty-nesters living at 1236 Vine in Tuscarawas Township in Coshocton County, Ohio. (I had previously written about this find at Census Saturday – 1940 Census Finds). Of their seven children, I located my dad and 4 of his siblings. My dad was stationed at Patterson Field (now Wright-Patterson Air Force Base) outside of Dayton, Ohio living in the Enlisted Men Barracks. His oldest sister, Gertrude, and her husband, Walter Shackelford, along with their two children resided at 611 Larzelere in Zanesville, Ohio.

611 Larzelere Ave.
Zanesville, Ohio
Source: Trulia, Neohrex

My dad’s other sister, Marie, and her husband Robert Werkley, are lodgers in a household at Morristown in Morris County, New Jersey. Both are involved in the Salvation Army.  His brother, Paul, is living in Plymouth, Wayne County, Michigan and his other brother, Bervil, is living with his wife and family, in Jackson Township, Coshocton, Ohio.

I am still looking for my dad’s other two brothers – (William) Gail Amore and Norman Edgar Amore.

My maternal grandparents, Glen and Vesta Johnson, as well as my mother, Mary, were enumerated in Fairfield (present day Fairborn), Greene County, Ohio, living at 40 Ohio Street.

40 Ohio St, Fairborn, Ohio (house on right)
Source: Trulia, @2012 Google

Besides my grandparents and mother, occupants also include my uncle – Glen Roy Jr., and my newborn brother, Jim. My grandparents had a family of lodgers living there – the Theodore Fern family.

My mother’s sister, Genevieve, was found as a nursing student at Miami Valley Hospital located at 134 Apple Street in Dayton, Ohio.

Miami Valley Hospital, Dayton, Ohio
Source: Esco Communications

The next people on the 1940 U.S. Census who I want to find are the siblings and their children of both sets of grandparents. I’ve already made a pretty good dent in that list.

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So sorry that there has been a bit of a lag between Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4. This should be the final chapter of what I call “My Trip Out West” – or as the title suggests – “Over the Rainbow.”  After all, I was only four years old – almost five. So everything about this trek from Ohio to the Pacific Ocean and back was magical!

In the last installment, Mom, Dad, and I were finishing up our time at Disneyland, Knotts Berry Farm, and Marine Land in California. From there we drove to Victorville, California which sits on the edge of the Mojave Desert in San Bernadino County.

We spent September 21 and 22 at the home of Captain and Mrs. H.B. Alexander, friends of my parents. September 21 was my mother’s birthday. I thoroughly believed my mom was 29 because as is common, once she passed a “certain” birthday milestone, she always said she was only 29. Wow – imagine my surprise a couple of years later when I realized that she was much older than 29!  I was also confused when I realized my grandparents were also in the area!  They were on a tour of the western United States as well and it was probably by design that they were able to celebrate their daughter’s birthday.

     

Leaving the Alexander home, we traveled to the Grand Canyon. Breathtaking, beautiful, scenic, awesome are only a few words to describe what a magnificent wonder it is. When we had left California, the temperature was over 100 but as we got to the rim of the Canyon, the temperature had a drop of over 40 degrees. I remember wearing a sweater as we stood gazing out over such a majestic sight.

Leaving the Grand Canyon, we drove northeast toward Colorado Springs and the Air Force Academy. We stayed with the R.G. Schuster family and toured the Academy.

  

While there we saw 1800 cadets marching in formation and the beautiful Chapel. It is one building I will never forget being inside. On September 26 our western trip was complete and we began the drive back to Ohio, arriving on September 28.

There are many things I remember very well about the trip – items that weren’t part of a tour or a national park or a wonder of the world. Mom had packed a hot plate because even though we were able to stay in the homes of so many family and friends, we were also in a lot of motels!  The hot plate enabled her to heat up oatmeal for breakfast or a can of soup for lunch.

A lot of my breakfasts (when not at a home or in a restaurant)   were Keebler Cinnamon Graham Crackers and milk (hey, I loved it and still eat it!!). I can remember restaurants we ate at or purchased food to go from: Jerry’s (I think it was like Denny’s), Kentucky Fried Chicken (before it went by it’s initials!), and Howard Johnson’s (which is a hotel chain but we’d eat at the restaurant). I remember laundry mats – and oh goodness, there were many laundry mats that Mom and I were at washing clothes. Well, she washed and dried, and I sat and watched. I believe a lot of them were a dime. Mom would always need dimes. I remember lying across the backseat of the Pontiac either sleeping or trying not to give in to my car sickness. Every once in awhile, Dad would rouse me so I could “see the sights” – something he knew that I just had to see!  Except for the accident. I don’t know where it was but we were bumper to bumper on the road.  As we got closer, and my parents saw the ambulance (back then, they looked like a hearse) and the emergency vehicles, my Dad realized that whatever it was – was very, very bad. He told me to keep lying down and not to look.  I think later after I was older, Mom told me that it was a fatality and there was lots of blood. I also remember the little Wet Naps we always got – especially at KFC. And guess what I thought those little sudsy napkins were for? Cleaning the car windows!!  That was a big mistake!  Those windows I so carefully “cleaned” were loaded with streaks and probably were dirtier than when I started!

Oh – and going over the rainbow? Yes, I feel as if I certainly did!  At one point, after my mother could not stand to listen to me asking if we were in Kansas and where was Dorothy’s house, she pointed to a run down farm house and said – “That’s Dorothy’s house!” I spent many years believing that I saw the actual house!  (Ok, then I thought that maybe it was the “actual” house from the film until Mom told me she just could not stand to hear me ask that question one more time!)  So I don’t know if we were in Kansas (which would have been on the way back to Ohio – so I think we were probably in Montana or Idaho when she did that!).  I was young enough to see Disneyland as a child would but old enough to be able to remember quite a bit about that trip. And I have tons of pictures to help me remember!

I hope you have enjoyed my Travel Thursday series of Over the Rainbow!  I hope to begin a new series soon!

Sources: 

Personal knowledge and written description published in the Beavercreek News (Beavercreek, Ohio), Oct. 19, 1966.

Wikipedia Article online for “Victorville California”, 27 July 2012.

Photo of Cinnamon Graham Crackers: Keebler.com, 2012. Kellogg.

Photo of Rainbow: Rainbow in the sky by Jonathon Coombes (Public Domain)

All Other Photos taken by Gene or Mary Amore, digital or original slide/print owned by Wendy J Littrell, address for private use. 

Copyright for this blog post 2011 Wendy J Littrell.
No part of this blog post may be used or reproduced without explicit permission from the author and must be linked back to this blog

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In April of this year, one of my distant relatives (by blood – close by choice!), sent me an email to let me know that she had ordered a 67-marker DNA test from Family Tree so that her first cousin (again, a distant cousin to me) could take it in order to get some information on the ancestors of our ancestor – Jacob Johnson born December 11, 1787 in New Jersey.  Johnson, according to Wikipedia, is the 2nd most common surname in the United States.  Good Grief! At least it’s not Smith!  My cousin told me that the Johnson project had 1000 members!

At the end of May, I received another communication from my cousin. She reported that the common 12 marker test showed that we belonged in Hapologroup R1b1a2 – common to Europe, the United Kingdom. That didn’t surprise me. The variation showed R1b1a2a1a1a – the country is “unidentified.” Good Grief!

Fast forward another month and a half to July, and more information came back – including the names of some other men who “matched” my distant cousin.  Several emails have been traded back and forth and family information has been shared. However, there aren’t any known relationship between their ancestors and our Jacob Johnson. We did see that there are a lot of the same given names: Jacob, John, James, and William. But then again, those names are almost as commonplace as Johnson!  Good Grief!

I have tons of information to try to sort out – I think I have finally straightened out all the emails so I have a way to read all of them without resorting to different folders in my email. Now, I just need to decide on a good way to sort out all of this information.

I do feel that I’m not “pulling my weight” as far as research right now.  The gal who started the ball rolling on this DNA project and one of our other cousins, have been digging into tax lists, land records, and other types of documents to glean as much as they can out of them while I have been reading and feeling pretty overwhelmed!  Perhaps once I am able to sort names, places, and dates, I’ll have a better handle on what still needs to be done!

Source: Family Tree DNA image from www.familytreedna.com, 2001-2012 Genealogy by Genetics, Ltd. 28 July 2012.

Source: Emails from Virginia Nuta: April 10, 2012; May 24, 2012; July 2, 2012. 

Source: Johnson surname rank – Wikipedia.

Blog post copyright 2012 Wendy J Littrell.
No part of this blog post may be used or reproduced without explicit permission from the author and must be linked back to this blog.

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When a Wall is Built

When I began this quest to delve into family history, especially by creating a genealogical website and writing a blog, I knew that there would be three types of people that I’d run into.  The “We Are Related!” people are those cousins – distant and close – who want to know what has been found and will share stories and pictures and be open. The “Why Bother?” people are those who do not understand what all the fascination is about dead ancestors or relatives that you’ve never met.  Cemeteries bother them. Skeletons in the closet are NOT to be dug out. And don’t ask them any questions because they don’t remember – but (and this is a big but!) – they will respond to here and now topics – just not ones that have anything to do with genealogy.  Then there are the “Not Talking To Anyone on THAT Side of the Family” because of real or imagined slights. And yes, this is real – this is current and this happened to me a few days ago. And since I am not one to shy away from controversial family skeletons or issues – although I will keep that person’s anonymity because of their children/grandchildren – who hopefully have nothing to do with their parent’s unbalanced nature!

My father comes from a large family – he is the youngest of seven. As is usual, coming at the end of the children meant that at least one or more of the siblings were already adults. Even though there was eighteen years difference between him and his oldest sibling, they grew close as adults – though the older one did seem to treat him as a “child” – probably because Sibling A took care of him quite a bit when he was an infant. Sibling A married, had children, and stayed somewhat close to their hometown. My dad joined the military, moved away, married, had children, visited often, moved out of the country, moved back to the home state (yet still far from the hometown), attended reunions, stayed closely connected to all the siblings, retired from the military and then had a child at middle age (that child being me!)

So as a child born when my father was 40, and he being the youngest of seven, most of my first cousins on the paternal side were much older – some were already married and Sibling A’s daughter – my oldest first cousin – was even a grandmother by the time I was a few years old. So not only were our ages a couple of generations apart but our interests were different, the times we lived through were different, and we lived a good distance apart. I saw this woman – whom I will call Cousin A – at least twice a year – sometimes three times.  I never really had an opinion of her – she was just another adult who told me what to do, how to behave, and to play nice.

Several years down the road, my parents divorced. I didn’t see Cousin A after that due to circumstances that I had nothing to do with. I would hear about Sibling A and Cousin A from my dad but nothing earth shattering.

My dad remarried and after fifteen years plus, his wife passed away.  About that time, he’d returned to where he had grown up to visit his few remaining siblings still in that area. Apparently, Cousin A was in the process of building a wall – brick by brick – between her parent – Sibling A and every one of the other Siblings – including my dad. Apparently, there was a lack of communication between my father and his sibling and the next thing anyone knew Cousin A was spreading gossip and rumors that my Dad treated Sibling A horribly. What?! So Dad decided that he was done – done trying to correct the wrong. He stopped speaking to his eldest sibling. Consequently, Sibling A with the help of Cousin A began to build a wall, too. Cousin’s A’s brother wasn’t even allowed to speak to his own mother! My dad’s sister, my Aunt Marie (who I’ve written about and spoken so fondly of), tried time and time again to reach out to Sibling A and even Cousin A but was treated horribly.

When Sibling A passed away in 2003, the obituary didn’t even list my dad or the other siblings still living. It was as if there weren’t anyone on that side of the family – that they were all “dead”. I guarantee that Cousin A’s brother wasn’t allowed to write that obituary because at the end Sibling A told the son, that there were many regrets – especially about cutting my dad out.

In the interim – since 1999 – I’ve mailed letters to other cousins on that side of the family and now enjoy wonderful relationships with first cousins. However, Cousin A has never written me back nor acknowledged my condolences when my dad’s sibling died. So a couple of weeks ago, I was contacted by Cousin A’s cousin on the other side (no relation to me). I explained about the falling out and how I hadn’t had any contact with that person. So the very nice gal said she would contact Cousin A for me – and she did.

Imagine my surprise on Monday when I arrived home from work to find a letter from Cousin A!  And guess what that letter basically said?  That our side of the family never treated Sibling A right so therefore Cousin A wanted no contact.

And guess what else? I am just as stubborn as Cousin A so I will be sending a follow up letter because for one thing – I always treated Sibling A correctly and another – life is too short for grudges. I really want to build a bridge and tear down that wall!

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Happy 4th of July

image

I want to wish all of my readers a glorious Independence Day! I will be baking a great dessert for our church’s annual Ice Cream Social, and this afternoon my husband will be in charge of the burger’s on the grill. We’ll head out to church late this evening & then stick around because it is easy to see the fireworks from the parking lot.

I am so thankful for the freedoms we have in this magnificent country and though there are several types of divisions (political, social & religious especially), I hope that when it comes right down to it, we all would stand behind the USA & together against any threats. As many song lyrics proclaim: God Bless the USA!!!

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On May 1, 2009 I lost my mother. Each year my sister and I have a beautiful silk arrangement placed in the vase on her grave. Since we are in Texas and the grave is in Ohio, I have to rely on the cemetery office to pick out the correct silk arrangement (made especially for the types of vases on the headstones) and make sure they are placed in the vase. I’ve requested a photo be taken and emailed to me so that I know it has been done. It’s also a way for me to see her grave since I’m so far away.

Mom was not a “pink” person – her signature color was red. So when I order the silk flowers, I make sure to stress that the flowers not be any shade of pink. They have to be mainly red.  I think she’d appreciate this arrangement that was placed in April.  These flowers will remain there until mid-November when the cemetery removes all flowers in the vases and puts the vases upside down so that way they don’t get water in them and freeze in the Ohio winter.

(Photo taken by staff at Glen Haven Cemetery, New Carlisle, Ohio on May 3, 2012 and emailed to Wendy Littrell, address held for private use).

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GEARING UP TO INDEX AND SEARCH THE 1940S CENSUS!

Are you ready for Monday, April 2nd? Do you have all of your tools ready? What about your work schedule? Where are you sending the kids?

Wait a minute – you don’t know what happens on Monday? You must have just returned from another planet or out from under a rock!  It’s the release of the 1940s Census!  A whole army of volunteers (but we need MORE!) has registered to index!  Have you? What are you waiting for? Stop reading (but please bookmark this post) and go register at The 1940 Census – Getting Started!

Let’s get the list in order!

What to tell your employer (or employees if you own the business!)

  1. National 1940s day – they must be able to tell you why April 2 is important in order to get off work.
  2. You don’t need an excuse – you requested this day off a very long time ago (about the time the 1930 census was released!)
  3. You will be “out of pocket” all day and unable to be reached.

Tools needed:

  1. Download indexing software (I downloaded mine several weeks ago!)
  2. Viewed the tutorials (I did too!)
  3. Participated in the 1940s Indexing Simulation (I did that the day it was available)
  4. Have indexed other images already (yep – about 1000 names so far!)
  5. Computer (You will want to make sure to clean out your cache/cookies; do a defrag so you’ll get optimum speed)
  6. A gedcom or .paf or some sort of family history program or report in front of you with the names of those you are searching
  7. Steve Morse’s One Step Unified 1940s ED Finder so you can find those Enumeration Districts
  8. Along with the names you are looking for, you also have as much information as possible next to the names: what enumeration district(s) you hope to find them in, a street address in order to find them in the ED; who was possibly in the household.
  9. Water bottles and snacks – because you have to keep up your strength so you can search AND index constantly.
  10. An accurate clock – so you can begin as soon as possible!
  11. A charged phone (or battery laptop!) – just in case there is an emergency and you must be reached or you need to reach someone – especially if you need to call someone (a parent/aunt/uncle/cousin) to ask where they or their parents/grandparents were living in 1940!
  12. Big sign on your front door that requests visitors not knock or ring bell or solicit. Mail or package deliverers are to leave items at your door but not announce themselves.
  13. Several Barney, Caillou, Dinosaur Train, or Sesame Street DVDs to keep the itty bitty ones busy all day.
  14. Several Camp Rock, Hannah Montana, iCarly, Wizards of Waverly, Power Rangers, Victorious, Star Wars, etc. DVDs to keep the not so little ones busy after they get home from school.
  15. Prepared meals in the fridge with step by step instructions on how to heat so no one bothers you.
  16. Ear buds/Ear phones and tons of music so you can listen all day long instead of being distracted by the television, children’s voices, etc.

And don’t forget to get a good night’s sleep the night before so you won’t get worn out on Monday. After all – we have a lot to do!

And most importantly, please INDEX while you are searching!  After all, it’s not every day that history like this happens, and we all should want to be front row center when it does!  You never know where serendipity happens!

PS – I’m supposed to tell you that this post enters me in a contest for prizes – gift cards (and who doesn’t love gift cards!)

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