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Archive for the ‘stories’ Category

In deciding which Surname I would begin my “Surname Saturday” posts, the only logical thing to do was start at the beginning – alphabetically!

AEDER

Catherine AEDER is my 5th great-grandmother, born about 1750 in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania and died before March 31, 1835 in Carrollton, Carroll County, Ohio.  Her parents are UNKNOWN.  Catherine married John Peter STERN on July 30, 1771 in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.

It is reported that the couple had ten children: Barbara, Catherine, Christian (my direct ancestor), Elizabeth, John, Martha, Nancy, Polly, Sarah, and Susannah.

(Disclaimer: I do not have any solid documentation about Catherine Aeder. My information comes from the FamilySearch ancestry file. Do not take this information as gospel until documentation is found.)

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Here is a list of what I’ve been reading “around the web” lately (in no particular order).
Review: Finding Family by Judy Russell on the Legal Genealogist Blog. Judy reviews a book about the journey of an adoptee.

There are many blog posts and articles about the closing of the Georgia archives. If you google “Georgia Archives” – you are sure to find one of the many articles. This is very sad for all those who rely on the Archives for historical, biographical, and genealogical information. Update: Click here to read an update about this – it looks like the Archives will remain open! 
My Heritage Automates Record-Matching as Genealogy Wars Heat Up (Europe) from Gigaom. Interesting article about what the top two (according to the article) genealogy companies (Ancestry and MyHeritage are doing to compete technologically.

There have been several reports of people adding QR codes to their loved ones headstones and this is one of those. What do you think? Will the QR code be outdated in the next big wave of technological advances?

I also want to call your attention to a brand new radio show by one of my genea-friends in New England, Marian Pierre-Louis. She is hosting Fieldstone Common at BlogTalk Radio every Thursday at 1 p.m. (EST). Be sure to tune in! She’ll be giving away books!  The description for this unique program is: “Fieldstone Common is a radio show streamed live on the internet via Blog Talk Radio. Host Marian Pierre-Louis will introduce you to authors and historians who bring history alive! Topics focus on history and genealogy in New England and the Northeast.”

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John Lafayette Johnson and Katie J. Blazer

My maternal great-grandparents (on my grandfather’s side), John Lafayette Johnson and Katie J. Blazer, were married on July 4, 1883, in Anderson, Madison County, Indiana.  He was a few months over 22 years old and she was close to 19. Since both were “of age” according to the laws of the time, neither needed a parental signature.

The couple was just shy of celebrating their 47th wedding anniversary when Katie died on May 20, 1930 (trivia: my wedding anniversary is on the anniversary of her death – May 20!).

Below is a picture of the couple in older age.

(Source 1: Anderson, Madison, Indiana, 1880-1920, Book 1, Page 393; County Clerk’s Office, 16 East 9th, 2nd House, Box 19, Anderson, Indiana, 46016. FamilySearch – Indiana Marriages Database

Source 2: Glen R. Johnson, Sr., personal genealogy notes, in possession of Wendy Littrell, address for private use)

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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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There are some blogs and geneabloggers that I want to introduce to you. They aren’t new to me as I’ve been reading their columns for quite some time; however, I want to put them in the spotlight this week.

Marian Pierre-Louis

Marian is the author of several blogs: Marian’s Roots and Rambles, The Symbolic Past, and The New England House Historian. According to her “About Me” page: she “is a full-time House Historian and Professional Genealogist who focuses on New England research.” Marian “specializes in probate, deeds, New England town records and brick wall research.” She is the “Publicity Chairperson for the New England Regional Genealogical Conference (NERGC) and is actively involved with the New England chapter of the Association of Professional Genealogists. Her Roots & Rambles blog was nominated to the Family Tree Magazine 2011 Top 40 Genealogy blogs contest.” Recently, she posted a question to others on her Facebook page that asked how others manage to attend genealogy conferences all of the time. Some 70 responses later – and after many requested that she blog about that subject – Marian did just that. How Do Y’all Manage to Go to Conferences All the Time? is the article she wrote. I suggest you head over there to read it and the comments she received. Perhaps you have your own suggestion. Marian’s twitter is @marianpl.

Carolyn Pointer

Carolyn is the author of Your Family Story. She writes her family’s stories and says, “I like to listen and write their stories down. Sometimes their stories are sad. Sometimes they’re happy. And sometimes they’re downright naughty [if I'm lucky].” Earlier this week (ok, yesterday!), Carolyn wrote A Baby Boy!. She was looking for someone and ended up receiving information about a baby she hadn’t known about.  She gives some links to helpful sites that she used to figure out what the Latin records meant. Carolyn also authors Pearl’s Day Books. Her twitter is @FamilyStories.

Jenna Mills

Jenna is the woman behind Desperately Seeking Surnames. She says that losing both of her parents in 2001 prompted her to start searching for her ancestors. Jenna says that, “While going through their belongings the questions started to pile up, who was this? who was that? etc. Ultimately, I decided I would try to get the answers to the question and find our ancestors. I have been working my way back in time ever since.” One thing I like about this blog is the banner for her title – it looks like she scrapbooked it!  Her Independence Day post is beautiful! You can find it at Happy Independence Day America. Jenna’s presence on twitter is @SeekingSurnames.

Lisa Alzo

Lisa is well known throughout the geneablogger world (as well as those who read genealogy publications and books)!  She speaks at conferences and has published many articles as well as several books. You can find out everything you want to know about Lisa at Lisa Alzo. Her genealogy blog is The Accidental Genealogist. Recently, Lisa’s written articles concerning her return trip to Slovakia: Sojourn in Slovakia: The Sequel; Sojourn in Slovakia: The Sequel. Preparing for the Trip; Sojourn in Slovakia: The Sequel. Departure Day; Sojourn in Slovakia: The Sequel. Day 1. Stay tuned – I’m sure Lisa has future articles that she will post concerning her trip. You can find her on twitter at @lisaalzo.

 

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*** Disclaimer: I am NOT an official Rootstech blogger.

*** Furthermore, I am NOT at Rootstech.

(I am not even near Salt Lake City, Utah, or a Family History Library)

BUT – I am reading blog posts from “official” Rootstech bloggers and others, like me, who are not there, but wish they were!

I am playing “Words with Friends” with Sheri Fenley of The Educated Genealogist, who in turn is also playing WwF with Colleen McHugh of Genealogy Wise. And the madness continues . . .

I am scouring Facebook for photos – found some of Elyse Doerflinger of Elyse’s Genealogy Blog and footnoteMaven. Waiting to see a picture of Elyse in her tiara. Will Sheri post her tiara picture? Does Randy or Thomas have tiaras? Or Crowns?

If you are looking for the secret treasure clue – I do not have one on my blog because (in case you missed the beginning of this post) – I am NOT an official Rootstech blogger. 

Apparently, there will be no sleeping at Rootstech.  (see I am reading Facebook status updates – this just in from Elyse).  Can you imagine what 4000 sleep-deprived genealogists will look like on Sunday morning when everything is said and done?  Those are the pictures I want to see!

I can’t wait to see how the Genealogy Idol contest plays out. Will it be Elyse? Marian? Elizabeth? or Michael? Two from home and two at the conference. Will one of the judges be mean and nasty like Simon? Oops, sorry, he’s no longer on THAT show.  So if Steven Tyler shows up and I wasn’t informed, I will not be happy!  Will Thomas channel Bert Parks and sing: “There he/she is . . . Ms/Mr Genea-Idol . . . “

For the rest of us . . . I guess we”ll just sit at home, watch streaming video from the conference, read Facebook status updates and blog posts from official bloggers, play Words with Friends, and dream about attending the conference in person . . . one day.

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The USA Today article, Orphan Train Riders, Offspring Seek Answers About Heritage, (posted 25 Jan 2012) by Judy Keen, describes the search that descendents of those who rode the Orphan Trains in the early 20th century find themselves on. They want to find out more about those train riders, their parents, siblings, and heritage. Even some of the Orphan Train riders themselves are searching.

While researching my own family history, I came across two brothers who rode the train from New York until they arrived in Columbus, Kansas and were adopted by James William Goul (my maternal grandfather’s relatives). J.W. Goul was born in Ohio about 1839 to John and Martha (McManaway) Goul.  James William was the 2nd to youngest brother of my 2nd great-grandmother (Malissa Goul). He married Mary McAdams (b. 16 Sep 1840) and they had Martha E. and George Edward Goul. Before 1894, the family moved to Cherokee County, Kansas.

The Star-Courier newspaper of Columbus, Kansas of June 21, 1894 mentioned that two young brothers who did not want to be separated from each other were taken by “one kind hearted man.”  These two brothers were Matthew and Clarence Brown of New York.  Matthew was born about 1887 and Clarence was about 3 years younger.  Both reported on the 1910 Census that their parents were born in Italy.    

Discovering there were Orphan Train riders in the family history, led me to find out more about these children and the reasons they were sent from New York to other parts of the country.  The short version of the “why?” includes the fact that these children were abandoned or orphaned so the Children’s Aid Society and New York Foundling Hospital decided these children needed homes somewhere else.  Children were sent to Canada and the other 47 states. Some were adopted while others were foster children. Others were made to be “servants” to whomever chose them.  Children were picked the same way that slaves had been a century earlier – checking their muscles, sturdiness, and temperament. Some were loved dearly while others were beat constantly.

There are many places on the internet to read the history and stories of the Orphan Train movement including: Orphan Train History (has many links included), Children’s Aid Society, PBS Documentary, Iowa GenWeb Orphan Train project, Orphan Trains of Kansas, and Adoption History: Orphan Trains. There are some videos: Orphan Train in Michigan and Orphan Train Movie (1979).

With all of the newly digitized records on free and subscription databases, I sincerely hope that the descendents of the “riders” will find the answers they so desperately seek.  Perhaps they will be the recipients of Genealogical Acts of Kindness!

Do you have Orphan Train riders in your family? Have you learned about where they came from? Did they remember their background and parents? Were they treated like members of the family upon their “adoption” or was their life very difficult?  And what about the family they left behind or were torn from? What is their story?

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