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Who Are They?

The three people – wife, husband, son – in the picture above are unknown to me.  They visited our home outside of Dayton in the mid-60s. I don’t even know if they are related to us (probably on my mom’s side) or someone they knew from my dad’s time in the Air Force.  I’m posting it here in case someone happens to run across it and knows who they are.  Unfortunately, NO ONE listed any information on the back!

(Photo taken by Gene Amore; original photo in possession of Wendy J. Littrell)

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Looking for What?

Some of my fellow geneabloggers (Becky at kinexxions and Randy at Genea-Musings) have posted an analysis of their blog traffic (or how do people get to their blogs and what are they looking for). Since I didn’t tear up the blogging world last year with tons of posts, I figure it won’t be difficult to analyze my traffic.

Since January 5, 2010, most people have found my blog via a search engine -355 to be exact, with 238 coming from Google; 87 from Google Image; 11 from Yahoo; 11 from Bing; 2 from search.comcast.net; 2 from Google Mobile; and 1 each from Ask, earthlink, isearch, and dogpile.  There were 68 views through Geneabloggers; 62 from Google Reader; 42 from Facebook; 42 from WordPress; 17 from the WordPress dashboard; and several from other geneablogs; and genealogy websites.

The average page view in 2011 was 16 compared with 20 in 2010, 28 in 2009, and 34 in 2008. My guess is due to the fact that I didn’t write consistently in 2011 and my blog was removed from several “have to read daily” lists. Hoping to change that this year!

The Top 10 posts that readers landed on in 2011 in ascending order:

#10: You Might Be a Genealogist If . . . – 93 views
#9: What a Bunch of Hooey – 103 views
#8: Remembering Sharon Amore Brittigan – 108 Views
#7:
About (this is my about page) – 121 views
#6:
Cousin to James Madison – 176 views
#5:
Letters From Germany – Part 1 – 178 views
#4:
Membership Lists – Part I – 182 views
#3:
Surnames – 188 views
#2:
How Does Your Name Rank – 329 views
#1:
Home Page – 2,386 views (which would be expected that the Home Page gets the most views)

The search terms used that brought folks to my blog include: disneyland branches, rank my name, wordpress genealogy, where does my name rank, american legion logo, letters, bunch of hooey, branches of disneyland, a bunch of hooey, nancy caylor stern (wow! someone looking for my 2nd great-grandmother!), letter to grandparents, and eastern star. Guess that explains which posts got top billing!  Terms used to search for one of my ancestors: Joseph Miller/Katherine Botafield, wilt genealogy, baker amore reunion, nancy caylor, shively, “blazer” family history ohio, wilt ancestry, Sharon Amore Brittigan, Humphrey Madison (this does not include all the searches for genealogy of President James Madison), Elias Caylor, “Sharon Amore”, “James W House” Ohio and more.

Top Clicks in the past year (these are web sites that were in a post that were clicked on): Baby Names and Genea-Musings (glad I could send Randy some traffic!).

WordPress has a terrific statistics page (which I will allow to be seen publicly – 2011 Annual Report) that showed me most of this information – the numbers I had to get from the regular stat page.  Most of the visitors to my blog were from the United States, Canada and the UK.

The post that received the most comments in 2011 was A Sad Anniversary about the loss of my grandmother in 1984.

So for all of my faithful readers – I will do my best to write more in 2012 and visit (& leave comments) on more genea-blogs!

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Unfortunately today’s date has absolutely no significance for any of my ancestors or family members!  My next step was to check to see if I received a piece of genealogical information via email on this date – nada!  So I went straight to the “On This Day” website! 

Some pertinent genealogy information:

On January 4, 1896 Utah became the 45th State.  For those still living in a cave somewhere, Utah is the headquarters of the Church of Latter Day Saints and the largest Family History Center in the United States. Many genealogists and others just trying to find ancestral information make a pilgrimage to Salt Lake City and the FHC.

January 4, 1974 was the day that President Nixon refused to hand over to the Senate Watergate Committee tape recordings and other documents.  This event played a big part in my life because I remember watching the hearings on television most of the summer and was at church camp listening on radio the night in August when the President resigned from office.

Anyone else have an extraordinary event that happened On This Day?

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The topic for the 17th Edition of Smile for the Camera is School Days

Unfortunately, most schools now start in August instead of September.  As a child, I always started school the Wednesday after Labor Day – until I was a senior.  After the Blizzard of 1978, when I was out of school a total of about 10 days longer than we had “snow days”, the district decided we should start a little earlier than September. The was my first encounter with the August School start.

I don’t know much about my ancestors’ school years – but I do have some wonderful photos!

vesta_bros_school

My grandmother, Vesta Wilt, is at the bottom right.  A couple of her brothers are also in this photo, but unfortunately, I can’t put my hands on it to see which is which!

jesse wilt report card

jesse wilt report card2

jess wilt report card3

Here is my grandmother’s brother’s report card from 1906.  Jesse was in 2nd grade.  Apparently he didn’t do very well in spelling or writing his first two months of school with a grade of “F”.  By January 1907, his writing had improved to “P” (passing) while his spelling grade still remained an “F”.  He also passed Deportment (behavior, conduct).  His father, Joe Wilt (my great-grandfather), signed Jesse’s report card.  This is probably one of the few out of a handfull of examples I have of Joe’s handwriting.

jim_schoolpicture

My brother (arrow pointing him out) – probably in 3rd or 4th grade.  I believe this was in Ohio.

class58pg1a

This is from my brother’s Junior Year yearbook.  It reads: Jim is a real traveller! Not only has he attended 15 different schools, but he is enjoying his second tour of Japan. It doesn’t look as though he plans to settle down, for he has his eye on an Air Force career.  My brother had been involved in the Senior Hi-Y club, Warriors Club, Pep Club, Photography Club, Projection Club, was a Library and Boy’s Gym Assistant, and the Science Club.  Unfortunately the Air Force career didn’t pan out due to some medical issues.
coshocton schools

Above – two of the schools my dad went to in Coshocton, Ohio.  I believe the top picture used to be the High School (now it is Lincoln Elementary).

BathSchool1

This building was the school my mom attended all the way from 1st through graduation.  At the time it was called Bath Consolidated School and was located in Fairborn, Ohio.  Sometime (I think) in the late 1950s it became Central Elementary School and now – after having been empty for awhile – is a Senior Citizen Apartment Complex.

wendy_nursery school

This is my Nursery School picture at Patty-Cake Nursery in my hometown.  I went there for one and a half years before starting a summer school Kindergarten program.  I attended 2-3 days a week.  I’m right in front of the girl next to the teacher (2nd row from the top – 3rd person from the left).  Mrs. Fuller owned the preschool – which she ran out of her basement.  She had many activities and toys to keep all of us busy.  I remember she had one of those aluminum Christmas Trees with the lighted color wheel.  We had an Easter Egg hunt at a local park one time.  I was always getting in trouble for something and being sent to the “bad” chair.  For the life of me I don’t remember why I was always in trouble – probably because I wasn’t sharing or being loud or not listening.  I learned to tie my shoes while I was in nursery school because I kept asking Mrs. Fuller and then her assistant to tie my shoes. I think they finally told my mom that I needed to learn to do it.  I think I was three.  My mom and two other moms took turns driving me, a little boy named Artie and another boy to the preschool.  One of the moms was always late picking us up.  One time Mrs. Fuller came outside and realized we were still waiting for a ride.  Today I am sure that she wouldn’t be leaving 3-4 year olds outside without being watched.  If you happened to attend this same preschool and see yourself in the picture, please let me know because I don’t remember anyone (except one boy I later went all the way through school with).

fairbrook elementary

ankeneyAbove is my elementary school and also my Junior High.  The elementary school went all the way through 6th grade and then 7th-9th in the Jr. High.  I had to ride a bus to both schools because the limit was 9/10 of a mile.  Any further than that and our school district had to bus students.  When I was in 2nd grade, it snowed so hard that our bus was late picking us up.  A friend’s dad took several of us to school.  Very few buses had made it yet so we all waited in the hallway or in our classes.  Finally the word came that we weren’t having school.  Someone called their mother who came and picked us all up. 

What I remember most about the first day of school was the excitement of getting to be in the same class as my best friend.  Unfortunately we were never in the same class together.  And in my 6th grade year, none of my close friends were in my homeroom class.  It was also the year that we were to spend every day of a week at a local science camp.  Unfortunately our class never got to go.  I don’t know if it had to do with funding or some other reason.  But the class before us and the classes after us all got to go.  We were also supposed to take a field trip flying in a an airplane over the city.  Excited and anxious we all waited for the bus to come and take us to the airport.  Mid-morning we received word that we couldn’t do it after all.  However in 2nd grade we were allowed to ride a train.  That was exciting for me as my parents had ridden trains many times when they lived in Japan. 

As a parent, I became the excited one when the start of school approached.  After having four children cooped up all summer with “nothing to do”, I really looked forward to them being at school ALL day long!

School signals the end the summer, beginning of football season, the changing of the weather, the time to cool up with a hot mug of hot cocoa and a good book, and a reason to start making my chili! 

And this year, I will get to experience my own “first” day of school – as I start back to college!

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oscar
The following was written for the Carnival of Genealogy: 66th Edition with the theme, iGene Awards, The Best of the Best!  There are 5 categories and many entries so let’s get down to the nominees and the winners!

Best Picture – Best old family photo that appeared on this blog in 2008.  And the nominees are: 1. Paternal Grandparents, Lloyd & Ella Amore; 2. Maternal Grandparents, Glen & Vesta Johnson; 3. Maternal Great-Grandparents, John & Katie Johnson; 4. Maternal g-great-grandparents, Emanuel & Nancy Caylor.

bestpicture3

And the Winner is: Picture #2!  My maternal grandparents, Glen and Vesta Johnson.  This picture was taken while they were courting in 1916 and is considered to be the Winner for several reasons.  I never personally knew the other subjects except for stories, pictures and my research.  I also have tons of letters my grandparents wrote to each other while they were courting so I have somewhat of a story behind the winning photo.  Congratulations!

Glen & Vesta

Glen & Vesta

Best Screenplay - which family story would make the best movie?  Who would I cast?

And the nominees are: 1. What a Bunch of Hooey!; 2. At Least It Wasn’t Moonshine!; 3. Independent From Birth.

And the Winner is: Independent From Birth!  This screenplay about my maternal grandfather’s foster sister takes place between 1910 and 1991 in rural Madison County, Indiana.  The stage version stars Elle Fanning as the young Eva and as the teenage Eva – Elle’s sister, Dakota Fanning.  As an adult she is played by Drew Barrymore.  These actresses capture the loneliness that Eva had throughout her life.  For Eva’s foster brother, Glen (my grandfather), the role would go to Ewan McGregor and her foster parents (my great-grandparents) would be played by William Hurt and Meryl Streep.

Best Documentary - what was the best informational article about a thing, place or event involving my family?

The Nominees are: 1. Ministers, Lay Persons and Church Folk, Oh My!; 2. Those Who Served; 3. Disecting Obituaries.

And the Winner is: Disecting Obituaries.

Best Biography - The best biographical article of 2008?

And the Nominees are: 1. The Case of Chase; 2. James Emory House; 3. The 2 part series on Lester House – Lester’s Despair – Part One and More Tragedy for Lester House (Conclusion of Lester’s Despair).

And the Winner is: The Case of ChaseThis article won hands down because it provided some much sought after information to a distant cousin that I never knew I had!  She was deeply moved by this story, and I am so glad I was able to give her a story that she didn’t know very much about.

Best Comedy - the funny story, poem, joke, video, or photo that was shared?

And the Nominees are: 1. What a Bunch of Hooey! (competing in a 2nd category!); 2. Unusual Photos; 3. What Were We Thinking?

And the Winner is: What a Bunch of Hooey!  I chose this article as the winner because I look back with humor on a lot of those things my mother says!

And that does it for this year’s Genea-Oscar’s!  So before the music starts up and I get cut off on my thanks – here goes:

I want to thank Jasia at Creative Gene for inspiring me to start submitting entries for the Carnival of Genealogy; Randy Seaver at Genea-Musings for promoting some of my articles in his Best of the Genea-Blogs articles; to Jessica at Jessica’s Genejournal for giving me a shout out and tagging me in all things good; to footnoteMaven at Shades of the Departed and footnoteMaven for her inspiring prompts for Smile for the Camera; to Miriam at AnceStories and AnceStories2 for the great prompts and informative articles. To all those fellow genea-bloggers who have given me great inspiration and assistance when I needed it: Becky at kinexxions; Julie at GenBlog; Amy at Amy’s Genealogy (and a fellow Buckeye!); Terry Thornton (who inspired me to begin my other blog Graveyard Rabbit of South Denton County) of Hill Country of Monroe County; Elyse at Elyse’s Genealogy Blog; Thomas at Destination: Austin Family; Sheri at The Educated Genealogist; Donna at What’s Past is Prologue, whose articles have really helped me! And (cue music) and . . . but wait . . . I’m not done thanking everyone yet . . . Thank You All My Faithful Readers – Especially You!

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I posted a few days ago about my new found cousin, Julie Cahill Tarr, of GenBlog. Today my other new found cousin, Becky Wiseman of Kinexxions posted her line back to Richard Treat – our common ancestor.

When I first entered the genea-blogging world back in the early spring, little did I realize that some of the people who I met in this wonderful community would turn out to be distant relatives – not to mention blogging friends. On GenBlog, Julie writes that she

. . . started this blog to share my genealogy research with others. Mini-bios of family members is my main focus. However, I also plan to share research challenges and successes, hint and tips I learn along the way, and participate in various carnivals and memes to add variety.

Julie is researching and preserving the past of the Cahill, Miller, McMahon, Rottman, Stoffel, Wach, & Webster families (and over 1,000 other twigs)! She is also the owner of Design Write Communications in Central Illinois.

Becky considers herself a GeneaHistorian and is a native Hoosier (which is great since a lot of my ancestors on my maternal grandparents side lived in Indiana!). She served in the U.S. Navy and also writes Whitley County Kinexxions. Becky’s web site is Kinexxions – Kin Connections. Her blog states:

Kinexxions will be presenting the History and Heritage of my ancestors and their kin, many of whom settled in the Northern Indiana counties of Elkhart, Kosciusko, and Whitley.

Maybe I’m a little biased, especially now that we are “kin”, but I urge you to go check out Julie’s and Becky’s sites and blogs. Two very talented ladies that I’m proud to call my cousins!

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Glen Roy Johnson, Jr. being held by his mom (my grandmother), Vesta Wilt Johnson

Genevieve Vesta Johnson (my aunt)

My mom

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Churches and Halloween – now that brings up an interesting vision doesn’t it?  First let’s explore the history of this festive holiday. Wikipedia and Britannica Online mentions that Halloween has roots in the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain which is celebrated at the end of the harvest season. The Gaels believed that on that date, the window between the living and the dead was very thin and could be crossed easily. In order to pacify evil spirits, costumes and masks were worn. “All Hallow’s Eve” became Halloween – the eve of All Saints Day, a Christian observance.

The date for All Saints’ Day was set at November 1st in the 800s by Pope Boniface IV. The church day began at sunset, so All Hallow’s Eve and All Saints’ Day coincided for a few short hours. In 1000 A.D. the Church made November 2nd – All Souls’ Day. The early Colonial settlers in America disapproved and forbade the Halloween celebration.

In North America churches of different denominations look upon Halloween differently. The Anglicans choose to emphasize the Christian traditions of All Saints’ Day while some Protestant churches refer to it as Reformation Day. Though beginning as a pagan celebration, both pagan and Christian beliefs are intwined in various celebrations from Oct. 31st – November 5th. Some Catholic parochial school children enjoy the holiday by dressing up in costumes. The Boston Diocese has began a “Saint Fest” on Halloween. Others of very conservative or fundamentalist Protestant churches, may see Halloween as trivializing the occult. Others consider that there is no place in Christian belief for Halloween because of the secular origins of the celebration.

One tradition from England that has been varied in America, is the giving of food on Halloween. “All Souls’ Cakes” were given to beggars for the promise that prayers for their deceased relatives would be said. This distribution of these cakes was encouraged by the Church to replace the long held practice of leaving out food and wine for spirits.

As a child, I would always dress in a costume – usually one that was harmless – and with my parents, participate in “Beggar’s Night”.  As a teen, our church youth group would have a Halloween Party, and we would visit the various “Haunted Houses” in the area.  These places were set up by non-profit organizations to raise money for various charities – the March of Dimes and Muscular Dystrophy.  A local television personality, “Dr. Creep” would often be at the Muscular Dystrophy house to welcome guests. Admission was no more than a dollar or two (this was back in the mid to late 70s) so it was pretty easy to hit every Haunted House in a ten mile radius on one evening and not break the bank. I remember how cold it used to be standing outside in the long line waiting to get in. Most of the actors were members of the non-profit or volunteers who worked every evening for a few weeks, sacrificing their own agendas, in order to help raise money. They also knew when enough was enough and who they could really scare and who they needed to be a little extra careful with.

As an adult, I’ve enjoyed having my children dress up for Halloween and either taking them around the neighborhood or (while my husband does that) staying home and passing out candy. When I was a child, people were still allowed to give out candied or caramel apples, homemade popcorn balls or cookies. Unfortunately, due to some pretty foolish people who chose to hurt children by lacing homemade goodies or apples with harmful substances, we rely on pacifying kids with sugar-laced candy.

I’ve also dressed up on more than one ocassion for either an adult Halloween party or our church’s Halloween Festival. Yes for a number of years our church was still celebrating Halloween. We didn’t call it a “Fall” festival like so many other churches or schools or organizations in order not to “offend” anyone. It was a fun time to dress up and have fun.  The Youth would run games and a cake walk and everyone would have a good time snacking and enjoying fellowship.  The kids even got to wear their (not scary) costumes to church on a Sunday before Halloween and have a costume parade through the Sunday School classes. 

Halloween – or any celebration and holiday – with roots in the secular and pagan world – can be as innocent or evil as we make it.

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Some of my earliest memories involve family reunions – whether they were impromptu gatherings with the local family members on the weekend or planned affairs requiring travel to another city or state.  There were reunions that continued throughout my childhood and reunions that began during my childhood.  Before I came along there had been others.

On the paternal side of the family, what once had started as the Amore-Werts Reunion became the Amore-Baker reunion.  Originally, it was to bring together the families of my Great-Grandfather William Henry Amore and my Great-Grandmother Mary Angelina Werts.  The very first reunion was held May 25, 1924 in Roscoe, Coshocton County, Ohio at their home with about 100 persons attending.  This is the newspaper clipping about the gathering:

Other reunions were held and by the time I began attending (in the ’60s), they had changed to the Amore-Baker reunion.  This merged the Amore family with the Baker family (my grandfather’s sister – the only daughter of Henry and Annie Amore – married a Baker).

These reunions were held at the Grange Hall on the Coshocton Fairgrounds in July each summer.  There was plenty of good food, games (horseshoe, softball, frisbee) and family chat interspersed with the normal “business” part of the reunion – election of the following year’s officers, reading of the business minutes, a treasurer’s report, and planned entertainment.  Up to 80 persons attended these reunions.

My dad’s siblings held a reunion once each summer as well.  The first one was at my Uncle Paul’s home in St. Clare Shores, Michigan in the summer of 1967 attended by all but one of the children of Lloyd and Ella (House) Amore and their families.  Each summer the Descendents of Lloyd and Ella Amore met at one of the sibling’s homes.  The second year we held the reunion at our home outside of Dayton.

(Left to Right: Norman, Gene, Gail and Paul Amore)

My grandmother’s family had the annual Wilt reunion every year.  For many years it was held in New Castle and some times at individual homes.  A newspaper clipping about the 1959 reunion follows:

(Left to Right: Clifford, Vesta, Nellie and Clarence Wilt)

When I was close to adolescence, my grandfather and his two first cousins, Glen O. Blazer and Ada Blazer Black, decided to hold the Johnson-Blazer reunions.  Most of the time these were held in Urbana, Champaign County, Ohio at the home of Glen and Nina Blazer.  Once we hosted the reunion at our home.

(Left to Right: Glen Johnson, Glen and Nina Blazer, Ada Black Blazer)

The descendents of my 2nd great-grandparents – Emanuel Bushong Stern and Nancy Caylor Stern – (Stern Reunion) was held at Beaverton, Michigan in the early in July 1972.  It was held on a descendent’s farm.

Long before I came along, there was also the Caylor reunion for the descendents of Abraham and Susannah (Miller) Caylor.  The only information I have about these reunions is a few pictures with the words “Caylor Reunion” on the back.

My grandfather’s family also held reunions prior to my time.  They ended about 20 years before I was born.  These were the Johnson-Shively reunions.  I have as much information about these as I could hope since I have the actual Reunion Book in my possession.  It includes minutes from each reunion held, those invited, births, deaths and marriages recorded each year, and addresses.

One of my Johnson cousins scanned the photo taken at the first Johnson-Shively reunion and shared it with me.  I don’t know who the photographer was so I would like to thank my cousin, Virginia, for allowing me to have a copy of this.

**************

Minutes (transcribed) from the Minute Book:

Organization Aug 16 – 1915

Johnson and Shively reunion organized Aug 16, 1915 at the home of J.L. Johnson 99 Indiana Ave. Anderson, Indiana. Several relatives and minds were invited to this home in honor of J.W. Johnson. “J.L. Johnson’s father”. It being his birthday. He being the oldest of the Johnson family now living.

A great number of relatives responded from all over the state and a general good time was enjoyed by all.

At the noon hour a sumptious dinner was served. This being one of the most important events of the day was enjoyed by both young and old to the fullest extent.

Before departing for their several homes it was decided that we meet yearly and the following officers were duly elected

                        President          J Milton Johnson, Lapel, Ind.
                        Secretary          Frank Shively, Anderson

A motion was made and 2nded to meet the next August at Riverside Park, Anderson, Indiana.

Business being concluded all departed for their homes thinking it a day well spent.

**************************

In July 2002, the 1st “Cousins” reunion was held for the Descendents of Glen Roy Johnson and Vesta (Wilt) Johnson – my grandparents.  It was held at my cousin’s home outside of Dayton, Ohio and attended by all but two of the cousins and their families.

Other gatherings that we generally don’t consider “reunions” are when we are in Ohio or Missouri to visit.  This past summer most of the family gathered at my in-laws’ home to celebrate their 60th Wedding Anniversary.  The last time most of my husband’s side of the family was together were either at funerals or the 50th Anniversary celebration of his parents.  In Ohio, most of my cousins gather together for a pot-luck meal so we can all visit.

 

News Clippings:

Amore-Wertz Reunion: Coshocton Tribune, 550 Main St., P.O. Box 10, Coshocton, OH 43812; May 5, 1927

Amore Family Has Reunion: Xenia Daily Gazette, 30 South Detroit Street, Xenia, OH 45385; August 22, 1968

Wilt Reunion: Anderson Daily Bulletin, 1133 Jackson St.; Anderson, IN 46016; September 8, 1959

Johnson-Shively Reunion: Unknown newspaper; clipping emailed from a cousin.

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There’s a running joke in my family that my dad’s side of the family are either teetotalers or they drink like a fish.  Apparently a bottle of pimentio extract caused quite a stir back in 1927.

 

I guess that not even this was allowed during Prohibition! 

Background: Stanley Amore was my great-grandfather’s nephew (1st cousin to my grandfather).  He was born in January 1880 to George Washington Amore and Catheirne Burden.  Stanley was a restauranteur, the oldest child of the family, never married, and died on September 30, 1929 at the age 49 from Bright’s Disease.  He was interred at Plainfield Cemetery in Coshocton County, Ohio.

News Clipping Source: The Coshocton Tribune and Times Age; Coshocton, Ohio; Vol. XVIII, No. 137; Front Page; Tuesday evening, January 18, 1927

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