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The 63rd Carnival of Genealogy (New Year’s Resolutions) is posted at Creative Gene. Once again, Jasia outdid herself with this one! And for all of the genea-bloggers whose resolutions were to “host a carnival” or show some kindness to other bloggers – Jasia is looking for hosts for this year to help take some of the work off her back.

I urge you to go visit each of these blogs to read their New Year’s Resolutions and add a comment or two!

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63cog

For the 63rd edition of the Carnival of Genealogy, the topic is New Year’s Resolutions!

As far as my genealogy research for 2009 -  I resolve to:

  • Scan many more documents, photos, and the rest of the slides in my possession
  • Organize my files
  • Obtain / organize documentation for direct ancestors
  • Enter documentation and information into family file

As far as genea-blogging, I resolve to:

  • Participate in more carnivals, memes, word prompts and “fun” posts
  • Post varied information (local, city, county and state links) in order to help other genealogists
  • Visit more genea-bloggers and comment more than I do now
  • Visit other history or genealogy based sites and do a write up on the blog in order to provide others with information

As far as my Graveyard Rabbit blog, I resolve to:

  • Take more photos of cemeteries and grave markers in my area
  • Do more research on local burial customs and cemetery history
  • Post more articles per week

All I ask is to let me get through the holidays first!

(CoG graphic courtesy of footnoteMaven.)

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This post was written for the 62nd Carnival of Genealogy, 3 Wishes.  The topic suggests: Make a list of 3 gifts you would like to receive this holiday season from 3 of your ancestors. These have to be material things, not clues to your family history (we’re talking gifts here, not miracles!). Do you wish your great grandmother had gifted you a cameo broach? Or maybe you’d like to have the family bible from great great grandpa Joe? How about a baby doll that once belonged to your dear Aunt Sarah? This is a fantasy so you can dream up gift items. They don’t have to be actual items that you know your ancestors owned. However, they do have to be historically accurate to the time period in which your ancestor lived. Do your research. No asking for a new computer from your great grand aunt! Genea-Santa wouldn’t like that.

Dear Santa,

Could you please leave the following items under my tree:

  1. The Amore photo/scrapbook.  My Uncle Gail began this book back in the late 1960s.  The last we knew, it was in the possession of my cousin, June, who hasn’t been communicative with any of the relatives in a long time.  I believe there are pictures in there of the first Amore-Werts reunion as well as the other Amore reunions and the siblings reunions of years past.  All I want to do is scan the photos and memorabilia and then June can have it back.
  2. The box of “lost” photos.  When I was about 12, my mom and I went through a box that had lots of ancestor photos.  Some of those pictures were of “funeral” pictures (those who had died in their caskets laid out in the parlors).  When I finally had the nerve about 5 years later to look at them again, the box of photos went missing.  Try as I might, I can not locate them at my mom’s (we had moved in the mean time).  Again, if one of my relatives ended up with this box, all I want to do is scan the photos and they can have it back!
  3. DVDs of all the slides my grandparents took (I believe one of my cousins has  the slides!) and a CD of all their reel-to-reel tapes (I’m sure there are more than what my brother had in his possession) so I can see the world through their eyes via their pictures and hear their voices on more than one CD.

I’ve tried to be a very good genealogist this year!  And, Santa, I will leave you a wonderful snack so you can keep up your stamina as you visit all the other houses in the world on Christmas Eve!

Thanks so much!

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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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The topic for the 60th Edition of the Carnival of Genealogy is Alzheimer’s DiseaseNovember is Alzheimer’s Awareness Month and it’s a good time to reflect on the impact that Alzheimer’s Disease (dementia) has had on your family history. An estimated 5 million people in the U.S. are living with Alzheimer’s Disease. A new case is diagnosed every 72 seconds. Undoubtedly someone you know will or has some form of this debilitating dementia. Alzheimer’s robs people of their memories and all that they could have passed on in the way of family history. What does that mean to you? If you are fortunate enough to have not been effected by Alzheimer’s Disease in your family, perhaps you will share the impact of another serious medical condition that has impacted your family. How have you gone about researching your family’s medical history?

Luckily, my family has been left untouched by this horrible illness that wipes out a person’s memory and leaves them debilitated and the family struggling to cope.  My mother used to work for one of her local Senior Day Centers as a grant writer as well as being there to help the Seniors.  During the day most of the people who were there were “dropped off” just as you would a child at a day care facility.  These people were mostly living with family members who needed extra eyes on their parents/aging family members while they were at work.  Because of Mom’s time working with some of these people afflicted with this progressive illness, she takes offense when someone who forgets where their car keys are says offhandedly “maybe I’ve got Alzheimer’s.”  She’s seen what this disease can do and knows it is not humorous.

Our family has had it’s share of “Senior Moments” – heck, I’m not even 50, and I get them.  I tend to call it the “busyness syndrome”.  So busy in my daily life and thinking of too many things at once, that half the time I don’t remember what I’ve already related to people.  So now when I begin a story, I always ask if I’ve said this before.  What is worse is when I’ve neglected to tell someone the health condition, etc. of a relative and been called on it.  I forget where the _____________ (insert anything) is but that’s just because I’m not as organized as I should be, and I’ve allowed myself to have too many cluttered thoughts and not care.

I’ve also been pretty lucky in learning about our family medical history.  I have death certificates and oral histories about illnesses to know what I am predisposed to genetically.  No epilepsy, no bleeding or autoimmune disorders.  I do think it’s very sad for a person who has been adopted and can’t find that medical information.  I think if anything else, medical history should be part of open records – even if the biological birth information is not.  I also believe that the doctor’s office is not the place NOT to divulge information that could be crucial for your physician in making a diagnosis or researching other alternatives.  If we can’t be a partner in our own medical care, who else will advocate for us?

My hope is that a cure can be found to slow or stop Alzheimer’s altogether.  A friend of the family’s has a parent with Alzheimer’s. This person spends a lot of time each day visiting their parent and using a “script” as the memory of the person. Repetitiveness can be monotonous, however, I’ve witnessed the parent recall something that wasn’t said that same day and that gives us great joy to hear. I’ve also witnessed the slow decline of this friend’s parent and my heart hurts for this family as they watch their parent deteriorate. I consider myself, my parents, and my grandparents very lucky that we didn’t have to live with this disease but unfortunately not everyone is so lucky.

That is why it is so important – from a family history and genealogy stand point – to gather this information before the disease progresses – or before there are even any signs of it. If your parents are still fairly young and your grandparents are still living and have their memories, now is the time to gather that information before it is lost to either Alzheimer’s, other medical issues, or they are gone.

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The topic for the 59th Edition of the Carnival of Genealogy is: “Politics and Our Ancestors” in honor of Voting Day.  As I thought about this, I knew that I had several ancestors and collateral family members who had served in politics as well as members who were quite vocal in their political affiliations.

My paternal great-grandfather’s brother, George Washington Amore, was a Democrat and served as an Assessor for Linton Township in Coshocton County for three terms in the 1890′s.  In 1909 he ran for Mayor of Plainfield, Ohio.  George’s son-in-law, John D. Woodward, a respected man of Coshocton County, pledged his allegiance to the Democratic party, but held no public office. (Source information from “History of Coshocton County, Ohio: Its Past and Present, 1740-1881″.  Compiled by N.N. Hill, Jr.; Newark, Ohio; A.A. Graham & Co., Publishers; 1881; Carlon & Hollenbeck, Printers & Binders, Indianapolis, Ind.)

My great-aunt (Louisa Clementine Amore Baker) was married to Benjamin Baker who was a Justice of the Peace in Coshocton, Ohio before 1919. (Source information from his obituary published in “The Coshocton Tribune”, Coshocton, Ohio, Page 8, May 21, 1936)

My maternal grandfather, Glen Roy Johnson, Sr., was elected to the Fairfield (now a part of Fairborn), Greene County, Council in 1936 and was instrumental in getting a sewage plant builtHe was a Democrat in his younger years and in his later life affiliated with the Republican party.  He met Richard Nixon about 1972-1973 when he was in Washington D.C. and toured the White House.  (Source information – personal knowledge)

My first cousin, four times removed, John Goul (son of Christian and Ruth Lawson Goul, grandson of my 4th great-grandfather), first vote was cast for John Charles Fremont – the first candidate of the Republican party - who ran against James Buchanan.  John also voted twice for President Lincoln and although he was sought after to run for office in his locale, he refused to have his name put up for any political office.  John’s father, Christian Goul, was a Whig until the formation of the Republican party and then became a life-long Republican. (Source information from “Beers History of Champaign County, Ohio”)

My grandmother’s brother, John Alfred Wilt, was a Republican. (Source information – Vesta C. Johnson)

My 2nd cousin, 3 times removed, George Lewis House, served on the Deshler, Ohio city council and the school board before 1906.  His political affiliation is unknown. (Source information: Jeromey Ward)

My 9th great-grandfather, Richard Treat (d. 1669), represented the settlement of Wethersfield, Hartford County, Connecticut in the first general court in 1637; was a Colonial grand juror in 1643; elected to the general court in 1644 (and was re-elected many times); and was an Assistant Magistrate of the Colony from 1658-1665. (Source information from “The Hollister Family in America”.  Compiled by Lafayette Wallace Case M.D.; Chicago, Fergus Printing Company; 1886).

My maternal grandmother, Vesta Christena Wilt Johnson, was born prior to the passage of the 20th Amendment.  She voted in almost every election after that.  My parents have both voted Democratic most of their lives. 

When I was in 6th grade and Richard Nixon was running for his second term in office, I pasted Nixon/Agnew stickers on my bedroom door so my mom had to see them each time she walked by.  So when Nixon won over McGovern, I teased her mercilessly.  Needless to say, during the Watergate scandal, she had the last laugh over me.  I have voted both Democratic and Republican since I turned 18 and don’t consider myself affiliated with either party.  I am a proponent of voter rights and urge others to vote in order to have a voice in the future of our great nation.  I thoroughly believe that our forefathers and foremothers fought long and hard – either on the battlefield, in elected offices and as Suffragettes – in order to give us that right.  It should not be something we turn our nose up and deny because apathy solves nothing.  To be part of the solution, I believe – as so many of my ancestors – that we must all be active in the future of our community, our school, our city, our state, and our national government – either by voting or running for office in order to affect the change we look toward.

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Location: a cemetery in Coshocton County

Time of Day: Broad daylight – middle of the day

Weather: Warm

Event:  While looking for an ancestor’s grave, the day suddenly turned cool and shadows were splayed over the headstones.  The feeling was that the area was “haunted.”

True or False?

UPDATE: This post is TRUE – although I reported it second-hand!   When my cousin, Billy, went to Orange Grove Cemetery (also known as Richmond Cemetery) in Coshocton County to take pictures of Frances (Price) Amore’s gravestone (she was the first wife of my 2nd gr-grandfather, William Amore), he said the cemetery was very spooky.  The town close to the cemetery hasn’t seen much activity for almost 100 years.  He said it became quite eery and chilly on a warm day and didn’t spend too long lingering.

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Jasia, at Creative Gene has posted the Carnival of Genealogy, 57th Edition on the theme: I Read it in the News!  I haven’t counted the number of submissions but there are quite a few!  I think there are a few who have submitted a post for the first time on a CoG! 

So scoot on over there and “read all about it”!  Try to leave comments on the ones you read!

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This post is written for the 57th Carnival of Genealogy on the theme: I read it in the news!

Our family has always been big on cutting out newspaper articles that relates to anything having to do with someone in the family.  I’ve located small clips on people who have applied for marriage licenses, obituaries, and even larger articles.  As I began my genealogy quest almost 10 years ago, I once again perused some scrapbooks at my mom’s house.  I found the following clipping:

I knew that my parents, my brother and my sister all learned to fly when my dad was stationed in Japan, but I didn’t realize they had been in a movie!  Even if it was for the Aero Club of which they were members.  They flew quite a bit while in Japan and continued once back in the states.  My parents took me up once (that I remember) as a young child, but I wasn’t a very good airplane passenger.  I passed out once in the air and woke up in the car on the way home.  I do much better in commercial airlines.

Another news article my mom clipped and mailed to my grandparents contained information about Japan “Asthma”.  Mom suffered from this while they were overseas and it was hard to explain what it was so she sent this news article.

I also found my grandparents’ wedding announcement which I think is a pretty good treasure since they were married in 1916 in a small town in Indiana.

I also have been blessed that many of my relatives and distant cousins have shared news articles with me – either a scanned copy or a regular copy.  I also feel very lucky that many of these articles have survived over time – especially with standing moves across oceans and across country not to mention just across town.

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On Saturday morning we went to the local computer/electronics/appliance store to find a new printer.  Ours is maybe 10 years old (I don’t even remember when we bought it!).  As my husband pointed out this is our 3rd printer since we’ve been married – 20 years – which isn’t bad in the grand scheme of things.  Of course our first printer was a dot matrix – remember the perforated lines on each side that you had to tear once your document printed out? And it was only black ink.  I’ve had the Epson Stylus 880i and really like it (still do even if it is putting great big inky marks all over the page!).  So I told the rep trying to interest me in another big name printer that I was partial to Epson.  I did find an all-in-one (no fax though as we really don’t need that).  Bought some extra ink and then home to hook it up and install the software for it.

I used the scanner on Saturday and Sunday and it is quite fast.  I won’t get rid of our flatbed scanner becaues it has a slide and negative attachment.  Since I still have oodles of slides to scan, it will still come in handy.  Plus it is larger than the new all-in-one and I can scan my scrapbook pages on it as well.

I’ve also added some more records to Find-a-grave and a member tree on Ancestry (even though I’m not a paying subscriber, I was invited in to this member tree). I just figure that the more information I flood the web with, the easier it will be for people who are looking for mutual ancestors to find me.

Also, for so long I’ve kept my maternal and paternal lines on separate gedcom files (don’t ask why I even did that!) so this weekend I merged everything into one big happy family file. Oh the joy – oh the headache – now I have to merge all those duplicated individuals and then go back and fix family relationships. Why am I doing this again?

I’ve also tried to catch up on reading the submissions for the 5th Edition Smile for the Camera hosted by footnoteMaven at Shades of the Departed (awesome job, by the way!), the Family Heirloom meme hosted by Julie Cahill Tar at GenBlog and the 55th Edition of the Carnival of Genealogy hosted by Jasia at Creative Gene.

In between all of that, I have real life issues – I have family in the Southwestern area of Ohio (around Dayton) and they’ve been without power since Sunday afternoon.  I haven’t been able to contact my mom – who has an electric phone (?!?!) but have talked with her neighbor and received an email from my cousin.  So I’ve been a little freaked out about what’s been going on up there.  Apparently Ike whipped around us here in North Texas and headed straight for the midwest.  You can read about the damage here. Good thoughts and wishes please!

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