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In the late 1950’s through the early 1980’s, my grandmother’s paternal side gathered together each fall for the annual Wilt Reunion.  I knew names of these relatives but not really who they were or how they fit into the family.  As a young child (and then a young teen), I felt somehow on the “outside” of this family for I saw them once a year. 

Sometimes my grandmother’s first cousins would travel from Indiana to Ohio to visit her and sometimes my mom and I would accompany my grandparents to Indiana to visit them.  That was the extent of my interaction with my Wilt Cousins and extended family.

Going through the photographs my grandfather took to document the Wilt side of the family, has enabled me to actually put names to faces.  Even though there are an awful lot of pictures that don’t have labels, my grandfather was very good at labeling reunion pictures.

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Ina (Wilt) Wisehart Family

First Row Left to Right: Ward’s son, dau-in-law, Richard Wisehart’s son, Ward Wisehart’s daughter (nurse)

2nd Row L-R: Ward’s son, Mrs. Ward Wisehart, Ward (Ina’s son), Ina (Wilt) Wisehart, Richard Wisehart, Richard’s wife

The above was how the photo was labeled by my grandfather.  I’ve since found the names of these folks.  In the 1st Row: (I think this is) John E. Wisehart, his wife, Wava June Wicker, Ricky Joe Wisehart, the nurse is either Nancy or Janet Wisehart.  In the 2nd Row: not sure of the other son’s name, Ruth West Wisehart, Ward Wisehart, Ina Wilt Wisehart, Richard Wisehart, and Norma Gilmore Wisehart. 

Ina Wilt Wisehart is the daughter of Charles and Margaret (Fadely) Wilt.  Charles is the youngest brother of my grandmother’s father, Joseph N. Wilt, which would make Ina and my grandmother, Vesta, first cousins. 

Ina was the oldest child of Charles and Margaret.  She was born on November 2, 1896 (2 years older than my grandmother) probably in Henry County, Indiana.  She married George Wisehart on December 12, 1914 in Henry County.  (Their marriage record was found in Book 1, Vol. 4 of the Index to Henry County Marriage Records on page 392.)  The couple had 4 children: Ward (married Ruth Louise West), Mary Margaret (married Fred Borror), Linda Lee (married Joseph Daffron), and John Richard (married Norma Gilmore).  George died on May 13, 1959 and Ina died on November 23, 1967.

Mary and Fred Borror along with their ten year old daughter, Mary Lou, all perished in a car accident on May 29, 1952 (source: Freda Pierce, cousin to Mary Wisehart Borror).

Linda Lee (Wisehart) Daffron died at the age of 58 at a hospital in Richmond, Indiana. 

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Ward Wisehart passed away on February 26, 2000.  John Richard Wisehart is the last surviving child of Ina and George Wisehart. 

I’ve often wondered why the Wilt Reunions ended?  Did life get too busy for people to gather together?  After all the “first cousins” died, did their children decide it was too much trouble?  Were there a smattering of family gatherings that only included the immediate families of the first cousins? 

The last Wilt Reunion I attended was in September 1983.  It was held in Dayton at my brother’s home, and I was 6 1/2 months pregnant with my second child.  It would be the last time I saw many of my Wilt relations.

When you gather with family – be it immediate or extended – for a reunion, holiday, birthday, or even funeral – and photos are taken, please make sure to document the event and those in the picture.  That includes listing how each of the people in the photo is related.  Are they all first cousins?  Who is their common ancestor?  Are there in-laws in the picture?   Make sure to list who they belong with.  Are there non-related god-parents or close friends in the photo?  Make sure they are listed out and whose friends they are or why they were considered important enough to be part of the picture.  Write an account of the day especially the five W’s: Who, What, When, Where and Why.  How was the weather?  Did you have to travel?  How? What type of travel experiences did you have?  What activities did you or family members engage in?  What type of stories were told and by whom?  Is there a recording of this event?

Then keep your documentation, photos and recording (DVD) together or list on the documentation (as well as the DVD and photos) where all the necessary elements are.  Someday when your descendents see the photos, the DVD or read your account, they will feel as if they were there and there might not be as many questions as we have about our ancestors’ activities.

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When the subject for the 64th Edition of Carnival of Genealogy was announced, I wondered what I could submit.  Somewhere in my files and books are many pictures of winter activities and snow – with some included below.  Since I’ve lived in Texas for the better part of (almost) 30 years, I haven’t seen as much snow as I did when I grew up in southwestern Ohio.  So when we have snow in north Texas, it makes news – big news! 

Local stations interrupt most of the morning and daily television programs to report on the weather – with the same scene of people sliding on ice on the highways and the same scene (over and over!) of people sliding on bridges.  I often wonder – how many times can you report the same story every ten minutes.  Nothing has changed! 

Not only do schools shut down when the roads have a hint of ice, but businesses, churches, and government offices.  People rush the grocery as if they will be holed up for weeks (maybe a couple days!).  And unless you live way out in the country, there’s usually a 7-11 within a block or two.

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We never know how to dress in the winter time.  Case in point – the picture at left was taken on New Year’s Day 2005!  My daughter was wearing shorts because the temperature was in the 70p2020170s!

This picture was taken on February 2, 2007.  At least the snow was “pretty” instead of just wet and yucky!  Unfortunately, this was one of those days when it was non-stop news reports.

The following pictures were taken in the 60s in Ohio.  This is the front of the house I grew up in and ice coated trees.  Usually, from January – March this was the norm!   Winter time and cold weather normally meant heavy winter coats, mittens or gloves, a hat and a scarf.  Until I was in 6th60snow grade, girls weren’t allowed to wear pants to school so in winter time, I wore winter “leggings” in order to keep my legs warm.  I also had heavy snow boots that went on over my shoes.  In 2nd grade, I had a pair of red knee high boots.  These were “fashion” boots – not snow boots yet I somehow convinced myself that I didn’t need snowboots over these.  The cold seeped in and so did the wet! 60s-96

Children in my neighborhood never seemed to mind the cold weather.  We were outside all of the time building snowmen, snow forts, making snow angels, and throwing snowballs at one another.  A neighbor of mine used to go to his grandmother’s house nearby that had a really nice hill on the property.  We’d have 4-5 kids on a big sled and ride down that hill – only to have to carry the sled back up to do it again!  When I was about 7, my parents got me a snow disk.  We didn’t have any “hills” in our yard except for the pool embankment into the yard.  Even so, I spent a good number of hours just riding that thing down three feet of “hill”.

In January 1978 a Blizzard hit the midwest.  I woke up one morning not too long after we’d just started back to classes after the Christmas break and realized that I’d overslept!  Mom told me there were no classes and no one was driving anywhere.  I looked outside and all I saw was a wall of white.  We were out of school for almost a week due to the blizzard.  Since we had used more than our allotment of snow days, school didn’t end until June 20 something that year!  Then the school board decided we should start in August instead of the normal “after Labor Day” – putting our summer vacation less than we’d ever had before.  That is one thing I don’t miss about the midwest – all the snow!

So in honor of the (lack of) real winter weather here in North Texas, I took several of my February 2007 Texas snow pictures and created a digital scrapbook page.texas_snow

(Digital page and elements designed by Wendy Littrell.  Original slides or digital images in possession of Wendy Littrell (Address for private use).

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60s-90

Our basement decorated for Christmas, mid 1960s
Photographed by Gene Amore
Digital scan in possession of Wendy Littrell (Address for private use).

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Well, who are you? (Who are you? Who, who, who, who?)
I really wanna know (Who are you? Who, who, who, who?)
Tell me, who are you? (Who are you? Who, who, who, who?)
‘Cause I really wanna know (Who are you? Who, who, who, who?)
written by Pete Townshend

glen-johnson-unknown-childI posted this picture on August 22, 2008 for Freaky Friday – 3rd Edition.  It is a picture of my grandfather (older child) and another unknown child.  I believe my grandfather was probably about 10 when this picture was taken and I am led to believe (due to the clothing) that the unknown child is a boy about 4-6 years old.  My grandfather didn’t have any younger brothers.  His foster sister was 12 years younger than my grandfather so it couldn’t possibly be her – dressed in pants.

So I ask – who are you little boy?  Could you possibly be a relative?

Possibilities include: Floyd Tyler b. June 13, 1906.  He was my grandfather’s first cousin, son of his paternal aunt, Olive Belle (Johnson) Tyler.  That would mean (since my grandfather was born in Nov. 1898) that Floyd would have been 8 years younger than my grandfather.  I haven’t determined if Floyd was born in Indiana but I do know he spent most of his life in and around Calhoun County, Michigan and was buried there.  However, some of his older siblings were born in Howard County, Indiana.

Could this child be glen-johnson-unknown-child-2Earl Goul, born June 15, 1904 and six years younger than my grandfather?  Earl was the second cousin of his as his grandfather, John Wesley Goul, was brother to my grandfather’s grandmother, Malissa Goul.  Earl was born in Delaware County, Indiana but spent time and died in Madison County, Indiana (where my grandfather was born and raised).

A very good possibility – looking at the following photos – is that this child is my grandfather’s half-uncle’s son, Guy Leston Johnson.  However, I would have to be off on the ages of both boys  as Guy was 10 years younger than my grandfather.  Here are the photos – the black and white was the earlier of the two photos.

guy-johnson-maybe guy-johnson2

 Whomever he is, this unknown little boy will continue to be a mystery to me until I determine his name and relationship.  Have you seen him before?  Perhaps in that stack of photos your great-grandparents left you?  Or in a framed photo hanging on a friend’s wall? 

This is why it is very important to not only label photographs – but to list the relationship of those in the photo.  Even if I had a name – would I be able to connect the dots back to my grandfather? 

This post was written for the 9th Edition Smile for the Camera – Who Are You.

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deck_the_halls_2007Miriam, at AnceStories, posted her first digital scrapbook page recently after reading Jasia’s post about a new Christmas Around the World digital scrapbook kit at her Creative Genealogy blog.  Not wanting to be left out of the fun, I’m posting this digital scrapbook page I made after Christmas last year.  I designed the paper and elements myself (since I also do “commercial” projects, I don’t want to have to buy licenses to use others’ kits!).  Since I do not own Photoshop and use Microsoft Digital Imaging, I had a pretty steep learning curve due to the lack of “instructions” on how to create digital elements on the web. 

Below is another digital scrapbook page I made to show off my grandson with the Christmas tree.  I didn’t add a whole lot to it as I wanted it to be very simple.

christmas071

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“Official” Isaac Hayes, Tina Turner, Booker T & the MG’s Rest Stop westbound on I-40 in Madison County, Tennessee.

Photographed November 22, 2008.  Digital photo owned by Wendy Littrell (address for private use).

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Photographed by Wendy Littrell, December 2, 2008
Digital Photo in Possession of Wendy Littrell (Address for private use)

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