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Archive for November, 2008

Randy Seaver, over at Genea-Musings, issued a fun challenge on Saturday evening to find out Who’s Number 1000 in the Family Database.

I have Family Tree Maker 16 so I went to VIEW>REPORTS>CUSTOM and created a report that included the name and the Reference Number.  Then I went to FORMAT>SORT REPORT and did a sort on the Reference Number.  So who was my Number 1000? 

No one!  I have a 999 and a 1001 but no 1000!  I think that when I combined my two family files into one and then merged individuals number 1000 got lost in the shuffle!  So my 999th person is Peter Valentine Bushong born June 1832 in Augusta County, Virginia to Abraham Bushong Sr. and Mary Christina Volland.  Peter died on August 19, 1913 in Henry County, Indiana.  He is my 3rd cousin 5 times removed.  The 1001st person is Mary A. Fulvider – the sister-in-law of Peter Valentine Bushong!  I have no birth or death dates for her.  She married Peter’s brother, Samuel Bushong, on February 15, 1858 in Augusta County, Virginia.  She is the wife of my 3rd cousin 5 times removed.

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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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This time of year families migrate back together from either distant areas of the country or through forgiveness and hope for the coming year.  There are many who spend Thanksgiving alone either by choice or circumstance.  With our technology even those who are alone or too far away from loved ones, can now spend a portion of their holiday feeling not so out of touch.  You can call long distance without worrying about the extra charges – thanks to “all-in-one” phone service or cell phones with unlimited long distance built into the cost of your monthly bill.  You can talk via the computer and web-cam so Grandma and Grandpa can actually see the grandchildren telling them Happy Thanksgiving.  Or spend time instant messaging one another before the Turkey or during the game.

Abraham Lincoln was one smart man to enact legislation making Thanksgiving a national holiday in 1863 while the Civil War was raging.  He proclaimed the last Thursday of November “as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.”  And for 145 years we have done just that.  Thanks, Mr. President.

From my earliest memories, there has always been family around at Thanksgiving.  As a young girl, we’d spend the holiday at our home with grandparents and in-laws swooping in, eating, enjoying company and staying all day.  As an adult I continued the Thanksgiving Turkey and Dressing tradition with my own children.  At times we would travel to Missouri to spend the holiday at my in-laws or they would travel to our home in Texas.

As the children grew older and became close with other people, their friends would eat at least one of the Thanksgiving meals at our home.  We’ve invited families who needed a change of scenery to our house to celebrate and give thanks with us.  Ours is always a bountiful day full of family, food, noise, and (of course) the Cowboy game!

thanskgiving05

This year we have all four of our adult children home (two who live here, one who lives close by and one who traveled in from out of state), our three grandsons will be here, our son-in-law, and a possible new addition to the family.  We’ll have turkey and all the trimmings along with four different pies and plenty of wine and spirits.  And of course we’ll be watching the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, the Dog Show and that at 3:30 p.m. Central Time, we’ll have the Cowboy/Seahawk game playing.

This year has brought me in touch with distant cousins including:

  • My great-aunt Rachel (Blazer) Given’s great-granddaughter
  • The granddaughter of Chase Noonan
  • House family cousins
  • Risley cousins (Julie & Becky!)
  • Stern family cousins

Through the newly found family members, I’ve also learned a bit more and was able to share what I’ve learned with them.  My experience has taught me that even though I enjoy the research and new information genealogy brings, I also need to focus on the family that is still providing history and stories for future generations.  Blink and it might be too late.

May you and yours have a blessed Thanksgiving and time with loved ones!

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glen_vesta_jan67

At our first “Cousins” reunion in the summer of 2002, we all spread out in the garage, the kitchen area and the dining area to eat.  At the dining table there was a chair placed at the head/corner of the table with an empty place setting.  I assumed it was set there in case someone else chose to eat at that table.  I asked, “Who’s sitting there?”  My cousins told me that was an empty chair in honor of our grandmother, Vesta (Wilt) Johnson.  So the empty chair became “Nana’s chair”.

On the rare or yearly ocassions that we are together for a pot luck picnic meal, there is an empty chair left at one of the tables.  Sometimes there are two – the other in honor of our grandfather, Glen R. Johnson.

I am very thankful that I was able to spend over 20 years of my life living close to my maternal grandparents and getting to know them as more than our matriarch and patriarch.  There isn’t a gathering where we do not tell stories about them or talk about some of the food that was cooked, who has Granddad’s ears or mannerisms, and how Nana made each one of us feel like we were her only grandchild.  They truly were two very special people who shared a great love far and beyond anything those of us who are their descendents could ever imagine or hope for in our own lives.

Photo: Glen and Vesta Johnson, 1967.  Original in possession of Wendy Littrell (address for private use).

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8 Things About Me

Jessica at Jessica’s Genejournal tagged me for the Eight Things About Me meme. I’m a day late so I will post this today. Jessica’s challenge is:

  1. Each player starts with eight random fact/habits about themselves.
  2. People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules.
  3. A the end of your blog post, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their name.
  4. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged and to read your blog.

Here’s mine!

  1. I went through only one school district from K through 12th grade.
  2. I lived in the same house from the time I was born until I was 15.
  3. My brother was already married when I was born and my sister was a sophomore in High School.
  4. I have never been to New England but would love to see Boston and Connecticut.
  5. I’ve been writing poetry, songs, and fiction since I was 10.
  6. I became a graphic artist by chance – without any formal education.
  7. All four of my children grew up in the same house and graduated from the same high school.
  8. My grandson had the same Kindergarten teacher as his aunt and uncle and has the same 2nd grade teacher as his uncle (many, many years apart!).

I’m supposed to tag eight people but since I came into this a little late, I am going to say – if you haven’t been tagged – consider yourself so!

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pb150332

Somewhere in Arkansas
Photo taken November 15, 2008
Digital photo taken and in possession of Wendy Littrell (Adress for Private use)

OOPS – I’m a Day Early!

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Thanksgiving Meme

thanksgiving

My newfound cousin, Julie Cahill Tarr, at GenBlog, began a Thanksgiving meme and tagged me. The challenge is to write a blog post listing 2 things I’m thankful for and tag a person to spread the love.

I am thankful for having the best husband in the world who has been my rock for over 20 years; my parents, my four beautiful kids and three grandkids, my sister, niece, nephews, and extended family who I remain close to in spirit even if miles separate us.

I am thankful for being able to visit my mom for a second time this year.  Since my visits are usually a year apart, being able to see her four months after my last visit – especially at this time of year – was a wonderful blessing.

I am going to tag A. Spence of Spence-Lowry Family History.  Julie’s instructions for this meme are:

  1. Write a blog post telling us about 2 things you are thankful for.
  2. You can post the Thanksgiving Day banner above in your post if you like.
  3. Tag one person to spread the love.  Post a comment on their blog so they know they’ve been tagged.
  4. Send a link to your blog post by 11/25 to Julie at:  genblogjulie@gmail.com.

 Julie will post all submissions on 11/26!  Happy Thanksgiving!

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Posts On Hold For a Week

I will be headed out of town tomorrow and will return in a week.  I haven’t had a chance to write any posts to be published while I’m gone – but don’t go away too long!  I should be able to post at least a couple articles before Thanksgiving!

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japanese-clothesline

Clothesline on the outskirts of Tokyo, Japan – mid 1950s
Photographer: Gene Amore
Original photo property of Wendy Littrell (Address for private use)

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On this Veteran’s Day I say a prayer of thanks for bringing those in my immediate family who served in the military safely home. Back in May, I wrote Those Who Served. That post concerned my great-grandfather, James E. House, my grandfather, Glen R. Johnson, my dad, and my uncles, Norman and Gail Amore.

I wanted to also list other family members who have served in war and peacetime. My first cousin, Rick, was drafted into military service during the Viet Nam war. I remember how scared I was when I found out. My former brother-in-law also served overseas during the Viet Nam war and was gone about a year (if I remember correctly). I remember my sister lived with us part of the time and whenever he was able to contact her, they said “Roger” and “Over” a lot! Two of my other first cousins also served in the Viet Nam war. One of my first cousin’s sons went into the Navy and served during the first Gulf War.

Going back further, my great-grandfather’s nephew, Jesse R. Amore (b. 4 Apr 1898 d. 4 Sep 1964) was a member of Company I, 166th Infantry regiment in Germany. When the American Expeditionary Forces crossed into Champagne-Marne, France, he was taken prisoner of War and was declared Missing in Action on July 15, 1918 and released five months later on December 6, 1918. He was Honorably Discharged on April 24, 1919. Jesse lived until the age of 66 and died on Sep. 4, 1964.

Jesse’s cousin, Leonard Studor Amore (b. 1895 d. 1972), also served in Germany with the American Expeditionary Forces during WWI.  He was in Company B, 166 Infantry.  He was severely wounded in action on on July 28, 1918.  He was Honorably Discharged on May 17, 1919.  He had full military honors at his funeral.

jesswilt
My grandmother’s brother, Jesse Wilt (b. 1897 d. 1958 ) served during WWI and was hospitalized after a mustard gas attack. He is buried in Dayton National Cemetery.

Jesse’s son, Fred (b. 1920 d. 1994), served as a Naval Lieutenant and Port Commander in the Pacific Theater during WWII. Fred went on to become a Special Agent with the FBI before retiring after 31 years. He passed away at the age of 73.

johnwilt

 

My grandmother’s other brother, John (b. 1893 d. 1964), also served as a cook during WWI. He became a logger in Oregon where he spent the remainder of his life.

My great-grandmother’s great-grandnephew, Pfc. Frank Given (b. 1945 d. 1965), died in the crash of a military C-130 transport in Hong Kong Bay on August 23, 1965.  He was serving with the 3rd Marine Divison in Viet Nam at the time of his death.

And for all those other ancestors and collateral family members who have served in the United States Military from the Revolutionary War through the current War on Terrorism, I give you my thanks and know that words are never enough to express that sentiment.  By loving this country and accepting not only the rights, but the responsibilities, that brave men and women have fought and died for, I hope to honor their memories and their lives.

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