Archive for the ‘challenge’ Category

Randy Seaver, of Genea-Musings, posted his SNGF via Michael John Neill’s RootDig post, 10 Signs You Have Genealogy OCD, and asked fellow geneabloggers to post their own 10 Signs of Genealogy OCD.  So here are mine:

  1. You overhear people at church, the supermarket, or standing in any line, mention they are headed to Connecticut, Michigan, Ohio, or Indiana for vacation and tell them that you have ancestors buried there.
  2. You see an ancestral name on one of your fellow geneablogger’s websites or blog and ask them for a gedcom in order to determine if you are distantly related.
  3. Your spouse asks you if you know anyone buried there each time you pass a cemetery.
  4. You check for library books that mention your ancestor’s regiment in the Civil War in hopes of finding a picture that he might be in.
  5. You read everything you can about Abraham Lincoln because the story passed down mentions that your great-grandfather shook hands with him in hopes of figuring out where, when and how that might have occured.
  6. You check familysearch.org several times a day hoping that there are new or updated databases for Ohio and Indiana.
  7. You pester your local library about getting Ancestry Library edition because your 6 month free trial from your FTM 2011 software ran out and you really only got to use it for about 30 days.
  8. You schedule your Friday nights around “Who Do You Think You Are?” when they have new shows.
  9. Your family knows your genealogy “happy dance” all too well and scatter before you can tell them why you are excited and what new information you’ve found.
  10. The only genealogy information your family wants to hear about is when there are scandals involved – and the closer the ancestor – the better!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this – have you seen yourself in any of mine?


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Our Saturday Night Genealogy Fun assignment from Randy Seaver of Genea-Musings, and based on Katie O’s post You Might Be a Genealogist If . . .”>You Might Be a Genealogist If . . . on Where You Came Fromblog, for this Saturday is Saturday Night Genealogy Fun – You Might Be a Genealogist if . . .. We were to make up our own sayings. Immediately several came to mind.

You might be a genealogist if . . . you are driving on vacation and see a billboard touting a county of that state and you say “I know people buried there!” (to which your spouse would reply – “And do you speak to them often?” – yes, this has happened to me!)

You might be a genealogist if . . . you get excited when people show up at your workplace (a church) and inquire about what information there might be about their ancestors who founded the congregation and you start pulling out all the history information, rolls, and other stuff (work? what work?)

You might be a genealogist if . . . you don’t realize how glazed over your siblings or children’s eyes get when you start telling them about the latest connection you’ve documented.

You might be a genealogist if . . . you see a familiar surname on another blog and contact the author to see if they share a common ancestor with you.

You might be a genealogist if . . . you always steer the conversation at family events to dates, times, names, and who has the family bible, marriage certificate from the gr-grandparents, or addresses of distant cousins who might have what you are looking for.

You might be a genealogist if . . . you choose to write the obituary for a close family member in order to list all the first and middle names and relatonships of the survivors and deceased parents, siblings, as well as all of their jobs, education, and hobbies so future generations won’t have to guess at any of that.

You might be a genealogist if . . . you know which libraries in a twenty mile radius have Ancestry Library edition in case you need to go use it.

You might be a genealogist if . . . you get excited and offer all sorts of help when a friend or acquaintence happens to mention in passing that someday they’d like to start doing genealogy research.

That’s mine – and yes, all of the above are true!

Thanks Katie and Randy – that was fun!

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Volunteer as a noun is defined by Dictionary.com as:

a person who voluntarily offers himself or herself for a service or undertaking or a person who performs a service willingly and without pay.

Volunteerism is defined by the same source as above as:

the policy or practice of volunteering one’s time or talents for charitable, educational, or other worthwhile activities, esp. in one’s community.

I pondered how being a volunteer and volunteerism correlated with my family history and genealogy.  I can remember many activities that my mother took part in that would qualify as “volunteer”. 

  1. Girl Scout Leader
  2. Church Council member and President
  3. Church committee member
  4. Parent Teacher Organization member
  5. Substitute Teacher (when it was all volunteer)
  6. Working at school carnivals and community festivals
  7. Helping to coordinate her alumna banquets
  8. Driving elderly friends or church members to church, church functions or back home
  9. Hosting women’s or club functions or bridge parties
  10. Driving her teenage daughter (me) and friends everywhere

As a member of several organizations (Parents Without Partners, American Legion, FOE Auxilliary, and a Square Dancing Club), I’m sure she put in a good many volunteer hours.  Through the church, even when she was ill and couldn’t do very much, she still volunteered to cook chickens that would be used for the Tuesday night dinners the church held for the community.

My mom saw volunteerism modeled by both of her parents who were very active in community organizations.  My grandparents either separately or together were members of the National Association of Retired Federal Employees (N.A.R.F.E.), American Legion, Eastern Star, and Daughters of America.  My grandfather served on the Council for the Village he resided in and worked hard toward the merger of the towns of Fairfield and Osborn in Greene County, Ohio long before they did merge to become Fairborn.  He also was a Boy Scout leader for many years and a member of the Masons.

My mom’s brother also saw the modeling of this type of volunteerism of his parents and became very active in the community as an adult.  He helped organize the Battle Creek (Michigan) Hot Air Balloon championships; was a member of the Masons and the Lions club; member of the Battle Creek chamber of commerce who started the Leadership Academy; helped with Battle Creek’s sesquicentenial celebration leading to the formation of PRIDE INC., of Keep America Beautiful; and many other activities.

Researching the many volunteer activities and the organizations my family members have been involved, has led me to the conclusion that they were very giving people and have passed on this sense of helping others.  I have spent a good number of years wondering if “no” is part of my vocabulary. 

At the age of not yet 50, I have been a Girl Scout Leader for two of my daughters; spent many years on the Christian Education board at church and the Cemetery Board; have now sat on the PTA as a board member and officer for 4 years; helped with one of our community organizations via our church by helping to make lunches for low income families during the summer; as a coordinator, treasurer and public relations chair for a parent organization; and other activities.

So how do I pass this on?  Will my volunteerism or that of my mother, my uncle, and my grandparents impact the lives of my children, grandchildren or the great-grandchildren yet to be?  And how does one go about volunteering without it being all about them?  Helping others – either within a structured organization or individually – is not to make a name for oneself.  It shouldn’t be done with the thought that others will think more highly of you.

Volunteering in the name of genealogy should take on the same thought process.  If you are in the position to help someone – whether it is spending an hour at the local libary looking up obituaries or a census index; going to a nearby cemetery to photograph/transcribe a few headstones; or pointing someone in the right direction – you should.  Just because it is the right thing to do.  Someday you may need that type of help.  Very limited. Very specific.

I don’t know how much I’ve contributed to other’s research however I have received communications from very, very distant cousins or people researching the same surname as I am, and I’ve at least responded or sent them my own communication.  If nothing else, I hope they feel that they aren’t out in the genealogy research “world” without a paddle – that someone else has read their query or message board post.

I’ve been helped immensely by volunteers.  Not only has a kind lady taken pictures of the requested headstones for me but she photographed other family members’ headstones and spent several hours at her local library researching the names and sent me news clippings.  And she didn’t want one penny for her time or her postage.  That is a volunteer – being selfless and not thinking about what was in it for her.

Two of my relatives in my Johnson line along with myself have pooled our resources and research and share everything about our shared lines that we find – including questions about whether we are on the right track. 

That is volunteerism through genealogy.

Another definition of Volunteer is someone who signs up, enters, and serves in the military.  Even though our service men and women do receive pay from the government, by offering to sacrifice themselves in order to assure our freedom – that is still volunteerism.

I’ve had many ancestors and family members who have volunteered in such a way.  My grandfather for WWI, and went on to serve until the Korean War.  My dad and his brothers who served during WWII and even beyond.  Cousins who served in the Viet Nam War.  Children of first cousins who served in the first Gulf War.  A great-grandfather who served in the Civil War.  Others who serve now – although not in a battle zone.  This type of selfless sacrifice has also been passed down through the generations.

Humanitarian?  Philanthropic? – they all add up to VOLUNTEER!

This post was written for the 88th Carnival of Genealogy.

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I’m a day late on a Saturday Night Genealogy Fun post (thanks for the topic, Randy Seaver, of Genea-Musings!).

Several of my Best of 2009 moments came from items that fell into my lap so to speak.  After my mother passed away, I found many documents and photos that I hadn’t been looking for, but was very excited to find. 

  1. My maternal grandparents’ framed Marriage Certificate, my maternal grandmother’s parents’ marriage certificate and their parents’ marriage certificates!
  2. Birth Certificates for my mother and her siblings and my maternal grandparents.
  3. My maternal grandparents’ wills (I’d seen these when they had passed away but now have the actual documents and all the letters and court papers through probate.)
  4. Very Large Portraits of Ancestors.
  5. Address books that gave me some clues about family residences and my grandparents’ friends.

Looking back on my posts in 2009, I’ve picked a few that I consider my “best”:

  1. January 24 – Meeting Julia. I was able to learn a little more about my paternal grandmother’s sister via this biography.
  2. February 18 – Additional Research Techniques. I highlighted how researching a book on Coshocton marriages enabled me to put some pieces to a family puzzle together.
  3. March 2 – Childhood Enemies – Adult BFFs written for the 11th Edition of Smile for the Camera.
  4. September 30 – The Box, part one of a 2 part post that concluded with the October 1st post –  The Calendar. This was one of the items I found at the bottom of a trunk at my mom’s house and told the intimate story of my “baby” aunt’s brief life from my grandmother’s perspective.
  5. October 17 – Mingling of Families and Murder. This post was very challenging as I tired to untangle how two sides of my family were forever entwined.

I also realized just how helpful others can be.  Not only did a lady take pictures of headstones for me via Find A Grave, but she did some research at her local library and sent me some news clippings.  I also connected with a distant Goul cousin who mailed some very valuable family history information.

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The 87th Edition of the Carnival of Genealogy concerns “GeneaResolutions”.  I looked back on my post for the 63rd Edition – I Resolve To . . . in order to see what I had listed as my resolutions concerning genealogy for 2009.

I had listed that I wanted to scan more documents, photos and the rest of my slides – did not quite get there!  I did scan some newly discovered photos but did not get a chance to scan much and certainly did not get my slides scanned.   I wanted to organize my files – absolutely did not do that!  For one thing they are in another room that is being used by another family member and it’s very difficult for me to get to them.  As for my online files, in between being out of state for six weeks this past spring and dealing with a new baby in the house, a lot of my genea-resolutions from last year never got done.

I had also resolved to blog more and take part in more carnivals.  That didn’t happen but not for lack of trying.  I also have not worked on my Graveyard Rabbit Blog – at all this year.

So this year I won’t be as ambitious (which is one reason I don’t ever make personal New Year’s Resolutions!).  So here they are:

  1. Leave comments on each genea-blog I read.  How do the authors know we’ve visited if we never say “hi”!
  2. Write at least one blog post every two weeks – since I know I won’t have time to write every week or every day.  I am going to try to write several posts to be published throughout my “down” time.
  3. Pick another branch of my family to research – this will get me out of the rut of looking at the same people and getting the same results. 
  4. Write one biography on an ancestor in the next three months.
  5. Write another chapter in my “Goul” family history.

When the year is up, I want to be able to say that I completed all five of these resolutions!

(CoG Illustration courtesy of footnoteMaven!)

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leaving battlecreek

When my dad got orders for Japan in the early ’50s, he went ahead of the rest of the family.  Mom had to get from Ohio to the Pacific Coast in order to sail to Japan. 

The photo at left was taken when my mom, brother and sister were leaving my Uncle’s home in Michigan headed west.  They drove 450 miles in one day and got to Fargo, North Dakota about 6:15 p.m.  In a postcard to her folks, Mom said they stayed at a cabin for the night – the cost: $4.  They traveled through Montana and went to Oregon in order to visit my great-grandmother for a short time.hughgaffey naval ship  Then north to Seattle to Fort Lawton where they had to wait a few days before sailing to Japan on June 9, 1953. 

The trip, aboard the USNS General Hugh J. Gaffey, would take 12 days – although by crossing the international date line, they lost a day.  While on board, my sister tap danced in a Variety show and my brother – when not seasick – made friends.  The ship carried 2400 troops – all on their way to Yokohama. 


trainMy parents were in Japan for two tours and while there, they drove the Nash that had been transported via ship with them.  Sometimes they jim school busrode a train like the one pictured (left) and my siblings rode a bus (right) back and forth to school or on field trips.

While on their 2nd tour in Japan, my parents and brother all learned to fly courtesy of the Tachikawa Aero Club.  They even “starred” in a short film promoting the Aero Club Family Plan.  Back in the States and after I came along, my parents still flew every once in awhile.  Here’s a picture of my Dad in ’72 getting ready to fly.dad by plane

My parents had some very interesting adventures in the air and on land.  I feel very blessed that not only do I have stories and pictures, but memories of when I accompanied them on some of their adventures!

Written for the 18th Edition of Smile for the Camera – Travel.

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Extra! Extra!   Read all about how the case of Chase began at the town on the river spending days of childhood on the water and wandering through a haunted graveyard.  Though independent from birth, there was still time for the furry and feathered family members or calling on dear St. Nicholas.  Often taking time to share, show and explain traditions or statistics on age in the books for genealogy.  When friends would meet Mom, they understood her senior moments talking about the great Texas snow. Often explanations would be given about the American political road map with exclamations of “What a bunch of hooey!”  However, when we get together for the Carnival, I resolve to only say, “Oh Yeah! Oh Yeah!” and we are not just horsin’ around.


  • Cruise?
  • Rides and Games?
  • Rio?
  • Parades?
  • Mardi Gras?

If you chose none of the above, you are correct!!!  In the blogosphere, the word carnival takes on a whole new meaning – well sort of!  Generally a blog carnival is a repository for many contributors’ blog posts centered around a chosen theme.  In the genealogy blog world, there are several types of “carnivals” in which to participate – Cabinet of Curiosities”, Carnival of Central and Eastern European Genealogy, Irish Heritage and Culture, and several others.

Three years ago, Jasia who authors Creative Gene wrote Carnival of Genealogy, Edition 1. This Carnival is now in its 84th Edition. The topic for this edition is “What has the Carnival of Genealogy Meant to You?”

Creative Gene was one of the first Genealogy Blogs I bookmarked and read each day.  Soon, I was clicking on the links to others’ blogs and soon bookmarked several of them.  I read with interest the CoG’s and soon realized that not only were others submitting articles that more people would read but sometimes connections were being made.  I knew that if I were to get more than just a few readers (and possibly some connections, too), I should participate in the CoG’s.  I enjoy writing and knew that should I undertake a project writing biographies of my ancestors, I should start writing and reading others’ articles.

My first submission to the CoG was for the 47th Edition, published on May 3, 2008 with the theme “A Place Called Home”.  My entry was The Town on the River. Wow! After some research and writing and re-writing, I had an article of which I could be proud! Jasia even extended a warm welcome to me and encouraged everyone to welcome this “newbie” to the Carnival!

Since that first entry, I’ve participated in numbers 48, 49, 50, 51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60, 61, 62, 63, 64, 65, 66, 78, and 79 (see top paragraph – all my titles are incorporated into the opening!).  There have been a wide variety of topics and several others besides Jasia have hosted.  I have not hosted a CoG – that is something I would have to look into and make sure that if I do volunteer to host that I have the time to make sure it is done properly. 

I’ve had several favorite topics.  Lately I haven’t been able to find the time to put in research in order to write an indepth post for some of them.  My favorites have been: The Case of Chase written for the 53rd Edition. The theme was “Carousel” – any genealogy topic was fair game. I had spent quite a bit of time on my article and included pictures and documented evidence information. This article brought four comments from others – two of them descendents of the man I wrote about – people I didn’t think existed! Another favorite entry was Independent from Birth for the 51st Edition.

I’ve read articles in the CoG that have touched my heart, sparked an interest, and given me new research techniques to think about and investigate.  Unfortunately, I’m unable to think of just one that would be the all time stand-out – there are so many talented writers and enthusiastic genealogists for me to pick just one!

I generally encourage my readers to check out or submit articles to the CoG.  The more the merrier!  And it’s always wonderful when someone new begins submitting articles.

The Carnival of Genealogy has enabled me to go above and beyond just gathering names, dates and places.  I have delved into the lives of those that I’ve written about – trying to capture their emotions, joys, and hardships.  Reading others’ articles has given me new avenues to investigate and research when hunting for that “brick wall” ancestor.

The impact on my life has been two-fold.  One – I’ve been able to meet new friends and some distant cousins.  By reading some of the articles and seeing a common surname, I’ve made connections.  The second aspect has been aiding me in becoming a more thorough researcher and writer.

I’d like to extend my thanks to all of the genea-bloggers who have commented on my articles; who have pointed me in other directions for information; to those who capture my interest with their thought provoking, informative and heart-touching stories; and to Jasia who first introduced me to the Carnival of Genealogy!  You folks are great!

And for all of you who think you can’t write an article for the CoG – just try it once!  You may learn something new about yourself!

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