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Archive for the ‘stories’ Category

 

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For the last several days, Denise Levenick of The Family Curator has been on a whirlwind blog tour for her book, “How to Archive Family Keepsakes”, and like many other geneabloggers, I’ve been reading the posts. In the back of my mind I wondered just when I would have time to organize and archive all of the “stuff” I’ve ended up with. The “stuff” being letters (years and years and years of letters), photos, ephemera (brochures, tickets, etc.), and knick-knack type keepsakes (not to mention wall plaques, clothing, books, and dishware). The hours in the day barely give me enough time to do what I’m supposed to be doing (organizing, cleaning & decluttering regular stuff around the house). Then it hit me – all of this “stuff” IS part of the regular items in my household. How would I ever put a dent in organization and the clutter if I DIDN’T work on archiving and organizing the heirlooms! (What a concept, Denise!)

Yesterday, as I was weeding through the stacks of paper and magazines on the kitchen bar area, I decided that as I was dusting the knick-knacks, that I should start an inventory of those items via digital photos. I took 45 pictures!  Some items I took 2-4 photos each depending on the item. I wanted to make sure I was able to see details on each side as well as inside (if there was something there) and the underside – especially markings.

The item above hung on my grandparents’ wall in all of their homes for as long as I could remember. I was probably almost a teen when I made it known to my grandmother that I sure would like to have that item. Every time I saw it, I asked my grandmother to wind it for me (it plays music). (As an aside, I also enjoyed the musical Christmas Bell they had and now it belongs to me!) At some point before my grandmother’s death, she put my name on the back of that plaque. I also think I ended up with it because I was the “baby” (by 14 years) of the grandchildren and most of the other granddaughter’s (there are 5 of us and 3 grandsons) received items like crystal stemware, jewelry, and silver. I feel lucky that I even received a miniature German tea set just like the other girls. My grandparents must have had enough foresight to buy just one more when they lived in Germany!  They bought the item (above) in Garmisch (in Bavaria), and luckily I have the letter written to my mother that detailed their trip to Garmisch and the purchase of that piece!

It may take me some time to document everything I have received but I feel good that I’ve started.

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As Thansgiving 2012 ends and the Advent season is a week away, I thought I’d reflect on what transpires in between. First up is Black Friday. While many get excited when this arrives – even plan routes, stores, and means of “attack” – I have only braved the early (early!) crowds once. Yes, that means one, uno, singular.
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Yesterday, I shopped but not at some inhumane time! I did some online shopping very late on Thanksgiving and went to three “bargain” stores mid-afternoon Friday.
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Second, the annual Christmas movie watching. Our family began by watching “Miracle on 34th Street” and “White Christmas” on Thanksgiving. Friday we watched “Polar Express.” There will be more viewing opportunities to come as we settle in to watch “Prancer,” the Santa Clause movies with Tim Allen & especially “It’s a Wonderful Life!” Is the original “Die Hard” considered a Christmas movie!?
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My birthday always falls after Thanksgiving – so that means a pizza dinner.
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This year the annual Ohio State vs. Michigan football game falls after Thanksgiving. My family has a long history with the Buckeyes and being from Ohio, I will be cheering for the boys in red.

Next Sunday – December 2 – will be the first Sunday of Advent. Our church Christmas Tree will be decorated and traditional Advent hymns will be sung. Sometime in the next couple of weeks, our home Christmas tree will be set up. When my children were little, they all decorated it while we took pictures. As they’ve grown up, the decorating has fallen to grandkids and which ever kids are here. It always is magical to watch the ornaments being selected and locating just the right spot for it amongst the branches of our artificial tree. Then it’s my job to pick out the garland. We’ve had tinsel, strand garland of gold or silver, pearl strands wound around the tree, and ribbon. Normally, an angel rests on top of the tree or a star. The year I used a giant red velvet bow was not looked upon fondly so I won’t do that again! By Christmas Eve the tree is ready for Santa’s visit.
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As I reflect upon our family’s activities and traditions, I wonder what my grandparents and great-grandparents experiences were. I’m pretty sure at the heart of the holidays was family – just as it is for mine.

Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas!

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In honor of Halloween, I thought I’d take you on a photo tour through many years of “dressing up” for the holiday.  Disclaimer: some of the following photos of me were not taken at Halloween – they were taken at times I just felt called to dress up (my children may either get a kick out of these or be horribly embarrassed)!

I was three – not quite four – when I was a “Chipmunk” for Halloween. I can remember that Mom and Dad drove me over to my grandparents’ house to Trick or Treat. They “hid” while I went up to the door. Somehow I still think that my Nana and Grandad knew who I was!

This is one of those times that I just created my own “look” and it wasn’t Halloween!  I call this being a “movie star” because of the hat and sunglasses!  I am not sure why I was pretending it was very sunny, yet still had a rain umbrella!!

Scary witch, anyone? I can’t believe I had on a “dress” type costume because it was usually pretty chilly at the end of October in Ohio.  There were many times that Mom and I argued over whether I should wear a coat to trick or treat – I did not like that my costume would be covered up!

I am “Little Red Riding Hood”!  This was taken just before I turned six. School age kids would not only “beg” for treats but they would carry UNICEF boxes to collect money.  I did the same thing when I was in elementary school. The money was taken back to school after “beggar’s night”.  Do you remember doing that?

 

This was my attempt at dressing up as an “Old Lady” for Halloween – complete with my mom’s wig, an old ’50s style skirt, and a stick I made into a cane!  What strikes me as insanely amusing is that I sure didn’t look “old” (I was almost ten) – in fact now I am the age I was trying to “look” back then and I don’t think I’m even pulling it off now!

Somewhere I have another photo that shows me with my hair all tied up in a scarf, rock star make up on my face (in the style of KISS), with a pair of purple tights under shorts!  And that wasn’t for Halloween – that was just me being me – at about fifteen!

Even as an adult, the thrill of wearing a costume for Halloween has not left me.  I’ve dressed up as a witch, a fortune-teller, a pregnant gypsy (I was pregnant with my youngest child at the time!), a hippie, and a “madam”.

As the years have gone by, I’ve watched my four children get excited at Halloween and talk about what costume they will be wearing for weeks before “Trick or Treat” night.

    

Now I get to see the three grandsons all dressed up!  (Picture on far right was taken by my daughter: Teresa Sumner)

Image of Jack-o-lantern Pumpkins by Petr Kratochvil

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As a young child in the 1960s, my parents made sure that I was never to be deprived of Amusement Parks. For several consecutive years, they took me to Fantasy Farm, located in Middletown, Ohio (that link will take you to a page filled with photos, videos, and all sorts of interesting information about this park).

The picture above shows me (not quite five years old) during the spring/summer of 1966 riding in “Santa” on one of the power rides.  The picture below shows me making friends with a sheep – I’m happy but the animal looks bored!

And here I am in a “blur” going around and around on another “power ride.”

And here I am again – I’m surprised the Three Bears allowed me to share their space after what that horribly behaved Goldilocks did to them!

(On a side note – I guess I wasn’t the only one who always seemed to get their thumb, fingers or hand in the camera lens while taking a picture. I have scanned several photos today with that familiar “shadow” or “blur” at the right side of the picture!)

From The History of Fantasy Farm the person instrumental in starting the amusement park for children was Edger Streifthau. The park was operational by 1963 and closed in 1991. To read all about the demise of this child-friendly place please click on the link at the beginning of this post.

As for me, even though I wasn’t very old, I do remember some of the times I had here and wish that more “child-friendly” places like this existed in the area I now call home.

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In deciding which Surname I would begin my “Surname Saturday” posts, the only logical thing to do was start at the beginning – alphabetically!

AEDER

Catherine AEDER is my 5th great-grandmother, born about 1750 in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania and died before March 31, 1835 in Carrollton, Carroll County, Ohio.  Her parents are UNKNOWN.  Catherine married John Peter STERN on July 30, 1771 in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.

It is reported that the couple had ten children: Barbara, Catherine, Christian (my direct ancestor), Elizabeth, John, Martha, Nancy, Polly, Sarah, and Susannah.

(Disclaimer: I do not have any solid documentation about Catherine Aeder. My information comes from the FamilySearch ancestry file. Do not take this information as gospel until documentation is found.)

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Here is a list of what I’ve been reading “around the web” lately (in no particular order).
Review: Finding Family by Judy Russell on the Legal Genealogist Blog. Judy reviews a book about the journey of an adoptee.

There are many blog posts and articles about the closing of the Georgia archives. If you google “Georgia Archives” – you are sure to find one of the many articles. This is very sad for all those who rely on the Archives for historical, biographical, and genealogical information. Update: Click here to read an update about this – it looks like the Archives will remain open! 
My Heritage Automates Record-Matching as Genealogy Wars Heat Up (Europe) from Gigaom. Interesting article about what the top two (according to the article) genealogy companies (Ancestry and MyHeritage are doing to compete technologically.

There have been several reports of people adding QR codes to their loved ones headstones and this is one of those. What do you think? Will the QR code be outdated in the next big wave of technological advances?

I also want to call your attention to a brand new radio show by one of my genea-friends in New England, Marian Pierre-Louis. She is hosting Fieldstone Common at BlogTalk Radio every Thursday at 1 p.m. (EST). Be sure to tune in! She’ll be giving away books!  The description for this unique program is: “Fieldstone Common is a radio show streamed live on the internet via Blog Talk Radio. Host Marian Pierre-Louis will introduce you to authors and historians who bring history alive! Topics focus on history and genealogy in New England and the Northeast.”

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John Lafayette Johnson and Katie J. Blazer

My maternal great-grandparents (on my grandfather’s side), John Lafayette Johnson and Katie J. Blazer, were married on July 4, 1883, in Anderson, Madison County, Indiana.  He was a few months over 22 years old and she was close to 19. Since both were “of age” according to the laws of the time, neither needed a parental signature.

The couple was just shy of celebrating their 47th wedding anniversary when Katie died on May 20, 1930 (trivia: my wedding anniversary is on the anniversary of her death – May 20!).

Below is a picture of the couple in older age.

(Source 1: Anderson, Madison, Indiana, 1880-1920, Book 1, Page 393; County Clerk’s Office, 16 East 9th, 2nd House, Box 19, Anderson, Indiana, 46016. FamilySearch – Indiana Marriages Database

Source 2: Glen R. Johnson, Sr., personal genealogy notes, in possession of Wendy Littrell, address for private use)

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