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Posts Tagged ‘genealogy’

fireworks

July started off with a bang! Just like many families around the nation, we went to a local park to watch the fireworks display on the Fourth of July. We are also fortunate to live amidst cornfields and rural areas and can shoot off our own sparklers, firecrackers, bottle rockets, and other types of fireworks. For me the holiday was full of mixed emotions since I knew that just two days later, I would be on my way to Ohio to have my dad’s ashes interred – and – I would see cousins and begin the genealogy adventure that I’ve been waiting to do.

July 6 – Started very early in the morning as my fifteen year old grandson and I finished loading up the car to begin our trip eastward. As we neared the Mississippi River to cross in to Illinois, the sky was full of gray clouds. We drove through Springfield in the rain which turned to sprinkles close to Decatur. By the time we arrived in Brownsburg, Indiana, the sun was out, and it was time for lunch. We arrived at my cousin’s home located south of Dayton before 4:30 p.m.

Our first evening together since the summer of 2010 was full of laughter and catching up. Her two boys are a year older and a year younger than my grandson so the boys disappeared to play video games in the basement. We had a great dinner and then in the late evening, she told me that we needed to go to Bill’s Donuts. Wait a minute – a donut shop – at night? Let me just say that every town across the United States needs one of these places that are open 24 hours! It appeared to be the local hangout for not only teens but families. Picture the very best ice cream shop you’ve visited – but instead of ice cream, it’s donuts! We left there with a baker’s dozen of a variety of sweet treats for breakfast (some of them were still left at breakfast the next morning too!). On second thought, it’s probably not a good idea for one of those to be close to where I live!

July 7 – I used the Keurig coffee maker for the very first time and then headed to the cemetery in order to sign all the necessary documents pertaining to my father’s ashes and the interment. With some heartache, I left the ashes with the cemetery office in order for them to have everything ready for the next morning. After having them in my possession for six months, it felt odd that he wasn’t coming back to the house with me.

For lunch, the boys thought my grandson and I needed to see what all the hype was over Rapid Fire Pizza – so off we went. I love pizza – and I especially love pizza that I can create just for me! Think Subway – but pizza! I absolutely loved this restaurant and this is another place I believe all towns should have (well, on second thought . . . – see my response about Bill’s Donuts in above paragraph!)

That evening was our cousin get-together at Marion’s Pizza (more pizza!!!). We were missing a few but did have a very enjoyable time. Luckily, even though some left after eating, I was able to spend some time chatting with my three first cousins (children of my mom’s sister). This time, I was the one who asked the questions. I wanted to know more about my aunt – as their mom – instead of my mom’s sister. They shared some stories that made me see Aunt Genevieve in a whole new light! I didn’t realize that she pulled pranks and had a wicked sense of humor!

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My 3 first cousins and myself

marions-pizza-7-july-2016-family-gathering-judy-karen-wendy-ann-marie2 My first cousin and 2 first cousins once removed

July 8 – cousins all met at the house where I was staying and followed each other to Royal Oak Memorial Gardens in Brookville, Ohio. When we arrived, I noticed that the gentleman who was handling the arrangements had set up a nice table to hold the container of ashes. They had even placed a flag next to my father’s headstone since he was a veteran. It was a wonderful gesture, and I was very touched. My dad didn’t want a memorial service so I knew that our time was going to be brief. A few of us recounted a couple of stories about my dad, I read the obituary I had written, and then we drank a toast. My dad’s drink of choice was vodka and lemon-lime so some of us (adults) either got a small amount of vodka or both vodka and sprite and the three boys got the soda. We raised our glasses (dixie cups!) and said good-bye. I think my dad would have approved.

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When we left the cemetery, we headed back to the Dayton area to have lunch at Frisch’s (Big Boy). I can’t begin to tell you how much I was looking forward to this lunch because my favorite sandwich is the Swiss Miss – a hamburger pattie on a rye bun with swiss cheese and tartar sauce. Can not get this sandwich anyplace else except Frisch’s!

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My cousins, grandson, and myself at Frisch’s Big Boy

After lunch, my grandson and I took off to drive by important places of my childhood. I had a list of addresses and with the help of a loaned GPS, I knew there wouldn’t be any problem finding them. We stopped by my childhood home in Beavercreek, the townhome where my mother spent the last 32 years of her life, two houses my maternal grandparents had lived, and my three schools.

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My childhood home – left (1960s) and right (July 2016)

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One of my grandparents’ homes in Dayton (left – 1950s & right – July 2016)

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My mom’s former townhome

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My grandparents’ house in Kettering, Ohio.

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My elementary, junior high (now a middle school), and high school

When I pulled through the parking lot of my high school (which is now the “back” of the school even though it faces the road), I was pointing out windows of the classes I had been in and what the new parts of the school were when a man came to the car and asked if he could help with anything. As soon as I told him I was a graduate and showing my grandson where I went to school, he had me park so he could give us the nickel tour since so much of it has changed.

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The picture above is of the auditorium from the stage. When I was in high school, we couldn’t perform any theatrical productions there because we did not have such a marvelous stage or auditorium. We had to travel down the road a bit to the elementary school. I’m a tad bit jealous that not only is the stage wonderful but the dressing rooms are pretty nice as well (sure beats getting in costume and make-up in the girls restroom!) Before we left, I had to take a picture of my grandson with our school’s mascot – Bucky Beaver.

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From there we headed to our favorite frozen custard stand just down the road from my high school – Ritter’s Frozen Custard. When my mom was living, and we would visit her, this is where we all liked to come on warm summer evenings. We’d all order our frozen treats and sit on the stone benches at the tables. Good memories.

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Next – the rest of our adventures in Dayton before heading to the second leg of our journey.

(All photos, digital scans are property of Wendy Littrell; address for private use.)

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Pendleton 16 July 2016 Falls Park Monarch Butterfly Garden flowers

Readers may notice that there has been a lull in recent blog posts. This is in part to several things but the most important was a road trip I took in the early part of July. The main purpose for my trip was to fulfill my dad’s wishes to have his ashes interred beside his second wife, Dottie, at Royal Oak Memorial Gardens in Brookville, Ohio – just outside of Dayton.

Once my time in the Dayton area was complete, my 15 year old grandson and I traveled further northeast to my dad’s hometown. I hadn’t visited Coshocton, Ohio since I was a child so it was a joy to be able to see it as an adult especially after extensive genealogical research on the paternal side of my family. After spending a week in Coshocton, I headed west toward home with a three day stop in Anderson, Indiana – my mom’s hometown as well as her dad’s.

Following our twelve day vacation, we began our journey home – stopping in Springfield, Illinois to visit President Lincoln’s home and his tomb.

It was a welcome break for me and even though he wasn’t too thrilled with spending seven hours at the library on one day and two hours another, my grandson enjoyed some perks.

There will be more blog posts to come with details of the what, who, where, why, and how! It was a trip filled with many blessings!

(Digital Photo: Monarch Butterfly Garden at Falls Park, Pendleton, Indiana; 16 July 2016; photographer: Wendy Littrell; copyright 2016. No unauthorized use of photo. Original digital photo in possession of Wendy Littrell – Address for private use.)

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follow-friday

When I run across amazing blog posts or articles, I want to share with my readers. Most of the time the articles I find may not be from just the week of my Follow Friday post, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go “back in time” to read them or perhaps find a new-to-you blog! So without further ado –

Broughton Images has two new posts from this past month (including one celebrating Memorial Day): Just Follow the Flags and Bonham Heritage Day Festival. The photographer truly captures the atmosphere and stirs emotions whether it’s photos of a Veterans Memorial surrounded by flags from each branch of military or Bonham’s courthouse on the square during the annual festival.

Becky Jamison has caught the Trello bug! She has started to use Trello to organize many items pertaining to her genealogy research. So please visit her Grace and Glory website and read what happened when she Brought Hidden Emails to Light.

And if you need something else to “spark” your creativity, visit Amy Johnson Crow’s site and read Creating Family History Videos Easily for Free using Adobe Spark. On top of that article, you’ll also want to read Amy’s suggestions for researching the new Indiana Vital records that Ancestry recently added. You can find that informative article here: Indiana Vital Records on Ancestry: Good & Bad. As I spent some time yesterday going through these records, I know of what Amy speaks!

The other day I had 28 New Ancestor Discoveries on Ancestry. Yesterday it dwindled to six. I knew why after I read Roberta Estes’ article on her DNAeXplained blog: Ancestry Refines New Ancestor Discoveries (NADs). Perhaps her explanation will help you in what has perplexed many researchers.

Do you find it difficult to organize everything you need in order to be more productive at research (whether it is for family history, work/school project, or to run a household)? Diane Haddad at the Genealogy Insider shares some tips with her article The Big Picture: Using Mind Mapping to Organize Research Ideas. See if it helps you!

These are just some of my favorite articles lately! What are you reading?

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Indiana_Flag_(1903)

Thanks to a Facebook post on the Indiana Genealogy page yesterday, I learned that three new databases were added to Ancestry.com – Indiana Birth Certificates (1907-1940), Indiana Marriage Certificates (1958-2005), and Indiana Death Certificates (1899-2011). At first, I figured it was just transcriptions of these documents (and we all know that there can be errors in transcribing documents!). Imagine how thrilled I was to find out that these three databases all included scanned images of the records!

After spending almost an hour going through some of the records pertaining to my family and ancestors, I realized that if I didn’t set a time limit for myself, I would be up all night! I found the birth certificates for my mom, aunt and uncle! I found death certificates for some of my extended Wilt relatives. And even though I had said that I had found the last piece of the Johnson/Kirkpatrick puzzle, I was wrong! On Ellen Ora Johnson Moffitt’s death certificate, her mother’s name was listed . . . (drum roll please) . . . Nancy J Kirkpatrick!!! Oh, happy, happy dance!!!

I’m sure I will find even more details that I’ve missed when I go through these documents and some are even sad. I decided to look for the death certificate for Albert Wilt. He was my maternal grandmother’s younger half-brother, son of Joseph Napolean Wilt and Anna Park. Albert’s gravestone bears the years 1917-1933. I did find his death certificate and the cause of death listed was horrible: head crushed by railway tram as he walked along the tracks. His death was ruled an accident. My great-grandfather Joe was the informant but he listed his birth date as August 1, 1914. So was Joe correct and the incorrect birth year was put on the head stone? Whatever the case, Albert was too young and his death was tragic.

So if you have family and ancestors from Indiana, please go check out these three new databases. Perhaps you’ll find some information that can help break down some brick walls.

(Image: Indiana Flag 1903 from Wikimedia Commons; public domain)

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Eight years ago on April 18th, I decided to take the leap from a Tripod hosted website (which is still in existence) to a Genealogy Blog. I am still reaping the rewards of that decision! Not only did I become a part of the larger “genea-blogger” community but I’ve learned so many tips, tricks, and techniques for research and blogging!

In the last eight years, I have written 551 posts and received 664 comments. The blog has had 59, 547 views and 11,704 visitors (I don’t have a way of knowing how many views and visitors are unique or the same). The day I had the most views was September  6, 2014.

The best part of this journey is the distant cousins that have found me! Some of them had very little information about their family history until they found my blog. That is what keeps me excited about writing and researching.

I can’t guarantee that I’ll still be writing eight years down the road, but I hope you – my readers – will stick around as long as I’m here!

Thank you!

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follow-friday

The blog post that had me by the heartstrings this week was from DNAExplained by Roberta Estes about a daughter that was born too early and passed away without a name or a proper good-bye – The Invisible Child. Her article made me think about my own mother who lost a child at 5 months gestation.

Randy Seaver, at Genea-Musings, never fails to amaze me with tips, ideas, how-tos, or some humor. Yesterday, he posted Ancestry.com Provides a Relationship Calculator, and my first thought was “are there still people who aren’t familiar with that?” I was thinking that it is the line on the person’s profile that says “2nd great-grandmother” – etc. But then I started reading the article! It is not what I thought. Once again, Randy told me something I did not know nor was I aware of!

I believe that Amy Johnson Crow is my hero when it comes to Ohio research! I learn new and interesting things about researching in my home state. Her article, 5 Ways to Prepare For Your Courthouse Research Trip, is not just for those with Ohio ancestors. This couldn’t come at a better time for me because I’m planning on doing some courthouse research this summer when I’m in Ohio. Thank you, Amy!

Denise Olson (Moultrie Creek Gazette) provided some tips on publishing a family history book in Build Family History Books with BookWright. There are many types of services to do this, and Denise helps narrow down those choices.

What have you been reading this week?

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follow-friday

No Fooling!  Here’s a few of the articles that I’ve read this week and want to share with my readers.

Since I was born and raised in Ohio and at least three or more generations back called it home as well, I appreciated Amy Johnson Crow’s article 5 Hidden Treasures for Ohio Genealogy. Although I’ve used a few of her suggestions, I sometimes tend to forget about them. Now I can make sure they are bookmarked when I need to refer to them.

Do you have an ancestor or collateral relative who fought in the Civil War? My 2nd great-grandfather, James Emory House, was a member of the Ohio Volunteer Infantry Co. H, 80th Regiment. Do you wonder if your ancestor was at the Battle of Gettysburg or Vicksburg? Follow the advice that DearMyrtle gives in: Was He There When His Unit Fought in the US Civil War?.

Lynn Palermo (The Accidental Genealogist) shares Seven Timelines Apps to Share Your Stories.

Do you have tins or jars or boxes full of buttons, trinkets, or other household paraphernalia? Have you inherited them from your mom, aunt, or grandmother? What stories does that jar of buttons hold? Denise Levenick, The Family Curator, provides some advice in dealing with items that others would consider “junk” in Why You Don’t Want to Toss Grandma’s Buttons in the Trash”. I especially loved the ending – but don’t read ahead!

That’s all for this edition of Follow Friday!

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