28 December 2012

Hopes and Aspirations for 2013

2012 will be coming to an end soon and I have been thinking about next year and what I hope to accomplish with my blog and research.  This requires looking at the past year and what I have accomplished.

2012 had a few blog hiccups in it.  For the first time since I started blogging I had two months where I didn't blog at all.  Family commitments and life in general got in the way.  I started a second blog, Journey to His Past, and decided to reduce the number of blog posts I wrote on this blog, but two months of no posting wasn't what I had in mind.  I would like to get back to posting 2-3 times a week, every month in 2013.

I set goals for 2012 and I am not sure if I want to do it for next year.  My strengths are in education and organization.  I accomplished all of the goals I set in these topics.  I accomplished research, but I tend to go in other directions than what I set goals for.  I like the freedom to research when new record sources and interests are discovered.

Instead of goals for 2013 I plan to set priorities.  My priorities for next year include:

  • Organize and color code Kirk's genealogy files
  • Scan pictures and documents received from Kirk's parents when they moved
  • Attend FGS 2013 Conference in Fort Wayne, Indiana
There are no research priorities set.  I plan to assess what research needs to be done and as time allows research a few family lines.  For me, research is an ongoing process and to be tied to one specific research goal doesn't work.  

What are your plans for 2013?  Do you set goals?  If so, please share in the comment section.

25 December 2012

Merry Christmas

Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas

Or As My Ancestors Would Say

Dutch-Vrolijk Kerstfees
English - Merry Christmas
French - Joyeux Noel
German - Froehliche Weihnachten
Irish - Nollaig Shona Dhuit
Scottish - Blithe Yule
Switzerland- Schoni Wiehnachte

20 December 2012

The End: Hattie's Bible-Treasure Chest Thursday

I have written 22 blog posts about Hattie's Bible in the past year and a half.  I have no other records or family pictures to share from the Bible so I will close out this series with a few thoughts.

Hattie's Bible has to be the number one greatest all time genealogy gift.  I still remember the day I opened the box and the excitement I felt while looking at it.  I imagine Hattie reading her Bible, recording important events in it and tucking cherished memories within the pages, all of these things that I found delight in discovering and sharing with my readers.

I would love to give Hattie's Bible a prominent place in my home, but the 1882 Bible is in fragile condition.  There is beautiful artwork in the Bible.  The Lord's Prayer page is embossed and could be framed as a piece of art.  I won't do that as I want to keep the Bible as I received it.  I carefully removed the clippings and pictures stored in the Bible and put it away in an archival quality box for safe keeping.

The excitement continued each month as I planned and wrote a blog post about Hattie's Bible.  I found great pleasure in reading her marriage license, the newspaper article about her husband, Frank, being given a lighthouse position, and her letter from her son, where he talked about my grandfather, Harry.  The pictures saved in the Bible were priceless.  Pictures of Hattie as a young child, on her wedding day, her husband's picture at a young age, her parent's pictures-all pictures which have great meaning to me as a genealogist.   I feel I got to know Hattie and her son-my grandfather through her Bible.  I never knew my grandfather as he died before I was born.

I never thought I would get attached to an object I was writing about, but I did.  I will miss writing about Hattie's Bible.  I will never forget the generosity of Mary Louise Blades and her daughter, Carol.  They were determined that I receive the Bible.  I hope the stories I shared go a long way in defining who Hattie was, someone I would be proud to call Great Grandma.


(If you are looking for other posts about Hattie's Bible, please check the column to the right under labels.  Hattie's Bible is listed, clicking on it will take you to other blog posts about Hattie's Bible.)

19 December 2012

Happy Birthday, Kirsten

Two years ago, I posted a birthday post on Kirsten's birthday.  It was on my memories of the day she was born.  Last year, I wrote about her first birthday.  Today, I will celebrate her birthday with memories of 1985, her second birthday.

 Kirsten blowing her candles out with Dad and Mom's help.

I remember celebrating Kirsten's birthday quietly at home.  Kirsten's grandparents, Jim and Betty Leyndyke were there to help us celebrate.  The cake was made by one of Kirk's students and given to Kirk as a gift, so we decided to use it as a birthday cake.  It was chocolate with white frosting.

Playing Western Town with Mom.  Check out Kirsten's hairdo.

During the day of Kirsten's birthday, I took her to the Elaine's Beauty Shop.  Kirsten called it Vaseline's for some reason.  I was going to have her hair trimmed.  Elaine found out it was her birthday and braided it and sprayed it with sparkles.  Kirsten loved it.  Kirsten had beautiful long, almost black hair at this age.  

Gifts were opened after dinner and cake.  She received the following gifts:  magna doodle, western town(which I still have) and Tupperware Shape O, clothes, dish set, ironing board, iron, vacuum sweeper, ABC See n Say, Sesame Street Bert Puzzle, Big Bird Book, and Sesame Street Big Bird and Ernie figures.

 Playing with one of her gifts, later in the week.  The vacuum actually worked.  I wonder if Kirsten vacuums in a dress now.

For as long as I can remember Kirsten loved to wear dresses.  The blue dress above was a Polly Flinder's dress, which was popular for little girls at that time.  The hand smocking on the front was indicative of Polly Flinders.  Unfortunately, they no longer make Polly Flinder dresses.  They were beautiful.  The red dress she wore on the day of her birthday was a Healthtex knit dress.  

I remember spending many hours playing Western Town with Kirsten.  We went through a few magna doodles too.  They seemed to get stepped on for some reason.  Kirsten loved helping me at this age and her gifts reflected that.  It was a great day in December.

Happy Birthday, Kirsten.

14 December 2012

Christmas Traditions and Vegetable Pizza-Family Recipe Friday

Tree Trimming Party, 1991
Vegetable Pizza on right.

Tonight would be the night that we would put our tree up and have our annual tree trimming party, if my children hadn't grown up and left us.  How dare they have lives of their own:)?  When my children, Kirsten and Travis, were growing up we would put our tree up the second Friday of December.  We celebrated by having a tree trimming party.

I would put the tree up in preparation for their help that night.  I would make snack-like food and we would make tree trimming a festive time.  One of the recipes I always made was Vegetable Pizza.  Sometimes I would make it in a tree shape or a wreath shape, or sometimes just cut it in squares.

Last week, my son emailed me and asked me for the recipe.  He and his girlfriend were putting their tree up and having snacks.  (sniff, sniff)  I was so pleased that he was continuing a tradition that started when he was young.

Here is my recipe for Vegetable Pizza, courtesy of a very good friend, Mary:

I wrote about our Tree Trimming Party in 2010 for Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories. 

12 December 2012

Valentine Graf and Nancy Mast-Wedding Wednesday

Valentine Graf and Nancy Mast
24 November 1888

Recently, I wrote a Motivation Monday post about receiving this picture.  A cousin, Hannah, found me through my blog and emailed me.  She offered me a copy of Valentine and Nancy Graf's wedding picture, if I would like it.  WOULD I LIKE IT?  Yes, Yes, and Yes!

Hannah's great grandmother, Nina Graf Johnson, and my grandmother, Daisy Graf Fredrick, were sisters.  Thank you Hannah, for reaching out to me and sharing a treasured picture with me.

Valentine Graf was born 14 December 1865 in Amboy, Miami, Indiana, United States to Casper Graf and Mary Wrightweasner.  He lived his early years in and around Miami County, Indiana.  Sometime between 1900 and 1905 he moved to Brethren, Manistee, Michigan.  He lived there until his death, 13 January 1933.

Nancy Mast was born 23 February 1871 in Somerset, Somerset, Pennsylvania, United States to David Samuel Mast and Anna Nancy Livengood.  She lived in Somerset County, Pennsylvania, Holmes County, Ohio, and Miami County, Indiana before her marriage to Valentine Graf.  She moved with Valentine Graf between 1900-1905 to Brethren, Manistee, Michigan.  Nancy Mast Graf died in Dickson Township, Manistee, Michigan on 18 January 1908.

Valentine Graf and Nancy Mast were married 24 November 1888, in Miami County, Indiana. (Original record can be found in the County Clerk's office, Peru, Miami, Indiana)

Valentine and Nancy Graf were the parents of 10 children, 3 whom died in infancy:
  1. Henry Jerome Graf  (1890-1964)
  2. Ernest Franklin Graf  (1891-1974)
  3. Daisy Ellen Graf  (1892-1978)
  4. Mary Ann Graf  (1894-1981)
  5. Willie Graf  (1896-1896)
  6. Pearly Mae Graf  (1897-1898)
  7. Maggie Jane Graf  (1899-1986)
  8. Nina Belle Graf  (1901-1990)
  9. Martha Beulah Graf  (1905-1993)
  10. Infant Graf  (1907-1907)
I have never seen a picture of my great grandmother, Nancy Graf.  The picture I had of Valentine Graf was from later in his life.  I now have pictures of all eight of my great grandparents, something I never thought was possible.  Now all I need to do is find a place for it on my genealogy wall!

10 December 2012

Blogging Strikes Again! Motivation Monday

Life gets in the way sometimes and blogging has taken a back seat over the last month or so.  But, when I was contacted by a 'cousin', who found me through my blog, and was offered a picture of my great grandparents on their wedding day, I knew blogging was important to me and I had to find a way to incorporate it into my daily tasks.

There is no greater motivation than knowing that others are reading your blog.  Better yet, is that family members are reading it.  I was so thankful that someone I didn't know took the time to contact me and send me a picture.  I was ecstatic as I had never seen a picture of my great grandmother.  I will be posting more on her later this week.

Here are a few ways that I try to make blogging easier.

  1. I use an editorial calendar.  I print, or you could keep it electronically, a blank calendar page to plan and write blog posts on.  
  2. I use my Roots Magic software and prepare a monthly calendar report to check for upcoming anniversary (birth, marriage, death) dates to blog about.
  3. I use geneablogger daily themes to prompt me for blog posts.  I try to do prompts such as Sunday's Obituary, Military Monday, Tombstone Tuesday, Wedding or Workday Wednesday, and Those Places Thursday to name a few.   
  4. I use recent research finds and look in my genealogy folder on my computer for pictures, stories or documents to share.
  5. I try to read other genealogy blogs to stay up on trends in genealogy and gather ideas for future blog posts.
  6. I keep a notebook where I jot down ideas as I come up with them.  I have a few blog posts that I do as a series (ancestor biographies, Hattie's Bible, Civil War Pension File, etc) and I list what I have posted to keep track of it.  This helps plan for next steps, too.
  7. I try to blog 2 to 3 times a week, but that isn't set in stone.  I sometimes accomplish more and sometimes less. 
  8. I accept that I am not writing a book, I only need to share what I know.  It can be a couple of paragraphs or just a picture with explanation.
What tips do you have to make blogging easier?  Please leave a comment.

08 December 2012

All I Want For Christmas...-Shopping Saturday

What is on your genealogy wish list this year?  Every year I put a couple of genealogy related items on my wish list for my family to buy me.  I have been very fortunate the past couple of years.  My husband is still in my good graces for the year he bought me a Flip Pal!  My parent's bought me Michael J. Leclerc's Genealogist's Handbook for New England Research last year.

This year was no different.  Here are the genealogy related items I added to my wish list this year.

  • Legacy Quick Guides- New York Genealogy and Land and Property Records.
  • Flip-Pal DCS 3.0 Digital Creativity Suite DVD-to go with my Flip Pal scanner.  I can just imagine all the creative things I can do with it.
  • Digital Pursuits 18 x 12 Copy Stand-this would allow me to take pictures from books, documents, etc.  Plus, I would like to take pictures of my children's art work which I saved from their childhood.  
  • Sunpak Clamp Pod Pro-I watched Mary Hill's Legacy Webinar,"Use Your Digital Camera to Copy Records"and she uses this to take pictures from a microfilm reader.  I have researched at places where this would have been awesome.
  • Courthouse Research for Family Historians Book by Christina Rose-My experience with courthouse research is limited and I love to know what I am doing before I get there so this book would help me.
  • My Brave Mechanics: The First Michigan Engineers and Their Civil War Book by Mark Hoffman-My great-great grandfather was a member of this company.  It is a very well written book detailing the service of this group.
  • Money-I would like to go to FGS 2013 Conference in Fort Wayne, Indiana, which is 90 miles from me.  Money to help cover the registration cost and hotel would be wonderful. 
What is on your wish list this year?  Please share in the comment section.

(If you click on the blue lettering it will take you to more information on each product.  These are items I would like.  I do not have any affiliation with any of the products, authors, etc., nor do I receive any compensation for writing about these products. )

06 December 2012

Bangor Junior High School-Those Places Thursday

It was the fall of 1978 and my senior year at Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, Michigan.  As an education student, it was time to make a decision on where I would do my student teaching.  I wanted a new experience and decided not to stay in the Kalamazoo area to do it.  My first choice was High School Home Economics in Frankenmuth, Michigan, but when I got my assignment I was assigned to Bangor Junior High School in Bangor Township, Michigan, near Bay City, Michigan.  I did get Home Economics, so that was good.

I didn't realize what a big move that would be at the time.  I had to find temporary housing in a short (two months) time, move, and be ready to student teach by January.  Luckily, the school district had a list of places to rent for student teachers.  I made a few calls, set up appointments, and headed to Bay City to check them out.  I found a women who had a bedroom to rent in a two bedroom apartment within walking distance to the school.  I liked the apartment and felt it was a good fit, so I signed up for that.

During Christmas vacation, I moved to Bay City, Michigan eager to start my student teaching.  The first three days that I was suppose to report started as snow days.  It was during these three days that I realized I may have made a mistake with a roommate.  I discovered she was an alcoholic who lied when people would call me.  She said I didn't live there and even told me school was closed, when it wasn't.  It only took me until the weekend to realize I needed to move.  My parents had friends in the area and I moved in with them while I looked for another place.  It only took a couple of days.  The school removed the first landlords name from their list due to this.

I found a wonderful older woman to live with.  Her husband had recently died and she decided to offer her extra rooms to others.  There were two other young women who lived with her.  She was a sweet, caring lady.  She redecorated the room for me, it was bright and fresh.  I loved it.  She cooked our meals for us, it was like living with a grandmother.

My time at Bangor Junior High School was wonderful and my living arrangements contributed to that.  I learned how to be a teacher.  I learned to love junior high school students and preferred teaching junior high years later.

I don't have any pictures from this time, but the memories are still there.  I only lived in Bay City for four months, but I grew as a person and a teacher during those short four months.

04 December 2012

Frances Henry Glover and Mabel Louise (Ruff) Glover-Tombstone Tuesday

In November, my husband and I took a trip to Troy, Michigan.  Kirk had a conference and I decided to tag along for a weekend getaway.  One that would include a little genealogy, of course.  The hotel we were staying in was about a mile from White Chapel Memorial Park Cemetery; the cemetery my Uncle Hank and Aunt Mabel were buried in.  Before we left home my husband asked me if I wanted to pack my cemetery bag (isn't he a dear to remember?).  My reply was, "No, it hasn't been that long since they died, I think I will be fine." Ha, famous last words.

I scheduled the grave site visit for Monday.  My husband was receiving the "Heart of Gold" award from the Michigan School Counselors Association during the conference.  An award that about 15 students nominated him for.  The award was given during a luncheon and I was invited to attend.  We had to check out of the hotel before lunch and I thought I would go to the lunch, visit the grave site, do a little shopping, and be done in time to pick Kirk up.  You know what they say, the best laid plans...

I checked out of the hotel, attended the luncheon and went to the grave site   Of course, I didn't change my clothes from the luncheon, there wasn't a need right?  I was only going to take a couple of pictures, pay my respects, and leave.

This is what I saw when I found their grave site   Not bad, I could just brush the leaves off and all would be good.  What I found when I removed the leaves was that the grass had grown over the edges of the stone about 2 inches all the way around it.  At this point I was thinking, I should have brought my cemetery bag.  I started to tear away at the grass and quickly decided it wasn't going to work.  Luckily, I had my phone with me and I brought the cemetery up on the map and searched nearby for hardware stores. Bingo, there was one just down the street from the cemetery.  I headed there and found the tools I needed (gloves, trowel, clippers, whisk broom and wipes for my hands).  A quick stop at a convenience store for water and I was back in no time.  While I am on my hands and knees, in good clothes, I am talking to my Aunt and Uncle.  I have very fond memories of them.  The cleaned up stone is below.

1915  - 2001      1921  - 1996

Near Hank and Mabel Glover's stone is a veteran stone for my Uncle, this one didn't need as much clean up.    I barely made it back in time to pick Kirk up, but the time I spent with the Uncle Hank and Aunt Mabel was one that I was happy to do.  

Francis Henry Glover and Mabel Louise Glover are buried in Section 15618, Spaces 13 and 14, Block M  Near the Korean War Memorial.