21 September 2017

Genea-gifts Makes For a Great Birthday

Recently, I celebrated a birthday, my 60th, to be exact and that is all I have to say on the subject.  Gift opening was particularly fun this year as I was able to add three books to my genealogy library, thanks to my hubby, Kirk.

1. Professional Genealogy, Edited by Elizabeth Shown Mills.  I have been contemplating becoming more involved in the professional side of genealogy.  I have spoken at a few genealogical society meetings and enjoyed it.  I thought it would be a good time to read this book.  I haven't decided if I want to become certified or not.  I enjoy researching my family but I don't know if I would enjoy doing it professionally.  Whether or not I become a 'professional' genealogist, this book has a lot of information on how to research professionally.

2.  Scottish Genealogy by Bruce Durie.  My dad's grandfather, David Watt, came to Canada, and then Michigan, from Methil, Fife, Scotland.  Once I have a free afternoon, I plan to explore his Scottish roots and this book will help in the process.

3.  Saxons, Vikings, and Celts: The Genetic Roots of Britain and Ireland by Bryan Sykes.  I am interested in my DNA since my parents provided the spit for their DNA tests.  I purchased more tests after a recent DNA sale at Ancestry.  My daughter and I tested.  I have one for my son, but with the aftermath of the Houston flood, I decided to wait to mail it to him.  My dad is 85% Great Britain, 5% Scandinavia, and 6% Ireland.  I tested as 46% Great Britain, 23% Scandinavia, and 9% Ireland.  My daughter, to my surprise, tested 28% Scandinavia and 27% Ireland.  I decided with that much Great Britain, Ireland and Scandinavia in our genes, this would be a good book to read.

Recent purchases include
1.  Ancestral Trails by Mark D. Herber-another Great Britain reference book.

2.  Land and Property Research in the United States by E Wade Hone.  I have been immersed in Vermont land records and trying to figure out where Daniel Fenn purchased seven lots from the seventh division in Shoreham, Addison, Vermont.  I have the record of his selling them in 1813, but cannot for the life of me find the purchase. I am guessing it has something to do with the changing boundary lines for Vermont and the New Hampshire grants and possibly New York records. I had looked at this book a few times in the library and decided it would be a good addition to my library.

The Newberry Library used book sale is held in July every year and my husband and I usually go to it with my daughter and her husband, who live in Chicago.  I look forward to it every year.  This year I was having some stress related stomach problems and I couldn't go.  My wonderful daughter went and looked at the genealogy sections.  She bought the following books.  Isn't she wonderful?

1.  Scottish Tartans-an interesting read on the clans in Scotland.  My Watts are even in the book.

2.  Tracing Your Scottish Ancestry by Katherine B. Cory.

3.  Tracing Scottish Local History-Scottish Record Office by Cecil Sinclair.This book even includes great notes from the previous owner on researching Scottish records.

It looks like I will be doing some Scottish research soon.  I am tired of Vermont land records, anyway!  My family knows me well and can never go wrong with a good genealogy book.

Are you curious about what books I have in my genealogy library? Check out "My Library" page at the top of my blog.

04 September 2017

Hurricane Harvey and The Leyndyke Family: Part II

Previously, I wrote about my son, Travis, and his wife, Alayna, heading home to Houston for the first time to see what damage Hurricane Harvey had done to their home in Houston.

They were one of the fortunate ones!  Thankfully, their home, cars and pup, Caesar, were all undamaged.  I am one grateful mother.  I was worried for a week about what they would find once they got home.

The devastation that was wrought by Hurricane Harvey is unimaginable.  The news stories are filled with the damage Harvey had on the area.  The news stories are filled with the spirit that is alive in Houston as well.  I speak of Houston because that is where my son calls home.  The damage is more widespread than Houston.  It is all along the gulf from Rockport, Texas to Louisiana.

It is expected that recovery will cost about 190 billion dollars.  Those in the flooded areas have seen great losses.  Entire neighborhoods, schools, libraries, banks, stores, and businesses are dealing with the damage left behind.

One of the things my son said is that there is an army of volunteers ready and willing to help those impacted.  The "Cajun Navy" arrived to help those trapped in their homes.  FEMA, Red Cross, Salvation Army and others are there to help.  HEB, a local grocery store, was one of the first to bring semi loads of food and water to the area.  Houston Texans football star, JJ Watts, through his foundation has collected over $17 million that will help in the recovery efforts.  Jim McIngvale, aka Mattress Mack, opened his Gallery Furniture stores to those in need of shelter.  The reports of those helping is everywhere, these are just a few that make the headlines.

My son, and his wife, arrived home on Friday night.  Saturday morning, they were headed to Lowe's to pick up supplies for a friend.  They were heading to her house to help.  Sunday morning found them volunteering in another area.  Nothing makes me prouder than to know he is helping those less fortunate.  Travis and Alayna know how fortunate they were and want to help.

My daughter, Kirsten, and her husband, Chase, who live in Chicago, have donated to Austin Pets Alive, an animal shelter that is helping with pet evacuations from Houston and finding shelters to take them in.  Our whole family knows our story could be entirely different.

My hope is that the spirit of giving continues for months to come as the Houston area is going to need help rebuilding for many months, if not years.  I know I will be giving.  I have a lot to be thankful for that my family was spared the worst that Mother Nature has to offer.  I won't forget those who weren't spared.  I hope you won't either.

01 September 2017

Hurricane Harvey and The Leyndyke Family

I woke up Friday, August 25th feeling like a weight had been lifted from my chest. My stress level lowered immensely.  I was happy!  My parents, after three months of preparation, were safely ensconced in an independent senior living apartment.  I knew they would be safe and secure.  If they needed help, it was available. I felt like I had energy to do a few things that I had let go over the past couple of years. Well, you know what they say-"we plan-God laughs".

Intersection of Braesmont and Braeswood, Houston-about 4 miles from Travis and Alayna's home.

Never did I think that a once in a 1,000 years flood would hit the area of Houston, Texas during my planning! Houston, the town my son, Travis, and his wife, Alayna, and my grand-pup, Caesar, called home. No matter how old your children are you never stop worrying about them.  Anyone who has seen the news in the last week has seen the devastation that Hurricane Harvey wrought on the area.

Luckily, my son, who is an assistant athletic director at Rice University, was traveling for work when Harvey hit shore.  He had the trip of a lifetime.  He traveled with the Rice Owls football team to Sydney, Australia for the Sydney Cup where Rice University played Stanford University.  It was an awesome opportunity for Travis.

Caesar surviving Hurricane Harvey

Alayna, his wife, had a wedding to attend in Connecticut.  They had a reliable dog-sitter, Elizabeth, who it turns out was God-sent.  They were safe, but unable to return home to Caesar and their house.

Travis arrived to the United States and was redirected to Fort Worth, Texas where he and the Rice contingent have been staying since Monday.  Alayna was able to fly to Dallas and Monday night they were reunited.  They knew the dog sitter had taken Caesar to her home, which was a upper level apartment and prayed all were safe. They had no way of knowing what condition their house was in as they had just moved there in July and didn't know the neighbor's phone numbers. Roads were impassable. They were glued to the news, social media, and area flood maps looking for information about their neighborhood.

As I write this, Travis and Alayna, are preparing to board a bus to return to Houston for the first time since Harvey hit.  They have no idea what they will find once they get to their house.  I have been a nervous wreck worrying about them.  Travis does a great job of keeping me informed, but it is not the same as being there to take care of them.  Once a mother, always a mother!

I sit patiently (okay, I may be stretching the truth a little) and wait to hear from Travis and Alayna and the condition of their home. I am preparing mental lists of items I can take to them, if needed.  My husband and I are ready to jump in the car at a moment's notice to help with the clean up.

I have researched disasters and the impact they have had on my ancestor's, but I never thought I would be recording a monumental disaster that Hurricane Harvey is for a descendant, my son, no less.

Travis and Alayna are only two of the thousands of people affected by Harvey, but they are the two most important ones in my life.  Relief efforts are underway across Houston and the United States. Many, many people are volunteering to help those who need it.  I am just waiting for my turn.