Friday, December 31, 2010

11 for 11

I'm copying The Accidental Genealogist and doing 11 for 2011.

11 Genealogy and Writing Goals for 2011

1. Write up what I know of John Shelton.
2. Write up what I know about Laura Wilkinson.
3. Write up what I know about William Mason Conner.
4. Fill in some blanks about Thomas Conner.
5. Write the Mariani history as I know it.
6. Source all of the above.
7. Begin a family newsletter for descendents of William Mason Conner.
8. Find descendents of William Mason Conner.
9. Teach a home school class on family history for young children.
10. Toss all of the above to 2012's list when I find something really exciting on some other line that wasn't on The List.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Treasure Chest Thursday

Today's treasure chest for me is the The Lucas County Genealogical Society. Throughout the years, they've helped without me even asking for it. Now they do look-ups from this index of all newspaper articles.

I just ordered 36 articles and know how much it cost me? $36.00. Once I get them, they will have filled my chest with treasures.

They also have wonderful blogs filled with great articles about the county's history.

I (heart) the Lucas County Genealogical Society of Iowa.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Caption: Grandma and Grandpa's home in Courtland, CA- The Hulse Ranch

Now to figure out:
1. Who's Grandma and Grandpa (I think John Andrew Hulse, but I have to check around)
2. Where the house was (is? If it's still there, i'm going to take a visit)
3. Who gave me this picture????

Friday, December 24, 2010

New Cousin

This week, I found a new cousin- well, Mom's first cousin (half). I'm so excited! Jason is the grandson of my grandmother's half sister, Fern (daughter of Victoria Robbins). I'm excited to tell him what I know and learn all about Fern and her life.

I also have new dear friends from the Cain family. We email and I am so glad to know them.

What a wonderful Christmas gift for me! New family.

Advent Calendar - December 24 – Christmas Eve

As a child, Christmas Eve was always at my aunt’s house. We would drive the 40 or so minutes and have dinner and then open gifts. It was truly a mad-house of glee. Wrapping paper and gifts flying everywhere. No clue who gave what or to whom, but everyone enjoyed it. Grandma and Grampa always gave me savings bonds, which I actually loved. They made me feel more permanent in a way. They were for LATER. Everything else was for NOW. My aunt always gave me wonderful clothes that we would never buy for me- beautiful sweaters and dresses. She knew what was hip and cool and always got it for me. My other aunt always got us things with our names, like a duffle bag one year. I loved that.

We would drive home late, singing Christmas songs (this was before car radios with constant music, so we just had to do what we knew) and secretly looking out the window for Santa sightings.

When we got home, we’d put out cookies and milk and carrots for the reindeer and then head off to bed. Luckily, we were so tired from our Big Night, that we’d actually sleep. And when we awoke in the morning…


Thursday, December 23, 2010

Advent Calendar - December 23– Christmas and Sweethearts

Our first Christmas together was just a few months after we started dating, but we were already living together - at my mom's house. Marc had a room in the back.

He got me a stuffed penguin (that I still have) and I got him a Paddington bear (that he still has).

We lived together in Mom's house until sometime in 1986 and then we moved out on our own. We got married in 1988 and have been happy every moment since. Okay. Not EVERY moment, but all the important moments.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Advent Calendar - December 22 – Christmas and Deceased

Our family never visited cemeteries or made shines to our lost family members, but I think we honored them in our own ways on holidays. We try to keep the traditions alive and try to keep together. I think the loss of my grandmother was the most hard-hit one for all of us, since she was so young. It's her traditions that we kept up and her children, grandchildren and now, great grandchildren, that we keep together. My cousins and I are still close-knit and while we don't spend holidays together any longer, we do it during other times and we think of each other during the holidays, I know.

Grandma would like this more than a visit to her grave. I'm pretty sure. Although, just to be safe, I'd better make a trip soon....

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Advent Calendar - December 21 – Christmas Music

I remember singing the traditional Christmas songs in school and then teaching them to my little brother. We'd ruin those poor songs between us. I remember on Christmas Eve driving back from my aunt's house singing, "Mary had a baby, yes, lord. Mary had a baby, yes, my lord. Mary had a baby YES lord. The people keep a'coming and the train done gone." Only we sang it really, really, really fast. And over and over again.

We were also big fans of the changed up versions (think "Batman Smells") and of any that we could sing in rounds.

I don't remember ever caroling as a family. My school choir class caroled one year at the retirement center, though. I remember the people all dressed up and smiling at us. I felt like the most important special person in the world that night. They treated us like gold.

My very favorite Christmas song, though, is Bing's White Christmas. Only because it was my grandmother's favorite (the grandmother that my daughter is named for). She loved the song and because of that, so do I.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Advent Calendar - December 20 - Religious Services

My family is not at all religous and we never attended any religious services. When I was in high school, I went to midnight mass to a Lutherin Church. I thought it was a beautiful sing-along and the church was so pretty that I ended up getting married there years later.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Advent Calendar - December 19- Christmas Shopping

My mom always did all the shopping for our family and it was done early. That's just how my mom rolls. She's organized, thorough, and early. I try to be like her, but I try too hard most times and just mess it all up. I don't do Christmas Eve shopping unless something is forgotten, but I still do have a few last minute items to get this year and it looks like Tuesday will be my first opportunity.

So perhaps late.

Also, I do a big batch of soap for coworkers and clients and my supplies aren't even here yet. So those will be Happy New Year's gifties this year instead.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Advent Calendar – December 18- Christmas Stockings

The stocking that I have is the stocking that my mom made for me when I was a little girl. It’s GYNORMOUS. When my then boyfriend now husband spent his first Christmas with us, we got him a stocking. But just a normal one. So the next year, my mom made him his stocking. Also GYNORMOUS. When my children were born, she made stockings for them. So here are our heirloom stockings, all hung by the chimney with care (the middle one is the dog's and his isn't homemade):

Stockings are always filled with fun little things. As children it was small toys and candy (always a lifesaver story book and chocolate coins). As we grew older, it was fun small things like perfume and makeup. Sometimes Santa puts useful items like a coffee mug or an ornament for the adults.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Advent Calendar – December 17- Christmas Past

My dad wasn’t always patient when it came to Christmas gifts. He grew up opening all the gifts on Christmas Eve, whereas Mom great up opening them on Christmas Day. When it came to raising a family, somehow Mom’s traditions won out and our gifts were (almost ) always opened on Christmas morning.

However, there was a Christmases that I recall, where Dad talked my brother into the two of them opening all their gifts Christmas Eve. Mom and I sat there in protest and made tisking noises, but they continued until they were totally done. They were smiling and gloating over all their gifts, basking in what they had and what we didn’t. We just sat there and then Mom cleaned up and we went to bed.

The next morning , all my brother had was his Santa gift, but Mom and I kept going and the boys sat there, watching us have a lovely Christmas morning while all they did was sit there.

That mistake was not made again.

(Except when my brother was a teen and needed a clean shirt one December morning so opened a package that was clearly a shirt, wore it to school, then packed it back up under the tree… oh, did I just give that away…. Sorry, Brother!)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Advent Calendar - December 16 - Christmas at School

When I was 9, we lived in a teeny, tiny town in Northern California. By “teeny, tiny” I mean it was population 50 (FIVE ZERO). My school had two classrooms: one for Kindergarten through 2nd grade and one for 3rd through 8th. I was in 4th grade and so in the older class. We had 12 children. For high school, they had to be bussed into town an hour and a half away.

The times were different then (although just the 1970s) and my class put on a Christmas pageant telling the story of the birth of the baby Jesus. I can’t believe there wasn’t a big stink about it, but I guess in a town of 50, the 38 people left that weren’t IN the pageant were mostly fine with it. Had it been larger, I’m sure my parents would have objected, as we are not religious, but what’s the point of making a point to 38 people?

So we did a play in the front of our classroom one night. I was the angel who blessed the Baby Jesus (a doll) with one line. My mom, who like me does NOT sew, had to come up with a costume. So we went with one of Dad’s white t-shirts and my hip 1970s tall white Wonder Woman boots. I had one line (I can’t remember it now, but I know that I rocked it then.

But right after my scene was over, I forgot that they were changing the set around and accidentally ended up on the show side of the divider for the next act. So I panicked inside for a bit and then went with it and pretended I was an angel from above looking over them. I made “praying hands” and kept nodding and smiling at all of the actors on stage.


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Advent Calendar - December 15- Holiday Happenings

December 15- Holiday Happenings

As I went through my genealogy database for December birthdays, I didn’t have a single one for ancestors. I have a living cousin who is very special to me born in December (hi, Paul!!!), but I don’t want to give too much info on the living (unless it’s me), so I turned to marriages in December. There are numerous distant cousins who would be celebrating their anniversaries, but nothing I felt like writing about. So I moved to deaths and scrolled through looking for someone who spoke to me this Wednesday morning.

As my eyes came to Victoria Helen Robbins, I knew I found my gal. She was the first wife of my great grandfather, Cora Edwin Shelton (aka Charles). I’ve told Cora’s story before, but I haven’t delved much into his first family. As I looked at Victoria’s December 5, 1907 date of death in Oakland, Alameda County, CA , I just knew that she’d be the next person I learn more about. I pulled a FTM report for her and suddenly, her story came a bit to life. Or at least the end of her story.

In my version of Family Tree Maker, on the Facts tab, you see birth date, death date, and any other stuff you’ve put in. The Relationship tab, houses information about others. As I’ve learned from telling a story, 5 Dec 1907 is great information. It truly is. But really, can it be more boring? “Victoria Helen Robbins died on 5 Dec 1907 in Oakland, CA.”

Is that fun? Does that make you love Victoria Helen Robbins? Not me. I never loved her.

Until the relationship tab showed me that she had a baby on November 30, 1907. A baby that died that same day. And her 4 days later. Now her death means a bit more.

I know she grew up in Prairie du Chien, WI. And I know my great grandfather was supposedly in WI at the time of his mother’s death in 1906. I don’t know how he ended up in WI, but I’m having to fill in some lines with possibilities- there is an elder Shelton in Prairie du Chen- possibly an aunt or even grandmother of Cora.

I know he was a troublemaker. At the divorce, did Mom say, “John, I can’t handle that boy. You take him.” I know he was with John and his new family in 1880. Did John then say, “Oh my holy hell that boy is trouble!” and send him to live with great aunt Harriot? No idea. He’s not in a census there, but I haven’t looked harder. I just like to guess for awhile and then prove myself entirely wrong.

Anyway, back to our lady of the hour, Victoria. At some point soon before this baby and this death, she traveled from WI to CA. Far from family and friends. I know they had children with them (2 boys and 1 girl). And I know that (as I mentioned) he was known to be quiet, keeping to himself and moody. What a freaking lovely trip that must have been. Plus she was pregnant. Then she had the horror of losing a baby and then her own live.

Now I want to know “my” Victoria better. I want to learn all about her even though she isn’t my own great grandmother. She fits in nicely with my family, so I’m adopting her.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Marrying Squires

I am working on my SHELTON line again and found Thomas Shelton, 4th great grandpa. A few months back I found reference to this whole Marying Squires thing, but it sounded too funny and cool to be true, at least of my family. So I've been looking into it.

Here is an article I found:

PRESERVING THE PAST: Aberdeen Museum helping current and future generations remember , by Marla Toncray
Ledger Independent Posted: Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Highlighting the history of Aberdeen is the story of the "marrying squires", Thomas Shelton and Massie Beasley.

Between the two men, they are credited with performing more than 32,000 marriages during their terms as Justice of the Peace from 1822 through 1892. Shelton served as justice from 1822 to 1870 and is credited with more than 25,000 marriages; Beasley held the position from 1870 to 1892 and performed 7,228 marriage ceremonies.

Because of its reputation as a place for young couples to get married, Aberdeen became known as Gretna Green, after the famous town in Scotland where young couples eloped.

An interesting twist to the marrying squires story is the fact that most of the marriages performed by Shelton were illegal and many widows of the Civil War were unable to claim pension benefits from the United States government because there was no record of their marriage.

"There was no record of the marriages and it took a federal act of Congress to legalize those marriages," Kay said as she thumbed through a book housing the written history of the marrying squires.

Museum trustee Mike Faris said legend has it Shelton would "loan you a ring and take it back" after the ceremony was performed.

Now I'm off to find that book she thumbed through with the written history. And, now that I really think about my Sheltons, it does kinda fit into their wackiness. Remind me to tell you about Nana (Shelton) and her "luggage" someday...

Advent Calendar - December 14- Fruitcake

December 14- Fruitcake
Yikes, no. I admit to only actually having it twice, but neither time appealed to me. And I do not like those green and red cherry things. I did have someone once share a fruitcake recipe and it made it sound much better than others, using real fruit and cloth wrapped in rum or some such thing. But the time it would take to make would not be worth it, just to see if there was a fruitcake I enjoyed.

I will be reading the blogs today to see what others have to say. Maybe I just haven't had a good one!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Advent Calendar - December 13 – Holiday Travel

December 13 – Holiday Travel

We never had to travel far for Christmas. Our family was near enough and then, in the past 25 years, everyone has traveled to us. I'm a homebody for Christmas and have no desire to spend much time away from my Christmas tree and Christmas decorations.

We did travel this year in December, though, for a 5-day visit to Disneyland. We had a wonderful family vacation that we will all remember for years to come. But we are home for Christmas.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Advent Calendar - December 12 – Charitable/Volunteer Work

Sadly, we have never made charity a priority as we should. We do Toys for Tots each year- the children now choose and buy a gift with their own money. And I sell children's books and donate all of my commissions from September through December to a charity.

But we've never done soup kitchens or the like. Just simple canned food/toys for tots, etc. This year we will be caroling at a retirement center and apparently that is charitable, but I find it charitable on their part more so than ours...

Advent Calendar - December 11 – Other Traditions

December 11 – Other Traditions

We love to watch Christmas movies. As a kid, it was all those on ABC, NBC, or CBS. Rudolph, Frosty, Charlie Brown. We always got the TV Guide and I'd go through it and mark the dates and times for Christmas movies. Now with DVR, DVD etc, we pretty much have all bases covered, but we still like the above classics. Add in Christmas Story, Elf, Christmas Vacatation, and Funny Farm and I'm all set with Christmas movies.

Advent Calendar - December 10 – Christmas Gifts

December 10 – Christmas Gifts

Our gifts always started on Christmas Eve, where we could open ONE gift. It was a teaser gift- usually pajamas or a stuffed animal to sleep with.

Then in the morning, we went first to the stockings, then to the Santa gift, and then to the others. We gave and received gifts from everyone- never drew names or the like. We still don't do the name drawing thing.

Now a'days, likely due to my learning to be crafty, most gifts are homemade. Not for Marc and the children, but for just about everyone else. I love spending time on gifts, since I'm not so great at shopping. Plus, people buy what they want for themselves- they don't need me doing it. So I give them my time and my love and create things for them. And it's these same kinds of gifts that I love to receive. Homemade and filled with love.

Except that one year when Marc surprised me with a pet hamster. That was pretty awesome.

Advent Calendar - December 9 – Grab Bag

December 9 – Grab Bag

Last year we began another new tradition with Advent Calendars. I noticed the December before that we were so busy doing fun things that we didn't have time to enjoy the fun things. So last year, I made one fun thing a day (even if it was a coloring page).

I put the ingredients for the fun thing (or a slip of paper outlining the fun thing) in paper bags alternating red and white and lined them up on the bookshelf. Every morning the children got to open a bag and find out what our thing was that day. They liked it so much, that we are doing it again this year, but with fancy boxes instead of lunch bags.

Here are some of our fun things:
Decorate the house
Make Christmas cards
Movie Night
Disneyland treat (Signa chose candy and William chose suckers)
Dinner at the Rainforest Cafe
Outfit at Build-a-Bear
Decorate the Tree
Drive around and see lights
Go caroling
Make wrapping paper
Go out for ice cream
Go shopping
Decorate cookies
Go see Santa
Make reindeer food
Have hot chocolate and cookies
Have a gingerbread decorating party

Advent Calendar - December 8 - Christmas Cookies

December 8 - Christmas Cookies (Note: Scheduling posts didn't work, so I'm catching up now from our Disneyland trip)

I already shared the recipes for my mother-in-law's fig cookies. My own mom has made chocolate chip cookie bars and Russian tea cakes every year for as long as I can remember. She makes big batches and gives away giant platters as gifts and never ever does anyone say, “Gee, that’s too many cookies.” They are so delicious that before you can finish saying the second “e” in “Gee”, the cookies are GONE.

Advent Calendar - December 7 - Holiday Parties

December 7 - Holiday Parties (Note: Scheduling posts didn't work, so I'm catching up now from our Disneyland trip)

We have family get-togethers, but not “parties”. Our get-togethers are loud and crazy and exciting. Everyone is excited because IT’S CHRISTMAS! The children want gifts and ate too much candy and the adults catch the excitement from their children. The sound is deafening and wonderful.

We have three such events these years. The first is with Marc’s family. We drive to his mother’s where she makes ambrosia salad (and other things) and the children all get car-loads of gifts. The second cousins all play with each other like they won’t see one another again for a year. Which is true of most of them. They do make up for lost time, though, and we are all sad when it’s over and promise to do it more often next year.

We then have a new tradition of going to my brother’s for Christmas Eve. We sing and eat and sing some more. Now with my new nephew, it will be even more wonderful to spend time there helping him have traditions to remember his whole life.

And then Christmas Day at our house with chili and crazy excited children and hopefully a new Sally for the porch!

Advent Calendar - December 6 - Santa Claus

Advent Calendar December 6 – Santa Claus

Santa has always come to our house on Christmas Eve. He fills our stockings with trinkets and leaves a gift for the children. He used to leave gifts for us, but when we had children, he switched to giving them gifts instead. I’m sure he must have known that this is what makes us happiest. Plus one year, he brought us a family present, so I can't feel too disgruntled.

Santa eats a cookie and has egg nog while he works at our house. He also sometimes leaves crumbs and beard around here and there. We look for it every year. And this wasn't just the past few years that we've had children.

Since we don’t have a real chimney, we have a special key for him that we hang on the door outside. It only works for Santa and it’s VERY fancy. The kids sprinkle reindeer food on the lawn and we hang the key and tuck in for the long night.

Why I've Been So Quiet

1. We spent 5 days in Disneyland.
2. I apparently don't know how to use Blogger Scheduling correctly. Backlog of posts coming up.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Advent Calendar - December 5 - Outdoor Decorations

Advent Calendar - December 5 - Outdoor Decorations

We mostly lived in the country and I don’t remember ever doing any outdoor decorations. Now that I have Marc, he goes all out. Last year, in addition to the lights on the house, he created a Jack Skellington who appeared on the porch Christmas morning. Created out of pipes and boxes and junk.

I heard rumors that Sally will be appearing this Christmas…

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Ancestor Approved Award

Thank you, Jenny at Are My Roots Showing (isn’t that the best name for a genealogy blog?!?!?), for the Ancestor Approved Award! What a surprise to wake up to this morning.

The Award Rules: The recipient of the Ancestor Approved award lists ten things learned about their ancestors that have surprised, humbled, or enlightened. The recipient then passes the award to ten other bloggers that are doing their Ancestors proud.

So here are my 10 things:

1. Don’t assume things. Just because someone was in the census with a husband in 1860 and then with someone else in 1870, doesn’t mean the first husband died. They could have d-i-v-o-r-c-e-d. Really. It could happen. And if it happened to happen, you would probably spend years and years looking for a stupid death certificate for no reason. I’m just sayin’.

2. It humbles me still to learn that my great, great, great grandparents couldn’t read or write. Not humbles in a way where I’m embarrassed for them. Just humbled because it made their lives even harder.

3. I have ancestors that came on the Mayflower. That isn’t anything important in itself, but see my #5.

4. It’s a very small world. My parents met 150 miles from my dad’s home in my mom’s hometown. They were cruising the Strip in separate cars and married 2 months later. On the other side of the country, over 300 years before, Dad’s many times great grandfather bought some books from Mom’s many times great grandfather. I love that.

5. I do not hate history. Now that I have a frame of reference for most history in my own family, I found that I *LOVE* history. In school? I hated it.

6. If you send a 200 page genealogy chart to 50 relatives, they are bored to tears and you never hear from them. If you write up a 10 page story and send it with pictures, people like you a lot more.

7. Ancestry dot com *IS* worth it.

8. Google Earth-ing to your ancestors homes is really freaking cool.

9. My great, great grandfather was alive into the 1970s, but the only time my dad spent with him was the short visit when I was 2. It surprised me that they weren’t all close like we were with my great grandfather.

10. Just because you don’t know a lot about someone, doesn’t mean it will stay that way. A little bit can get you a long way. In fact, those lines that had already been researched and GIVEN to me with documentation mean a lot less to me than the ones that I found all on my own with little detail. I know them more. Maybe more than they even knew themselves!

And here are my 10 people to pass the award to:

1. Random Relatives
2. We Tree Genealogy
4. West in New England
5. My Ancestors and Me
6. Genealogy Stories
7. Nolichucky Roots
8. Ances-Tree Sprite
9. Hanging from the Family Tree
10. Tangled Trees

Advent Calendar - December 4 - Christmas Cards

Advent Calendar - December 4 - Christmas Cards

My mom ALWAYS sends Christmas cards. Always. It’s a big ordeal as she writes notes in each and sends to everyone, keeping in touch annually. She makes me proud.

I strive to do this. I have at least addressed and put together holiday cards every year- it’s just that I know of at least two years in the past where I never mailed them. By the time I got around to buying stamps, it was time for Valentine’s Cards.

But hopefully those years are over and I now have my fancy homemade cards ready to go and the post woman is supposed to bring my stamps any day now (delivery is my new favorite word).

Friday, December 3, 2010

Advent Calendar - December 3 – Christmas Tree Ornaments

Advent Calendar - December 3 – Christmas Tree Ornaments

As I mentioned on the Christmas Tree page, our tree growing up featured a lot of red glass bulbs and then a mish-mash of keepsake ornaments. I inherited most of those "keepsakes" (i.e. Homemade in Kindergarten) and they now hang proudly on my tree every year. There are many that I admire and smile at as I hang them- the felt ornaments, now completely falling apart, the pinecones with googly eyes glued on to make them look like owls, the silly toys that have doubled as ornaments for years.

But my personal favorites (patting myself on the back here, but oh well) are the pair of Debbie’s Brains. They are so ugly and so stupid, but I made these in grade school and I love them. Each one is a melted piece of circular plastic with broken glass inside. There is a curly ribbon tied through them so that they can hang on the tree. They are so ugly.

And I love them the best. Even more than the ornaments my own kids have made. Shhhhhh.

Another item I have that I consider a family heirloom and, in fact, it sits on my desk year-round is the first Christmas decoration that my parents bought together. It’s amazingly tacky and I amazingly love it.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Advent Calendar - December 2 - Holiday Foods

Advent Calendar - December 2 – Holiday Foods

These days and for many past, we stay home on Christmas Day and have an open house. I started making Christmas Chili about 20 years ago and never stopped. I do it in a slow-cooker and it is ready all day for whoever stops by. Sadly, I do not have a recipe, as I just put stuff in until it’s just right. This is the year I will try really hard to write it all down for prosperity.

As a child, we usually went to my aunt’s for Christmas Eve and somewhere else for Christmas Day. Food for children on Christmas is really actually superfluous; why eat when there are TOYS and COUSINS! So I remember nothing about actual food, except that ambrosia salad was always part of the deal. Grandma made it. My aunts made it. And now, my mother-in-law, Millie, makes it just for me at every family party. I looked through Millie’s recipe book she made us and didn’t find the ambrosia salad recipe. I’m guessing she just throws it together for me, but here is one from the internet that looks much the same.
Coconut Ambrosia Salad
1 (11 ounce) can mandarin oranges, drained
1 (8 ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained
3 1/2 cups frozen whipped topping, thawed
2 cups shredded coconut
2 cups miniature marshmallows
1/2 cup milk
1 cup maraschino cherries

In a large bowl, combine the oranges, pineapple, whipped topping, coconut, marshmallows and milk. Mix together well and chill 1 hour before serving. Garnish with cherries.

One recipe that is here in her book, though, is for Italian Fig Cookies, which she features
at her Christmas party every year. We all love these cookies (adults, not children, which is just fine by me!)

Italian Fig Cookies
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup sugar
¼ teaspoon baking powder
½ cup shortening
2 tablespoons butter
½ cup milk
1 beaten egg
1 8-oz package (1 ½ cups) dried figs
¾ cup light raisins
¼ cup slivered almonds
1/3 cup sugar
¼ cup hot water
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Dash pepper
Confectioners’ Glaze

In a large mixing bowl combine flour, 1/3 cup sugar, and baking powder. Cut in shortening and butter until pieces are the size of small peas. Stir in the milk and egg until all is moistened. Divide dough in half. Cover and chill about 2 hours or until easy to handle.

For filling, in a food processor bowl, process figs, raisins, and almonds until coarsely chopped. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the ¼ cup sugar, hot water, cinnamon and pepper. Stir in the fruit mixture. Let filling stand until the dough is thoroughly chilled.

Roll each half of the dough into a 12-inch square. Cut each square into twelve 4x3 inch rectangles. Using a heaping tablespoon of filling for each rectangle, spread filling along one of the short sides of the rectangle. Roll up from that side. Place rolls, seam side down, on an ungreased cookie sheet. Curve each roll slightly. Snip outer edge of curve three times.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes or until done. Remove and cool. Spread with Confectioners’’ Glaze. Immediate sprinkle with decorative candies. Makes 24.

Confectioners’ Glaze: Combine 1 cup sifted powdered sugar and ¼ teaspoon vanilla. Add enough milk (about 1 tablespoon) to make it spreadable.


Olives! Really, how in the world could I forget olives! Olives and ambrosia salad were ALWAYS at our Christmas parties. That is the only food sustinance that the children got. 10 olives (one for each finger) and a bowl of ambrosia salad. Thank you, Greta's Genealogy Blog, for reminding me.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Advent Calendar -December 1- The Christmas Tree

Advent Calendar- December 1 - The Christmas Tree

I'm participating in the Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories ( this year, so I'll be posting on Christmases past. Today's theme is the Christmas Tree.

As a child, we always had a real Christmas tree. We would go as a family to the tree lot (or a few times when we lived in the country, we’d go to the forest) and pick out our tree. Our trees always had a significant amount of the glass red bulbs meshed with homemade and keepsake items. We’ve kept that tradition in my own grown-up household, with the substitution of a fake tree since that fateful Christmas when a friends' neighbors' house burned down on Christmas morning.

Our trees were usually in the 4-foot range, but when you are a child, four feet is the top of the world. And family made it seem even bigger.

We usually get a wreath from the tree lot just so the kids have the tree lot/tree smell experience, although we have been known to skip that tradition.

One tradition that is all our grown up tradition and began almost 25 years ago when we had our first Christmas together and found we had no tree topper. Marc scavenged and found the perfect thing for us. And I hope it will be passed down for generations to come.

Sitting atop our tree every year is the Terry the Pterodactyl. The orange pterodactyl model has been perched on our tree since 1986 and I can’t imagine Christmas without him.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

More Conner

I have been sending my dad and my aunt the things I've been finding on the Conner and Konst sides of our family and my aunt asked me to send to my grandfather. For some reason, it's easy for me to attach things and forward them in email, but when it comes to printing and mailing, that makes it too "complete" and I'm never willing to get that far. Plus, I couldn't bog Grampa down with random pictures and articles- I had to put it together for him.

Rather than never get around to it, I just did it. I spent a day writing, a day typing, a day attaching and researching and now have a booklet for the family. It's 8 pages of writing with pictures and then all the actual vital records and findings at the end. I still have to proof read it (I constantly put the "t" on the end of one word and then have the word "he" randomly throughout- spell check takes care of the "t" issue, but not the "he"). Then I'll print copies for the family who will be here for Thanksgiving and the weekend. I'll mail Grampa's copy today, too.

It's not DONE done. But it's a fun start.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Amanuensis Monday - Wilkinson Obit.

I am not in a mappy mood today, so I'm going to try something new:

Amanuensis Monday – An Amanuensis is a person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another. So today I will transcribe an article from the Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette from Friday morning, September 14, 1906. This is the obituary of my grandmother's grandmother. Cora listed below is my grandmother's father. Yes, Cora. I know...

Mrs. Laura Morton Passes Away
Was a Life-long Resident of Allen
County and a Member of the First M.E. Church, of This City.

Mrs Laura Morton, wife of Thomas Morton, died Thursday evening at 6 o’clock of asthma at the house, two miles east of this city. She was fifty eight years old and had been ill but a little over a week. She had always been a resident of Allen-county, being a native of Perry township.
Mrs Morton was twice married and is survived by three children- Costa Shelton, of Fort Wayne, Cora Shelton of Wisconsin, and Harry Morton, also of Fort Wayne. Her mother, Mrs Charity Wilkinson, still living at the advanced age of eighty eitht years, resides in Lee, Mass, One brother, T.A. Wilkinson is a resident of this city. She has two sisters living- Mrs Minnie Howland, of Lee, Mass, and Mrs Lottie Lindsey, of Amerlila, Texas.
Mrs Morton was a member of the First Methodist Episcopal church, of this city.
The funeral will take place Sunday. Services will be conducted at the residence at 9 o’clock by the Rev C.A. Rowland and the remains will be taken to Huntertown for Interment. The Reb Bright, of the Huntertown M E church, will officiate at the burial service. Members of the First M E church will officiate as pall bearers in the city and some old friends fo the deceased will carry the remains to the grave at Huntertown.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Surname Saturday - Conner (still)

I'm still stuck on my Conners. Not "stuck" as in can't get anywhere, but "stuck" as in I can't seem to not keep finding things to keep me busy with them. Last night while wasting time before a meeting, I sat in a restaruant and decided to write a story about the immigrant ancestory. I thought if I wrote it out, I'd see what was missing and what would make his life more complete (to me- I'm sure it was plenty complete to him). As I wrote, I realized that I needed more HISTORY in it.

I quickly Googled a few things on the Blackberry and found about 407 sites that I need to read all about the Scottish mining industry. I really wanted to finish my US research before moving overseas to Scotland, but in telling his story, I sort of feel like I need the end and the beginning in order to get to the middle.

So first thing this moring I sucked it up and got 30 credits on Scotland's People for L6. I've no idea if I just spent $5, $7 or $5,066. But it doesn't matter, as I now have some cool new toys.

For instance, while Thomas' son's (my 2nd great grandpa) birthrecord didn't feature any new information, it HAS HIS MOM'S "X" ON IT. She made that X. I have now run my finger over that X 407 times and X is my new favorite letter. Grandma made that X.

I then ordered Thomas and Janet's marriage record (6 credits total). More "X"s!!!! Heaven, I tell you. More heavenly? Confirmation that his dad was William. Even more? His mom was Jane Simpson. More? Janet's parents were William Mason and Agnes Alexander. Grandpas William were iron stone (something- I can't read the word yet- could be miner, but could be something else- have to research). Also learned they were in Maryhill and I have an address.

Next steps? Research. And, please help, people. Was it common in Scotland in 1861 to live together before marriage? They have the same address. And she was 8 months pregnant at the time of marriage.

Oh, and sorry Conner family, but we shouldn't be Conner. We should be Connor. Everything spells it Connor in Scotland...

Friday, November 19, 2010

Family Recipe Friday - Beef and Pork Sugo

This recipe is mine. All mine. I have perfected it and worked on it and perfected it some more. And it's my own family recipe to pass down through generations (or my blog... whatever). It takes all day, but it's not difficult. Fun for a rainy Sunday.

Beef and Pork Sugo

1 lb. ground beef
1 lb. ground pork
4 tblsp olive oil
2/3 cup butter
1 yellow onion
2 carrots (diced)
2 celery (diced)
3 cups milk
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 1/2 cup white wine
1 1/2 cup beef stock
4 cups chopped canned whole peeled tomatoes

Heat oil and butter in a large pot. Add onion and a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook to sweetness. Add carrots, celery and another pinch of salt. Cook to slightly crisp, but done. Add the meat and brown until pink is gone. Add the milk. Cook on medium low until the liquid is gone (about 1 1/2 hours), stirring when you can.

Add nutmeg, wine, stock. Cook on medium low until the liquid is gone (about 1 1/2 hours), stirring when you can.

Put tomatoes in crockpot, add the beef mixture. Cook on low for 3-5 hours, stirring when you can.

Serve over pasta of your choice (fettuccini is wonderful) with a heap of Parmesan cheese and a glass of red wine.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Treasure Chest Thursday

This week's Treasure Chest is my Grampa Hal. Grampa Hall is a mere mention in my Family Tree Maker file, as he wasn't blood related. He was my "step" grandfather, but he was married to my Nana for all of my life and was my Grampa Hal.

He was a kind, loving man to everyone. He put up with us and was so sweet and so wonderful to know. I have several pictures of him and his parents and I try to make them part of our family tree, even if their branch is more grafted to the tree than the others.

So Grampa Hal, thank you for being my Grampa. I still remember all those times where you had your nitroglicerin with you for your heart and let us make blowing up jokes for hours and still kept laughing with us. You are my Thursday Treasure.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Monday, November 15, 2010

Mappy Monday - Montana and Colorado

Only one name in Montana- my husband's great aunt, Beatrice who was born there in 1910. Her older brother and sister were born in Colorado. Her parents were from Ohio and then ended up in California in 1920. I still need to look into them further, as this route had decade long stops which is enough time to make some roots!

Thomas Conner, brother to William Mason Conner of yesterday's post also died in Colorado in 1944.

Both Colorado and Montana and a few others are now fixed in my database.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Sunday's Obituary - William Mason Conner

Conner -- William Mason Conner, son of Thomas and Janet Mason Conner was born in Scotland on January 29, 1871 and passed away at Lucas County Memorial Hospital on March 28, 1970 having reached the age of 99 years, one month and 27 days.
He came to America as an infant with his parents. On May 24, 1890 he was united in marriage to Harriet Price and to this union were born six children of whom 3 survive. They are Miles of Sioux Falls, So. Dak; Orval of Sebastopol, Calif., and Lawrence of Roseville, Calif. Also to morn his passing are ten grandchildren, 23 great grandchildren, four great great grandchildren and a host of friends.
His home was in Iowa except for the 13 years he and his wife lived on a homestead in South Dakota. He has resided the past ten years at the O'Donnell Nursing Home in Russell.
Services were held March 28, 1970 at the Woodman and Brueggemana Chapel with the Rev. William Quick officiating. Internment was in the Russell Cemetery.

And here is a picture of him with one of his children ("Orval"- actually Thomas Orville, my great grandfather who I knew very well), one of his grandchildren (my grandfather- still living, age 91), one of his great grandchildren (my dad), and one of his great, great grandchildren (me!).

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Treasure Home FOUND!!!

To update you on my treasure hunt from Thursday...

here is the email I just sent off:

You have no idea how thrilled I am to have a home for this wonderful book. I will take it to be shipped either today or Monday. No need to send postage as the joy I have right now is payment galore! There are so many wonderful things in there- many pictures of your father and his brothers and your grandmother. Many pictures had fallen out of the album and were put in the front when I found it. I thought many times of trying to match up to the spots they went to inside, but I'll leave that to you.

I have had this book for over 15 years- possibly 20 now. I know that if there were a book like this for my family, I would treasure it, so I've done that for you these past decades. Now it will be in the right hands and for that I am so very happy. My one sad thing is that I hadn't got it out of the box again before now and that the people inside are gone. I did try now and then, but it's been about 10 years since I last unwrapped it. And for that I am sorry. Hopefully, wherever they are, the "Cain boys" will be looking at it over your shoulders and get some joy out of it!

I thank you so much for the history. They have meant a lot to me and I had to make up a lot of it in my own head! I wasn't too far off the mark, but for them, my story had to stop in 1944, since I didn't know if they made it home or not. I am glad to hear that their stories continued.

Please enjoy and know that you have made me very happy today.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Family Recipe Friday- Swiss Steak

I have a cousin (Dad's first cousin) who I met through the internet. She passed away- long before her time should have been- and she was like me and collected recipes. She made them into a book and sent it to me. She was a treasure in my life, as she had the same passions as me and I'm only sad she lived so far away and we never were able to meet (as adults- I understand we knew one another when I was 2). So here is a recipe Skeet passed down to me from my grandmother's mother. They were Swedish, but this is a recipe I remember my grandma making, so it must have been a favorite.

Inga Larsdotter Felt's Swiss Steak
Note: Always eaten with mashed potatoes and corn.

3-4 lbs. round steak
Onion to taste, cut in rings
Salt and pepper to taste
Kitchen Bouquet
1/4 cup green pepper, cut in rings

Cut round steak in serving sized pieces. Prepare a bowl of flour (about 1½ cups I think) and add salt and pepper - stir up (I use a fork to mix the salt and pepper in the flour). Coat each piece of steak in flour and brown in melted shortening in large frying pan.

Brown both sides and remove from pan and place in roaster. You may have to add more shortening to get all pieces browned. Then add enough shortening to make a thin layer of melted shortening in bottom of frying pan; sprinkle flour to cover the shortening and add salt (takes quite a bit of salt to flavor it). Brown this and slowly add cold water stirring continuously while doing so.

This will take about 3 to 4 cups of water and will be very thin. Add 3 or 4 drops of Kitchen Bouquet to gravy and stir in. Pour over steaks. Add onions and peppers if desired. Bake at 350 degrees for 1½ to 2 hours.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Treasure Chest Thursday

Today I'm featuring a true treasure. But it's not my treasure nor anyone in my family's. And I'd love more than anything to find the descendents of this treasure so that I can pass it along.

Almost 20 years ago, I worked at an apartment complex in Palo Alto, CA. Our clubhouse had a back storage room that I decided to clean out one weekend and I found a really, really old lost and found box. By "old", I mean from the 1960s. In this box were funky sweaters (think flow-y sleeves with lots of color and flowers) and flip flops. But under those items, I found a book (after I stopped laughing and moved on). The book is a blank book with pictures and writing all through it. The cover has been decorated in pencil with "Cain-USNR PERSONAL and I ain't kidding! 1944".

Inside cover says Donated to Edwin Harmon Cain by Fred Merrion Cain Junior.

Title page says Logbook Jan 2, 1943 in pen and then printed it says Manufactured by US Government Printing Office.

There are pictures and names and dates all throughout. When I found it, I went through the old files to find any names of people who rented there and didn’t find any. And one year (before the internet) I did try to find them by calling all the Cains in the phone book in Oakland. I gave up, though, as people weren’t as nice as you would think they should be. I tried again after the internet one year again posting queries all over the place. Then I stashed it and this morning at 4am I decided that today is the day to try again, in honor of Veterans' Day.

I have to admit that while I long to give this to the people who will love it most, it will be tough competition, as I love these people.

I love Edwin Harmon Cain, shown as little Eddie in a few pictures. Edwin later (in 1953) drove a taxi for Yellow Cab in Oakland. While all pictures of Edwin are in black and white, I know he had blue eyes and brown hair, as that is what his license states. In 1953, he lived at 2425 Grove Street in Oakland, CA. But when he was a boy, I believe he lived on Adams Street. Since Fred (the book writer) donated this to Edwin, I worry what happened to Edwin to have the book show up at Oak Creek Apartments in Palo Alto, California.

I love Fred Merrion Cain Junior. There aren’t many pictures of Fred in his own book, but the pictures he treasured show a lot about him. He found humor in the same things as I did and beauty in his wife, Ilene, that is unsurpassed. Many of the pictures are almost tossed into the book with some corner holders. But those of Ilene are placed beautifully and thoughtfully. Fred was known as “Killer Cain” but it seems almost in jest and love by his fellow sailors. Some have left their pictures with their addresses, clearly hopeful that the relationship will continue after the war.

And I can’t help but love Ilene Ritz who married her sweetheart, Fred, on her 17th birthday in 1944. She is so beautiful and sweet looking, especially since you see her through Fred’s eyes.

The picture with “Ma and Frank” fills me with love, as I see a strong young boy in his sailor uniform looking down as his mother. His look is that of a young boy, thinking the sailor suit is what makes him a man now. His mother looks back at him with pride, but also fear. Or maybe all of this is me imagining “Ma and William,” my own son, in these circumstances. For all I know, Frank isn’t even “Ma’s” son. But I’m betting on it.

I love the Bob and Bud who are featured in several spots. “Bud” is James Cain from the USS Chester and “Bob” is Robert Cain from the USS Goodhue. Both are in sailor uniforms and featured. I am not sure if they are also brothers to Fred, but if they are, then Ma had four boys go off to war. It’s the mother in me that is now sitting here hoping and praying they all made it home. Did Eddie get his brothers back? Did Ma get all her sons home safely?

I’ve never done military research before, but today I will begin there in my search for the Cain Family of Oakland, CA.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Mappy Monday - Washington State

Surprisingly, the only Washington State family I have is the family that is there now. However, I have corrected the place names in my database. I figure it will take me about 50 weeks to get the US corrected in my database and then I’ll move on to correcting the other countries!

Since that wasn’t very “genealogy-ey”, here is a cute newspaper article from Russell, Lucas County, IA, USA:

Monday was the 58th wedding anniversary of Mr. and Mrs. William Conner and in the evening relatives gathered at their home to help them celebrate the occasion. Those present besides the honored couple, were Mr. and Mrs. Albert Conner, of South Dakota, Mr. and Mrs. Asa Price, Mrs. Russell Price and children, Mr. and Mrs. Neil Pierce and three children, Mr. and Mrs. Ralph Price and two daughters, Mr. and Mrs. Jack Brazil, Mrs. Emma Price and daughter Myrtle and Mrs. Ethel Thomas and daughter, Patty.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

What I've Learned This Week

I spent most of my time this week actually working, but the time I did spend on genealogy was well-spent. Here are some of the things I found that I didn't know before:

Thomas Conner- couldn't write, was unemployee, remarried to someone named Ester, lived with his daughter in his later years. These new clues from census records only have given me a lot more to look into. I would like to find where they were in Cass, Wapello Co., IA in 1880. (how can I find the "address" from the census??) I would like to find where his wife Janet's grave is. I would like to find out how long they were in IL for and why (besides to have 2 children). I also found an article about Wapello Co and there was a gold rush there in 1881. Is that why they went there (note that it was later found to be fraud). I would like to know more about Esther. I would like to find where his grave is.

William Conner- (Thomas' son) I google earthed to where his homestead was (it doesn't get really close, though). I found the ship list that he came to the US from Scotland on. I didn't find a Plat map for him, but I made one for his "square" based on research at BLM. He was neighbors with King, Rasmussen, Cripe and for a short while, Stoyer. I'd like to find when he stopped homesteading and moved back to IA. I want to get his naturalization records. I also know he had some children while living in Zero. In researching his siblings this week, his sister who married another Connor (relation???) lived in Zero before them. I'd like to figure more of this "story".

I plan to continue researching the other children of Thomas this week. I will also look further into notes of Thomas' father, William, coming to the US and dying in 1885 in Happy Hallow, IA.

I created an actual notebook page for each and am writing down what I learn and from where about each. Then off to the side, I have my questions. It's visual for me and lets me study it away from the computer and helps me create a to-do list.

And I plan to do more maps, because, really, they are just so cool to look at.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Family Recipe Friday - Scalloped Potatoes

When I was a child, every once in awhile, on a very lucky day, my mom would make her famous Scalloped Potatoes. I didn't actually know until relatively recently that this was her mom's recipe. So now I've an old family recipe. Sadly, it requires a food processor, so I still don't make it myself. Yes, I know that Nana made them without a food processor, but I guess I just don't like them THAT much...

But they are the best comfort food ever. I hope you all make them and in payment of respect, Nana sends me more information about her ellusive Shelton ancestors.

Mom's (and Nana's) Scalloped Potatoes

2 lbs. cheddar cheese, sliced in the food processor
5 lbs. potatoes, peeled and sliced in the food processor
arsley Flakes
3 cans evaporated milk

Oil (or use an oil spray) the bottom of a big pan (like one of those disposable ones). Put one can of evaporated milk in the bottom. Layer with potatoes, salt, pepper, parsley flakes, cheese and then repeat all. Keep potatoes moist with evaporated milk throughout.

Bake 350 for 1 hour and then turn so that the cooked top gets distributed underneath.

Bake 45 more minutes and turn again.

Bake until done (about 15 more minutes).

Thursday, November 4, 2010


Yesterday was one of those weird days where things kept occuring even though they shouldn't. I'd think about something and it would happen. I would think about someone I hadn't heard from in a long time, and get an email from them. I sent a note to a client that I hadn't seen or heard from in awhile and she had moments ago found out her cancer was now gone. Stuff like that.

Since it was wordless wednesday, I tried to keep the words to a minimum, but I found yesterday's ship list in 4 minutes that I had. It suddenly popped into my head that I should search for it That Moment. It came up on my screen and it was called the Iowa, which is weird, too. Also, just an FYI, I'd tried to find that ship on and off for Years.

Weird day.

Good day!

So now, when did the daddy come over? Whoever sent me the message yesterday to do the search, I'm listening for the next message. Just so you know.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Wordless Wednesday- William Conner

New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957
Arrived on the Iowa 9 Jul 1872 from Glasgow, Scotland
Janet Conner (age 28)
Thomas Conner (age 8)
Jane Conner (age 6)
Elizabeth Conner (age 4)
John Conner (age 2)
William Conner (age 1)- THIS IS MY GREAT, GREAT GRANDPA!

Finally found his ship. And it was the Iowa. Where he spent most of his life. As an FYI, the Iowa was wrecked in 1881. And how hard must it have been for 28 year old great, great, great grandma to keep 5 children calm on the Iowa. I can't even imagine doing it with my 8 and 4 year old. At least not without a portable DVD player and 403 video game systems...

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday

I was going to try for a Talented Tuesday today instead, but it was too hard to choose and, actually, I think it took yesterday’s Thomas a lot of talent to be an out of work, illiterate widowed coal miner with children to raise. So move along and instead share some tombstones.

These are from the Doty Settlement Cemetery in Oxford, Ohio. When my 7-year-old daughter and I were visiting Ohio this past summer, we made our poor cousins drive us hours and hours away just so we could stand there in awe. Okay. *I* was in awe. My daughter? Was hot.
Anyway, here is a picture I took of the cemetery.

Our relation:

1 My daughter
2 Me
3 My mom
4 My grandmother
5 Myra Belle Hulse m. Cora Edwin Shelton
6 John Andrew Hulse m. Mary Louisa Doty
7 Francis Doty m. Mariah Zimmerman
8 Jesse Doty m. Jane Kittley

Jesse’s son Jesse was among those that lived in the settlement’s house right up the street. Jesse’s (senior) portrait is hanging on the wall.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Mappy Monday – Scotland and Madrid, Iowa

I spent Halloween with Thomas Conner. I woke up in the morning and just decided that he was the man I wanted to spend my day with. He’s not my husband or brother. He’s my 3rd great grandfather.

I’d spent a lot of time studying his son William Mason, but not so much on him. In fact, he was a name and dates to me. Meant nothing other than that I was slightly irritated at him for not giving me easy records to find and really irritated at his wife for dying before the census even came out in 1880. Like RIGHT before.

But I decided to start from scratch. The first thing I found from him is the IGI from Family Search. I have written down the info to go and look through them at the Family History Center again. When I looked through them before, I was really poor and couldn’t afford to photocopy them and after looking, decided that I didn’t need them. I should have sold something or just had Ramen for dinner…

ANYWAY, so when I pull up the IGI with his name and the year of his marriage to re-find that, there are two records on the same day for Thomas Conner, 4 Oct 1861. One marries Janet Mason (the woman that I know as my great great grandmother) and one marries V. Jane Fisher. Both on the same day and both in Lanarkshire, Scotland. Coincidence? Maybe, but I’m checking both out this time around. Even if I have to have Ramen for dinner.

Also in the IGI, I found some children born of Thomas and Janet in Scotland:
William born 10 Nov 1861 in Barony (doesn’t show up with the family again and they have another son named William 11 years later)
Thomas born 5 Jan 1865 in Carluke
Jane Humes born 14 Jan 1866 in Carluke
Elizabeth born 13 Feb 1868 in Airth
John born 26 Dec 1869 in Falkirk (note that this one had Jesse Mason as mom’s name and I only found him after looking at the 1880 Federal census and seeing a John listed and specifically looking for him- how many others could there be that didn’t live with them in 1880?)
William Mason born 29 Jan 1872 in Carluke

At this point, Thomas is still just a name and some dates to me. The most noticeable interest thing so far is that of his 6 children, three were born in January.

I also realized the I didn’t know where Barony, Carluke, Airth, or Falkirk were. So I Google Earthed them:

After much Googling I found that Glasgow ate up Barony, but for the most part, I was able to map all. And I see that they stayed in the relatively same area of Scotland. What is this area? Knowing that in America they were coal miners, that jumped out at me on the pages of Googling “History of Lanarkshire.” I have a number of things to look into in that regard in Scotland.

But now I moved to Thomas in America. I don’t know when he came. I know that great, great grandpa said he came when he was 6 months old, so that would put it in 1871 ish. But is that for sure? No. How would great, great grandpa remember? So I don’t know. The census said that he came in 1855. Did he go back to have children? No clue. Will get to that another Halloween.

My first find of him after having children in Scotland in 1872 is in the 1880 Federal Census. It is here that I’ve looked over and over again since the beginging of my genealogical time. My very first look into genealogy and my dad gave me a packet with the 1880 census for them in it. I have it bookmarked and saved in several spots. But I never SAW it. I never FELT it. I missed stuff that could mean a lot. This time, I read BETWEEN the columns.

In 1880, Thomas was in Cass, Iowa (Wapello County). He was a 38 year-old coal miner that couldn’t read or write and has been out of work for 5 months of the year. He was widowed with seven children living with him. The oldest was a 15 year old boy and the youngest a three year old girl. A coal miner, who couldn’t read or write, newly widowed, out of work for 5 months of the year, with lots of children. How must he have felt when that census taker was wrting down that information? I now have a picture of him standing at that door with little three year old Martha nagging at him and five year old Jennett getting into things in the background. He maybe answered the questions with tiredness. “No, I can’t read or write. My wife passed away this year. I work in the coal mines, but haven’t worked much this year.” How did he cope? What difficult times.

I believe I found him in the 1900 census with a new wife and all the children gone. I’m not yet sure that is him, but I have decided that I want it to be and I want that Esther to have loved him and taken good care of him and his children. I found him with his daughter and her coal mining husband in 1920 as a widow. On Google Earth, I found the house in Madrid, Iowa where he lived with Martha and David Rees.

So even though I didn’t get much new information, I now have a different feeling for Thomas than I had before. Before he was a name and a date; now he is my grandpa.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

52 Weeks To Better Genealogy – Challenge 44

This week, I decided to join the 52 Weeks to Better Genealogy challenges. This weeks challengs is to research ways to give back to the genealogy community.

In researching, I found that there were lots of things I could do from the comfort of my home and pjs and computer. So I joined the FamilySearch indexers and have been working on indexing the 1930 census for Louisiana. I have a goal of 1000 names a month and I've done 153 so far this week.

You can do it, too! Visit

Abraham Lincoln and Chickasaw County

In honor of attending the Google workshop with Lisa Louise Cooke yesterday, I scoped out some Google things beforehand yesterday morning. Since I was confirming my notes on Hannemann, I decided to use him as an example. And I found this:

It’s the History of Chickasaw and Howard Counties, Iowa, Volume 2 by Robert Herd Fairbairn. And there is a section for my third great grandfather who married the Hannemann daughter. It talks about how in his first Presidential election, he voted for Abraham Lincoln even though he’s a democrat. He was a saloon owner, but wouldn’t take money from those who he knew needed it for their families. It lists the farms he owned and the sections of them.


Black Sheep Sunday – Hannemann

Fifth great grandpa, Jadocus Henrich Hannemann (on the Konst side) was the first gravedigger of Osterwick, Germany. The old graveyard was at the church and full, so on 7 Aug 1808, the priest blessed the new graveyard outside of Osterwick near Elsen (a street in Osterwick).

Grandpa Hanneman dug those graves for 22 years, but on 6 Mar 1831, poor Grandpa was fired. Turns out that he had been re-selling the iron fixtures from the caskets over and over again, removing them after each burial.

He went to prison for 14 days.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Surname Saturday - Conner

Today I’m going to talk about my Conner family. Not the offshoots and other surnames- just Conner. Before I jump the pond, I want to figure out everything they were doing here. I know some. But I also know there are some holes to fill in and I wonder if assumptions have been made, so I’m starting from scratch. This is the first line I started with and I may have taken some things at face value. I’ll start with the first two, as I actually knew the rest and have a lot of records on them. These first two, I mostly have stories and census info. Not much else.

William Conner. William was born in Scotland and immigrated to Iowa in 1880 and died in 1885 in What Cheer, Iowa. This is not where his son Thomas was at the time.
For Follow-up: Son’s birth record to prove William as father. Find him in Scotland. Find his immigration records/ship list. Find death record/burial. Find what he was doing in What Cheer. Find other children. Find marriage info.

Thomas Conner. Thomas was born 22 June 1842 in Scotland and married to Janet Mason on 04 Oct 1861 in Barony, Lanarkshire, Scotland. Since his son said that he came to the US in 1872 when he was 6 months old, we assume that Thomas and Janet came at that same time. We do know that in 1880, he was in the Cass, Wapello, Iowa census. We were told that he was naturalized and that he worked in a coal mine (not sure if in Scotland or US) and was Presbyterian. He died 4 May 1920 in Madrid, Boone, Iowa.
For Follow-up: Birth records for him and Janet. Marriage records. Immigration and naturalization records. What was he doing in Cass? What coal mines- Scotland or US? Check Presbyterian records and historical info. Death records.

So these will be my searching for the next week or so. My Google class with Lisa Louise Cooke is today, so Grandpa Conners will be my guinea pigs.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Family Recipe Friday- Vera's Tuscan Chicken and Peas

On my Surnames page, I list the Mariani family as one that I’m researching. I am not in the Mariani family, but they were such amazing friends to generations of my family, that I have to include them among families I’m researching. And when I think of the Mariani’s, I think of many things, but one of them is food. Vera Mariani, the matriarch of the family, was a phenomenal cook. Not chef; cook. She made the most wonderful comfort foods. One of my favorites (because it is easy) is her Tuscan Chicken and Peas.

Vera’s Tuscan Chicken(Chicken Wings and Peas)

10 Chicken Wings
1 Cup Fresh Chopped Parsley
5 Cloves Chopped Garlic
1 Large Can Tomato Sauce
1 Pkg Frozen Peas
3 Pinches Cinnamon
1 Pkg Small Pasta Shells

Brown wings in hot olive oil. Add parsley and garlic and lightly brown. Add tomato sauce, peas and cinnamon. Cover tightly and simmer for 45 minutes. Serve over cooked small pasta shells.
Serves 3

Thighs or breasts can be substituted for wings
Veal can be substituted for chicken
Zucchini can be substituted for peas

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Treasure Chest Thursday

One of my first steps in genealogy was to post a note in the Rootsweb Lucas County, Iowa email list about my great, great grandfather who had lived in Russell, Iowa for many years (William Mason Conner). His wife, Harriet Price, also lived there. One of the members of that list (no relation) sent my note to someone at the Lucas County Genealogical Society (no relation) who went through every paper and printed off every single article and obituary for every single Conner and Price in Lucas County. She also gave my request for information to the editor of the newsletter (no relation) who posted it in the newsletter. A member of the society (no relation) was neighbors with someone from the Price family and gave them my address. I then received a wealth of information including pictures.

One picture is from when my grandfather in 1935 visited his grandfather. They’d kept this picture in the box, as it said, “Cousin Pierre”.

This ALL cost me an email and $5 to join the society. Talk about TREASURE.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Google All the Way

I am getting extremly excited for the Google All the Way seminar with Lisa Louise Cooke on Saturday! I plan on taking lots of notes and then hopefully take Monday off to stay home and play with what I learned. (it's through the California Genealogical Society-

Lisa Louise Cooke has a podcast that I love. I listen to it in the car while driving here, there and everywhere. There is a link under Podcasts I like (she actually has two there) and it's linked here, too. Check it out!

Wordless Wednesday

My grandparents with John Carradine. Everyone is looking at my beautiful Nana (Ethyl Maxine Shelton Badgley Stonacker). My grandfather and his brother owned a print shop and made the programs and invites for the Oscars or Emmys (I forget which!). They were invited and the above picture was taken. The funny thing about this picture today is that I chose this on Monday for today’s post. I wrote it up and saved it in Word, as I knew I was going to be out of town yesterday and may not have time. This morning there was an email from a new family member asking for a copy of this very picture- BEFORE I posted to my blog.

Left to right: Nana, Uncle Chet, Aunt Lou, John Carradine, Pak-ak (Charles Albert Badgley)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Teaser Tuesday- Laura E. Wilkinson

Teaser Tuesdays will be all about those ancestors that tease us with particular points of information that we know is important, but we can’t figure out.

When I first started doing genealogy seriously, I interviewed my grandmother. I sat with her at her kitchen table where we played solitaire together whenever I visited. I had a pen and a notebook and questions. But every question I asked, she answered with, “Oh, I’m not sure” or “I don’t remember.” Finally, though, she got to talking and even though she couldn’t remember her uncle’s name when I asked her, she was telling a story and said “And then Uncle Costa did blah blah blah.” So I had a name. Costa. Her dad’s name was Charles Edwin Shelton, who I could never find in early census records in Indiana where he came from. Here are the notes I took that day about Charles:

· He was 20 years older than Myra Belle (Nana’s mom).
· Owned shop with her- stitching and sewing.
· Very strict-(beat his sons with a razor strap).
· Belonged to Episcopalian Church.
· Very secretive.
· Life of the party.
· Close-mouthed.
· Had another family prior (wife- Veronica, 2 sons and daughter Fern); only told Myra about Fern; 2 sons went to orphanage and he had a housekeeper to raise Fern. When they married, Myra and Charles raised Fern and own children; Myra found out about 2 boys when she went to visit Charles' grave and asked who was keeping it up. Was then told about the 2 sons.
· He left home young and moved to Oakland
· Very jealous- took Nana and Myra to a dance and he got mad because his wife was dancing with other men, he took her over his knee and spanked her, Nana got so upset that she hit him over the head with a book.
· Dark hair, deep-set blue eyes, 5'9" muscular.
· Died of pneumonia.
· Climbed poles GW Power Co. (PGE). lineman then boss.
· Called "ED"
· smoked Camel nonfilters.

So that was the extent of knowledge of him. Internet searches gave me his date of death and so I ordered his death certificate. On that, I found listed that his dad was John Shelton and his mom was Laura E. Wilkison. I did low hanging fruit searches on those names through the years and found nothing, moving on to other items. I finally went back to it over and over again and the census records were just not working. I found a John and Laura were in the 1870 census with “Coney E Shelton, age 2” and “John P. Shelton, age 2 months”. It was the ONLY John and Laura Shelton in Indiana with the right aged child, but how could CONEY be short for CHARLES? And Nana said the her uncle was COSTA, not John.

The 1880 census gave me a Costa Shelton, living in a Thomas Morton household as “stepson”. Laura was the mother. So for years I looked for death records of John Shelton on and off, of course.

One day poking around the Fort Wayne website, I found a database for divorces from 1872. Just for fun, I checked. Yep. Divorced. Assuming gets you no where fast.

Anyway, then I decided to really delve in and the rest came to me. Searching the Fort Wayne newspapers I found Laura’s family all listed. And a reference to son Cora. A son named Cora? I searched that and found Cora E. Shelton living with his father in Missouri. His father John.

I know have much of the families documented. But I still want to find Nana’s half brothers. I found their mother was actually named Victoria, not Veronica, and Fern’s name was actually Hazel Fern. But I can’t find the boys. Yet…

The glory of this Teaser Tuesday is getting to share with you this picture:

It’s the grave of Laura E. Wilkinson Shelton Morton in Old Huntertown Cemetery in Allen County, Indiana.

Oh, and I’m thinking there is a chance that Great Grampa Shelton left home young because his evil horrible family named him CORA…

Monday, October 25, 2010

Mappy Monday- How to Fix and Oregon

As I searched my Family Tree Maker database this morning, I realized that I’ve been inconsistent and bad in my logging of location names. Some are spelled out, some are abbreviated and some only have part of the place name with no blanks for what’s still needed. Therefore, searching for people in Oregon is difficult. I can’t search “OR” as it brings up anyone in any place with “OR” in the name. I can’t search “OREGON” because I rarely listed it as such.

Sometimes I take trips and it would be great to be able to map the areas before I go so that I could see if I could hook up with any dead relatives while there. I’ve never been able to do this, since it’s always such a chore. So any words of advice other than fixing them one-by-one?

I did manage to comb through the “OR” search, though and find three people in Oregon:

  1. Dad! And Dad, you’ll be happy to know that your entry now features the correct listing of your city, county, state and country.
  2. I have a third cousin who was born in Malheur County. She was the 2nd great granddaughter of Clem Konst.
  3. Hattie Helen Thomas was also born and died somewhere in Oregon. She was married to the brother inlaw of my 2nd great grand uncle, John Connor. He changed his name to ConnOr. John was the brother of William Mason Conner from Iowa. John is important because he connected me to Mark, a cousin from Iowa who I’ve learned so much from through the years.

Looking forward to any tips and tricks for fixing my mess of place names in Family Tree Maker!

Thanks and have a happy week!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Why in the World

When I found my grandmother's grandparents, who she knew nothing about, I felt like I'd run a marathon. And won. At that time, I tried to share with others how it made me feel to find them, but unless a person is also interested in family history, it's a bit difficult for them to understand the ephoria. So I thought then about a genealogy blog, but had no idea that it was a real thing. I didn't even Google for it, thinking it was silly.

And then I went to the California Family History Expo and learned there are hundreds of you.

And I want in on the club.

So here we are.

The lines I'm studying are numerous and switch around all the time. That's my favorite part of genealogy- you get bored of one person and you move on and can go back whenever you want.

I'm playing with the idea of daily themes, so we'll try that out tomorrow with Mapping Monday, where I will pick a State.