Thursday, January 27, 2011

Cars – 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History

Cars – 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History

My first car was a bright yellow Chrysler Newport.  I always thought it was a 1960, but when I pull up pictures, I think it was more a ’63 or so.  It looked a lot like this:

Only instead of costing $2,964, it was $100.  It was the car of a friend of my grandfather’s.  I can’t remember her name now, but she was so very nice and wanted me to have her old car.  So this Chrysler Newport sat in my driveway for almost a year before I got my driver’s license in 1983. 

Although these days this would be a classic car and a cool status symbol, at the time, it was just a big, yellow, very old car.   My friends called it, “The Banana” due to its length and color.  It comfortably seated 8.  No seat belts, of course.  We would pile in and pile out.  AM radio only, so I hung a tape player on the ash tray.  No air conditioning, so the windows were always rolled down (hand-cranked, of course).  The trunk was massive and frequently featured the worldly belongings of a teenager or two who’d run away from home (they knew I had the room…).

It was made of solid steel and had no working meter to tell me when gas was running low.  So I had to fill it up (10 gallon tank) and then could only go 100 miles before it would konk out on me.  That’s 10 miles to the gallon.  10.  

Summer nights, when there was no school and we were out too late to go home, we’d sometimes just sleep in the car (comfortably slept four).  We’d put the White Album or the Alarm on my clunky tape player and zonk out until the Creamery opened and we could go in for coffee and usually nothing else- I’m sure that thrilled the waitresses.

The Banana brought me so much joy and fun and freedom.  I have wonderful memories of that big yellow boat car. Which is a good thing, as I don’t think there are any pictures of it, either.

All timelines lead to...

1842.  Seriously, I have more people that I work on that were born in 1842 than in any other year.  1842 in Ohio?  They've gotta be mine.

I need to share the stuff I've found on my husband's side, but they aren't genealogists and sharing the charts would be a sure-fire way of making sure they didn't HEAR it.  So I printed the FGS for each of the eldest that I've found and I think next step is to timeline the two families and then tell the story of the two that came to California.  It's a little more difficult than I imagined it would be, as I really want to get it right.  I just ordered two Scioto County history books, so that may add some fluff to my story, too, but I sat yesterday with a blank page and a bunch of Family Group Sheets for about an hour before deciding a timeline may be be the best blue print. 

I'll be sure to share when I'm done.   I may do a little thing like Amy to go with it, too.  We shall see.

I want to catch up on my personal writing, too.  And on my family blog.  Lots of writing to do. 

Best get to it...

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

All roads lead to...

Ohio.  Not sure why, but I am nearly positive that EVERY branch of my family touches Ohio at some point in my research.  Luckily, I have family in Ohio, so I go there anyway, but it's odd to me that every time I find a new branch, it's in Ohio. 

My newest obsession is my husband's side in Scioto County.  So I've been spending a lot of virtual time in Scioto County, Ohio, getting to know it and getting to love it.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Do Some Random Research

Hey genealogy buffs - it's Saturday Night and time for more Genealogy Fun! Play along with us and tell us about it.

Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to follow Chris Staats' rules (from Freaky Friday: Random Research Reports) for picking a random person's name and then doing some online research about that person.

Here are Chris's rules:1. Go to The Random Name Generator and click the red “Generate Name” button at the top of the screen

2. Go to and enter your generated name in the search box on the main search page. [Randy's add: If you don't have, go to and do it there - it's free.]

3. From the results, your research target will be the first census result for your generated name.

4. Using whatever online resources are at your disposal, see what else you can discover about your random person and write about it. It can be a formal report complete with footnotes, or just a “research story” about what you tried, problems you overcame, or success you had. Maybe you want to create a research plan for practice?

5. Post about it on your blog or wherever you wish, and link here to tell Chris about it. Tell Randy about it too as a comment here or a comment on Facebook or Twitter."

The name I got was: Harris Watson.

Starting at Ancestry dot com, the first census result was 1930. My Mr. Harris M. Watson was married to Lily and they had an 8-year-old adopted son, Henry. In 1930 they lived in Militia District 1199, Brooks, Georgia. Harris was 59, so born in about 1871. Lily was 45, so born about 1885. As I mentioned, Henry was 8, so born about 1922.

In 1930, Harris owned the farm they lived on. He’s a white male, who was 27 at the age of his first marriage. Lily was 16 at the age of her first marriage. Since when Henry was 27, Lily would have been 13, I’m not sure it fits that this is their first marriage. All three of these Watson family members were born in Georgia, as were their parents. Harris says he is not a veteran.

I thought I’d walk you through my process. Since I like to timeline my victims ancestors, I started by working backward in the census files.

In 1920, Harris and Lily are in Quitman, Brooks, Georgia. I made a note to research Brooks, Georgia to see if this place and the 1930 place are the same place, as Harris is listed as an owner of a farm here, as well. Harris is 49 and Lily is 36. Harris can’t read or write, but Lily can.

In 1910, they are in Barney, Brooks, Georgia. Again, look this up to see if it’s the same place, as this one is also owned. Harris is 39, Lily is 28 and Jesse, Harris’ brother is living with them (Jesse is 24). Harris and Lily say they have been married for 12 years, so I guess someone was wrong in 1930 when they said they were 16 at the age of their first marriage… also, I should note that “Lily” has been spelled differently in every census so far. 1930 it was Lily, 1920 it was Lilly, and 1910 it was Lillie.

In 1900, I can’t find Harris in the census. After doing the 1880 census find, I found the father and family in this census. But no Harris Watson. He would have been married right around this year, so I’ll skip this for now.

In 1880, there is a Harris Watson of the right age (9 years) in Quitman, Brooks, Georgia. Brother Jesse is in the 1900 census with brother Elzia that was in this census, so I’m pretty sure it’s the right family. His parents are William and Margarette. William’s father was born in North Carolina, while his mother and he were born in Georgia. Margarette and her parents were born in Georgia.

Since all of our Watson family seems to be in Brooks County, I put that into Ancestry as a generic search with Watson as the surname. Normally, I would go straight to usgenweb for this, but since I want low hanging fruit for my new Watson kin, I’ll stick to Ancestry for now.

Nothing easy in birth, marriage, death, but I did find a family tree that looked promising. The Wade Family tree lists Harris with no dob, but a marriage date of 2 Jan 1898 in Brooks County, GA. His parents are listed as William Watson and Margarette Watson. His spouse is listed as Lillie Spell. When I click on it, their sources are all the same census records I have. However, I would now take this as a clue to Lillie’s possible maiden name and look further into that.

But since it’s 9:20pm and I have genealogied out for the day, I’ll sign off here with “my” Watsons.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Picture Analysis

I posted a picture earlier this week. It's a family portrait and on the wall in the background there is another family portrait. I became greedy and really wanted that other family portrait, too. I coveted it. Desperately.

And then, a bit ago, I had an epiphany and did a side-by-side comparison of the only other family portait I have of ANY side of my family.

Here is the blow up of the picture in the picture:

And I'm pretty sure here is that picture.

Now to figure out what this is: Any clues? HELP ME!!!!

EDITTED TO ADD: This is a mourning lithograph. I wonder who they were mourning? I'm going to have to research that further.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

A Big Nowhere

I tried to get somewhere with my Fishers from Bavaria yesterday. I just reached for low hanging fruit, but the tree was fruitless. As were my searches. So I need to jot down what I know and order certificates and look up naturalization records and and and. Makes it more fun, but for this line, I was sorta hoping for the fruit.

The Scioto County (Ohio) rootsweb mail list gave me a ton of great newspaper articles and things on the Fishers and the Smiths. Now to figure out who is who, since they were all Henry and Kilbourne (and all the spellings). I think I will write out both families with all I know and share that with the family now, rather than wait until I have more. I'll work on that for the next few weeks and see where it gets me.

For my Scotland researching friends, why would my grandparents live at and get married at 10 Maryhill Road in Carluke (now Glasgow)? Was this their home? A church? Both? Any clues on this?

Monday, January 17, 2011

Conner Homestead

This picture just arrived in my inbox from the Lucas County (Iowa) Genealogical Society. It's a picture of a visit that my great, great, great grandparents took to see the homestead of my great, great grandparents. My great grandfather is the young boy second from the left in the back. His father and mother are in the window glare. His grandparents are teh older two.
Have I mentioned lately how much I love the Lucas County Genealogical Society? I had never seen a picture of my great grandfather as a young child.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun

It's Saturday Night again - time for some more Genealogy Fun!!

Here is your assignment if you choose to play along (cue the Mission Impossible music, please!):

1) How old is one of your grandfathers now, or how old would he be if he had lived? Divide this number by 4 and round the number off to a whole number. This is your "roulette number."

2) Use your pedigree charts or your family tree genealogy software program to find the person with that number in your ancestral name list (some people call it an "ahnentafel"). Who is that person?

3) Tell us three facts about that person in your ancestral name list with the "roulette number."

4) Write about it in a blog post on your own blog, in a Facebook note or comment, or as a comment on this blog post.

5) If you do not have a person's name for your "roulette number" then spin the wheel again - pick a grandmother, or yourself, a parent, a favorite aunt or cousin, or even your children!

Here's mine:

My grandfather is 91 (he’ll be 92 in just a few weeks). Divide that by four and round and we get 23. My ahnentafel #23 ancestor is Lars Peter Aslund. Lars’ daughter Inga was my great grandmother. I have many stories of her, but not so many of her father. Three things I do know of him are:

1. He was born 20 Jan 1857 in Abborråsen, Graninge Parish, Västernorrland County, Sweden.
2. He came to America on 11 Aug 1881.
3. He died 22 Apr 1900 in Öhrbäck, Langsele Parish, Västernorrland County, Sweden.

I didn’t do any of the Swedish research myself (yet), but inherited from my late cousin, Janet. Janet was a wonder, giving me not only genealogy, but stories about each person she remembered. She passed away just last year, so someday, I hope to pick up her Swedish research and carry on!

Let me count the ways...

Dear In-law Great, Great, Great Grandfather Smith,

I am putting you on my list of people I hope to have dinner with one day in heaven, or wherever it is we go. I really, though, have only one question for you: How did you REALLY spell your first name?

Was it Kilbourne, Kilbourn, Cilburn, Cilborn, Kilburn, Kiburn, Kilorn, Kilbouen, or Killborn? Because I have now found you listed each of these ways. Numerous times. I thought your unique first name would make you easier to research, but honestly, searching for every spelling possible is just about IMpossible.


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Fruit and Serendipity

Yesterday was one of those fruitful days where the fruit is shown to you, but you have to wait to pick it. To begin with, a giant box of Christmas presents from family came while I was at work. I knew it would come yesterday, as the non-serendipitous part of my world dictated that it come on the one day I wasn't going to be home until way after the kids went to bed. So we wait until today to open.

Second, my articles from the Lucas County Iowa Genealogical Society came. So many tidbits and treasures. Enough for a book, I think, with some fleshing out with pictures and stories and history.

Third, I had a genealogy meeting last night. I'd been meaning to go for awhile and had Oct, Nov, Dec. on the calendar, but never made it. Decided I HAD to for January. No clue what the topic was. I got there and it was a man writing a book about a family from the next town over. Interesting, I thought. Tidbits and facts and maybe I could learn a bit how to write a book. Then he said he was going to discuss his research and how he got from little to a book. More interesting. And then he said that a major focus was on the Bavarian records and how he got those.

This past weekend, I found grandparents that came from Bavaria. I noted that what I know about Bavaria is that it is chocolatey and that I was going to have to learn more.

And so last night, I did. Without even trying.

And here is an article and picture from the front page of the 20 September 1956 Russell Newspaper. I have to have my grandpa tell me who is who, though.

Russell, Iowa
Thursday, September 20, 1956

Reunion After 40 Years
The above picture was taken this summer at the William Conner home, when they had a reunion with their sons. It was the first time they had all been together in 40 years.
They are Albert, Huron, South Dakota; Miles, Sioux Falls, South Dakota; Orville, Redwood City, California; Lawrence, Roseville, California; and Ansel, of Northwood, Iowa.

And apparently my great, great grandmother, Harriet Orvilla Price Conner was present at someone's birth.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Odd Thoughts

I'm right now focused on my Reuben Smith of Scioto County, Ohio. Hyperfocused really. So as I entered the dates of birth and death of his children, I got sad. And my thought, although not completely verbalized, were something along the lines of being really sad for Reuben that his children died.

Keep in mind that this is actually odd, as all of them were born in the early 1800s... OF COURSE they died. And AFTER Reuben.

Anyway, my beloved Lucas County Iowa Genealogical Society sent me this picture:

The woman second from the left is my great, great grandmother. The man on the far right COULD be my great, great grandfather, but I'm not sure. My only clue is that he stands like a Conner. One of the boys could be my great grandfather. Not sure. But COULD be. Sending to my grandfather to see if he knows.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy and History

I'm participating in a GeneaBlogger's weekly event where we start writing our OWN history and genealogy. We focus so much time on our deceased that we forget that someday we will be in those shoes, so what do we want the future US'es to know about us, besides our "b.m.d.".

This week's question is about New Year's and New Year’s traditions. How was the New Year celebrated during mychildhood? Have I kept these traditions in the present day?

Our family was never one for going our and doing anything on New Year's Eve. We traditionally stayed in and watched Dick Clark's New Year's Eve Special with the ball dropping. We'd say, "Happy New Year!" and shuffle off to bed.

I'm happy to say that I've mostly kept up this tradition. "Mostly" meaning that there have been many years in the past 10 where I didn't even manage to stay awake until midnight...

Last night, the kids stayed up until midnight and I konked out at 11:00. They woke me at 11:45 to get me ready for the ball dropping. Then I dropped.

A Geek Girl Does Genealogy reminded me of a particular NYE when my parents took me to a party with them. My mom wore a long blue dress (the first time I'd ever seen her in a dress!). Besides Mom's dress, all else I really remember was my dad wearing a true 1970s shirt and dancing the night away.