Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - NEHGS

My 5-year-old son and I in front of NEHGS in Boston.  Sadly, it was late and they weren't open, so this is as far as we got.  Boston was amazing, so when I go back, a trip to the library (INSIDE) is in order.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History - Sports

I never played sports, but my brother did (and still does) play baseball.  I went to many a Little League game, yelling about the itch on the belly of the pitcher and the bad eyes of the umpire.

But my favorite childhood sports memories were of watching the San Francisco Giants’ games at Candlestick Park.  We’d get seats pretty high (and cold), but brought blankets and had the full experience of a ball game.  We’d chant and sing and have an all-around good time.  Well worth the 80 million in tickets my parents surely spent.

Friday, July 15, 2011

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History - Vacations

Although I already wrote about my summer vacations traveling with my best friend as a teen, my favorite childhood vacations were actually more about the journeys than the destinations.

For instance, I don’t remembered details of being at Disneyland, but I remember driving there.  Mom would pack a cooler of food and drinks and they’d be on the floor of the backsets- resting directly below the dangling feet of my brother and me.    We’d anxiously await the time we’d get to delve in.  Mom or Dad with say it.  Either “So, what’ve we got to eat back there?” or “Should we stop to eat?”

My personal favorite would be when we would eat and keep driving.  Mom would divvy everything up and we just eat ‘n’ drive.  Second best would be when we’d stop at a truck stop and be able to watch from our picnic table as the truckers and other travelers drove up and then out.

Sorry, Mom and Dad.  You didn’t’ need to spend all that money on D tickets at Disneyland and hotels and campground rentals; all we needed was a long car drive.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

List Posts

Here is my post of a list, which also happens to be my check in on how my genealogical goals are going:

  • Write up what I know of John Shelton.- Not done yet. 
  • Write up what I know about Laura Wilkinson.- Check.
  • Write up what I know about William Mason Conner.- Still working on it.
  • Fill in some blanks about Thomas Conner.- Still working on it.
  • Write the Mariani history as I know it.- Still working on it.  Heavily.  This is my focus right now.  I have 2 chapters of book 2 done.
  • Source all of the above.- I’m sourcing as I go.  Easier that way.
  • Begin a family newsletter for descendents of William Mason Conner.- Began a Facebook page and designed the format of the newsletter, but I won’t do the first newsletter until the book is done. (see above)
  • Find descendents of William Mason Conner.- found some on Facebook and sent emails on others.  Next is regular mail.
  • Teach a home school class on family history for young children.- planned out and just waiting for the Fall.
  • 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.- Check!  Found a cousin/relative in Scotland, so we are working on that side right now.

Monday, July 11, 2011

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History - Movies

I have never been very great with movies, which is odd considering my husband is a movie officinal.  I tend to begin with great intentions and right about the time the movie is getting really good, I hear myself thinking in capital letters, “THIS IS A *GREAT* MOV--- zzzzzz” and I sleep through the rest.

I know I’ve always been this way, as I’ve several memories of double features at the drive-in where all I remember is Mom passing around the bucket of her homemade fried chicken and the grocery bag filled with from-home buttered popcorn.  And then being carried to bed in my footy pajamas.

I do, however, remember a couple of movies from childhood.  The first is the Wizard of Oz,
which came on TV once a year and was An Event.  I remember we’d go to Grandma
and Grampa’s house all all the family would watch together (on this sofa).

I remember seeing Charlotte’s Web at the drive-in.  I’d just read the book and so I guess that made it easier to stay awake for.  The first movie was Snoopy Come Homewhich I also remember.  But E.B. White has always been a personal favorite author of mine (you MUST read, Elements of Style), so I gather my first taste of ol’ EB lead me to wanting to see the big screen adaptation so badly that I crossed over the Debbie Movie Sleep Factor tm. 

I also remember Dad taking us to see that “bunny cartoon,” Watership Down.  Watching decapitated and bloody cartoon rabbits isn’t something an eleven-year-old can forget in a mere 33 years.

Elevator Pitch

Here is my elevator pitch about genealogy:

In my spare time, I work on family history, trying to find (and write about) not just the dates and places, but the stories in between.  You know, the stuff my children DON’T roll their eyes at.

Then I laugh and they roll their eyes.

I hate elevators.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Who Are These People?

In my recipe box, there is a recipe of Vera Mariani’s called, “Mrs. Scott’s Delicious Cake.”  I remember Vera making this cake many times.  It strikes me as prophetic that the cake I think of as Vera’s is actually Mrs. Scott’s.  Who was Mrs. Scott? When did Vera taste her cake, find it delicious, and get the recipe?

As I pondered on this one day, I realized that there may be a day far in the future when my children’s children’s children see my recipe for “Vera’s Tuscan Chicken” and wonder who this Vera was.  There isn’t a Vera to be found in our family tree, so they will wonder about this Vera, just as I do about Mrs. Scott.

So I’m am writing a story for my children’s children’s children.  The story of Vera, the story of the Mariani family, and the story of Vera’s Tuscan Chicken.  It's about one quarter in the making, but until then, here are two delicious recipes:

Mrs. Scott's Delicous Cake

1 cup butter
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 cup flour
5 eggs

1 cup sugar
5 tblsp milk

Cream butter and sugar.  Add baking powder and flour.  Stir in eggs, one by one.  Bake in loaf pan (greased) 50 min at 350 degrees.

Icing: Boil sugar and milk hard for 2 min and then beat until stiff.


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. 

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

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History - Summer

Since I always loved school as a kid, summer vacation was bittersweet.  I’d be thrilled at the end of the routine, but already looking forward to the Brand New that the coming September* promised.

My summer vacations were filled with bike riding, reading and lots and lots of time with friends.  There were 4 or 5 summers with my best friend and her mom where we took their motor home around the western US and Canada.  One summer, we went south, touring the southern part of California, New Mexico and Arizona.  Then we traveled up to Yellowstone before returning home.  Another trip featured driving north through Oregon and Washington and up into Vancouver.


But the best summers were those where we traveled to Minnesota.  These featured long stays in Yellowstone Park, one of my favorite places ever.  We’d then head to Minneapolis to visit their family (and once also to Milaca to visit mine).  As the Minnesotans headed north to their lake cabins, we’d hitch along, spending a few weeks at Cass Lake near Bemidji.   

Cass Lake

When we’d leave for home, we once took the direct route home to California, but once, we went north.  We spent time at Lake Louise and Banff National Park in Canada, before driving across Canada and down through the Pacific states to home. 

Glacier in Canada

* What is up with school starting in August these days?  When I was a kid, the day after Labor Day marked the first day of school.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Letters, Oh I Got Letters

Actually, it was e-mails I got.  *THOSE* emails that we live and blog for.  The emails from someone SUPER nice who live in the town your ancestors are from and found you while doing random Googling and just may well be related to you.  And are going to run to the cemetery to see more.  And are super nice making you even more want to take a trip to Scotland. 

Now how to figure out if her William and Thomas and John Connor are related to my William and Thomas and John Connor.  And Jane.  Don't forget Jane/Janet/Jannett/Jennett/Jenny/Jennette.

We are guessing that her William is brother to my Thomas, but aren't sure.  Her William married a Janet Humes.  My Thomas named a daughter Janet Humes Connor...  Here William had children named Jane, William, John.  My Thomas had children named the same (and then some).  They were both from Carluke.  My Thomas' parents were William and Jane Simpson, born in Ireland.  The only William and Jane b. Ireland their age are the parents of Thomas (1851 census) and of William (1861 and 71 census).  But they never appear together, so we aren't sure yet if they are the same family.

We are working on it though.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Happy Canada Day!

I don't know if it counts, but I have a couple of generations born in Ontario.  My refuge loyalist symathizers, the Badgleys, took themselves up into Ontario and had a few generations.  Then they decided it was too cold and moved south into Michigan (I'm guessing at the reason).  Then to sunny California (where we had a winter storm earlier this week- IN JUNE!). 

So thanks, Canada, for letting my many times great grandparents in.  One of whom I hear was so fat that when he died you had to lift him out of the upstairs window.  I'm so sorry.