Monday, February 18, 2013

Capa, South Dakota-- Revisited

Yesterday I was poking around the internet for anything about Capa, South Dakota, as I’m known to do a few times a year.  But what came up yesterday hadn’t come up in Google for me before: a link to a short radio interview with the lone remaining Capa resident.  I’ve listened to it a few times now and because of Grampa’s description of Capa, I can picture each of the remaining buildings he mentions.  Only my picture is of how it was in 1930, not how it is today.

If someone gave me a trip to anywhere in the world I want to go, would it be horrible of me to want to go to the ghost town of Capa, South Dakota?

Speaking of Capa, I’ve had some wonderful emails exchanged with descendants of folks from there.  I passed photos to them and them to me and then I’d send the stories and questions and new pictures to my 94-year-old Grampa.  He’d relay stories back to me about my new contact’s ancestors.  I’ve gotten so caught up with Capa, that I am thinking of taking the Capa chapter out of my Dukes of Mixager book and making Capa have its own booklet.  A tour of Capa as it once was.  Or some such thing.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Don't Miss This Podcast: Backstory Radio

I’ve been listening to Backstory Radio on my iPhone in the car for the last few months.  It's a great show to give you some background on the times and events that your ancestor took part in. 

The premise of the show is to take a current day topic and discuss it through the different centuries in American's history.  There are three American History professors (Ed Ayers, Peter Onuf and Brian Balogh) who each take a century.  The topics are wonderful and I've learned more driving in a month than I ever did of many years of history classes.

Backstoryis a public radio program available on podcast or online that, "...brings historical perspective to the events happening around us today."  They have callers, other professors, authors and experts join them to discuss the history of our social surroundings today and they do it in an intelligent, but entertaining manner.  I only wish that I'd had them has history professors...

Some of my favorite topics have been:

  •       Mealtime in America,
  •       Guns,
  •       Heating and Air Conditioning,
  •       Drugs,
  •       Emancipation,
  •       Presidential Inaugurations,
  •       Holiday Season,
  •        Apocalypse,
  •        Mail...

Basically all of them are my favorite, as all of them help me understand my ancestors just a bit better.  The topics are perfect for genealogy, where we may have the facts, but we need the BACKSTORY.

To join me in my love of Backstory radio, you can subscribe to the podcast via iTunes or any of the other options here:

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Happy 94th, Grampa!

Today is my grandpa’s 94th birthday.  If you met him, you would be shocked by what a healthy, energetic 70 year old he is.  Then you’d find out he’s 94 and you’d fall out of your seat.

I live far away from Grampa, but I still feel extremely close to him and always have.  Growing up, he was always there for me and I was always, “Grampa’s Girl.”  He told me stories, took me places and just generally hung out with little ol’ me for much of my childhood and even into my adulthood. 

I love all the things that Grampa has done with his world and I even more so love that he shared a lot of his stories with me.  As I wrote them down for the family book, I realized that he carried on his ancestors’ American Dream.  He moved and settled and moved and settled, always having his family foremost in his thoughts and always reflected in his actions.  He worked hard his whole life (and continues do to so- he only stopped his work a couple of years ago).  I take after my grandfather in my pride in the work I do and so I think I can speak for him and say that I don’t think he would have that any other way. 

I love that I know so much about Grampa.  When we were with him before Dad’s death, my brother was asking him questions and I realized that I knew most of the answers he would give.  I’m proud that he honored me with those stories of himself and his life and I treasure them so very much.  My life has been greatly enriched by having my grandfather in mine.

I called him Bumpa when I was little and now he’s Grampa, but he will forever be my hero.

Happy birthday, Grampa!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Who Inspires You?

Thomas MacEntee asked the question, "Who inspires you?"  Specifically, he asked, “Who inspires you when it comes to genealogy and family history?”  I thought about this on the way to work yesterday and came up with a lot of names and a lot of thankfulness.  I expanded the question in my head to who inspires all parts of me, even the non-genealogy parts. 

Different people inspire me for different aspects of my life.  The Livermore-Amador Genealogical Society inspires me to learn more so that I can share more.  My children's 4-H club inspires me to perform community services and better help  others.  My husband inspires me to be more artistic and to be a better person.  My children inspire me to love and listen and learn.  My fellow online genealogy world friends inspire me to continue seeking and sharing my genealogy story.

But who really inspires me?  Who makes me think and be proud and wonder at life in amazement?  My ancestors.

They came from everywhere and through everything and yet here I am.  I can complain and worry and fret, but then I can remember that they had it harder and yet here I am.  Nothing can ever be that bad when you have generations of experience behind you, pushing you to just keep going.

They call to me with a story to tell.  Once I hear the story, another calls to me to hear theirs.  It is those calling ancestors that inspire my genealogy.  They want me to look for and find a birth, a death, a marriage.  A story. Something.  Anything.  They keep me going and keep me wondering and keep me looking.

My current ancestor of inspiration is my dad.  I miss him every single moment of every single day, but I know what he is calling for me to do is finish all those stories I started before he left so that I can hurry the hell up and get to him. 

Soon, Dad.  It is Family History Writing Challenge month, you know.