Tuesday, August 13, 2013


The first I remember of Macduff is walking him in Palo Alto, California through a street fair in a park with my Aunt Sue, who proceeded to buy me a Kermit the Frog puppet.  At three and a half years old, I was a big Sesame Street fan and I loved Kermit, which is likely why I remember this walk so much.  However, during this walk I believe it was more likely that the two-year-old big yellow Labrador-Retriever was walking us through a street fair, than us walking him.

When I was four we moved to a ranch in Portola Valley, California and Macduff came with us. He was the leader of dogs at the ranch-- always guiding them, calming them, and punishing them when necessary. He was a soft gentle soul, training the new pups what was right and what was not right.

One year we inherited a puppy named Fluffy. Fluffy was a small, black puff of a pup and Duff was his hero. He would follow Duff everywhere.  As they lounged on the front porch together, he would chew on the scruff of Duff’s neck below his bottom jaw. If Duff got up to chase after a deer or some other critter, Fluffy would hang on, wagging in the wind while Duff performed his critter chasing duties.

Duff moved with us from ranch to ranch to house.  When I was a teen, we moved to a house in Portola Valley.  Duff slept in my room.  He was older then and no longer an outside dog, preferring to spend most of his time inside with his human family.  Since most of our family time was around the kitchen table, Duff spent most of his time under the table.  At bedtime, he’d get up and make the torturous trek across the hardwood floor of the hallway and round the corner to my room.  My door didn’t close all the way, so he’d bang his head against it to open it.  Then he’d curl up on the carpeted floor of my room to guard me while I slept.

One summer, when I was 16 and Duff was 17, I went traveling with my best friend’s family.  Duff chose that time to depart our world.  My brother, Todd, shared these words about that evening:

The night Duff died I spent about an hour with him in the kitchen.  I rubbed each paw and his arthritis was not as bad as normal. I was very superstitious and gave each paw equal amounts of attention.   When I got done with Duff I got up and he licked me.  This never happened.  As you know, Duff did not lick anyone ever.  I remember thinking it was odd but did not read into it.  Dad was in the den and Mom went to bed to read.  As I walked to my room Duff followed me, again he never did this before.  He slept under the kitchen table.  I walked him back to his spot.  He laid down and I retreated to my bed.  Less than one minute later he was thrashing about in his spot. I ran to him and yelled for Dad, but Duff was gone before he got to him.   Dad took him outside and buried him next to the chicken shed.  We stayed up for awhile at the table in silence.  I was grateful to have had his last moments spent with me and I will remember every detail of that night forever.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Summering at Mormon Island

The Armchair Genealogist asked us to view summer through the eyes of our ancestors.  This got me to remembering a photo from the box of my grandparents, Charles Albert Badgley and Ethyl Maxine Shelton Badgley.  Even if I do say so myself, they were really beautiful people, inside and out.  Nana was a model before she married, showing off fancy dresses for Bergdorf’s in San Francisco.  Pakak owned a printing company with his brother.

The back of one of the photos in the set says “July 11, Mormon Island.”  No year, but it’s likely around 1935 or ‘36, as in one photo there is a child is in Nana’s lap that is likely Judy, born in 1934.  Mormon Island was once along the American River near Sacramento, California.  It no longer exists as now it is under Folsom Lake, which was completed in 1955.  Mormon Island was once a mining community, named for the abundance of Mormon immigrants seeking the fortune of the Gold Rush.

Here are a couple other photos from that set of pictures taken on July 11 of some year in the past of my ancestors. 

Looks to me like a family picnic, but not sure who’s family.  In the photo with the older woman, the man lying near her is George Shuger, a family friend and much later in life (in her 70s and 80s), Nana’s boyfriend.  Perhaps this was a picnic with the Shuger family?  Or maybe this is my great grandmother, Minnie May Irish Badgley.  It doesn’t look like her from the photos I have, but I don’t have photos of her with white hair, so I'm just not sure.

It’s fun to see pictures of families together doing the same things that families do today—eating, swimming and posing.

Enjoy the rest of your summer!  And tell us about a day in the summer of one of your ancestors...

Saturday, August 3, 2013

How I Use Facebook for Genealogy

Facebook can be used in many ways for genealogy.  Connecting with cousins you knew (hi, Emily!) and cousins you didn’t know but have learned of through genealogy (hi, Jackie!).  

It can be used for sharing information a little at a time.  I have a special Facebook page for my 2nd great grandfather.  Every few weeks or months, I post something on his page.  It’s chronological, so it starts with his birth and a picture of his birth record from Scotland.  I believe I am up through  the 1930 census now.

But my favorite new way to use Facebook is for the places.  Most of my ancestors were not in cities.  They were in small towns—some so small that they no longer even exist.  Some so small that the same families (although future generations) still live there.

When I first joined Facebook, I saw a page or group for the town I grew up in “You know you grew up in x, if…”  Lots of postings on history and how it used to be.  Hmmmmm…  So I started joining those pages for the small towns my ancestors came from.  The towns were often too small to even have a Facebook page yet, but I was patient.  In June, a page came up for the small town of Russell, Iowa.  I posted pictures of my family that came from Russell.  A few were of the 2nd great grandfather that I made the page for.  I posted a newspaper article of him in the centennial parade.  The queen was Leota Taylor and Leota’s granddaughter commented with excitement.  I posted our five generation picture and received this:  “I remember well your Great-Great-Grandfather Conner.  He lived a very long life and was known, loved and respected by the whole town.  He always appeared to be a happy person.  Even in his advanced years, I never saw him without a smile on his face."  I posted pictures of the Price family and of the house they lived in.  I learned from the people in the group who lived there after and that the house is no longer standing.  One man even said that his grandparents lived there after mine.

A wealth of information for which I am very grateful.  Old photos of the town and the people in the town.  Historical information that wouldn’t be found in a book. 

Go find your ancestral town Facebook pages.   One more place to get puzzle pieces that tell your families’ hiSTORY.