Monday, January 20, 2014

They Have A Dream

To be magnetic and to be President. Enjoy the quest, children. Enjoy the quest.


Friday, January 17, 2014

Mormon Island: Revisited. Twice.

William and Signa at the edge of Folsom Lake, August 2013

In August, I wrote about my grandparents summering at MormonIsland (now Folsom, California). In September, the kids and I visited my cousin and we all walked down to the receding lake and tromped around. Now, due to the current lack of water situation in California (clearly avoiding the "d" word...), apparently the old foundations are now showing through from before the dam.  The below links came from my homeschool group, as one family visited to learn about Gold Country History.

The Folsom Dam was built in 1955 covering the town of Mormon Island with water.  Here is a YouTube video showing some of the foundations and items popping through as the water gets more and more shallow.

Here are some more photos and some history.

And here is some information about visiting the area.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Thankful Thursday: Hard Times

Confession: The past year has been an extremely difficult one for me on many different levels. I've had family issues, health issues, financial issues, house issues and general loss of happiness issues. Today I'm taking a moment to be thankful to my ancestors for helping me keep these issues in perspective.

If you are one person with no knowledge of your ancestors, your "big picture" perspective is relatively small. You could get stuck in your problems without a way to see outside of them. But MY big picture includes generations of ancestors. I can see their big issues from the beginning, middle, and, most importantly, end. I can see the other side of my problems, because I can see the other side of theirs.

This isn't why I started doing genealogy, but it has been a very pleasant byproduct for which I am very thankful!


Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Wedding Wednesday: Conner-Konst

From an unknown newspaper.  Clipping resides with my grandfather, as this is the announcement of his parents' marriage. 

Photo below is them many years later.

Orville Thomas Conner and Anna Ellen Konst.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Tech Tip Tuesday: City Directory Study Using Excel

Today's tech tip is I'm not sure a true Tech Tip, but it is about using Excel to conduct a research study. As I've written before, I've been researching the Mariani family of San Francisco. Trouble is, by 1880 there were three Mariani families in San Francisco. Mine had a few sons and so did the other two. They quickly can get confusing in the city directories.

Using Excel, and free time, I created a workbook of the San Francisco city directory entries. The first tab has the listing of all the directories and the link to them. The second tab has the snip of the actual page they appear on with the documentation of page number, etc. The third tab is my database listing of each and every piece of information from the directory. Once I finished, I could sort by street and see who lived in the same houses generation after generation. I could sort by name and follow a person through their homes, and I could sort by date and see how many lived there during that particular year.

When I completed this, I added all the data from the census records as well as all the data from the Great Registers.

Now I have a big picture of every Mariani man (and many women!) who lived in San Francisco since they first appear in directories in 1863. I have been able to make family trees for the original families and when I find a newspaper article about a Mariani in San Francisco, I can usually figure out which Mariani they are talking about using my own database of 2390 entries of Marianis in San Francisco throughout time!


Monday, January 13, 2014

Amanuensis Monday: "A Man with a Memory" (Giacomo "James" Mariani, San Francisco, CA)

From “A Man with A Memory,” The Morning Call, San Francisco, CA, 6 February 1893, p. 3; digital images, California Digital Newspaper Collection ( : accessed May 2011). 

City Sketches in Black and White

 A Man with A Memory

In an Italian restaurant on O’Farrell street there is a waiter who has a memory greater than that possessed by Memnon or by a disappointed office-seeker.  Better still, his bank account is longer than his wonderful memory.
A wonder in many things is Mariani, for that is the name of the little man with the big memory.  Many were the stories related in reference to the food-bearer’s incomprehensible bran faculties before I decided to test them for myself.
“Why,” said a Bohemian friend while relating some of Mariani’s performances, “there is less likelihood of his forgetting a face or a dish than of Chris Buckley, ‘the blind devil,’ failing to remember a voice.  He will not only recognize one after a year’s absence, but will also remember what your last meal consisted of.  Don’t believe it, eh?  Well, you can put him to a test and decide for yourself.”
So it was agreed to put the little waiter’s memory to a most rigid test.  It was on Christmas eve, 1891, that two weary, hungry reporters entered the restraint where Mariani is employed.  Hundreds of persons were dining there and scarcely two ordered the same dishes.
“Hello, Shortpencil,” was Mariani’s greeting as he quickly appeared by my friend’s side, “regular dinner to-night or the same as you had last time?”
In order that there might be a fair test Shortpencil insisted that I should do the ordering.  I do so, and the meal was a most satisfactory one.  The circumstance had almost entirely escaped my memory and I had forgotten there was such a person in the world as a disciple of the great Memnon in the person of the modest little waiter, and was wondering where to dine when Shortpencil accosted me.  This was Christmas eve, 1892, just one year after our dinner was served by Mariani.
 “Been to dinner?  No, well let’s go to see Mariani.  I’ll wager you a small bottle of extra dry that he can repeat the dinner, dish for dish, without a single order.”
The wager was accepted and half an hour later we were seated in the O’Farrell street restaurant.  Mariani was soon before us with a large bottle of claret in his hands.
“Good evening,” said he to Shortpencel, and turning to me, he added, “and how are you?  It must be nearly a year since you were last here?”
Already his memory was beginning to assert itself.  “now then gentlemen,” he continued, “will you have a regular dinner or the same as last time?”
“Same,” said Shortpencil.  Then my own memory of the meal twelve months before was revived as each delicacy appeared in the same order as before.  First came the large bottle of Burgundy with two small glasses and plenty of cracked ice.  Shrimp salad, ox tail soup, Italiarena, broiled flounder, roast teal duck and run omlette came in their regular order without a word being spoken to Mariani.
“You had Oregon cheese last time,” explained the knight of the napkin, when it was time for dessert, “but we have a new brand which you will find even nicer.”
“Give us the same as before,” was the order.
By this time I began to marvel at the man’s memory and to realize that I was about to lose the wager.
But there were several things yet to come before the first dinner had been entirely duplicated.  Mariani was equal to the occasion, however, and without the least hesitation completed the meal by supplying black coffee, cognac and the same brand of cigars we had smoked before.
Shortpencil chuckled gleefully several hours later as he helped consume the champagne Mariani’s memory had won for him.  “Don’t feel bad,” he said soothingly, as he held the sparkling liquid to the light, “I lost a similar bet two years ago.  Had to get even some way, you know.”
Several days later I learned more about Mariani.  For thirty years he has worked in the same restaurant and has judiciously invetsed his savings.  In addition to several houses and lots he owns a big factory in South San Francisco that supplies many of the delicacies he daily serves to patrons of the restaurant.
“Yes, he is a wonder,” said the proprietor of the restaurant, when asked about Mariani, “and although he has accumulated a fortune you could not hire him to quit his occupation as a waiter.  As he declares himself, he was born to be a waiter, and a waiter he will be till called to that land where edibles are not required.”     ~B. Cromwell

Sunday, January 12, 2014

The Day I Did My Daughter's Homework

My daughter is in 4-H and we homeschool.  As such, I try to make sure that she gets credit for the work she does in 4-H for school as well.  For instance, this year for school work a lot of emphasis is placed on oral reports and on timelines. One 4-H project she is in is my Family History project.  And another 4-H project is the Presentation Project.  So what better than to have her give an oral presentation about Family History that delves into timelines, history, and is an oral report?

What better for whom, you may ask, if you are smart and not me.

My daughter would have been perfectly happy doing an oral report about the Diary of a Wimpy Kid book she just read.  Or about insects.  Or anything other than family history, really.  So in the effort of making her life less hideous, I "helped" her all day today.  Printed out the graphics, did the layout, wrote out the speech, made the notecards.  She sat by me, but I took it over.   And then I got overwhelmed at how horrible I was today by doing that and so I panicked and left.  When I get home, we will deconstruct it and I will let her talk and do what she things.


That is all.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

52 Books in 52 Weeks

Photo from:

Stephanie Pitcher Fishman dared invited readers to a reading challenge to read a book a week. There are no page requirements or limits. Her "rules" work for me and I'm going to spend some time this weekend updating GoodReads (it's way old now...).

Like Stephanie, I usually have several books going at a time. Right now, I've got one on the iPad Kindle ap (Jennifer Campbell's Start and Run a Personal History Business), one on the bedside table (Stephen King's On Writing), two on the Kindle (Alice Munro's Dear Life and Thomas MacEntee's Pinning Your Family History), and one in my work bag (Kelly James Enger’s Writer for Hire).

I will make my 52 list and keep track on my GoodReads page, should you wish to follow!

Photo credit: Thomas Hawk from PhotoPin with 

Friday, January 10, 2014

Follow Friday: Lucas County and For Your Family Story

The first recommendation is for Frank Myers' Lucas Countian. My family spent a few generations in Lucas County, Iowa. Frank writes about the past, present, and future of the county. He brings it life for me and makes it the #1 place I'd like to visit.

The second recommendation is for Caroline Pointer's 4 Your Family Story. I love her daily Things You Need to Know.


Thursday, January 9, 2014

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Wordless Wednesday- Charles Albert Badgley

My grandfather, Charles Albert Badgley, Senior. 

From the Announcement at the Funeral:
In Loving Memory of
Date of Birth
August 19, 1907
Fresno, California
Date of Death
February 20, 2000
Sacramento, California
Funeral Services
Mount Vernon Mortuary, Church of the Valley
Thursday, February 24, 2000
2:00 P.M.
Services by
Tehama Lodge #3
Free and Accepted Masons

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Travel Tuesday- Dream Trip


I have started planning a fantasy trip to the Midwest.  It’s silly, I know, but if I were to win a trip anywhere in the world, I’d go to Russell, Iowa and Capa, South Dakota.  I think that because I don’t ask for Paris, I should get two small towns, don’t you?  I can work it in one trip, so they only need to fly me to Minneapolis (see how thoughtful I am?).

Here is my fantasy plan:

Fly into Minneapolis on a Wednesday.  See my Minnesota family and friends Wednesday night and then on Thursday drive to Chariton (it’s a 6-hour drive). Chariton is where I will stay for a few days (it’s close to Russell and where the library and courthouse are).  On Friday, I’ll visit the library and cemetery and just drive around, getting my bearings.  On Saturday, I’ll drive to Oskaloosa, What Cheer and Chillicothe, visiting the libraries and museums there.  On Sunday, I will visit Zero and, if they will have me, visit with my friends in Des Moines.  Monday I will spend in Russell walking the town and exploring.  Monday night will be the Lucas County Genealogical Society meeting, which I will attend.  Then Tuesday I will head to Minneapolis again and pick up Grampa (in my fantasy, Grampa flies out from Seattle to go with me to Capa).  I get Grampa and then we head to Midland where we have a hotel reservation.

We spend a few days in Midland while Grampa walks me through the ghost town of Capa.  We compare my working map with what he remembers this trip and make it more accurate.  I keep copious notes for the book about Capa that I will someday write.

We then head to Sheridan where Grampa can show me the work he did while in the CCCs.  Then to Lead and the other mining towns where Grandma’s family lived/lives.  We head back and I fly him home to Seattle and then come home myself.

I think it’s doable.  It’s my dream trip.  Pathetic, right?  But aside from pathetic… DOABLE!!!  It’s not really a “dream.”  It’s a to-do list for the future.