Monday, July 3, 2017

Treasuring Our Homes and Our Families

I have an article that recently resurfaced at a local establishment.  A friend of ours saw it, and took a picture of it.

I had no idea that it had been hanging there since Aug 2009!  

A number of people asked if I still had the original so they could get a better look at it.  So, here it is:

Treasuring Our Homes and Our Families
Peggy L. Lauritzen

I love my home and my family.

The world I grew up in doesn’t seem to exist anymore.  My father went to work and my mother stayed home.  Both were productive and were devoted to providing a place that I could feel safe in.  The black and white television shows didn’t need to be monitored by my parents, for they were safe.  Ward and June Cleaver took the time to teach their boys good morals, Lucy was still learning lessons from Ricky for not thinking things through, and Barney Fyffe was frantically trying to uphold the law while Sheriff Andy Taylor was calmly teaching the community and his boy, Opie how to get along with each other.

It’s difficult to find those elements today, both on television and in our own lives.   But, it can be done if we make our homes and our families our number one priority.

We have a solemn responsibility to love and care for our families.  The relationship we enter into as husband and wife is second only to the relationship we have with our God.  It requires nourishment.  It requires patience.  It requires putting that person above every other person on earth.  Second to that is the relationship we have with our children.  When each of our family members enters into their home, it should be a sanctuary and a refuge against everything else.

Growing up in Mansfield has proven to be a blessing.  As a youth, I moved to the bigger city of Akron, and eventually the suburbs of Washington, DC, where I met my husband.  They were exciting places to live and offered many artistic and cultural opportunities that enriched our lives.  But when our family started to come, we both knew we didn’t want to live in a large city.

We came back to my hometown.

It certainly had its challenges.  Early on, we decided that we would take the advice of wise ecclesiastical leaders and do whatever we could to keep mom at home.  As we grew into a family of six, it took great effort and working together to keep everyone fed and clothed on a single income.  There were even times I longed to go back to work to get some rest!

But, we did it.  We took advantage of every single opportunity that we could think of that would enrich our lives.  Farmer’s markets and pick-your-own fruits and vegetables helped us make ends meet when our attempts at a garden were not always successful.  Opportunities for stretching our imagination and learning existed in library programs and used book sales.  Watching fireworks and taking part in parades contributed to our patriotism.

On those rare days when all six of us were home together, we would drive short distances to see how people who seemed to come from a different era of time live their lives.  We breakfasted by a covered bridge and roasted day-old donuts on a campfire in the backyard while looking up and making shapes out of the clouds.  At night, we would marvel at the constellations that can be seen only when it is completely dark – something that one misses living in the city.

Now, those children are gone – mostly off to bigger cities.  But, they love reminiscing about home when we talk.  In many ways, they have tried to recreate those same simple times of their youth.

It’s just the two of us now.  We are best friends, for we nourished our relationship even while raising our four children.  We live in a different day than when we raised our children, and certainly different from the times we were raised in.  News comes to us daily of terrorism threats, violent weather, violence between people, and the degrading of moral values.  But, living in a tranquil area helps me to be able to handle bad news no matter where or who it comes from.   A wise man once said “the world sees peace as being without conflict or pain.  But, we can have peace amidst the conflict.” 

Our homes can be that place where we have peace.  As we practice love, faith, prayer, forgiveness, respect, compassion, service, and wholesome lives, we will find that we can have that haven of peace that others will look to and long to have.  Exercise those attributes with own selves first.  The feelings of being stressed and frantic will always be in front of us – but knowing we have peace in our homes can readily provide the sanctity we need.

Is this a Pollyanna dream?  Perhaps.  Can it be done?  It can.  We have the tools and the resources all around us.  If we have the desire, there are many ways to make these things happen.

Consider it.

Mansfield News Journal, about August 2009

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

A Different U.S.Census Record Set

Once again, I learned something I didn't know that I didn't know.

According to the FamilySearch Wiki (found here), the 1930 census was the first to include seamen on merchant vessels.  Census day was April 1st that year.  The information contained on the census sheet includes the following:

  • The name of the vessel.
  • The owner and address.
  • What port.
  • The name of the seaman.
  • The state or country of birth.
  • Are they a naturalized citizen or an alien.
  • His occupation.
  • If he is a veteran, and if so, what war.
  • Address of next of kin!!
There is also a searchable page indexed at Ancestry, (found here) and corresponds with NARA publication: M1932.

You may also find an index on FamilySearch.  (found here)

The following states were included in this record set.

Here are some images to help you see the results better.  Most of the records I looked at were typewritten, and some were handwritten.

So, if you have an ancestor who is missing on the regular census records for his family, it may be beneficial to see if he was actually a sailor or seaman.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Caring for the Aged

I was introduced to one of the neatest record sets at RootsTech 2017.

I have known Michael Benson for quite awhile.  He lived not far from me, and was one of the microfilmers over areas east of the Mississippi River.
Even with 30,000 people to wade through, we always manage to find each other.

Just as we were saying our goodbyes, he asked me what classes I had taught at RootsTech.  I told him that one of the classes was "Substitutes for Vital Records".  He then asked me if I had ever seen the Old Age Assistance Tax images.

My interest was piqued, and I asked him what they were.  Apparently, they were set in place just before Social Security began.

And, he had just finished filming a set in Iowa.
Look at the information on these cards!  Each one has space for:
1.  The full name of the applicant.
2.  The date and place of birth.
3.  The parents' name, including the mother's maiden name.

Oh, this is good.

Here is the bread crumb trail on how to find them.

Go to the FamilySearch Wiki and look under the state you're researching.  Pay close attention to the taxation links.

Notice that #2 references Old Age Assistance Records, 1934-1936.  There is a clickable link at the end of that line.

This is the landing page.

Here, you'll see a camera at the end of each line.  There are four collections, all alphabetized.

And, there you go!  Many, if not most of these individuals were born in the late 1800's -- before most states began keeping vital records.

So, check the FamilySearch Wiki to see if there are collections available for the states you are researching.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

This Land is My Land!

This evening I finished up teaching a series of classes at a local library that has been hosting me for just over twenty years.

I do believe I taught them something new -- and fun!

It's all about land.

The Bureau of Land Management has a terrific website, if you have ancestry in a state that used the township and range system.  Very few, if any, of my ancestors lived in such a state.  They were generally from states that used the metes and bounds system.  (Beginning at a black oak, hence 13 poles...)

Let me take you through the steps I showed the attendees this evening.

1.  First, you want to go to the BLM site.  Here is the link:

2.  I use Mr. Kerry's relatives as an example. so I began to fill in what I knew about his ancestor, Thomas Oakley.
Notice that I don't have much information other than his name and the county in Ohio.

3.  Soon, I had an image that showed his name, and the township and range numbers of his property.

4.  Under "Image", there is an indicator of a document, which I clicked.
Look at that!  I can download the Land Patent!

5.  And, if I go back to the home page, I can see who his neighbors were.

Thomas appears three names up from the bottom.

6.  Here comes the fun part!  

Open another window in your browser, and go to Earth Point.  Here is the address:

You will see the space in the center of the page where you are to fill in the Principal Meridian, Township, Range, and Section.  Those are items you can obtain from the BLM window that you still have open.

7.  Once you fill them in, tell it to "Go Fly..."

Is that the coolest thing ever?  

When I added a layer of roads to the image, I discovered that we drive past this area all the time.  Just last year, we decided to turn down one of the roads that surrounded the property.

We were looking at the land Thomas Oakley owned!

8.  GoogleEarth allowed us to see it from a street view, too.   It's more fun to actually visit the area, but this can be the next best thing.

By combining the sites of the Bureau of Land Management and EarthPoint, you can visit the land of your ancestors and see what they saw.

Go ahead and give it a try!  

Friday, March 24, 2017

The Faithful Two

Last Monday evening I had the opportunity to see the love of genealogy in action.

I also saw the dedication of an Ohio Genealogical Society trustee in action.

I happened to be talking with Sunda Peters at OGS on Monday afternoon, and she had mentioned how they are trying to help a struggling county genealogical society stay afloat.  She was driving to their meeting that very evening.  It was cold, it would be dark and a bit rainy, so I volunteered to go along with her.  Cheryl Abernathy would be meeting her there.

Sunda is past President of the Ohio Genealogical Society.
Cheryl is a trustee on the board.

Sunda picked me up, and we laughed and talked all the way to Mt. Vernon, Ohio.  We located the building and walked in to wait on Cheryl.

This is the beautiful big older home where the society meets.

Dick and Jim were already there and welcomed us right in.

Jim is on the right, and is the President and the Treasurer.  Dick is on the left, and proudly showed us their collection.  Each month, Jim draws up an agenda for their meeting.  They are the only two who attend.

I want you to look at the faces of Sunda and Cheryl as they listen intently to the problems these two men face in keeping the society alive.

Some of those problems include:
1.  Having an historical society and a genealogy room in the public library that appeals to people more than the tiny space they have.
2.  An out-of-state membership.
3.  An aging local membership, many of whom are in nursing homes or the cemetery.

Take a careful look at Ohio in 1810.  We had just become a state seven years earlier.  The red arrow points to where I now live in Richland County.  The parent county is Knox County, right where I was Monday evening.

It's an old county.  And, an important one.

Dick proudly showed me a photo album that had been left in a motel that ended up with them.  I thought of Maureen Taylor as I looked through the pages.  Here's a few for you to look at, too.

Look how thick it is!

Who are these people?  They were left behind in a motel, and no one seemed to notice.

Well, Dick noticed.  He turned the back of each photo over and noticed there were names on a few of them.  So, he traced them.

I learned many things that evening.  As we left to drive home in the rain, I felt profound respect for Dick and Jim and their efforts to keep a small, but important piece of Ohio's history alive.

I saw the relief on their faces as Sunda and Cheryl leaned in to listen to their concerns.  I don't know that I have seen a better example of officers, past and present, than what I did that evening.  A "tiger team" that will include other trustees will be assembled by Cheryl to meet again and help these men out.

And, once again, Peggy had another opportunity to learn.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

You know you want to go!!!

Come know you want it.

RootsTech 2017 begins in just over a month, and it's time to get some plans in motion.
Perhaps you will want to take advantage of some of the best "hands-on" opportunities in the genealogy world.
Perhaps you have a "one-of-a-kind" book that you would love to have scanned - for free.
Maybe you can spend a day or two in the Family History Library (love the missionary with the pointer.)
Or, the opportunity to meet some of your favorite bloggers.

Here is probably one of the final contests to help you win a free pass to RootsTech.  It includes:

■ Innovator Summit (Wednesday)
            over 200 classes
        ■    Keynotes
        ■    General sessions
        ■    RootsTech classes
        ■    Getting Started classes
        ■    Expo hall

        ■    Evening events 
This is a $299 value that you may win for free!  And, if you have already registered, your money will be refunded when you contact RootsTech to let them know.
Here is what you need to do:
  • Leave a comment on this blog telling me who you want to meet  or listen to at RootsTech, and what impact they may have had on you.
That's all there is to it!  I'll give you a hint:  I am dying to hear LeVar Burton.  His performance in Roots changed a nation by opening our eyes to what may have seemed impossible.

Find out more about the entire event at:

Let me know by Saturday evening by 11:59 pm EDT, and you may wake up finding some good news in your hands.

Come know you want it!

Disclaimer:  As an Ambassador for RootsTech, we are given the opportunity to offer one certificate for a complete registration.  I am thrilled to be able to offer this!

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Lessons from my six month sabbatical

It was over a year ago that I realized I was tired.

November 2015 found me looking back over the year and counting up the presentations and webinars I had done.  It amounted to 62 total speaking opportunities, and I was tired.  

I talked it over with Mr. Kerry, and told him I felt I should fulfill all of the commitments I had made through June 2016, but wouldn't accept any more throughout the rest of the year.

It was a wise decision.

I finished out at close to 30 by the end of June, and had a couple of more presentations in August and September, but I was officially done for the year.  I took the last half of the year off.

I needed some research time of my own.  

I needed some learning time of my own.

I needed to not wake up in a hotel wondering what city I was in.

And now, I am back!  I am refreshed and raring to go.  I am busy through mid-September, and have even booked presentations into 2018.

Let me tell you what I learned during these past six months:

1.  I learned that I miss gathering with my genealogy colleagues, whether they be attendees or other speakers.

2.  I learned that it is imperative that I continue to do my own research.  This usually involves a southern trip with my sisters, which includes a lot of laughing!
Sisters Betty, Fern, and me!

3.  I learned that it is extremely important that I continue to connect with the living.  I was born into an old family, so there aren't many of the older generation left.  I have moved into that position.  I recently sat and listened to my aunt teaching her great-granddaughter the old mountain gospel songs.  I could have listened to this torch being passed all day long.
Aunt Betty teaching gospel songs to great-granddaughter Skylan

4.  Though I was not actively teaching any classes, it remained important that I stay connected with the genealogy community -- mostly through Facebook and other social media.

5.  Continuing my own education was vital, and I'm an active learner.  Every opportunity I have to listen in on a class or webinar is another opportunity for growth.

6.  Though I have 35 presentations that are ready to go on a moment's notice (I have filled in for people that couldn't present at the last moment, so I'm glad I have them.), plus about 8 more that are in process.  I spent these past six months updating and tweaking these presentations and the accompanying syllabi.

7.  I began to review some of my older presentations that have been video or audio taped, so that I could critique what I sound and look like.  For those of you who know me well, this is a really big deal, for I can't stand to watch or hear myself.  But, I felt I must do it so that people who are paying to hear me will not feel their money has been wasted.

8.  I found some much-needed spare time that I didn't do a darn thing.  This is when I replenished myself.  I read, I studied.  I did some self-reflecting.  I attended two funerals, which I would not have been able to do if I had accepted two speaking invitations.

9.  I worked on my much-neglected personal history.

10.  I began to prepare for 2017..

These are a few of the things I have not been able to while always being on-the-go.  And, it's not that I dislike what I do.  I love what I do!  But, I had reached a point where I needed to scale back.

So, in a few short weeks, I will be headed to Salt Lake City for RootsTech 2017, followed by a quick trip to Orlando, followed by another trip to...

I have taken care of me.

And, sometimes life pulls us up short.  I was mowing this past August when I had a tractor accident.  I got stuck on a root. Actually, it was a root and a rock.  I shut everything down and managed to unloose the tractor, only to have it begin to roll and take me with it.  Part of my leg was bruised pretty badly, my arm was torn up, and I fell really hard -- straight down.

Things began to heal, but one area was becoming increasingly worse.  It resulted in having surgery, followed by some pretty limited recuperation.

It was a relief to not have to worry about rearranging a myriad of engagements while taking care of my own self.

So, lessons learned...

*Sometimes, you might feel prompted to do some scaling back.  Listen to that prompting.

*Continue to read and educate yourself.

*Never stop learning.