Tuesday, October 21, 2014

At Home in a Cemetery
I have always felt at home in a cemetery. 

I was in cemeteries before I was born.  My parents took me to cemeteries when they were doing indexing for the Ohio Genealogical Society.  While all of my friends were in movie theaters and on the beach on Sunday afternoon, I was in a cemetery with my parents.

I was born into an older family and everyone was dying when I was young, I went to funerals and cemeteries.  I feel quite at home in a cemetery, thinking of the many times a family has paid their last respects to a loved one.

I've also had some interesting experiences in cemeteries.  Two stand out.

I must have been about 12 or 13 years old.  It was Sunday afternoon, and we were off to another cemetery.  I had talked my best friend, Palm Tree (Alice) into going.  One of mom and dad's friends, Brother Steele (who never spoke) also came along.

Mom wore a wig.

We were all in various corners, with Alice and I hanging together writing on our index cards.  Mom was down on her knees pulling weeds from a tombstone that had sunken into the ground.  The information she needed was below the level of the grass and the ground, so she had a job to do. 

Then, she came face to face with a snake!

She jumped up and started doing this warhoop thing that mortified Alice and I.  I was SO embarrassed.  Dad saw what was going on and came running across the grass with a stiff wire brush.  (Never, ever use those now!!)  He saw the snake and started beating it like that Fat Broad in the comic strip B.C.      But, the ends of those bristles are extremely sharp, and during the first strike, the snake got stuck in the bristles.  When he saw what had happened, he slung the snake straight up in the air.

That's when my mother looked up and saw the snake coming straight down for her, head over tail.

Mom ran out from under her wig.

Alice and I just wagged our heads.  Brother Steele was trying to hold his face together to keep from laughing.  I wanted to tell him to just go ahead and bust out and laugh, but I didn't.  Oh, well.

The second incident directly involves me.

I had a broken foot once again.  I was heavy.  I was unstable.  I was in a cemetery.

Ferne and Betty and I were in a Kentucky cemetery, which could be anywhere - soggy bottomland, mountains, backwoods properties, high grass, old stones, etc.  You name it - we've been there.

We were looking through a familiar cemetery once again to make sure we had all stones recorded.  The three of us were scattered around, with me over closest to the top ridge of the burying ground.  It was high up on a hill.  (People were buried high up so the floods wouldn't get the graves saturated)

I was copying the information from a tombstone that looked a little bit like the Washington Monument.  It was on the crest of the hill, and there were names on all four sides.  I kept wondering if these people were buried in a pinwheel.

I had a walking cast on that looked like a "moon boot".  It was solid and didn't bend much.  As I'm walking around all four sides of the tombstone, I hung on to it to keep my balance.  Suddenly, it toppled.  I grabbed on to it so it wouldn't break further, and cradled it in my arms.  I also lost my footing, fell, and began rolling down the side of the hill - hollering the whole time.  A true genealogist.

My sisters heard me, but couldn't see me.  When they finally saw where I had landed, they stood on the hill above me, dumbfounded.  The first thing out of Betty's mouth was, "Good night!  Is the tombstone alright?"

Yeah.  It was alright.  So was I, in case anyone was wondering...

Sunday, September 21, 2014

For the Strength of Our Youth

I have worked with some fantastic youth for the past several weeks.  They have been in and around central Ohio, most are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and they are phenomenal!

Let me tell you about yesterday.  I spent the day in Reynoldsburg, a suburb of Columbus.  The youth leaders had been planning a "Beehive Bash", and wanted to know if I would come and talk to the girls.

Sometimes I say no to things, but I rarely say no to working with young people.  They need our encouragement and trust, and need to know how valuable they are.  In turn, we need them.

The moment I got there, I was taken away into another realm.  There were about 40 girls between the ages of 12-13.  There were various "stations" where the girls would go to learn family history facts:
These four women represented ladies from the early 1900's and late 1800's.  They would tell stories to the girls, the girls would listen for clues, and then they would interview the women.

The girls loved being on the computers in the Family History Center.  Their minds and fingers are quick and sharp.

They made crafts commemorating this day.  This dog tag would eventually become a beautiful piece of jewelry.
 I was really impressed with the attentiveness of these young girls.  
 They called the girls "Superheroes".  They even gave me a cape!

 Books from the local library were on hand to inspire the girls to learn.

 They even had a cemetery set up as you walked in the door.  There were clues on several of the graves.  It's amazing what you can buy at the Dollar Store and the Halloween Store.

 Of course, you have to have food.  Mr. Kerry made a wonderful banana split.
And, it finished up with me.  I don't know how had more fun - them or me!

I especially wanted the girls to know how proud I was of them.  On a beautiful Saturday morning, they chose to do what none of their friends were doing.  They chose to learn about how to better research their own families.

And, today at Church, I nearly repeated the same presentation to the girls I see each week.  

I'm happy to be working with the young people of today.  Someday, they will be taking our places.  Someday, they will be the moms and the grandmas we talked about.

God bless the youth!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

She saved me so much time and money!

I had to really give this one some thought.

Gilbert Stephens was an ancestor of mine who fought in the Revolutionary War.  He served from Virginia, later moving his family to Morgan County, Kentucky.

Years ago, I sent for his pension file from the National Archives.  It was a large one, costing a total of $72!  The day it arrived was indeed a happy one.  And, nothing else got done in my house for several days as I read through it.

Gilbert was entitled to bounty land for his service in the Revolutionary War.  We were a country that was cash poor, but land rich.  The last years of his life was spent trying to secure the necessary proof needed for his land.

Then, he died.  Wife Nancy Osborn Stephens was left to continue on with the quest.  And, this quest went on for years.

She spent those years trying to produce the needed proof of her marriage to Gilbert.  Many, many documents are included in the pension file that attest to witnesses having known them all of their married life, and that they were indeed married.

It wasn't good enough.

Even their sons wrote that their parents were indeed married.

That wasn't good enough.

Nancy asked a man to go back to Virginia to see if anyone was alive that could remember the wedding, which took place at Thomas Leadingham's home, where she was a servant.

The man went, but died when he was there.  

One of the final pages in the pension file indicates the following:

Nancy states that after years of trying to prove she was indeed married to Gilbert Stephens, "she expects she will not be able to produce any public record of her marriage".

This absolutely touched my heart.  She was 88 years old and couldn't remember if she was married in 1796 or 1797.  Dozens of friends and relatives stated their knowledge of Gilbert and Nancy being husband and wife, including her own brother, Jesse.

But, none of it was good enough.

In the end, she actually was given the bounty land due to her and Gilbert.  

She died a very short time later.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

May I have the envelope, please?

We have a winner!

Pat Klemann Heywood, of Panguitch, Utah is the winner of a brand new Flip-Pal!

Congratulations are in order to Pat, for I know she will find this a valuable tool in preserving precious memories.

Pat has been notified, and her Flip-Pal unit will be off to her in a flash.

I would like to thank Bob and Diane from Flip-Pal for inviting me to host this giveaway.  They work for an amazing company, and it is an honor to work with them as an Ambassador for the Grandparents Community.  You may follow the blog at:  http://flip-pal.com/category/grandparents/

And, most of all, a heartfelt thanks to each of you who participated.  I loved the comments you left both on the blog and on Facebook.

Disclaimer:  The winner was chosen by Rafflecopter.  I was notified early this morning, and I had no say-so in selecting the winner.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Midnight EST will soon be here...

It's cold.

It's dark.  

It will be cold and dark for a few more months.

What can you do during these long winter month?

Here's your answer!

The winner will be announced tomorrow.

Come on!  You know you want it!!

Follow the prompts on the widget to the right, and it will guide you through the entry process.  

And, for lots of wonderful ideas on what a great product Flip-Pal is, check out the following:

Disclaimer:  Flip-Pal is sponsoring this contest, and the winner will be chosen by RaffleCopter.  I purchased my own unit several years ago, and am an Ambassador for the Grandparents Community:  http://flip-pal.com/category/grandparents/

Monday, December 16, 2013

It's almost over! Perhaps these photos will help you decide...

Tomorrow will be the final day to enter the Flip-Pal Giveaway.

Let me tell you a true story that happened in our family.  A horrible house fire swept through my father's home just a year and a half after my mother passed away.  As we later went through the ashes, we found that the only things that were saved were:

1.  Most all of the genealogy and family history records.

2.  A good many of the photo albums, but not all.

3.  His underwear.

The photos were in magnetic photo albums that were popular at the time.  We now know they are not the best way to house our precious pictures.  However, my sisters and I recently went through those albums and attempted to reconstruct what we found.

 This is a photo of my dad's brother, Charles Clemens, that was rescued from the fire in 1985.  You can see the damage from both fire and water.
 After scanning it with Flip-Pal, I was able to crop it and keep the best part visible.  I will later attempt to restore it to a better image.  This is the only photo I have of Uncle Charles.
 A scan of another one of my dad's brothers, Dewey Clemens and his wife, Edna Gilliam.  The photo was not as bad as others.
 The same photo that has been sharpened and cleaned up a bit.
My father's oldest brother, George Russell Clemens.  I have not done anything with this photo yet.  It was in bad condition even before the fire.  But, at least I have the image.
 A very tiny photo of my dad that was about the size of a quarter.  It was so little that it almost was lost.

 These last two are of my dad when he served at Pearl Harbor during WWII. I don't know that I'll make any effort to restore them, for they fine for me in this condition.  I'm just glad they were preserved.

Even though a fire destroyed only some of our precious memories 28 year years ago, others are not so lucky.  We have all seen the devastation from catastrophic events around the globe.  Our hearts have been touched as victims have searched for any memento they can find.

Please don't let the same thing happen to you.

Go ahead!  Enter!!

Follow the prompts on the widget to the right, and it will guide you through the entry process.  

And, for lots of wonderful ideas on what a great product Flip-Pal is, check out the following:

Disclaimer:  Flip-Pal is sponsoring this contest, and the winner will be chosen by RaffleCopter.  I purchased my own unit several years ago, and am an Ambassador for the Grandparents Community:  http://flip-pal.com/category/grandparents/

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Halfway there!

We are halfway through the Giveaway!!!

A few years ago, I was intrigued at the number of people watching a demonstration at a genealogy conference.  I had to know what was going on.

Though I have no memory of the name of the person demonstrating, I was astounded at what he was doing.  The crowd was pressing forward, wanting to see more.  I'm short, so I pressed forward, too!

He was operating this little device, all while talking to the crowd.  He could do it without looking at what he was doing.  He scanned photo after photo, documents, medals, and newspaper clippings.

But, the most fascinating of the demonstrations involved an older framed picture that was probably three feet long and perhaps eight inches high.  Using the "stitching" technique, he scanned segments of the photo through the glass, uploaded it onto his laptop computer, and allowed the stitching to duplicate the framed photo.

I was astounded!

I did not purchase my Flip-Pal at that time, although I wish that I had.  I continue to see different people demonstrate it at different venues.  But, I just couldn't justify buying it for myself.

Three years ago I attended a Family History Expo in Sandy, Utah.  I skipped one of the classes to to spend time in the Expo Hall.  I found the Flip-Pal booth and was delightfully given one-on-one time with the seller.  I had to make sure this was something I could do.

Needless to say, I walked out of the Expo Hall with my very own Flip-Pal.  It was a long drive from Utah to Ohio, but within moments I was scanning anything I could find in the car.

Now, I scan away on any trip we're on.  I scan mindlessly while watching television.  Just like you, I have hundreds, if not thousands of photos from a lifetime of being part of a family.

My only regret is that I had not purchased it sooner.

Come on!  Enter!  You have until Tuesday night at midnight, EST.

 A scan from my mother's journal.  She drew a picture of her first wood stove for cooking.
 A larger image of the scan.
One of the photos of my mom, done while I was just sitting on the couch watching television.

Follow the prompts on the widget to the right, and it will guide you through the entry process.  

And, for lots of wonderful ideas on what a great product Flip-Pal is, check out the following:

Disclaimer:  Flip-Pal is sponsoring this contest, and the winner will be chosen by RaffleCopter.  I purchased my own unit several years ago, and am an Ambassador for the Grandparents Community:  http://flip-pal.com/category/grandparents/