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My Non-Royal Birth Announcement

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Photo by Drow male. Used under CC license.

Photo by Drow male. Used under CC license.

Recently, Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, gave birth to a daughter. (The baby is still unnamed as of this writing. My money is on Elphaba. Then again, I also picked War Story to win the Kentucky Derby…)

The baby’s birth was announced with all of the pomp and circumstance that one might expect with a royal birth.

Though I don’t quite understand the fascination that some people have with the royal family, I’d like it to be known that it isn’t just royals who make public birth announcements.

Here is a photo of my dad’s Texaco station, shortly after I was born:

texaco-birth-announcement

Personally, I think this is a lot cooler than a notice on an easel in front of a palace.

I scanned this from the original slide that my dad took. You know how we as genealogists are supposed to glean all the information we can from a source? Well, this proves that I am younger than color photography :-)

52 Ancestors Challenge 2015: Week 17 Recap

Posted in 52 Ancestors Challenge on by .

52ancestors-2015-17It’s hard to believe that 2015 is 33% complete. (Which means that the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge is 33% complete!)

Some of the posts that stood out to me this week included:

My post this week was about my great-uncle (“grand-uncle,” if you prefer) Harold Young and his invisible wheelchair.

Your Turn

Who did you write about this past week? Leave a comment with a link to your post and a little bit about the ancestor. We’d love to read it!

week17-prosper

Upcoming Optional Themes:

  • Week 18 (Apr 30 – May 6) – Where There’s a Will
  • Week 19 )May 7-13) – There’s a Way
  • Week 20 (May 14-20) – Black Sheep
  • Week 21 (May 21-27) – Military
  • Week 22 (May 28 – June 3) – Commencement

The May themes post has some suggestions on how you might think about the themes. Remember, the optional weekly themes are just that — optional. Feel free to use them or not! The point of 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks isn’t to follow the themes. The point is to write more about our ancestors. What you write about is up to you!

Uncle Harold and the Invisible Wheelchair (52 Ancestors #17)

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Harold Young was many things. Son. Brother. Husband. Father. Railroad worker. Wheelchair user.

He was my grandmother’s brother. As muscular dystrophy took a toll on his body, Uncle Harold eventually became confined to a wheelchair. Sometime after Grandpa died, Uncle Harold moved in with Grandma. In many ways, I think that caring for her younger brother gave her a sense of purpose.

I don’t remember Uncle Harold not in a wheelchair. For some reason, however, I wasn’t scared of it. Maybe it’s because it’s the only way I knew him, so it didn’t seem unusual. Maybe I was fascinated with the apparatuses that he used, including a hydraulic lift that Grandma used to move him from his wheelchair and into bed. But there’s something else that probably explains why I wasn’t scared of Uncle Harold or his wheelchair:

diceYahtzee.

Uncle Harold loved to play games of all sorts. He played a mean game of Yahtzee. Think your set of 5s is going to rule the day? Hardly. He could roll 6s like you wouldn’t believe. Going to Grandma’s and playing with Uncle Harold was always a treat.

Uncle Harold died 11 August 1979 and is buried at St. Joseph Cemetery in Columbus, along with his wife Anne and his son Tommy, who was killed by a drunk driver in 1960.

Harold Young (seated) with his sister Adah (Young) Johnson and his son David. 1972.

Harold Young (seated) with his sister Adah (Young) Johnson and his son David. 1972.

Genealogy Note

All of the cousins called him “Uncle” Harold, rather than “Great-Uncle” or “Grand-Uncle.” Keep that in mind when you’re sorting out relationships in your own family. When someone refers to Uncle so-and-so or Aunt such-and-so, it might be another relationship.

52 Ancestors Challenge 2015: Week 16 Recap

Posted in 52 Ancestors Challenge on by .

52ancestors-2015-1652 Ancestors (2015 version) is Sweet 16 this week. (It better not be expecting a car.)

The optional theme this week was “Live Long.” As you might expect, there were quite a few posts about ancestors who lived a long, looonnnnggg time. Celia Lewis at Twigs and Trees wrote about Harriett Ormsbee, who lived to 102 and left a wonderful family photo. Mary at Ancestors I Wish I Knew told about her great-grandmother Maria Huelster Eitlbach, who not only lived a long life, but covered a long distance. Brenna G. at Green Family Archives wrote about the Lathams, a group of long-lived relatives.

I wrote about Peter Kingery, my longest-lived ancestor. It is amazing to consider everything he saw.

Your Turn

Who did you write about this week? Leave a comment below with a bit about the ancestor and a link to your post. Looking forward to reading your posts!

week16-twitter

Upcoming Optional Themes:

Remember, the optional weekly themes are just that — optional. Feel free to use them or not! The point of 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks isn’t to follow the themes. The point is to write more about our ancestors. What you write about is up to you!

Oldest Man in the County: Peter Kingery (52 Ancestors #16)

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There’s a cool thing about genealogy. Even when you have an ancestor who you discovered early on, you can still learn something new about them. Such is the case with Peter Kingery, my 4th-great-grandfather.

The theme for 52 Ancestors this week is “Live Long,” which made me curious about the oldest ancestor in my line, something I hadn’t explored before. Of those with birth and death dates that I’ve documented, it’s Peter Kingery. He died 16 May 1872 in Lawrence County, Ohio. So how old was ol’ Pete when he died?

Peter Kingery death record, Lawrence County, Ohio death record, volume 1.  Viewed on FamilySearch.org.

Peter Kingery death record, Lawrence County, Ohio death record, volume 1. Viewed on FamilySearch.org.

102 years, 2 months, 1 day.

Consider that for a moment. Peter Kingery was born before the American Revolution and died after the Civil War. Think of all of the history he saw, the history that he lived through.

His death notice in the Ironton Register described him as “…doubtless, the oldest person in the county.” And with that age came a lot of history.

52 Ancestors Challenge 2015: Week 15 Recap

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52ancestors-2015-15The optional theme this week was “How Do You Spell That?” There was no shortage of usual and hard-to-spell names!

Cheryl Biermann Hartley of My Search for the Past documented the numerous names assigned to her great-great-grandmother, all of which are hard to spell. Elizabeth Handler of From Maine to Kentucky raises a good point about variant spellings being a clue as to how the family pronounced the name.

I’ve long been a fan of Roberta Estes and her blog, DNAeXplained – Genetic Genealogy. Last week, Roberta wrote “Luremia Combs (c1740-c1820) and the Revolution on Her Doorstep (52 Ancestors #67).” I enjoyed reading not only about Luremia, but also Roberta’s research process. I think many of us will understand why Roberta said she was drawn like a moth to a flame to her ancestor’s land!

My 52 Ancestors post this week was about Laurestine U. Dinsmoor Debolt, sister-in-law to my 3rd-great-grandmother Matilda Debolt Skinner Crossen Brown McFillen. I’m guessing that Laurestine had to spell her name for people more than once in her life!

It’s Your Turn

Who did you write about last week? Leave a link to the post, along with the name and a little bit about the ancestor, in the comment below. While you’re here, take a look at the posts from Week 14. There are a lot of fun posts, including ones who followed the optional theme of “Favorite Photo.”

week15-twitter

Upcoming Optional Themes:

  • Week 16 (Apr 16 – 22) – Live Long
  • Week 17 (Apr 23 – 29) – Prosper
  • May themes

Remember, the optional weekly themes are just that — optional. Feel free to use them or not! The point of 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks isn’t to follow the themes. The point is to write more about our ancestors. What you write about is up to you!

How Do You Spell That? Laurestine Dinsmoor Debolt (52 Ancestors #15)

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Hello-my-name-isNames go in and out of fashion. When I was in kindergarten, there were 3 Amys; we all sat together and drove the teacher crazy. But Amy isn’t a name you hear very often with children today. By the same token, I didn’t go to school with any Brittanys, Morgans, or Madisons.

Then there are names that have never been popular. Names like Calista and Esmerelda…. and this one from my family tree: Laurestine.

Laurestine U. Dinsmoor. (I don’t know what the U. stands for.) Seems like she got the short end of the stick when it came to names. Think of all of the possible ways to spell either name (and pronounce them, for that matter). Laurestine was born in Canada. Depending on the source, she was born in 1843, 1846, or 1853. (At least all of the records seem to agree that she was born in Canada.)

She became the second wife of Rezin (or Reason) Debolt on 12 October 1869 in Linn County, Missouri.1)Missouri, Marriages, 1750-1920,” index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:V28G-KJ1 : accessed 15 April 2015), R. A. Debolt and Laurastine U. Dinsmoor, 12 Oct 1869; citing Linn, Missouri; FHL microfilm 1,009,871.

By 1870, Laurestine, Rezin, and Rezin’s children were living in Grundy County, Missouri.2)Rezin Debolt household, 1870 Federal census, Trenton Twp., Grundy Co., Missouri, p. 373, nos. 120/120.

Obituary of Laurestine Dinsmoor Debolt

San Bernardino County Sun, 7 January 1933, p. 12, Newspapers.com.

Despite what her Find A Grave memorial and several online trees say, she died in Los Angeles County, California on 31 December 1932.3)California, Death Index, 1905-1939, Ancestry.com. Digitized image of the California Death Index. (Find A Grave and the trees have her death date as 5 January 1933. My suspicion is the January date is her date of burial.)

Laurestine’s husband, Rezin/Reason Debolt, was the brother of my 3rd-great-grandmother Matilda Debolt Skinner Crossen Brown McFillen.

References   [ + ]

1. Missouri, Marriages, 1750-1920,” index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:V28G-KJ1 : accessed 15 April 2015), R. A. Debolt and Laurastine U. Dinsmoor, 12 Oct 1869; citing Linn, Missouri; FHL microfilm 1,009,871.
2. Rezin Debolt household, 1870 Federal census, Trenton Twp., Grundy Co., Missouri, p. 373, nos. 120/120.
3. California, Death Index, 1905-1939, Ancestry.com. Digitized image of the California Death Index.

May 2015 Themes for 52 Ancestors

Posted in 52 Ancestors Challenge on by .

It’s hard to believe that in a few days we will begin the 5th month of the year. Is anyone else astonished how quickly this year is going?

For those of you who like to work ahead a little bit, here are the optional weekly themes for May 2015:

themes-2015-05

Week 18 (April 30 – May 6) – Where There’s a Will: Do you have an ancestor who left an interesting will? Have you used a will to solve a problem? Or, what ancestor showed a lot of will in his or her actions?

Week 19 (May 7-13) – There’s a Way: What ancestor found a way out of a sticky situation? You might also think of this in terms of transportation or migration.

Week 20 (May 14-20) – Black Sheep: Each of us has an ancestor who was the troublemaker or the ne’er-do-well. This is their week.

Week 21 (May 21-27) – Military: This week, the United States will be observing Memorial Day. Do you have any military ancestors? Were any ancestors affected by the military or by war?

Week 22 (May 28 – June 3) – Commencement: Countless schools will be having their commencement ceremonies around this time. Think not only about school, but also about commencement meaning “a beginning.”

The weekly recaps will be posted on Thursdays; you can add your links to those posts when it’s time. I look forward to seeing your posts!

52 Ancestors Challenge 2015: Week 14 Recap

Posted in 52 Ancestors Challenge on by .

52ancestors-2015-14Hard to believe we’re in Week 14 already!

With the week’s optional theme being “Favorite Photo,” I knew it would be an even more interesting week than usual. (And that’s saying something!)

Melody Lassalle of The Research Journal shared a photo of the 8 Pacheco brothers, taken circa 1905 in Kauai, Hawaii. (By the way, Melody, you weren’t the only one to ask how you were supposed to pick only one!) Amy Wood Kelly of Shaking My Family Tree showed Molsie Jane Talbert Litaker and gave a brief history of tintypes. Brenna G. of Green Family Archives posted a really cool photo of the Twin Doctors Green — neat photo from med school!

My contribution this week (also combining with Week 13, with a passing reference to her husband), was my great-grandmother Clara (Mason) Young: “Great-Grandma Young Wasn’t Always Old.” It’s one of my favorite photos, and it also got me to think about how our mind’s eye can warp our perceptions of people.

It’s Your Turn

Leave a comment with a link to your 52 Ancestors post from this week, along with the ancestor’s name and maybe a bit of context. Also take a look at the entries from Week 13. There are a lot of “different” posts there!

week14-twitter

Upcoming Themes:

  • Week 15 (Apr 9 – 15) – How Do You Spell That?
  • Week 16 (Apr 16 – 22) – Live Long
  • Week 17 (Apr 23 – 29) – Prosper

The April themes post has ideas for ways you might think about the optional weekly themes. The optional themes for May will be posted on April 15. (It’s definitely more fun than Tax Day!)

Great-Grandma Young Wasn’t Always Old (52 Ancestors 13 and 14)

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The mind’s eye can be like a funhouse mirror. You know that there’s a “normal” person standing there, but the reflection is twisted and turned into something not quite real. So it was in my mind’s eye with my great-grandmother Clara (Mason) Young.

Great-grandma Clara (Mason) Young and me. Photo taken in my grandparents' (Stanley and Adah Young Johnson) back yard.

Great-grandma Clara (Mason) Young and me. Photo taken in my grandparents’ (Stanley and Adah Young Johnson) back yard.

My family doesn’t have many ancestral photos. We’re pretty thin in that department until the 1960s when my dad started taking slides and Polaroids. Though I met Grandma Young, I don’t remember her; she died when I was 3. Growing up, there were lots of photos of her. In all of them, she was an old woman with thinning white hair who wore simple dresses. She was usually sitting and often surrounded by her great-grandchildren.

My young brain tried to fill in the gaps and used the information at hand. Great-grandmother + white hair + frail = OLD. When thinking of Grandma Young, my mind’s eye would fill her in as an old woman.

But there’s another photo of Grandma Young, one that sits on a shelf behind my desk. It’s from around 1903, when she married my great-grandfather Robert Young. In this photo, she is anything but old.

Clara (Mason) and Robert Andrew Young. We believe this photo was taken around the time of their wedding in 1903.

Clara (Mason) and Robert Andrew Young. We believe this photo was taken around the time of their wedding in 1903.

Instead of a simple house dress, she’s wearing something stylish. She has a bow in her hair and a brooch on her blouse, Her eyes are big; her hair is thick. She looks determined, yet gentle.

She hadn’t yet experienced the birth of any of her 10 children… nor the loss of a 2-year-old son. She hadn’t yet seen her home swept away in the great flood of 1913. She hadn’t yet moved from town to town as her husband looked for work.

The mind’s eye can play tricks on us. It’s good to get a different view to get a clearer picture.