Category Archives: Genealogy Hoarding

Organizing my Chaos: Part 1

So here we go, I’m starting to actually get serious about this genealogy thing. I recently purchased a copy of Elyse Doerflinger‘s ebook, Organizing the Paper Monster Once and For All. Since I’m the queen of oversharing, I decided why not chronicle my attempts on this here blog. Obviously I can’t keep talking about what a mess the Mays family makes me (At least not everyday). So now that I’ve got the holidays behind me and a new outlook on my life, why not just plunge in!

One of the first things Elyse tells us is to admit we have a problem. No matter how big or small our paper monster is. Trust me that’s not going to be a problem. I HAVE A PROBLEM. A BIG ONE!

The photo boxes are under my desk. BIG PROBLEM. The new file crates are my paper problems. ANOTHER BIG PROBLEM. I think I’ve decided I don’t like having the hanging file folders, though they are easy access. Luckily I filched them from my family’s office supply stash. Now I won’t feel bad about wasting money on a ton of file folders. The only loss of money would be the crates I got at WalMart during Back to School sales, so really I didn’t lose much on the deal because I’ll find another use for those.

Another step is to establish how you think of your ancestors. That is easy for me. Everything I have is divided into two sections, my father’s Moore side and my mother’s Mays side. So I would like my records to be divided in that way also.

The next step is to start sorting. That’ll have to wait for now. I’m going to have to do some more planning. Like where these organized papers are going to go. In the meantime, I have a confession to make. On September 26th, I posted about a replica Ellis Island that I got at a clearance sale. It was my hope that having a little inspiration would keep me concentrated and keep the clutter off that part of my desk.

I’m sorry to say that I failed. Oops!

Veterans Day: Ralph Leonard

Do you guys remember when I started this blog nine months (!) ago, and I said I was imposing a full disclosure policy. Here’s where it comes into play again. My original plan was to make a list of my military ancestors for Veterans Day. I hoped to have a list of people that served. I have a ton of Draft cards but a lot of those guys didn’t serve from what I can tell. So I was hoping to have a nice list of servicemen and women to eventually gather records for. That didn’t exactly happen.

Ralph H Leonard

I got distracted, like I often do. I opened PhotoShop to edit the above picture for this very blog post. I was going to use it to anchor the post. Make it pop. Then I got distracted, again. Yesterday I posted about my Marine family history so I had Marines on the brain. That’s when I noticed the emblem on Ralph’s hat. Could he be a Marine? How cool would that be?

So naturally I went to my first stop for all things military. I emailed my Dad. While I was waiting to see if he had any ideas, I had a thought. I was just at Prospect Hill Cemetery. Maybe he was one of the graves I photographed and I didn’t put two and two together. Since I was on my laptop, I just went to Find a Grave where I had uploaded all my graveyard photos anyway. Bingo! I was thinking that he was in the Marines because of the emblem but his gravestone clearly said WWI USNRF which translates to Navy Reserve Force. Right about the time I figured this out I got a response from my father:

It looks to me to be an early 1900’s naval officer probably ww1 time frame. By the insignia on his cap I would think he would have been attached a Marine outfit.

Oh dear, he’s going to be so proud of himself for this! Now you know why I go to him for all things military! So now I know that Ralph was in the Navy and served in WWI. The only problem is I don’t have a WWI Draft Card for Ralph. I have one for his older brother but not him. So I’m going to have to assume he was already in the service when WWI came around. I do know that Ralph was trained in Aviation by 1930, so maybe he got military aviation training? I don’t know.

This is the part of genealogy I love. Just when you think you’ve found out everything about someone, you find a little nugget that opens it all up again.

Ralph Leonard Links:

It Suckered Us All In

As I was writing up yesterday’s Mystery Monday post, I was reminded of the single, most consuming mystery I’ve ever had. It started when I first started going through the boxes of treasures/photographs/papers. When I first started scanning the photographs into my computer, I just labeled them UnknownMooreThorward-01 and so on. Funny enough, years after solving this mystery and they’re still named that.

Mystery Photo #1

This is the photo that launched the hours, months, years of frustration. Okay, so I’m exaggerating a tiny bit. It did take me years to solve this though. I would pick it up every few months and try again. I don’t know why I was so struck by this picture. I was just so curious about this building.

At one of our reunions, I brought the picture up on my laptop and asked around. Many members of my family chimed in. No one really knew where it was though. We dissected it many times. We were analyzing the routes that the cars were taking. My father thought he saw a crane in the back and chimed in that it was probably a temporary structure. I scoffed at that! Who would tear that kind of building down! That was nonsense!

Mystery Photo #2

A few months later I stumbled upon this photograph among the others. This one doesn’t show the structure very well, but it gives a bit more detail among the pillars. This one was taken on a different day I think. Here you can see something draped between the pillars and you can see what looks like balloons!

This set our family on all new tangents. My Aunt even showed the picture to some of her customers and got their input. We researched everything from European architecture to the Sesqui-centennial celebration of 1926 in Philadelphia. I went so far as to order a program on eBay from the event and even emailed the Boston Historic Society! No stone was unturned. Then one day I found a genealogy community online. I decided why not see what happens and I posted the first picture. In a twist of fate that is very common to me, someone posted back within a few hours!

This may sound silly and redundant, but have you checked out Victory Arches?



Silly me, I didn’t even know what a victory arch was! So I quickly put my Google-fu to the test! Here’s a simple Google Image search of Victory Arches. Holy canoli, I was back on track!


I was eventually led to an expired eBay auction for this item. In fact, if you search for it today, there are even more images now! It turns out my structure was an Arch of Victory that was erected to welcome the troops home from WWI.

Arch of Victory at Madison Square, New York City, with men of the Twenty-seventh (New York) Division marching in a victory parade that was witnessed by hundreds of thousands of cheering spectators. The city turned out in masse to do them honor, and they received a tremendous ovation along the line of march. The avenue was packed from buildings to curbs.

This is why I love the internet. It took two years, and many hours of research for this huge family mystery to be solved by one poster on an internet message board. We spent many a hour at reunions discussing what this structure could be. My Dad always maintained that it was probably temporary. Well, you can bet he had bragging rights for a long time on this one!

Google Street View

It’s funny how different the street looks today, yet it still looks the same. I don’t know if you can tell from the size of the images but the buildings from the original photograph seem to all still be standing and look almost exactly the same!

I love to torture myself now. Sure one mystery was solved but that leads to more questions! Was my family in the hundreds of thousands of people welcoming the troops home? Were any of my relatives one of the troops being welcomed home? Gosh I love a good story!

Alternative Methods

I like to keep things honest on this blog. So I have to tell you, I haven’t touched my genealogy since at least Sunday. I did index some records for FamilySearch during Glee this week, but that was about all I did in the genealogical sense. I also haven’t gotten any further on getting my WordPress design done. I’m about to the point where I’m going to have to call relatives for a bit of a pep talk. Low self confidence never helps these situations. I’ve been putting it off way too long!

I did have a comment on my last entry that was caught in my SPAM filter. I have both Akismet and a CAPTCHA image running though so it might not be SPAM. The poster said they were trying to view my blog on an iPad and it wasn’t working. So if any technology advanced people who have an iPad can let me know if this is a problem, I’ll try and fix it with the new design! It could just be that the iPad is like all those web browsers, it just doesn’t display proper coding like it should. Firefox and Opera are the only browsers I’ve seen that are most consistent when it comes to displaying code properly.

That’s not why I’m writing today though. I’m writing to inform you of alternative methods to finding genealogy records. A few years back (I can’t remember when), someone came across my family tree on Ancestry or this website (Can’t remember that either! Eek!). They said they had “found an eBay auction” they thought I’d be interested in. According to said auction, it was from an estate sale. At the time of the email, I wasn’t very good at checking my email regularly, so I was late for the auction. I did something I don’t regret though. I saved the preview pictures used in the auction.

Article for Reuben T and Anna Webb

After reading the parts of the article I could see, I can place the article around 1905. Unfortunately Anna died in 1906. My only headache is trying to place their 4 children, 27 grandchildren, 20 great-grandchildren, and 3 great-great-grandchildren. Oy! I have to make a chart for that I think! I’ve kept these images on my hard drive in a special folder since that day. Reuben is the brother of my 3rd Great Grandfather, George Washington Webb. They are two of the “orphans” mentioned in the little blurb at the beginning of my Grandma’s family tree. Also in this group of estate records were some Civil War records.

Discharge Paper for James A Webb

What’s great about this is even though I don’t have these records in my personal arsenal. I did learn something from them. Now I know there was a reason Reuben’s son disappeared after the 1860 census. Of course I suspected, but suspecting isn’t proof. The thing I’ve learned about the Webbs are that they were very involved in the Civil War. Reuben’s brother James F Webb allegedly died from wounds he sustained in the War. Reuben himself lost an eye and now it seems as if Reuben’s son was also in the war. You can bet that as soon as has the Indiana and Ohio service records up, I’ll be disappearing into them for awhile. I have found Reuben and his son in indexes but I’m so anxious to see actual records!

You want to know something eerie about my Webb family though? While I was going through the boxes of things from my Great Grandma Llewellyn (Dad’s side), I found a little booklet. In that booklet there was an advertisement for some kind of headache powder. In this add it had a testimonial from Mrs. Reuben T Webb of Tippecanoe County, Indiana. She endorsed the product with great passion as it relieved her very severe headaches! How crazy to think my Mom and Dad’s family had a LOST moment of path crossing!

These images are not mine. They were used to advertise an eBay auction years ago. I have no rights to these images and I am making no money off them. These images are in no way a source of documentation for my tree because I haven’t set my eyes on them. This entry is really to show how desperation for new information can lead to you saving images from anywhere, including expired eBay auction pages. I don’t condone or endorse this activity. I have no affiliation with eBay. I make no money from eBay. I didn’t even buy these records on eBay. I have no affiliation with the television shows LOST or Glee. Except that I love them. Don’t you love having fun disclaimer messages? I sure do. I can’t mention fluffy pajamas in this one though because it’s 1:30 in the afternoon and I am not in my pajamas… unfortunately.

William’s Letter #2

After much debate with myself, I’m pretty sure this isn’t a second letter, but the second page of the first letter. I say that because of the context and because there wasn’t an address at the top of this one. So there ya go! Please note that I’m transcribing this as it is written. So spelling and grammar aren’t my fault! :)

click for full size image

Dear Jean, We have our troubles hear as well as you have in America all our troubles seems to come at once. I am very sorry to inform you, that Sister Ellen lost one of her little Boys last Saturday afternoon he died of Dropsey brought on by Scarlet Fever. Sister Ellen is in a sore way about him. There was no person at home but herself. Charles is in Alexandra Egypt and expects to stop there if he can get work he will be very much put about when he receives the news of the loss of his son. I would have gone down to Liverpool if I could off been spared Ellen was to bury him last Tuesday. I want her to come and spend a few weeks with me has soon as the wether gets warmer. I hope she will it will do her good I have forgotten to state in Alex letter that I shall be most happy to receive poor George. Lickeness, God Bless him I sincerely hope he is alive I will make Brothers Jamesh ?? as soon as I have time tell him to write a few lines to me when he as time you will please give mine and my wifes & childrens love to my mother and all my brothers and sisters and receive the same yourself. I will send you and mother a nice present before long you will excuse this short letter has I am afraid of its being over weight. Write soon again and believe me to remain your ever affectionate and loving Brother

W Menzies

William’s Letter #1

I was writing up a post about William Menzies. When I tried to find the entry where I transcribed his letter, I couldn’t find it! It’s here somewhere, but for some reason it’s disappeared and it’s not tagged with the Menzies surname. Don’t worry, I’m going to fix issues like these when I redo the site (which is still ongoing, code is so consuming but I love learning it). In the meantime, I’m going to devote this entry to William’s letter so it’s easy to find. Then I’m going next door to play with the dogs because I think I need a dose of cute.

click image for full size

Depot St Rosehill  (? Could be wrong)

Derby Jan 15 /63

My Dear Sister Jean,

I now avail myself of the present opportunity of answering your very affectionate and ever welcome letter, and at the same time thanking your for sending me the lock of poor Margrets hair which I intend having put in a broch. I am very sorry to hear such bad news from my Dear Friends in America and feel very much for my poor Mother. I wish I was there to comfort her in all her trouble. I expect to come and see you all some day has I am quite sure I will never stay in England all my life as I am quite tired of it, I want to come and see you, and I will never be satisfied until I do come if it is only for a visit for a few weeks. I am happy to learn that Brother John has been doing so very well has to aquire property and will be most happy to hear of his arrival amoungst you all in New York. I supose he is not married yet, let me know if your next if soon is the case

That’s where the letter ends. There’s possibly another page to the letter. This is just a photocopy given to me by my Aunt Diane. There are several more letters also. Possibly more than I have. I’ll post the second letter tomorrow!

Treasure Chest Thursday: The Original

The last week, I’ve been slowly entering my mother’s side of the family into my new family file. It’s a little slower going because there are more of them than Dad’s side. I also had a master list of birthdays I made at the family reunion last year for Dad’s side. So I was able to put them in quickly and use the source I titled, “2009 Family Reunion Master List”. I’m new to citing Personal Family sources, so I was a bit baffled at first on how to really cite it. Then I realized I was once again over-analyzing something. So I gave the title as stated above, I’m listed as the other, and in the description I wrote that I compiled the list by going around to everyone at the family reunion and getting their birth dates and marriage dates where needed. It turned out to be a big project for me that year!

On my Mom’s side I now have the original copy of the Family Tree. This is the one my Grandma brought when I was in the eighth grade. I ended up photocopying it at my Mom’s work, and I later reproduced it in Excel and re-printed it. In that time though, I think I might have tried to “fix” it. I think things got a little turned around. I’ve decided to no longer use my photocopy version. I am lucky that my Aunt sent Grandma’s copy to Maryland for me.

Taylor-Webb Family Tree. This has been missing the letters for as long as I can remember!

This has the most complete list I’ve ever seen of the current Taylor family. I don’t communicate much with this side of the family so I don’t know if I would ever had completed this much of it without Grandma’s tree.

Taylor-Webb Family Tree. Page 2A.

It’s a great resource for quite a few generations  back. If you can see, Reuben Vincent Webb is listed as Family Member 2-1 in this tree. This tree counts forward from the earliest known Webb relative. So Reuben is actually my 2nd Great Grand Uncle. It’s his sister Mollie Jane Webb who marries into the Taylor family. My index number in this tree is listed as 6-54. Just to show you how it counts forward in time.

Taylor-Webb Family Tree

What my photocopy version was missing is what you see above. I was in 8th grade around 1997. My Grandmother didn’t pass away until January 2005. So in that time, not only had I been making changes to the family tree, so had my Grandmother! I found little handwritten notes all over the tree. Notes that weren’t there in 1997 when we photocopied it.

Taylor-Webb Family Tree. Living person information blurred for privacy.

Not only did I find notes in my Grandma’s handwriting, there were notes from another person too! This could have been from my Aunt. It could have been from someone who was just visiting and they were discussing the tree. It doesn’t really matter, what I do know is that even though this tree has some errors in it, it’s a wealth of information in other ways.

Treasure Chest Thursday is a daily blogging topic from GeneaBloggers.

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