Category Archives: My Favorite Things

My Genealogy Binder

Back when I first started to get my research together, I had a single 1-1/2 inch binder with all my documents in it. Then I got all those boxes of information. While I don’t have all that stuff anymore, I still have enough that it’s outgrown the original binder. So I organized that chaos here. And I went ahead and set the binder aside to be used on another project someday. That day came last week. I’ve been reading a lot of organization blogs, hoping to get inspiration to make my bedroom/office into an organized workspace. This is going to take awhile to plan out, but I did get myself a good idea.

The new Genealogy Binder.

This one doesn’t have records in it. It has lists, and I know now that I need lists. I even lucked out with all those extra sheet protectors from the organization project.

 

this list courtesy of iheartorganizing.blogspot.com

Then I made my own checklist in Excel for the things I don’t want to forget that I need.

I put my Scottish naming patterns printout in the binder. Always need this one on hand!

I put my Ohio Birth Report in a single sheet protector. This way it’s not taking up cluttered space on my desk.

I even cooked up a Repository List. Though I might go ahead and type the addresses into the boxes and re-print it. That way I can fit some of those long names in the boxes without having to write super tiny.

I’m still figuring out what else to put in my binder, but I figure it will end up being papers I would like to keep out and accessible without being scattered all over my desk. I think the next thing to do is to make Genealogy Trip To-Do Lists or Vital Records checklists that I want to order.

My Story Cubes

This Christmas, my sister got me the greatest gift ever. She didn’t get me a Kindle or an iPad. She got me Story Cubes.

For as long as I can remember, my mind has always been full of crazy stories. Whether it be real ones or imaginary ones. I don’t just ride in a car, I create stories in my head while I ride in a car. You get the idea. So this was kind of a cool, thoughtful gift from my big sister!

The idea is to roll the dice and then create a story involving all of the pictures on the “cubes”. They recommend to start your story with Once Upon a Time…. Where’s the fun in that though? I thought I’d just look at what I got on the cubes and think of how I can relate that picture to an ancestor!

  1. The skyscraper/city building. This makes me think of my Great Grandpa William L Moore, who worked for over 30 years in NYC for AT&T as an accountant.
  2. The sheep reminds me of my Scottish ancestors, both the Loves and Menzies. I’ve recorded the Loves in Paisley, Scotland for many years. Paisley was a hub for the weaving industry and the birthplace of the Paisley pattern. (Which happens to be one of those things that I’ve always loved.)
  3. Pyramid. The pyramid reminds me of Egypt. Which I’m obsessed with. The history of that place! It connects to my family history because one of the Menzies girls married a guy who traveled to Egypt for business regularly.
  4. The Parachute. Aviation is HUGE in my father’s side of the family. Not just my father had the aviation bug. I have numerous newspaper articles that congratulate some of my family tree branches on their completion of flight school.
  5. The cane reminds me of a very near and dear person. My grandma Emogene Taylor-Mays-Utter and her second husband, Wayne. In the final years of my Grandma’s life, she had dementia. Not alzheimers, but dementia. Dementia is a very tricky business because the person who suffers from it doesn’t lose memories so much as they do their personality switches on a dime. One minute she’d be fine and nice, and the next… well watch out! The cane comes in because her husband carved her a cane from solid oak. On the cane was a section that was carved out for marbles. He told her as long as she had that cane, she’d never lose her marbles. Such a sweet man, he’s dearly missed too.

That leaves me with the fountain, dice, bridge and clock. Right now nothing comes to mind but maybe as I learn more stories something will!

My Most Interesting Finds

I recently updated my “About Kathleen” page here on the blog. Reading my previous page got me thinking a lot about my views on genealogy. While writing the new page, I was trying to think of what I’m usually asked the first time I tell someone I research my family history. Which I never refer to as genealogy, because then that leads to the blank stare most times.

If you’ve ever had a genealogy discussion with the non-initiated, or even the initiated, the first question always seems to be: “Oh, what’s the most interesting thing you’ve found?”

That question makes me chuckle a little bit. It’s kind of like my sister coming home from a day at the bank and me asking her, “Who was your most interesting customer? No, I don’t want to hear about your day or the mechanics of it. Just your most interesting part.”

Am I dissing someone who asks that question? Of course not! I would never do that. Any reason to talk genealogy is a good enough reason to me. I’m definitely not saying that I want to go on a 45 minute discussion on how I dissect which records are important and which ones aren’t.

I guess my point is, that question is impossible for me to answer.  I was born, raised, and still live in Southern Maryland. In this tri-county area, I’ve had zero extended family most of my life. Most of my relatives are a half day drive away. So when I started to research my genealogy, everything I found was just so fascinating. I couldn’t believe that this five person family I grew up with could branch out so far. I knew I had cousins on each side of my family, and I knew that I had two sets of grandparents. I think I saw my maternal grandma once every five years until we were old enough to travel better. Not to mention the cost of traveling for a young family who didn’t have a lot to spare.

My Grandma Emogene, her siblings and cousin

For someone who had her siblings, their friends, her own friends and that was it; Family is something that it took me awhile to grasp. I’ve read a lot of articles where people don’t understand why people research their family history. It’s in the past they say. It has no bearing on who you are. I don’t need to know about them to live a perfectly normal life.

I can say most of that is true. Except for saying it has no bearing on who you are. I am by no means a psychologist. However, I am a people watcher. I love to observe and analyze. It’s why I enjoyed jury duty so much. I actually think I have a very good perspective on how learning your family history can change your views of the world. Not having any idea where I came from, not having close relationships with my extended family until we were grown, all those factors help me to differentiate how I felt before and after genealogy.

I’ve never walked my ancestral grounds, I’ve never gone farther then the distance it takes to visit family, and I’ve never spent more money on genealogy in a year then I wouldn’t have spent on quilting fabric at the store. What I can say about learning my family history can’t really be put into words, but that’s what I’m going to try to do anyway.

I could have gone through my life never knowing anything about my family history. What you learn in your family history isn’t something thats measurable in money or fame. A lot of people think everyone who researches their family history is in it for some kind of fame seeking reasons. That isn’t so. You actually learn compassion for how hard it was to get to the point where you are today. A lot of people take for granted that the majority of Americans are educated from the kindergarten level, all the way up to high school. As early as the 1930 census, it was common for people not to be able to sign their own name. In fact, there are still people out there not able to read or write. When you think back on ancestors, who left Ireland with nothing but the clothes on their back and a skill they’d learned, you can’t help but feel proud of them. They conquered life when the odds were against them. Their only hope was in themselves and their faith. Yet these people in the past, who you’ll never know but through genealogy put you where you are today. If they had gone left instead of right, would you be the same person you are today? If they hadn’t come to America, would they or their children have survived for you to even be born?

My great grandmother Llewellyn, her brother George, and an unknown friend

So when I’m asked what my most interesting find is, I say “All of them”. I find William H Moore’s immigration interesting. I find the vast numbers of Mays ancestors interesting. I come from a world of living in the same place for all my life, so I find the Redford family’s migration to Los Angeles, CA interesting. I find the farmers just as interesting as the plumbers. The plumbers are just as interesting as the tailors. The tailors are just as interesting as the people who ended up signing their WWI Draft Card from the county jail.

The fascination isn’t in the notoriety or out of the ordinary for me. It’s the family unit and how it survives over time. I know because of my relatives that rough patches iron out. You lose your loved ones, but you can in fact carry on and survive. I know that those friends I made during school and am still friends with are as much a part of my family history as my cousin Patty is. They all make up my story.

The facts about my ancestors may not be Hollywood worthy and they may not have done super extraordinary things that made them rich or famous. What they did do was give me inspiration to do what I love and keep living my life for today and not yesterday. Yesterday is already written. It’s my decision on how to write today and tomorrow. I only hope that I’m half as much inspiration to my descendants as my ancestors are to me.

My Obsession with Naming Patterns

I’m coming clean today about my addiction to naming patterns. My brother is a 4th generation William Moore, and that wasn’t even the beginning of the Williams. In my old “Original” family file, I had 180 Williams in a database of 4,349 people. That’s 4%  of my tree being made up of men named William. I know that doesn’t seem like a lot in the grand scheme of things but in my new revamped file, where I still have two branches of the tree to add, there are 49 Williams out of 923 people. That’s already 5% without adding in the Taylors, Crabbs, or Webbs. To anyone but me that doesn’t seem like much but I know for a fact I have 475 people with the Taylor surname in my old “Original” file.

I think it’s this over abundance of Williams that has led to my fascination with naming patterns. I’ve used naming patterns for the Scottish ancestry on my father’s side of the tree. I’ve talked about naming patterns on the blog. I’ve printed out every naming pattern variation I’ve ever come across online. I’ve tried to find patterns in my families that don’t follow a naming pattern. When I say obsession, I mean OBSESSION.

One thing I haven’t done with naming patterns is see if they pertain at all to my Mays line. The Mays family were the most prolific of my lines, so it would be really interesting to dissect them!

Click for full size

The naming pattern rules I’m using were found on the genealogy.com website. The article was written by Donna Przecha. An important part of the article is that you can’t put too much credence in naming patterns. They are very helpful if your family happened to follow them, but not everyone did. Especially if there are skeletons in the closet or a lot of children. A lot of times you can also count on a “regional” or “period” name. You’ll see it most in census records where you see so many names at once. I have only heavily researched the Ohio/Kentucky/Virginia and New Jersey areas. However, I can tell you the names Mahala and Arminda are more common to the rural Ohio/Kentucky area then New Jersey. In New Jersey you’ll find a lot more traditional names; Catherine, George, Lewis, Josephine.

  • First son: Father’s father.
  • Second son: Mother’s father.
  • Third son: Father
  • Fourth son: Father’s eldest brother.
  • First daughter: Mother’s mother.
  • Second daughter: Father’s mother.
  • Third daughter: Mother
  • Fourth daughter: Mother’s eldest sister.
The family I’m using this time is the family of my 3rd Great Grandparents, William Mays and Anna Click.
  1. William and Anna’s first son, James. I don’t know the name of William’s father, so there is no way to see if the pattern holds up.
  2. William and Anna’s first daughter, Frances Susan. Frances gets both her names from her grandmothers. Her first name after her father’s mother and her middle name after her mothers. Frances went by both names at different points in her life.
  3. William and Anna’s second daughter, Nancy. I don’t see any instance of Nancy in the immediate family, but I know they use this name often in future generations.
  4. William and Anna’s third daughter, Rebecca. She is not named after her mother.
  5. William and Anna’s second son, John Harmon. Anna’s father was named John, so this fits with the pattern.
  6. William and Anna’s third son, William. He does have the same name as his father.
  7. William and Anna’s fourth daughter, Elizabeth. Anna’s eldest sister was named Elizabeth.
  8. William and Anna’s fourth son, Thomas Lindsey. As far as I know, William’s eldest brother is named James. So this doesn’t fit in with the pattern.

So I came up 4/8 on the first four of each gender. That’s actually not bad especially with quite a few holes in the family picture. Another thing I noticed while looking over the siblings of each family for a few generation is a few middle names that most likely came from surnames that married into the family (ie. Harmon, Lindsey, Hudson). For the sake of research sake I also must mention that William’s brother, Nathan, had at least 18 children and I don’t think any of them followed any type of pattern.

Now the fun part would be to see if the Mays family follows their own pattern. Maybe I can make a chart and dissect the family names myself. Do you see what I mean by obsessed now?

Disclaimer: I am no expert at naming patterns. I’m not even sure about most of the information a generation above William and Anna. I used my “original” file to analyze this hypothesis. I haven’t delved deeply into Anna’s family yet, because I know it twists and turns amongst the Mays/Slusher/Whitt lines, so I decided to hold off until I had the rest of the tree re-added. That way I can keep moving forward instead of continuously going sideways for now.

So I have Google+, Now What?

I have Google+

Now comes the hard decision. Do I use it for strictly family or do I use it for something else. Which by the way, only has 2 people so far. My long lost very helpful cousin, Grace and my big brother… who has been on Google+ for eight years already… Okay so that was an exaggeration. It’s not like yoau don’t know that when you read my blog. My brother is a computer guru, and I think he knows people at Google or Google tried to hire him once, something like that. He’s also the genius who when I complained about a frequent crashing of my family tree program, he answered “So write your own.” Yeah. Like that was gonna happen computer guru.

Anyway, this isn’t a post about my genius computer guru brother. He doesn’t read my blog anyway. He does visit the website though, and he pays for the domain, but that’s more like a history of the website story there.

I like the idea of using my Google+ as a genealogy networking thing that can eventually incorporate my family in also. However I was a little concerned that Google suggested I add Paris Hilton to my circle. It’s not like I have anything against Paris Hilton, because I certainly don’t. I love watching her aunts on The Real Housewives, I just don’t want to have her in my circle.

I know most have had this for awhile now. Either I’m slow to catch up to things or Google didn’t think I was cool enough to have it yet. The point is, I have it now, and I want to use it! So if you get some crazy lady adding you to her circle. That’s just me, adding everyone to my Google+ circle. Now excuse me while I go pretty up my profile with things like words!

For those who need an invite still, I have 150:

https://plus.google.com/i/hvI7d2y9vtI:L5BlbkA4cgA

I’ll Never Do That Again

I don’t know what I was thinking. I’m in the middle of rehabbing my whole family tree and website. How on earth did I think I could keep going at this pace without my since-2003 Ancestry.com membership? I know what I thought. The problem was I splurged last year on the World Membership and the only way to downgrade this year was to cancel and then re-subscribe. I thought that maybe now was the time to try a genealogy life without an Ancestry.com membership.

I was fooling myself. I understand it’s a big expense even for the US Membership. However, there is no website with as complete access to the census than Ancestry.com. Feel free to prove me wrong! I’m also very attached to the Kentucky Death Records for 1852-1952. I mean, hello! My Mom’s whole family was in Kentucky for those years! They have an Ohio Death Index for more recent years. They have Ohio Marriage and Divorce records for my cousins who are super hard to pin down.

By the way, this is no way an advertisement for Ancestry. It might seem like it, but it’s not. It’s just that Ancestry is one of the tools I use on a daily basis. I lasted 2 days without my Ancestry membership, and I’m never doing that again!

To add insult to injury I was smack dab in the middle of adding the Duncan Walker-Martha Love family into my program! The very family that was a source for my Mystery Monday series, twice!

I don’t think I ever stood a chance. So my advice is, when trying to decide if a website is worth your money, be sure to look at the databases that you USE, not might use, but actually USE on a regular basis. The convenience of the access has to be taken into account also. My local libraries and societies have very limited hours, so I can’t rely on them to be my main source of information.

P.S. I am still working on the new website design. I took a few months off because I thought my head would explode. However, my head is still here, therefore work has resumed… from scratch. Which isn’t going as well as I would have liked but it’s coming along.

This is not an endorsement for Ancestry.com. It is merely a peek into my daily use of the website. I was not compensated for this blog entry. I don’t expect to be compensated for this blog entry. I am just a paying member of the website who has come to rely on said website for my genealogy adventures. I’m not recommending that you go out and pay for a membership, because it might not be the same degree of success or convenience for you that it is for me. I like writing these disclaimers, it’s turning into a problem.

Missing my Family!

I’ll admit it. I’m missing my Ohio family something fierce! It used to be that we would only see each other every five years or so. It’s been less then a month since my Aunt Melinda and cousin Patty were here. It’s only been a week from that time that I was in Ohio visiting for a few days. I miss them though! It’s funny how when you’re a child and on a trip to a family reunion, all you can think about is your friends and what you’re missing back home.

I don’t think about any of that now! It’s been since October that I saw my cousins in New Jersey and New York. Longer than that for some of them. Probably since Aunt Diane’s funeral. I miss them too!

Aunt Melinda and Mom, July 2011

Here’s Aunt Melinda and Mom checking out something in the water at Point Lookout.

Point Lookout Lighthouse

I love Point Lookout. I think Melinda was a little disappointed it wasn’t this huge, tall lighthouse. We don’t need those big ones here though. We’re right on the water! Nothing blocking the lighthouse but water!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...