Category Archives: My Favorite Things

Seriously, Use City Directories

I don’t know if you can tell or not, but I’m kind of obsessed with City Directories. It started when I was going through them on Footnote.com and learning so much about William Moore. Now it’s a full blown obsession. I just can’t believe the things I’ve learned just by looking up people in the directories. Today though, I found something even crazier then I’ve found in the months since my first look.

Montclair, Bloomfield Caldwell, Essex Fells, Glen Ridge, Verona, Cedar Grove Directory, 1941

From the directory excerpt you see above, what interests me most is the second Thorward on the list.

— George died April 8 1940 age 88

This is a great find for me, because the only documentation I have of George’s death are his obituary (a newspaper clipping with a year written on it), and the year on his tombstone. This gives me a date to check in vital records now instead of just a year.

Montclair, Caldwell, Essex Fells, Verona, Cedar Grove, Glen Ridge Directory, 1945

Now we have George’s wife Josephine. For her, I only had a year written on her tombstone.

Montclair, Caldwell, Essex Fells, Verona, Cedar Grove, Glen Ridge Directory, 1947

Now here’s George and Josephine’s son Lewis. I had his death date already, but this just proves why you should be using city directories! It just might solve the missing relative problems you have. It might give you a ballpark date to search for vital records. They are full of information!

Menzies Cemetery Fun?

I know, I have a very strange sense of humor. Most genealogists I come across get the cemetery fun thing though. I mean I don’t see them as horrible, scary places. I see them as peaceful places to visit our ancestors.

So, onto the fun. Once I got the death certificate of John Menzies, it was time to dissect the information. Which I’ve done on the blog. After the dissection is time to follow leads. The lead I’m exploring today is the cemetery where John was buried, Greenwood Cemetery in Brooklyn.

My first stop was Find a Grave to see exactly where the cemetery was and if there was already a listing for John.

There wasn’t. Only one Menzies and it wasn’t John or his son Alexander (though I am curious… brother? maybe?). There are always more questions it seems. Then I decided since the Evergreen Cemetery in Brooklyn had a website, why not see if Greenwood did.

Not only did it have a website, it has an AMAZING website. I’m not apologizing for the caps, because caps are sometimes needed. The Evergreen Cemetery also has a burial database but I never found my family in it! This time I did. What I love about this database, is that it gives the lot and section number. There are 12 Menzies currently in the database. (Note that the database is not complete.)

My John Menzies is ninth down on the list! From just this search, I can also see the other people buried in the lot! This doesn’t mean it is everyone, just the ones by the last name Menzies. So who else is buried with John?

  1. Alexander Menzies – John’s third child, second son.
  2. George Menzies – John’s ninth child, fifth son.
  3. Jean Menzies – Alexander’s first wife I believe.
  4. John D Menzies – John’s fifth child, third son.
  5. Margaret J Menzies aka Poor Margaret from William’s Letter.

I can’t be sure of these relationships of course, until I confirm death dates/years. I actually had no idea of them except a general idea from census and marriage information. Except for Margaret, whose death is referred to in the letter between William and his sister Jane.

I also have to tell you that the cemetery does take genealogy requests! For $19.75 you can get an individual burial transcript, but if you pay $28.00 they’ll send you a whole plot of names and dates of internment! That’s pretty exciting for me, since I don’t get the opportunity to travel much.

Now all I have to do is overlay the cemetery map in Google Earth like I did for the Evergreen Cemetery. Then I’m set for a trip to Brooklyn this summer!

Note: I could say I have no affiliation with the cemetery but I’d be lying. My ancestors are buried there, so technically I do. However, I am receiving no encouragement or compensation for having a teenage fangirl moment over their website. I’m an amateur website designer, I can’t help it.

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History: Week 6

Week 6: Radio and Television. What was your favorite radio or television show from your childhood? What was the program about and who was in it?

I must preface this post by saying I was in no way raised by the television. It’s going to look like it briefly but I promise I wasn’t. You’ll just have to take my word for it. Every featured show is there for a reason that I’ll explain. There were plenty more but they weren’t as important as the ones that I am actually featuring.

Saved by the Bell: Saved by the Bell is probably a staple of every child of the 80s and 90s childhood. I remember watching it every Saturday morning through it’s entire run and then even moving onto Saved by the Bell: The New Class. This is probably the first show that I loved enough to watch it every week. It was definitely one of many shows that was played on Saturday mornings but this one was the staple. The others came and went (California Dreams, City Guys, One World) but this one was perfection.

It dealt with real teen issues and is still played today and I still watch it if I catch it on! Zach Morris, played by Mark Paul Gosselar, was cute and charismatic. He was a schemer you just couldn’t help but love. Just like the television audience, Zach’s friends and family couldn’t help but laugh at his antics. Yet Zach definitely had a heart and knew when he was in the wrong. I think my favorite episode was when he was writing a report and made friends with the Indian chief who passed away. Out of all the episodes, that’s the one that still sticks with me. Probably because of the genealogist I didn’t know was in me yet!

Little House on the Prairie: I have a confession to make with this one. I used to watch this one in syndication when I was home sick from school. I wasn’t supposed to watch TV if I was sick but I did anyway. If Mom is reading this now, she’s probably laughing because I doubt I pulled the wool over her eyes! What little girl hasn’t seen this show and loved it? I remember reading at least the first book, but I don’t think I ever made it through the others. The show is what hooked me, and I didn’t know at the time it was a true story!

I think the casting of Melissa Gilbert was perfect. They’ve tried to remake the series again and again but nothing quite measures up. The show was a perfect mix of wholesomeness and history. Looking back, I think this show too was part of the road to my genealogy future. I’ve always been fascinated by the time period this takes place in. I also loved the length of the show and how you saw everyone grow and mature, even Nellie Olson!

Road to Avonlea: This is one of the lesser known shows but it rounds out my top 3. I actually got the DVDs from eBay because I love the show that much. I think I’m still missing the last two seasons but I’ll get them eventually. This was shown on the Disney Channel. It’s a Sullivan Entertainment production, based on Prince Edwards Island in Canada. It’s actually a somewhat continuation of the Anne of Green Gables story. Unofficially of course. The show itself is an original out of Canada and Disney bought distribution rights to it I’m guessing. If you have a little girl that loves the Anne books, this is definitely going to be a hit!

Once again, I was interested in history before I realized what a huge part it would play in my life. The thing I loved about this show was the family dynamic. I didn’t grow up around my cousins and aunts and uncle. So this show was really as close to an extended family as I was getting. I just loved to how Felicity was a brat to begin with but by the end of the show, she was mature and the star! Sarah was a free spirit who had lived a privileged, lonely life only to have it crumble down around her. They started out as foes and turned into the best of friends. Alec and Janet King were Felicity’s parents and Sarah’s Uncle and Aunt. They gave her the family and stability that she needed at the time in her life that she moved to PEI.

Also thrown into the mix, you get little snippets of Anne Shirley! Rachel Lynde is a constant presence and probably as much of a foe to Sarah as she was to Anne! Later you see a softer side when Marilla Cuthbert and Rachel take in orphans Davey and Dora Keith.

Punky Brewster: I’m not going to lie. I’ve always been a bit eccentric. I didn’t realize until recently how much, but it all started with Punky. It’s because of Punky I’m not ashamed of my crazy socks! Don’t get me wrong, they’re always matched, but they are never boring!

Punky is about an orphan who ends up living with Henry. A widower who is a bit of a grump. He can’t resist Punky for long though! Punky is definitely unique with her own style.

Full House: I saved the other kahuna for last! It’s definitely not last place in my heart though. This is another show that I grew with. I remember Michelle Tanner (Olsen Twins, respectively) as a baby all the way through the end of the show. This was a show I never missed!

There’s not much I can say about Full House that everyone else doesn’t already know. It dealt with family issues, school issues, sibling issues, everything! In fact, life imitated art more than once in our house! Once after being entirely fed up with having to share my room with my older sister, I too “moved out” into a less habitable part of the house like DJ. I even played a Full House trick on my Dad when me and my best friend accidentally broke something. We sent him on errands to try and buy time for us to fix the problem! In the end, just like the show, you’ve got to fess up and take your punishment.

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History is a weekly series by Amy Coffin and hosted by GeneaBloggers. It’s purpose is to promote writing your own history down to be preserved for future generations.

Super Indexing Sunday

Tomorrow I’ll be participating in Super Indexing Sunday. It all started on Facebook and spread from there. I think this is a great idea and what a fun way to spend a Sunday!  Today I’m going to be busy with laundry, cleaning and getting myself ready to take a whole Sunday for myself! I don’t know how many records I’ll end up indexing, but I’m sure whatever I get done will be appreciated.

So if you’re not into football (blasphemy?) or if you just like to have something to do while you go about your day, try this out! What’s great about it is you can do a little a time, there’s no time limit on finishing besides the week you get for the record.

There are plenty of records to index. You will get bigger and faster results with the census records, but really any contribution is another step to having free genealogy records available online to everyone.

Personally I really enjoy doing the WWII Draft Cards!

Family Search Indexing

Note: I have no affiliation with FamilySearch. My only connection is my volunteer hours through indexing. I really enjoy indexing and I’m not compensated for this blog or indexing by FamilySearch

Tech Tuesday: Slide Updates

I hope everyone reading this had a very, merry Christmas! I’ve been enjoying a few new gadgets. The first gadget I got was a slide viewer that I mentioned earlier this month. I found a few slides that I really wish I could get prints of. They were of my Aunt Diane and some of their family photos. The problem was, I didn’t know what to do. So I went to Google and it brought me up a few options. One of them didn’t cost me a penny!

It turned out that my mother’s scanner has a slide scanner template built into the top. All I had to do was slide the placeholder off and slide my slides in. Then hit the button for film scan. This method will also work for negatives! So if you have a scanner, take a second to study the inside of it’s lid. You might have this feature too! Pressing the film scan button brought up the software that came with the scanner where I could choose between a negative or positive/slide.

Now I can share these photos with my family on Facebook, and I can print them out and frame them for individuals!

I really can’t wait to dig in and see what other treasures I find. It’s really difficult to find pictures of my aunts and dad when they were younger. It’s even more difficult to find pictures of their brother Stevie, who is no longer with us.

By the way, for my regular readers, the house Dad’s family is posing in is in fact the Park Avenue house. There are a bunch of inside shots among the slides!

The Llewellyn Project

On Friday, I hinted about a project that I have coming up. I meant to have the entry ready to go for Sunday, but things got busy during my trip over the weekend and I didn’t get a chance. So I’m here now to give a little info on it.

I often talk about my Great Grandmother’s journal here on the blog. The diary starts on January 1, 1923, or at least from what I can tell. So on January 1, 2011 I will be starting my Llewellyn Project. In a separate section of the blog, I will be doing a daily transcription from her journal. I will slowly work my way through the diary. Adding in pictures of relevant people or places when I can. The diary goes on for close to three years. This isn’t going to be an overnight finish. I hope to finally finish getting through it though. Sometimes it wasn’t more than a few lines, but those few lines are a great glimpse into the past. I hope you will enjoy this as much as I hope to!

January 1st is my deadline for my site re-design. If it’s done earlier, well that would be great!

Home Again

We made it back from our weekend trip to Jersey. It was touch and go for a little bit, but we made it a little after midnight. I’ve been to very few weddings in my lifetime. It comes from living all by ourselves down here in Maryland. So I walked into this with my mind wide open.

View outside my hotel room.

Then I wondered if it was fate or my cousin was just being the smart alec he’s always been. The hotel where wedding guests were staying was right next to a huge cemetery. It might have freaked a few people out but I couldn’t help but wonder what the oldest date in the cemetery was.

The wedding didn’t start until 2pm on Sunday. That left us with some extra time. We decided to take a small road trip to Dad’s hometown, Caldwell. We drove around seeing all the old houses. Then we decided to go to the cemetery.

Lindsley plot. Prospect Hill Cemetery.

I have only been to Prospect Hill Cemetery once before. I didn’t have a camera at the time. So I never got pictures of the graves myself. Luckily, I’ve had a lot of people that have sent me numerous pictures over the years. It never tops actually going yourself though. Especially because I’m going to use Google Earth to map out where the separate plots were in the cemetery. I didn’t expect them to be so spread out from each other!

Leonard plot. Prospect Hill Cemetery.

Walking around the cemetery, I could definitely see that I’ll have to go back in jeans and sneakers. I only walked about half the cemetery but I did find a Love ancestor I didn’t previously have. Grace Love-Leonard. After walking around a bit, we got in the car and headed to the wedding. My sister summed it up perfectly when she posted to her Facebook while I was walking around the cemetery. “We’re dressed for a wedding and end up walking around a cemetery. Only our family.” My sister had one part wrong though, it’s not only our family! It’s just a genealogy thing!

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