Decoration Day, 1923

In 2011, I posted one picture from my great-grandmother’s collection. It was of a Decoration Day parade in Caldwell, New Jersey. Here is another few pictures from that same day. I happen to also know thanks to Llewellyn’s diary, that her and her mother used to volunteer with her church to decorate the graves of veterans also. She sure was one great lady. I am thinking of all our fallen soldiers today.

Decoration Day, 1923

Decoration Day, 1923

Decoration Day, 1923


You might have noticed that my new trend of posting on Fridays broke last week. That was because I had a tiny secret… I was on vacation! Well, not exactly yet but first thing last Saturday morning my mother, my sister and I all loaded up and headed to Ohio for some “family fun time”. Seriously that was our official term that my cousin Patty came up with.

It was technically a girls weekend and it was so much fun. We rented a cabin around Hocking Hills State Park. There was no internet, no cell phone service and it was heaven!

Old Mans Cave, Hocking Hills, Ohio
Old Mans Cave, Hocking Hills, Ohio

So there aren’t any blog posts this week again, but I have made progress and I’m still on target!

The Absentee Genealogist

Happy Holidays!
Happy Holidays!

First and foremost, I want to wish everyone a happy holiday season! No matter what you celebrate I hope you’re able to spend lots of quality time with your families and friends.

I certainly never expected to be absent this long from my blog. However, looking back I usually am during this time of year. My new computer is running just fine, only a few hiccups related to my old hard drives.

Here are the things I’ll be working on as a priority:

  1. Cleaning out all my hard drives and condensing them down. Partially due to the issues I’m experiencing with one of my extra drives.  I’ll be backuping them up to CD, flash drive and Dropbox. Lots of work, but it’s long overdue!
  2. Re-syncing my Ancestry Member Tree and my FTM 2014 trees. I’ll be honest, I haven’t touched my family tree since getting the new computer. I even let my memberships lapse again, but this time I’m going to experiment with other methods of getting my data since I used my extra money to purchase a new computer. There are plenty of options out there and I need to focus on what information I already have anyway!
  3. The website. There’s been a lot going on with my website for a few years that I’ve been ignoring. Including an over abundance of domain names and duplicate TNG installations. So I’ve got to do a clean out of not only my personal computer but my internet files also.

I think that’s enough for now! I’m hoping that cleaning out the mess from before and after the computer switch will get my head back in the game. Right now I’m having a hard time making any sense of my files, so anything I can do has to be progress.

Do you have troubles getting back into the swing of things after a break? Any big plans for the holiday? My house is finally decorated so it’s time to relax for us!

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.

A Family Tradition

I promise I won’t turn this into a quilting only blog, but I’ve recently learned that quilting has a very big footprint in my life. Everything I’ve ever come to really enjoy and cherish, has ended up having some place in my family history. It just so happens, quilting is also one of them. If I hadn’t hurt my ankle, I’d get Grandpa’s baby quilt down so I could take some pictures of it. That’s not going to happen today though.

Quilting actually has a much more recent footprint on my life. Two of my Aunts came to Maryland this Spring and taught me the basics I needed to know about quilting. They taught a third Aunt at the same time. It’s become such a passion for me, and I talk with my Aunts all the time about different patterns and fabrics. It’s a lot of fun for me.

I also learned a very valuable lesson from my Aunt when she sent me a box recently.

She sent me a box full of quilting patterns. Quilting patterns from the 70, 60s, 50s, and the 40s! These weren’t her patterns, but someone from her quilting group. When I saw all the different names, it made me realize. You may not have children or grandchildren that are interested in your “hobby”. However, that doesn’t mean it’s worthless. You just have to find someone who can appreciate it. Whether it be your niece in Maryland, or a friend at your quilting class.

Heck, there were even a few practice blocks in there! Hand sewn I might add. The same can be said for my genealogy. I might not have children or grandchildren one day that will want my stuff, but that doesn’t make it worthless. I just have to keep my eyes open to the possibilities.

By the way, my favorite trick is the sandpaper trick! No slipping and sliding for those templates!



The Aunts are Coming!

You heard it hear first. Three of my Aunts are planning to road trip from Ohio to Maryland this week. They’re leaving Ohio on Wednesday, so hopefully all goes well and they get here Wednesday too. We have plans to show them around town a little better this time, since it’s not July 4th “Crazy” around here. I don’t like to go around our town on Thursdays, let alone on a holiday weekend. It’s better to just stay indoors and hide under the sofa… Okay, I’m exaggerating again.

I’m very excited though, and hopefully I can update some of their grandchildren’s information while they’re here. I’m not above grilling them! It’s always fun when I see my Aunts. This time is already showing great promise. My Aunt Melinda is going to help me with a quilt or two. I’m going to make a birthday cake for my Aunt Cindy since her birthday is on Thursday. I’m even going to tone down the powdered sugar in my icing so she can really enjoy it. My icing is usually a little too sweet for her. It should be great fun! My Aunt Molly is coming this time too, and it’s been so long since I’ve seen her. I can’t wait to catch up.

Now I just need to think of some things I can ask them in conversation about genealogy. They usually talk a lot about when they were growing up anyway. I just need to write down some of the things I’m fuzzy on so I can ask about them. Like where in Kentucky did their parents get married? I have conflicting reports. Who lived around them that were treated like family members? Maybe they were!

I have two posts coming up this week because I’ve actually been much more organized. I have them planned already, just got to write them up and illustrate with pictures now! One will be an update to my Yearly Goals. How am I coming along? I’m a little shamed and surprised at the results of that one. The other will be a breakthrough I had on my Webb line that I tweeted about late last night. Technically I shouldn’t have made that one yet because I haven’t gotten to the Webbs yet, but as a twitter friend said, “A breakthrough is a breakthrough!”

On today's agenda... scanning!

Before the crazy fun starts though, I’m going to scan in these tintypes and get them sent out in email. I only wish I knew who they were. Since most of my photos are Thorward photos, is it them? Or is it rare photos of the Moore family? I can see further analysis is needed on my part!

Road Trip

If you’ve read even a smidge on this blog, you know that I don’t get out much. I won’t call myself a shut in or a hermit, but I’m not far from it! I really hate to leave, but when the going gets rough I can do it. That’s not necessarily what is happening here. We’re visiting Miami for the holiday. My brother is hosting it for the first time in 10 years and this time he’s doing it from his very own house. The last time he hosted, he was living in a studio apartment with his then fiance. I was still in high school and the biggest thing I got to take on the trip with me was a new CD walkman and some new drawing supplies.

This time is a little different. In 10 years, my road trip experience has changed dramatically. I don’t spend the week before I leave going to the store for batteries and CDs/cassettes. I don’t take 5 books with me for the long road. I read fast!

This time for the 1069.7 miles (15 hours and 48 mins) I’m not taking much, just two things.

That’s right, Wheat Thin Stix and my new camera. You see, over the last few years I’ve learned I really do enjoy watching the scenery around me. I like to sit in the front passenger seat and help whoever is driving navigate. I like to see the miles tick down on the GPS. There’s nothing like seeing those miles tick down.

I’m going to take a little break from the computer world while I’m gone. I hope the internet doesn’t collapse while I’m gone, that’ be bad, very bad!

My kitty is so photogenic. I’m going to miss the little booger. Even if he did earn his name of Cujo. Now I know how my neighbor feels when she leaves her dogs with me. It’s tough leaving them!

So this is me signing off for now! Happy Thanksgiving to my fellow Americans an just Happy last week of November to everyone else!

Note: I have no affiliation with Nikon or Nabisco. They are not compensating me for this post. I just use their stuff. Technically I eat the Nabisco stuff, but it works all the same.

An Early Start

I’m going to be doing a little genealogy today and I can’t wait! I think I’m getting somewhere with all those Mays ancestors. Or at least, I’m getting somewhere with the group I’m working on now. I don’t have much time today though because we’re in a dash to finish setting up our Christmas Village. That’s right we’re setting up our Christmas Village this week. The original plan was to start November 1st but we’re even running late on getting started early. The village is our biggest project at Christmas, and it’s also the one that we enjoy the most. After barely getting it up in time last year, we decided to start November 1st this year. Unfortunately, we didn’t know then that this would be our busiest year in a long time! We’ve been traveling fools for family events. Just when we get settled from one, we’re dashing to another. So now that we’re finally back in our grove from our trip to New Jersey, we’re about to jet off to Miami for Thanksgiving!

That’s right, I said Thanksgiving in Miami! How fun is that going to be? My brother has purchased his first house and he’s decided to host Thanksgiving this year. It’s been a long time since we’ve all been together for the holidays so we’re jumping on the chance!

2009 Christmas Village

This is a panorama view of last years village. It’s technically in 3 parts.

2010 Christmas Village in progress

Here’s where we’re at right now. We’ve got 2 villages in place and all of the buildings have lights. My next step is to set up the “Forest” which is all the trees in front of the bureau. Our hope is to have it done before we leave for Miami. I’ll let you know if we make it!

Happy Birthday!

Does anyone else always say Happy Birthday in the voice of Frosty the Snowman? Oh that’s just me? Nevermind then.

Today is a special day in our household. Today is the 235th Anniversary of the United States Marine Corps.

In August I posted my father’s Marine Boot Camp class photo. The Marine Corps birthday hasn’t always been big in our household. I know my Dad has always talked about his time as a Marine but until I was older, I just didn’t get how big his love of the Marines was. In fact, my father being in the Marines is the reason that I’m here today. You see, my mother’s brother was also a Marine. It was how my parents met. My father and uncle were both stationed in North Carolina when my mother went to live with her brother. The rest is history.

Not only are my father and uncle Marines (there is no such thing as a former Marine), but my cousin is also. That’s 3 people I wished a Happy Marine Birthday to today on Facebook. If there are any Marines in your life, be sure to tell them Happy Birthday and don’t worry, they’ll know exactly what you’re talking about. They take this day very seriously and I’m sure it would bring a smile to their face. I’d make my Dad a cake but the last cake took us so long to eat it got a little fuzzy. He’ll just have to settle for some leftover Halloween candy!

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!