Thursday, December 25, 2008

My Christmas Past - My First Christmas

Merry Christmas to You and Yours!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

My Christmas Past - My First Christmas as a MOM

Christmas Eve 1973 – This was my first Christmas as a mom. Here my ten-month-old daughter Joy and I are opening a gift. Before motherhood snagged me, I had no idea you could love a little person so deeply and with so much abandon. Motherhood opened up a new world for me, and though I entered it a little shakily and with much uncertainty, I entered it wholeheartedly. I was all of twenty.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Ice Storm

My beautiful birch couldn't handle the ice. Power outages, closed schools and ice covered windows are what's happening in Northwestern Ohio today. What's the weather like in your neck of the woods?

Thursday, December 18, 2008

My Christmas Past - Christmas 1968 - Or How I learned to smile again!

Terry and her siblings Christmas 1968

This was the year after the infamous "Christmas Slap" and right after my braces had been removed. I suddenly felt like smiling again.

The 62nd Edition of the Carnival of Genealogy Has Posted!

You saw what my three wishes were of Dear Genea-Santa. Now read the wishes of the other geneabloggers at Jasia's Creative Gene post, "Carnival of Genealogy, 62nd Edition." Thanks, Jasia, for another well done edition of the COG.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

My Christmas Past - Shoe Envy 1955

Christmas 1955 - I don't remember much about that Christmas except that I had a bad case of shoe envy. Once I spied my cousin's black patent leather shoes, I was permanently done with those "baby" white shoes of mine. I was two.

A Blog Caroling We Will Go - Part Two

Last week, our own footnote Maven invited the geneablogger community to participate in the Internet version of caroling. This week the very clever fM created her own Christmas Caroling Tree to link you to the various Christmas inspired bloggers.

As you check on the link to each of the geneabloggers, you might want to look around to see some of their other Christmas inspired posts.

Thanks fM! And a very Merry Christmas caroling to you all

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Happy Birthday Moe Dog!

Because I love you and because it’s your birthday, I won’t mention the time we were seated at your sister’s sixth grade band concert, and you leaned over and said to me in a very loud stage whisper, “Mom, I forgot to put my underwear back on after my bath,” creating a laughing spasm that rippled through three rows of concert goers and making me want to slither under my seat.

Instead, I’ll just say - Happy 30th Birthday, kiddo! (Where did the time go?)



Monday, December 15, 2008

A Locket of Hair, An old Christmas Recipe and A Family Bible - Three Genea Wishes for Christmas

The locket of red hair, given to the six year old at her mother’s funeral in 1911, had no intrinsic value, but decades later, as she spoke about the gift, its cherished nature was still evident.

The challenge for the 62nd edition of the Carnival of Genealogy is Three Wishes. “This is your chance to write a letter to Genea-Santa. Make a list of 3 gifts you would like to receive this holiday season from 3 of your ancestors. These have to be material things, not clues to your family history (we're talking gifts here, not miracles!).” So

Dear Genea-Santa,

I would like the locket of my great grandmother’s hair that my great aunt Lucille was given the day she said good-bye to her mother. Shortly afterwards, Lucille and her siblings were separated, and as an adult, it was Lucille’s quest that brought her not to her brother’s doorstep some forty years later, but to the doorstep of her brother’s son, my father. To have the locket of hair would serve as a reminder of one woman’s tenacity for putting her family back together.

In my stocking, Santa, it would be easy for you to add a recipe card from another Great Grandmother’s kitchen. Emma Gleffe Schrader was, according to my grandmother (with a hearty endorsement from my father) a very accomplished cook and baker. I’ve heard that there exists a surviving recipe for her Christmas Yule Roll. This would be a wonderful way of passing on an old family tradition that future generations could enjoy, and a way of honoring my great grandmother’s memory. Santa, please!

And finally, in the family of my third great grandparents William Armstrong and Leah Shupe Armstrong, there is a family bible which includes the birth of my own great great grandmother Elizabeth Harriet Armstrong Feasel. Is it too much to ask that Leah’s own parents kept such a family bible, and that somehow, miraculously, it would come into my possession? Okay, I know we don’t get to ask for miracles, but hey, this could be the only way I figure out who Leah’s parents were.

Well Santa, there you have it, my three wishes. I know that these are a lot to ask of one poor overworked fellow, but it sure was fun daydreaming about the possibilities.

Merry Christmas Santa, and don’t eat too many Christmas Cookies!

Terry S.

Friday, December 12, 2008

A Christmas Caroling We Will Go

The foototeMaven has invited Genea-bloggers to come Christmas caroling with her today. Of course, she's stipulated that we put down our favorite Christmas carol, and as everybody knows I'm too wishy washy to have a favorite.

But here is one that I often hum to myself during this time of year.

Judy Garland first performed the song in 1944 in the movie "Meet Me in St. Louis." Written by Hugh Martin and Ralph Blaine, below is the version that most of us know. In 1957, as Frank Sinatra was recording his album, "A Jolly Christmas," he asked for a rewrite of one of the lines. The line went from "Until then, we'll have to muddle through somehow" to "Hang a shining star upon the highest bough."

The original version that Martin and Blaine wrote, was even darker with the first two lines reading, "Have yourself a merry little Christmas, It may be your last."
Below is the Frank Sinatra version:

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas

Have yourself a merry little Christmas,
Let your heart be light
From now on,
our troubles will be out of sight

Have yourself a merry little Christmas,
Make the Yule-tide gay,
From now on,
our troubles will be miles away.

Here we are as in olden days,
Happy golden days of yore.
Faithful friends who are dear to us
Gather near to us once more.

Through the years
We all will be together,
If the Fates allow
Hang a shining star upon the highest bough.

And have yourself A merry little Christmas now.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

My Christmas Past - The Mustachioed Christmas

By 1989, we had added two son-in-laws to the family tree. They, the son-in-laws, turned out to be keepers - the mustaches not so much.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

My Christmas Past - The Christmas Slap

From now until Christmas, I will be visiting some photos from my Christmas past on Wednesday and Thursday of each week. Below are two of my favorites taken in 1967, as my siblings and I sat for the annual Christmas Tree photo.

My youngest siblings apparently were feeling pretty confident that Santa was done with the whole naughty and nice list.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Graveyard Rabbits AND My Mutated Gene

I’ve made no secret of the fact that I can’t walk and chew gum at the same time. Never could.

I know you’re saying to yourself that all women are born with the multi-tasking gene. You know - that secret weapon that allows us to change a baby’s diaper, drag the toddler away from playing “fishing” with your prized rainbow guppy, and cook a six course dinner simultaneously while putting on the new shade of peppermint pink lipstick, all the better to have kissable lips when the hubs comes home.

I didn’t get that gene. Instead, I got that gene that allows you to concentrate obsessively on one thing, and one thing only.

This gene allowed cave man to focus exclusively on taking down a mammoth lion, instead of say, thinking about not forgetting to pick up a supply of kindling and sticks on his way back to the cave or whether or not the lion in question had the correct color coat his wife had requested for the new cave rug. Nope, he just focused on killing a big ole lion.

The modern day equivalent of this can be witnessed by a husband's almost serene ability to concentrate exclusively on Sunday’s football game. This is done while vacantly nodding as you talk about this year’s Christmas plans, ignoring his own offspring as they bicker loudly about custody of a toy, and looking up with wounded incredibility when you finally get through to him to let him know that YOU KNOW he isn’t paying any attention to you or the kids.

HE CAN”T HELP IT. It’s wired into his DNA and apparently, this very trait has jumped over and replaced the multi-tasking gene that is supposed to be wired into my X chromosome. I think they call this a spontaneous mutation. Genetics, what are you going to do!

This is my usual long-winded way of saying that I don’t know what the heck I was thinking when I agreed to take on a fourth blog at the invitation of Terry Thornton and The Association of Graveyard Rabbits. Blogging, working, babysitting, holiday preparing, genealogical research and an added extra blog – well if that isn’t a recipe for personal disaster.

Thanks to the hard work of Terry and footNote Maven there is an “anchor” site for ALL the Graveyard Rabbits who as of last week numbered 55. The site is really a beautiful work of art. It has a directory listing all the affiliated blogs with their LOCATION.

There’s a contact page and an aggregator page, which updates all the latest posts by each of the rabbits. If you have family that lived in another state, you might check the directory to see if someone is covering that area. I’m still hoping for a New Jersey and/or Oklahoma Rabbit. In the meantime, you are treated to some wonderfully written articles.

Myself, I decided to cover the twelve counties that make up The Great Black Swamp area of Ohio. My latest post, Survey of Washington Chapel Cemetery, did not turn out quite as I had planned.

I worked a good two weeks creating a slideshow from Photo Story 3, complete with titles and narration. (I was especially proud that I had gone back and rerecorded every piece of narration that I said the word Washington and added the famous Midwestern “R” making it “warsh” instead of “wash.” Man, some parts of the country get really creeped out by that.)

All was for naught, as the darn thing refused to open each time I tried to upload it to my YouTube account. Finally, I took another route with less than stellar results. However, I was working on a bit of a deadline. The bylaws of Graveyard Rabbits require me to post at least once a month. It’s not clear if that is a calendar month, or one month from your last post. I was closing in on the one-month mark of the latter qualification, and I didn’t want to get the boot, so there you have it.

If anyone is interested in writing their own post as a guest author for The Great Black Swamp Graveyard Rabbit, please leave me a comment below or email me at but be patient. Owing to that darn gene mutation which causes me to concentrate on one thing at a time, it takes me a while to remember to check that email address.

Until Next Time – Happy Ancestral Digging!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Today I cannot write

Last night, big fat flakes of snow traveled softly to the ground. I could not see the lights of Clyde, a comforting beacon that lets me know the severity of a snowfall or the thickness of a fog. Last night I paced, this morning I stare at a blank screen, unable to summon the enthusiasm for writing about matters of genealogy.

Last week, I watched with horror the attacks in Mumbai. Half a world away, there were young men, turned killing machines, who embraced not in theory but in deed, the twin evils of death and destruction. Mayhem, carnage, death – how can these be laudable goals, anytime, anywhere?

They and their victims, strangers all, foreign to me not just by birth, but by life and life style. I am not a world traveler. I am not an Indian citizen. I am not of the Jewish faith. And yet …

A father and daughter, visiting India in search of spiritual truths were caught eating in a café and gunned down by terrorists. Their colleagues, who were wounded, survived by playing dead, as the gunmen moved on to other diners.

A prominent food critic of The Times of India was trapped in her suite at The Taj, frantically texting her husband as the siege progressed. Her last transmission, early Thursday morning said that the gunmen were in her bathroom, after that, silence. He would later find her body in a pile of lifeless corpses, deposited there by commandos after the final assault. She died of asphyxiation.

And the vision of a blood spattered little boy, saved by his nanny, after witnessing the murder of his parents. His cries for his mother as the small community that she and her husband served, held a memorial in their honor were too heartbreaking to bear.

I do not know all the stories, nor the names of all the victims who died by man made tragedy last week in Mumbai. But I am filled with sorrow at such a senseless loss.

Today I AM a world traveler. Today I AM an Indian citizen. Today I AM a Jew. And today I cannot write.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

8 Things You Might Not Know About Me

Well, I’ve been tagged twice for this week’s meme that is making the rounds in Geneablogger land. Since I was tagged by two of my favorite bloggers, Sheri Fenley of The Educated Genealogist and Randy Seavers of Genea-Musings, I feel duty bound to play.

This time I have to give you eight things about myself that you, the reader, might not know. If you have read this blog on any kind of a regular basis, it’s probably obvious that any thought or experience that happens to pop into my brain makes its way onto this blog. Is there anything about me that you don’t already know?

You might not know. . .

1. I drink hot tea instead of coffee. (A latent English gene, perhaps?)

2. I not only passed my college swimming class without finishing the swim portion of the final test, but I received an A, thanks to my sister’s one size too small hot pink bikini and an appreciative student instructor.

3. You can count me as another member of the “I took belly dance lessons” club. Had it not been for an emergency C-section, I probably would have been become “Tara the Dancing Princess.”

4. I believe God created parentheses just for my benefit. (And since I don’t want his creation to go to waste, I make ample use of them in my blogging posts.)

5. I love all things tomato. I love tomato sandwiches, tomato sauce, stewed tomatoes, stuffed tomatoes, but I cannot stand the size and texture of cherry tomatoes in my mouth – yuck!

6. I can twist my tongue around so that it looks like I am turning it over. This (along with my Morton’s Toe) is a talent inherited from my dad. It is a useful trick in a room full of rowdy children. They’ll spend a good, QUIET half hour trying to duplicate the feat.

7. I played the violin in school, which is how my pal Karen and I first became friends. (She usually sat first chair and I sat second. Once, when the music instructor was trying to teach her a lesson, he switched our places right before a recital that had a solo for the first violin. I was scared to death. My generous friend talked me through it and it turned out fine – but I was happy to have her resume the duties of first chair.)

8. I believed my mother EVERY time she told me that taking Pepto-Bismol would make my stomach ache feel better. She lied!

Now the actual rules for this meme are:

1. Each player starts with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
2. People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules.
3. At the end of your blog post, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their name.
4. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged and to read your blog.

Since, I was one of the last to come to this party, I’m guessing that most of the geneablogger crowd that has wanted to play, has played. So, any blogger reading this post, please consider yourself tagged. Ah, that goes for you non-geneablogger types, too!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

A Little Game of Scrabble

Karen, my friend from California, and I were just talking about how we don’t forward those emails that say “send this email to 10 people within three hours and you will have your most fervent wish come true. If you delete this message before forwarding it on, you will have 10 years of bad luck.”

Okay, you may not have gotten one with the same verbiage but you know the kind of email I mean. By my count, I have about 10 LIFETIMES worth of bad luck. (Hey, wonder if I can “serve” my sentences concurrently and speed things up to say 5 LIFETIMES?)

Anyway, the next day I received the following email from one of my geneablogger buddies:

Ok the game is on... Afternoon Scrabble - Keep it going!!!

Change one letter of the bottom word posted and let's see who gets stuck and can't continue!
Rules: You cannot add letters. You cannot use foreign languages. You can only change one letter.

Send it back to the person that sent it to you, plus 10 new people.

Add your entry to the bottom after you hit Forward, or to be neater please Copy and Paste!???

Don't forget: send it back to the person that sent it to you, plus 10 new people.

To make it even more interesting, let's add what city and state we are from & the date to see how far this goes and how long it's been out...

This one I did participate in and pass on. I did it for two reasons.

1. NOBODY was being threatened if they did not pass it on.
2. It was extremely interesting to see the number of places this little chain email had been.

I sent it to people in the geneablogger world (see Karen, I was good to you.), and my apologies to anyone who may have been offended by being included in this little email. My apologies to anyone I didn’t send it to and who, upon reading this, realized that they would have WANTED to be included. You just can’t please everybody.

It started in the UK, but I don’t know which country in the UK because the originating person was not that specific. However, the following countries are represented: England, Scotland, Wales, Australia, Barbados, and the United States. Twenty states are represented in the list. I am the second Ohioan on this particular list.

Below is the list. I have deleted names from it, but I thought it was interesting to see the dates, and the places where this game of scrabble has been. The first date is listed as 18/08/08, which is August 18, 2008. This form of date changed to the more common form used in the US in Baltimore, MD.

A special thanks to the fellow geneablogger who included me in this game. I was feeling in a funk, and this perked me up.

If anybody recognizes this list, and would like to drop me a comment, I would love to hear from you. The world has certainly gotten smaller!

Bray -.UK 18/08/08
Tray - Jenny, Essex UK 18/7/08
Tram -, Essex UK 18/07/08
Trap - 18/7/08
Trip -, Essex 19/08/08
Grip - l,Essex , UK 20/08/08
Grid -, Scotland 20/08/08
Grin - , Barbados 21.08.08
Gran - - England 21.08.08
Bran -, Kent, 24.8.08
Rant- England 27.08.08
Pant -, South Australia 27/8/08
Pint - Hervey Bay Queensland Australia
Punt _ Craignish Qld. Australia
Puny - - Pt Elliot South Australia 29/08/08
Punk - - Goolwa Beach South Austraila 01/09/08
Pink - -Canterbury UK
Sink - Herne Bay Kent
Link - Herne Bay Kent . 2 Sept 08
Line - Essex 2nd September 08
Lint - Walton-on-the-Naze, Essex 02/09/08
Tint - - Orpington , Kent 03/09/08
Tent - - Sevenoaks , Kent 3/9/08
Rent - - Fairseat , Kent 3/9/08
Dent - - Bromley Kent 3/9/08
Bent - - West Wickham , Kent 3/9/08
Sent - - Borough Green, Kent 6/9/08
Went - - Southport UK - 06/09/08
Want - -Kay Southport UK - 06/09/08
Wart - -Lee , South Grafton20AU -07/09/08
Fart - South Grafton AU -07/09/2008
Cart- Brisbane Au- 08/09/2008
Tart - Maryborough AU - 08/09/2008
Dart - Brisbane Qld Australia 08/09/08
Dirt - Brisbane Qld Australia 8/09/09
Girt - Brisbane Qld Aust 09/09/08
Gift - Brisbane Qld Aust 09/09/08
Rift - Brisbane Qld Aust 09/09/08
Rife - Brisbane Qld Aust 09/09/08
Life - Qld Aust 10/9/08
Wife- WA Aust 11/9/08
Waif - WA Aust 11/09/08
Wait - WA Aust 11/9/08
Bait - WA Aust 11/09/08
Gait - Glasgow , Scotland 15/09/08
Gain -, Coulsdon, Surrey 15/09/08
Pain -, Woodmansterne, Surrey 16/9/08
Rain -, Banstead, Surrey UK 16.09.08
Raid-, Surrrey UK 16.09.08
Paid -, Hants , UK 17.09.2008
Laid - Wales UK 17.9.2008
Lair - South Wales UK19.09.2008
Lain - South Wales UK 22.09.2008
Lean - Birmingham 22.09.08
Loan- -Hampshire-23.09.08
Moan - West Sussex 24.09.08
Moat - Val Wingate West Sussex England 24.9.08
Boat -, West Sussex . England
Beat--, West SussexUK 24/9/08
Neat -, Cambridge England 24/09/08
Peat--, Chicago ,USA
Feat-- Mountain View , CA 26/09/08
Teat - San Carlos CA , USA 26/09/08
Meat - Baltimore , MD 9/27/08
seat- Raleigh NC 27609 9 /28/08
sear- Boca Raton , FL 9/30/08
rear- Pikesville Maryland
bear- Baltimore Maryland 09/30/2008
tear- Baltimore , Maryland 09/30/2008
team- Owings Mills , Maryland 10/1/08
teal- Owings Mills. MD 10/01/08
seal- Phoenix , MD 10/2/08
sell- Framingham, MA 10/2/08
bell- Framingham , MA 10/2/08
lobe- Framingham , MA 10/2/08
bowl - Framiingham , MA 10/5/08
cowl - Framingham , MA 10/5/08
coal - Weston , MA 10/05/08
COAT- Hollywood FL 10/5/08
Goat - Weston , MA
moat Marlboro MA
Boat -- Framingham , MA
Toad-- Framingham , Ma 10/5/08
Told--- Westwood, Ma 10/6/08
bold - Den nis , MA 10/7/08
bald - Arlington , MA 10/8/08
bale - Troy , OH 10/7/08
balk- Pittsfield ,Ma 10/7/08
bank-,lee,ma 10/8/08
tank- Stamford CT 10/9/08
talk- Wood dale IL 10/9/08
walk-, Wood Dale IL 10/9/08
wall - - RLB , IL 10/9/08
wail - - Glenview , IL 10/9/08
pail -, Chicago , IL 10/09/08
sail - - Torrance , CA. 10/9/08
nail - - Torrance , CA 10/9/08
rail - - Santa Clarita, CA 10/10/08
bail - - Burbank Ca 10/13/2008
hail - - Riverside , CA 10/14/08
fail –– Lakewood, Ca 10/19/08
tail –– Huntington Beach , CA 10/19/2008
toil –~ Ceres, CA 10/20/08
boil- ~ Turlock , CA 10/20/08
coil- CA 10/20/09
cowl- Tracy , CA 10/20/09
fowl ~, Tracy, CA 10/21/08
bowl~ Tracy CA10/21/08
bawl- Tracy, CA 10/21/08
ball–Tracy, CA 10/21/2008
mall- Stephanie Waddoups, Tracy, Ca. 10/22/08
call -, Roy, UT 10/22/08
hall - Carrollton, TX 10/23/08
hail - Ponca City, OK 23 Oct 2008
haik – Laguna Niguel, CA23 Oct 2008
hair - Fort Wort , TX 10/23/08
hail - Anchorage , Alaska , 23 Oct 08
Tail - Houston ,Texas , 10/23/08 @ 1:03p.m.
Teal - TX 10/24/08 @ 6:21
Meal- TX 10/24/2008 6:30am
Lame –Houston , TX 10/24/2008
Lime –, Corpus Christi , TX 10-24-2008
Dime –Corpus Christi , TX 10/24/2008
Mime -- CC, Texas 10/24/08
Mine - Covington , LA 10/24/08
Mind- Sonora , CA 10/25/08
Mild –Pt. Reyes CA 10/25/08
Milk - Ford CA 10/26/08
Mile- Beach Ca 10/26/08
Mole -, Petaluma CA 10/26/08
Pole –, San Francisco, CA 10/26/08
Hole –Napa , CA 10/27/08
Home- Portland , OR 10-28-08
Hope –Lake Oswego , OR 10-28-08
Rope –Lake Oswego , OR 10-28-08
Rose-- Lake Oswego, OR 10-31-08
Rise-- Portland, OR 10-31-08
Wise-- Concord, Ma. 11-1-08
Wipe-- Portland, OR 11-2-08
Wimp-- Portland, Or 11/3/08
Limp –Borrego Springs, CA 11/03/08
Pimp - Vista, CA 11/5/08
Pump - NV 11/6/08
Jump- Incline Village, Nv. 11/6/08
Hump -, Aleaxndria, Va 11/7/2008
Lump - Hernando, FL
Lamp - Lecanto, Fl. 11/07/08
Ramp- okeechobee, fl 11/10/08
camp- Taylorsville,NC 11/10/08
damp - Millville, NJ 11/10/08
tamp - Rosenhayn, NJ
Vamp - Millville - NJ
pave- Millville, NJ
pale - Millville, NJ
Bale –Millville, NJ
Bake- Millville, NJ
Rake—Woodstwon, NJ
Make - Mannington, NJ
cake- Clearwater, FL
sake - Naples, FL
Wake- Daw Ca.
Wade- V.H. AZ
Wide - Viejo, CA 11/21/08
Wipe - Ladera Ranch, CA 11/21/08
Wise - CA 11/21/08
Wish - Whidbey Island WA 11/22/08
Fish - Brookdale, CA 11/22/08Fist -- Chula Vista CA 11/22/08
List - Fulton, Mississippi USA 11/22/08
Last – Fremont, Ohio 11/22/08

Thursday, November 13, 2008

November - I Weep

I hate November. I always have. The days are short and overcast. Even the thought of the annual Thanksgiving feast is not enough to cheer me. As a child, I can’t tell you the number of times my family sat feasting on the luscious bird with all of its trimmings, while I lay moaning in my bed, bedroom door closed, completely nauseated by the smells that managed to filter their way into my sickroom. Having the flu seemed, at times, like an annual November ritual. Something you could count on in the same way you could count on my mom grinding up the cranberries the night before the holiday. So you can have your Thanksgiving and the entire month. I still hate November.

It seems only fitting, then, that November would house one of my worst memories, one of those before and after moments that people call “defining.” In the scale of things, it was just a small moment. I’ve come to realize if you scratch below anyone’s surface, you will find similar moments. I’m not special. God did not single me out, but at twenty-four, with a limited worldview, it felt as if he had.

In my mind, I see a little blond girl, smiling and running towards me with arms outstretched. I smile back.  I reach for her, picking her up and kissing her warm forehead. It is a cherished fantasy, decades old. It’s all I have of her, my youngest daughter, Heather, the fantasy.

When Heather was born, she had massive birth defects. That is what I tell people, when I talk about it. It sounds much better than the truth. That as a seven-month preemie, she weighed over ten pounds. That her little body was so bloated with fluid it had crushed her fragile bones, and made it impossible for her to come down the birth canal.

The fact that she managed to survive for twenty minutes after her caesarean birth, might qualify as a small miracle, on a day when miracles were in short supply. I am haunted with the idea that she was waiting for me, and in one final insult, I let her down, not coming out of the anesthetic fog until after she had died.

Funny, when they told me she was a girl, for a brief moment there was pleasure.  I hadn’t known until that instant how much I was hoping for a girl. In that instant, I forgot that a short time earlier I had begged the doctor to give me some small piece of hope as they put me under the anesthesia. His response had been a negating shake of his head.

How much of my grief-inspired insanity do I share? How much can you hear? Do you want to know that because I never held her or kissed her little cheek, or even saw her ravaged body that the ache of it can still make me weak?

Do you want to know that for months afterwards, every time I got into my car it somehow ended up in the hospital parking lot? Even I couldn’t understand the compulsion, until finally, one day, it dawned on me that the hospital was the last place Heather had been alive for me. The baby that had kicked inside me whenever I stopped rocking in my chair had disappeared. My mind and body were still looking for her.

Do you want to know that it would take five years, but eventually the event would highlight the growing cracks in my marriage, making a divorce the final footnote of the tragedy?

I wanted the world to stop. I didn’t care about someone looking for a new house. I didn’t care if they lost their job, or their plumbing stopped working. I wanted to shout, “My daughter has died! Nothing else matters!” But of course, as everyone knows, everything else does matter, and eventually, even I had to pick up the pieces and move on.

I hope that in your gravest moments of crisis you will find the same support and compassion I found in the cadre of women who nurtured and sustained me through mine. My mother, my sisters - Marcia and Lee, and my sister-in-law Nancy had the difficult task of withstanding all the vitriol and angst that I could muster. Over and over again, they let me cry, and rage and once done, let me regurgitate again all the bile that filled my soul. They must have wondered at times if I would ever stop, and eventually I did, when the well of bile finally ran dry. I don’t know how these women weathered my storm, but thank God, they did.

And so there was before, and then there was after. One day I was me, and then I was another me - not necessarily a better me, or even a worse me, just a different me. That is how life is.

Most of the time, it is behind me, though never lurking too far below my surface. With decades of practice, I can talk about it clinically, dispassionately without the slightest wave of disturbance. Except in November, when the sky is overcast and the calendar stares at me in defiance. Then I weep.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

For All My Sandusky County Kin Hunter Friends

I wanted to take the opportunity to thank everyone at the Sandusky County Kin Hunters who let me ramble on today about one of my favorite subjects, my Pomeranian roots. You each made it a thoroughly enjoyable experience for me. A special thanks to Dave Golden for inviting me to speak.

Here are the links that I promised I would post. Enjoy!

A. Eastern Europe
“Database of locations are EAST of the Oder and Neisse rivers and are based on the borders of the eastern provinces in Spring 1918. Included in this database are the following provinces: Eastprussia, including Memel, Westprussia, Brandenburg.
Posen, Pomerania, and Silesia.”
Gives both German and Polish names of villages and towns.
Website in German, English and Polish

The Federation of East European Family History Societies
Resource for All of Eastern Europe – Maps, Links etc.

B. Pomeranian Links
Useful information about the counties along the border between former Prussian Provinces Pomerania and West Prussia. Counties include
Butow - Pomerania
Lauenburg – Pomerania
Stolp – Pomerania
Karthaus – West Prussia
Neustadt – West Prussia
Putzig – West Prussia
Website in both German and English

Pommerninfo – Information and links for All Pommern Counties
Website in German with some English Subtitles

Pommern – Das Land am Meer
Information and links for Pomerania East of the Oder-Neisse Line
Website in German

Searchable databases including
1. Contact exchange between Pommern family researchers – Pommernkontakte
2. Search Family Names in various Address books from years 1869 -1938
3. Search Church Books and Civil Records Database for availability of records and their location
Website in German and some English

Pomeranian Genealogy Resources - Excellent website for links!
Website in English and German

6. .
Die Pommerschen Leute
Website for the Quarterly Newsletter devoted to the Duchy of Pomerania
Published by The Immigrant Genealogical Society Pomeranian Special Interest
Maps, Articles, and Links
Website in English

The Pommern Regional Group of Minnesota
Information on Pomeranian Culture and Links
Website in English

Pommerscher Verein Freistad
Culture and History of Pomerania
Website English and German

C. Pomeranian County Links
Herzlich Willkommen im Landkreis Stolp i. Pommern
Information about specific villages in Stolp Kreis
Links to other information
Website in German

Powiat Slupski
Information about towns and villages of Stolp Kreis
Website in German and Polish

Information on Pommern - Kreis Belgard – Schivelbein -
Website in German

Information on Pommern – Kreis Bütow
Website in German

Information on Pommern - Kreis Cammin
Website in German

Information on Pommern – Kreis Deutsch Krone
Website in German and some Polish

Information on Pommern – Kreis Kolberg-Körlin
Website in German

Information on Pommern – Kreis Lauenburg
Website in German

Information on Pommern – Kreis Naugard
Website in German

Information on Pommern – Netzekreis
Website in German

Information on Pommern - Kreis Rummelburg
Website in German and English

Information on Pommern – Kreis Schlawe
Website in German

Information on Pommern – Kreis Schlochau
Website in English and German

Mailing list for Researchers of the Pomeranian County of Stolp
Instructions in German, English, French and Dutch
Website German but some on list read and write English

German Genealogy Portal
Website in German and some English

The Immigrant Genealogical Society
Collection of German and American Genealogy – Research Service from Library
Website in English

German History in Documents and Images
Collection of Historical documents, images, maps pertaining to German History
From 1500 -2006 (Note some sections still under construction)
Website in German and English

“A Genealogical Handbook of German Research” by Larry O. Jensen
This can be downloaded as a PDF file from FamilySearch website.
Website in English

Volksbund Deutsche Kriegsgräberfürsorge e.V.
Website of the German War Graves Commission with information on German
Soldiers who died in World War I and World War II
Website in German

Max Kade Institute for German American Studies
Documents, Maps, Information, Resources, Links
Website in English (some links in German)

Links for Geman Genealogy on the Internet
Joe Beine’s very useful German links recently celebrated it’s 10 year anniversary.
Website in English

Information on the US Citizenship and Immigration Services Genealogy Program
Procedures and fees for requesting Index Search and Record Copy Request
(Note you can now make these requests online)

Ellis Island
Search Passenger Manifests for Immigrant Ancestors


Google Language Tools
Can translate both text and websites into from approximately 30 different languages into English., including Polish. Muy Bueno!

Yahoo Babel Fish
Can translate both text and website from 12 languages into English. Does not include Polish.


Microsoft Virtual Earth
Look at Earth in 3D

Google Earth
3D view of the world and more.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Sandusky County Kin Hunters Meeting Reminder

This Sunday, November 9, the Sandusky County Kin Hunters will be holding their monthly meeting at 2:00 PM at the Sandusky Township Hall on Rt 19 North. I will be there chatting about the topic “Researching My Pomeranian Roots.”

The meeting is free and open to public with ample parking available. If you have any questions please contact Dave at 419-502-7620.

Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Some Final Thoughts on This Election Day

I just read a piece in the New York Times which said that the election with the largest voter turnout happened 100 years ago, on November 3, 1908 when 66% of the registered voters showed up at the polls and elected Ohioan, William Howard Taft, the Republican candidate, as President.

Of course, women could not vote in that election. Today will be the 23rd time that women of the United States will have voted in a Presidential Election. November 2, 1920 was the first election in which women could exercise their right to vote. This was a mere 72 years after the birth of the women’s suffrage movement took place in Seneca Falls, New York at the first women's rights convention. Most of the women at that convention would not live to see their dreams of women’s suffrage realized.

As much as I am pulling for my candidate to win, I think the most important factor in today's election is the sanctity of the process – that no eligible voter’s vote be denied, nor left uncounted.

There are mountains of lawyers ready to pounce in my home state of Ohio with charges of voter fraud already floating like bits of pollen in the air. I have heard that there are legions of lawyers representing both political parties stationed in other swing states ready to do battle.

Perhaps it is naïve to believe that the integrity of the process matters more than the outcome of the election. But it is this belief that is at the core of what it means to be an American – one person, one vote. Is it too much to hope that those who would lead and their supporters remember this concept as this election season comes to a close?

Thursday, October 30, 2008


Karma is a ... well, you know. I made a funny ha, ha about not wanting to drive to Michigan this week, and I may have said something along the lines that Michigan drivers were maniacs. I should have known that saying something like that, even in jest, would come back to bite me. Predictably, it did.

No, I didn’t get into any accident, at least not an automobile accident. But owing to the fact that I did not inherit either parent’s physical prowess, I managed to get into another kind of accident.

Yesterday, klutzy me ended up kissing Michigan pavement, hard. I managed to land on one of my hands, and to cut to the chase, I have a couple of swollen fingers that even now are screaming at me to STOP THE DARN TYPING. (One is a handsome shade of purple, thank you.)

So not being a suck it up kinda girl, I’m just posting and typing enough to tell you, that until the fingers stop complaining, my wrist stops hurting and my shoulder no longer needs the heating pad, you aren’t going to hear a peep out of me.

I also want to say that I have learned my lesson about taking pot shots at the innocent citizens of another state, even in jest, even when technically true. No sir, not me, you won’t catch me saying anything bad about another state. Which probably means I’m going to have to stuff a sock in my mouth the weekend of November 22nd. Ouch!

Sunday, October 26, 2008


No, I haven’t died, nor have I fallen off the edge of the earth. (Well, duh, the earth is round and has no edges but I digress.) I’ve just had an INTERESTING week.

First, I have been fighting off some kind of flu bug. I think the drive-in person at McDonald’s who told us she wasn’t feeling well as she handed us our coffee and tea, may have had something to do with that. No, I get you, that’s not especially interesting but I just wanted to point out that you can have an INTERESTING week and still feel sick.

I also had my hair colored (no more gray) because I have to go to a work conference on Tuesday and Wednesday up into (shudder) Michigan. (No offense to the Michiganders who read this, but you people drive like maniacs!) And no, getting your hair colored isn’t especially interesting either but I wanted to prove what a real trooper I am – I mean feeling sick, getting my hair colored, and STILL managing to have an INTERESTING week.

The first thing that happened was that I was invited to join a new group called The Association of Graveyard Rabbits. This is a group of individuals “promoting the historical importance of cemeteries, grave markers, and the family history to be learned from a study of burial customs, burying grounds, and tombstones. As a group we pledge to promote the study of cemeteries, promote the preservation of cemeteries, and promote the transcription of genealogical/historical information written in cemeteries”.

I am honored to have been asked to join, but one of the things required is to start a NEW blog. So as soon as I am done writing this post, that is the next thing on my “to do” list. When the new site is up and running, I will post a link to it.

The next thing that happened this week was that my German friend, Siegfried, proved what a brilliant man he really is. A few months back I had written a series of posts about the land of my great grandparents, Pomerania. Siegfried found the posts and me, and we began a correspondence.

Siegfried decided that he would send me some videos after he had put some English captions on them, so I could “see” the homeland. I was grateful, excited and impatient to see them. I’m still hopeful that one day the postman will put them in my mailbox, but for now, they seem to have taken a rather long detour.

Now let me explain. Siegfried and I are not related, but his family and my family came from the same area in Stolp all those many years ago. For him to have gone this extra mile for an UNRELATED stranger, well what superlatives would be appropriate to describe such a wonderful selfless gesture?

As it turns out, there is another person in Ohio that Siegfried has helped. Her name is Shirley. (Hi Shirley! I hope the chicken soup helped.) Siegfried, Shirley and I are convinced that Shirley and I are very distant cousins.

Siegfried, who is no quitter, found another way to get the videos to both Shirley and I. He found a storage website that can be viewed in both German and English. He broke up the videos and uploaded them to the website, where Shirley and I could access them and download them. Each chunk of video took about three hours to download. For some reason while the download process was ongoing, it didn’t like me doing ANYTHING else with my computer. There were four videos, some with as few as two parts, some with as many as six parts. You do the math.

So, for the entire week, I have been computerless as I downloaded each portion. While there were some snafu’s – I still can’t view the very last video, and I had to get online to help figure out how to put the various pieces back together, I have to say it was pretty exciting being involved with such a project. I also have to say that Siegfried has been an amazing captain of the project, and Shirley has been a great deal of help – especially since I consider myself a technological imbecile in many respects. I could never find a better team to undertake something as all consuming as this turned out to be.

So a public thank you to my friend Siegfried. I’ve used the adjectives brilliant and amazing, but they pale in comparison to what you have done for me. Thank you very much for your persistence and kindness, and yes brilliance. As for Shirley, I couldn’t have found a better partner to share in our mutual excitement of what we experienced this week. It was time consuming, sometimes frustrating, but it was a major BLAST. We did it!

The final interesting thing that happened was a message board query that I had done about four years ago, finally paid dividends. I had been looking for information about my great grandfather’s cousin, Abram Perry Baker and one of his sons Dudley Vernon Baker. Well, a descendent of Dudley’s found me. (This is the very reason I hesitate to change any of my email addresses – you just never know!)

While I have been supplying them with parts of their family history and some cool documentation, they in turn have solved a couple of mysteries that have been plaguing me for about four years. I now know why Dudley went to Honduras, and why his uncle Rufus went there. I even know now that Dudley’s cousins Edward and Albert were also there. It feels a lot like an itch in the center of my back that I could never quite reach has finally been scratched. Relief! Euphoria! Hot Darn!

So you can see, this has indeed been one interesting week. None of this would have happened without the Internet. I know that I am preaching to the choir, but if you know any holdouts to the idea of using the Internet to further their genealogical interests, then tell them this – You know a lady, who at 55 is a technological imbecile, but still reaches out willingly to embrace the Internet and all its mysteries. You can also tell them she is loving every minute of it. Today is a day for happy dancing!

Until Next Time – Happy Ancestral Digging!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Terry Accidentally Learns How to Make a Movie with Her Camera, Hah!

Have I mentioned before that I have some kind of brain defect that causes my eyes to roll back in my head as I am reading an owner’s manual? I mean it’s all yadda, yadda to me.

So, the other night as I am taking pictures for my ‘autumn’s here” post, I was screwing around, uh, experimenting with my digital camera’s settings, and I accidentally made the movie you see below.

I want to mention that this is the very camera, that I asked Santa for last Christmas in the Carnival of Genealogy’s “Dear Santa” edition. Jasia of Creative Gene expressed real concern for someone who was taking pictures on an old camera that still used floppy disks. So Jasia, if you are reading this, I wanted you to know that Santa was good to me, possibly because I pointed out your concern to Santa’s helper, who just happens to be my husband Al. I pointed to your words and said, “See, people PITY me.”

So it’s been what, almost 10 months now, and I can honestly say I haven’t read one word of the manual. Now this is something that drives my husband completely insane. He LOVES owner’s manual. He reads them, keeps them all nice and neat, and frowns and grouses around if for some reason he can’t find them where he is sure he left them. He will say things like, “Someone moved my blah, blah, blah manual.”

Okay, since we are the only two people living in the house, we all know who SOMEONE really is, don’t we?

So when I showed him my proud masterpiece and admitted that I had no clue how I did it, predictably, he said, “You really ought to read the manual.” Hah!

As for the masterpiece itself, you can hear me clicking the “picture taking whatjamajig button,” which of course it wouldn’t do because the camera was all like, I’m making a movie, obviously. I am so proud that I didn’t utter any swear words. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be able to show you my accidental baby.

Of course, in order for you to see it, I had to load it on to YouTube. I entitled it, “Terry Accidentally Learns How to Make a Movie with Her Camera, Hah!” which is longer than the movie itself, and is, in fact, infinitely more interesting than the movie. It’s probably going to become an overnight sensation. CNN will want to interview me. David Letterman will ask me to read the top 10 list. And my husband will look at me and say, “Oh, Terry, I see now that I have been so wrong to smirk with an annoying air of superiority because I actually read owner’s manuals and you alas, do not.” (What! You think the “alas” was too much?)

Okay, now you see why I blog. I have a ridiculously rich imagination. Sigh . . .

Until Next Time!

Geneablogger Tag

I’m working on an ongoing project that is tying up my computer, so I am a little behind the times in posting my response to a meme that has been making the rounds. Randy Seaver started it, and on it’s second pass to him he passed it along to me. Denise Olson of Moultrie Creek, also tagged my sister blog, Desktop Genealogist Unplugged. It would be rude not to respond, right?

10 Years Ago I...

1. Was preparing to move into a new house.

2. Had started a new job which I took after leaving a place I had worked for almost sixteen years. Turned out this was just the “rebound” job and I would leave it after a tough six months.

3. Was recovering from a trip I had taken with my sisters down to Florida to see our folks. As I have told my youngest nephew, no matter how much they beg and plead, NEVER take a trip with your aunt and your mom – that’s how much I love the kid!

4. Was missing my only daughter, who had moved to San Francisco.

5. Had given up figuring how I could manage to go to school AND work full time to get my Bachelor’s Degree. (A few years later, I revisited the idea and found a way to make it work.)

5 Things on Today's To-Do List

1. Catch up my “Desktop Genealogist Unplugged” website – the News-Messenger site is SO much easier to work with than blogger. So, I’ve slacked off a bit.

2. Go shopping at the farm market – hope they have red peppers.

3. Do laundry

4. Download information from my German friend, Siegfried

5. Get started on next’s months Kin Hunters presentation

5 Snacks I Enjoy

1. Ballreich Potato Chips and Tofts Chip Dip (or Sterlings) with a tall glass of Pepsi

2. Brownies with my mother’s “special” icing (Hint! Hint!)

3. Dove Dark Chocolate – my sister says a little is good for the heart –yeah!

4. Tortilla Chips with Salsa or even better, homemade 7 layer taco dip

5. Homemade soft chocolate chip cookies, or Cookie Lady’s chocolate chip and walnut cookies if I’m feeling lazy.

4 Places I Have Lived - (It’s suppose to be 5 but unless you count the hospital where I was born, I’ve only lived in four different localities and that was stretching it.)

1. Clyde, Ohio

2. Fremont, Ohio

3. Shepherdstown, West Va.

4. Green Creek Township (between Clyde and Fremont)

5 Jobs I Have Had... (I could have filled up the whole page, but stuck to just 5)

1. Carhop at A & W (which is why I can no longer stand the smell of root beer)

2. Bank – Checking Departments and Investments

3. Tax Preparation Instructor

4. Loan Operations Supervisor

5. Customer Service Positions – in Financial, Industrial and Construction industries. No matter where I start, I gravitate to communicating with the public.

I’m suppose to tag 5 additional bloggers, but I think after reading Randy Seaver’s recap, it would be tough to find 5, so if you haven’t been tagged, consider yourself tagged by me.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Poverty's Daughter

There are no hidden ancestral ties to political figures. There are no kings and queens to be found on my family tree. I come mostly from hard working German stock, with a few wild Irish lads and lasses thrown in for good measure. A pinch of this, a pinch of that and there you have my family tree.

From my father’s paternal side, they came from Pennsylvania and Virginia to Ohio’s Appalachian hills. A few farmers, but mostly miners, these families settled in the coal producing area of Ohio in the mid 19th century.

A miner’s life was hard. They often lived in shanties and shacks provided by the mining company. They moved from time to time, following the work as it shifted from mine to mine, shaft to shaft. They started young, doing the most menial of work, and once the mines “got you”, it was hard to escape.

In the early days, furnaces were formed and stoked at the bottom of shafts creating the ventilation needed in the tunnels beneath the earth’s surface. Cave-ins, explosions, floods all posed great dangers to the men. The wages were low, their lungs scarred from breathing in the dust, yet the men continued working for as long as their bodies held out, to keep food in their family’s bellies and a roof over their children’s heads. The sons followed the fathers into the mines, and the circle of hard work for low wages continued for another generation.

This would have been my great great grandfather’s life. Except that he went to war and on a summer day in Georgia took a gunshot wound to the knee. The resulting amputation made finding work hard. Eventually, he would get a small disability check, but it was not enough money for the family to live on, so Henry found odd jobs when he could. His sons went to work in the mines, and his daughters looked for serving jobs to supplement the family income.

There are no pictures of Henry or his wife Louisa. Nor are there photos to be found for any of their children. Who were they after all? Certainly, they were not anyone whose likeness was worth recording. If there had been pictures, I wonder if I would have seen gaunt cheeks, hollowed eyes and a hopelessness reserved for those whom hope has abandoned.

Henry’s son Elmer, my great grandfather, was said to have been fond of the grape. This may or may not have been a fair assessment of the man, for it came from his wife’s stepmother, and was told to Elmer’s youngest daughter. After the death of his wife Lizzie, in 1911, Elmer found himself with four young children. He farmed out his eldest daughter, age six, to another family who used the girl as an unwilling servant.

His youngest daughter was left in the care of his father-in-law. He packed up his sons, ages one and three, and headed north. Between 1910 and 1920, oil had begun to replace coal as a heating element. The loss of jobs, even poorly paying ones, had forced many men to leave their Appalachian homes in search of new work.

So Elmer left, promising to return for his daughters sometime in the future. He headed for Lucas County, where an elder brother, Lawson, had found work earlier. We’ll probably never know what happened, but three years later Elmer was dead, in an apparent suicide. He had drunk carbolic acid. One cannot know what deep despair caused him to do this, but the result was two little boys and two little girls suddenly without any parent.

The youngest boy, George, stayed with his aunt and uncle, but the older boy, my grandfather would eventually be adopted out four years later. Grandfather would later manage to find a good job with Overland Express and was on his way to securing a good future for himself when he died unexpectedly at age 39 of a burst appendix.

He left seven fatherless children. But while my grandfather had not always made the best choices in life, he had certainly made two wise choices when he chose two strong, capable women to be the mothers of his children. These children would grow up not to perpetuate the poverty that had been their family’s heritage, but instead would form good, stable middle class homes from which they would raise their own children. It took several generations and a prescription of community aid, personal responsibility and education to change one family’s path out of poverty.

I wonder if Louisa and Henry would have ever dreamed that a great great granddaughter would find their lives important enough to write about and share with each of you. You can have your kings and queens, and your presidential ancestral ties. In my family, we have survivors, and there is a hard won dignity to be found in that.

Written for Blog Action Day 2008

Monday, October 13, 2008

Reflections on an Autumn Day

Autumn has come to my own little corner of the universe. Turning leaves, the neighboring soybean crop harvested and the sun setting in a different part of the evening horizon all signal the definitive end of summer.

I like autumn - cool evenings that call for the comforter to be pulled tight around you, the reds and yellows topping tree-lined streets in town. Sweatshirts pulled hastily over your head, as you run to the end of the driveway to check for the daily mail. I swear it was just spring. What happened to summer?

A stray flower on my Pontentilla bush, which blooms in May and June, tells me that I am not the only one left wondering where summer has gone.

Until Next Time!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Attention Fellow Bloggers - Blog Action Day October 15

Blog Action Day is a nonprofit event with the goal of encouraging bloggers, podcasters and videocasters to unite on one day, and talk about a single subject. This year’s subject is poverty. The goal is to “raise awareness and trigger a global discussion.”

If you write a blog, this is your chance to make your voice heard and join the discussion on poverty. You can register here. As of this writing, 7673 participants have committed to tackling the subject.

Participating bloggers are encouraged to write about poverty from the perspective of their individual blogs. In my case, I will be writing on poverty with a genealogical slant.

To read more about this year’s blog action day go to Blog Action Day 2008.

Blog Action Day 2008 Poverty from Blog Action Day on Vimeo.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Sandusky County Kin Hunters This Sunday

Sandusky County Kin Hunters

Just a reminder, the October meeting of Sandusky County Kin Hunters will be held this Sunday, October 12 at 2:00 PM. Stephen Charter, Head Archivist of the Center for Archival Collections at Bowling Green State University will be the featured speaker. If you’ve ever had questions about this wonderful research facility, then maker sure you attend at the Sandusky Township Hall, Route 19 North in Fremont on Sunday. The meeting is free and open to anyone with an interest in Family History. There is ample parking and the building is handicapped accessible. For further information, contact Dave at 419-502-7620.

Carnival of Genealogy

The Carnival of Genealogy has posted its 57th edition. The topic was I Read It in the News. If I counted correctly (not always a sure thing) there are 47 genealogists participating this time. Thanks Jasia, for being such a good hostess!

The next edition of the Carnival has the topic “Halloween Hauntings– Fact or Fiction”

For more details, be sure to visit this edition of the Carnival of Genealogy at Creative Gene.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Fly Killer

I’ve created a killer, a fly killer, that is. A few weeks ago, in the natural course of an energetic four-year running in and out, a quick thinking fly managed to breach our inner sanctum.

Quick thinking yes, but maybe not so quick moving. After my own thwarted attempts at swatting the little pest, the grandson begged me to let him try. So I handed over the white fly swatter. And what do ya know? Deadeye managed to do in a few well-aimed swats, what Grandma had not. He killed that darn fly.

“I’m really quick, right Maw?”

“Yes, you are.”

“You couldn’t get him, could you Maw?”

“Nope, I could not.”

“We don’t like flies, do we Maw?”

“No, we do not.”

“Hey, are you goin’ to tell PaPa Al, that I’m quick?”

“Yes, I am.”

A few weeks later, when one of the deceased fly’s buddies made it in through the opened screen door, the grandson was not pleased when I managed to shoo the fly back outside.

“But, I wanted to kill him,” grumped the peanut gallery.

My explanation of a win-win philosophy was lost on a four-year old who thought I was just mucking up his chance at another fly victory.

Later, as we played outside, the little guy got his chance when a hapless fly landed on one of our outside toys. Deadeye, took aim, and swatted the fly with his BARE hands, and put another notch in his fly killing belt.

After a brief discussion about why it was good policy to wash one’s hands after such a heroic act, I made one of my usual breezy pronouncements.

“Hey, I’m going to have to start calling you Fly Killer. Yep, I’m going to call you, Fly Killer Snyder.”

Silence, as the two of us walked the length of the stone driveway.

Then, “Its okay, Maw. You can call me Fly Killer if you want.”

A few more steps, a quick kick of the stones, and then my buddy looked straight up at me and said, “I kinda like that name.”

Glad to oblige, kiddo. Glad to oblige.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

I Read it in the News - Evidence of Collateral Damage

When people get divorced, whatever wonderful quality they first saw in each other, has long since vanished. What doesn’t vanish is their mutual offspring, something often overlooked by warring parties.

When my grandparents divorced, it was not pretty. My grandmother, a petite, spunky woman, and her ex Mother-in-law formed two separate camps. There were no prisoner exchanges, no mingling of combatants and both camps remained armed and on alert. The fact that the two women had never gotten along, guaranteed no one would be suing for peace.

My grandfather, whom I have written about previously, died suddenly at the age of 39 from a burst appendix. My grandfather had been living in Toledo with his second wife, and four children. My grandmother, my dad and his sisters lived in Clyde. Nettie, the mother-in-law lived in Florida.

Nettie sent a notice to the Clyde newspaper giving the details of her adopted son’s death. The story goes that this was how my grandmother and her children heard about the death. I’m prepared to give Nettie a pass on that one, because I don’t know whether she had tried to contact grandma. Perhaps she had or perhaps Nettie figured letting the paper know was a good way to tell her former daughter-in-law and her grandchildren of the loss.

However, what she did next seems particularly spiteful. The list of survivors given to the newspaper included the four children by the second marriage, but not one word was mentioned about the three older children who were living in Clyde.

A week later, the following short notice appeared in the paper:

“Mrs. Anna X asks that we make a correction in the obituary notice of the late Walter X sent us last week by Mrs. Nettie X from Florida. Mrs. Anna X, says he is survived by three children by a first marriage, and 4 children by a second marriage.”

I can almost see my grandmother pulling herself up straight, and making the simple, direct correction. Nettie had landed a well-aimed blow at my grandmother. Maybe it was deserved, maybe not. I wonder, however, did she think about the collateral damage? Was the chance to stick the knife into my grandmother so irresistible that all other considerations were secondary?

Fair or not, that one act defined, for me, Nettie’s character. And I found that character wanting.

Written for 57th Carnival of Genealogy - I Read it in the News

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Geneablogger Gnome makes a visit to the Desktop Genealogist

The little fellow below came for a visit to the Desktop Genealogist blog via email for my participation in Terry Thornton’s “Getting to Know You Challenge. " I wanted to take him around and show him the sights of Northwest Ohio, but I’ve been chained to my desk for the past couple of weeks.

So far, all the poor little guy has gotten to see is a fog-enshrouded sunrise out my backdoor.

Maybe, if he sticks around long enough, I can take him to this weekend’s Civil War Encampment at Spiegel Grove. What do you think? Would that be a good place for a Gnome to visit?

In the meantime, you can checkout Hill Country of Monroe County’s overwhelming response to the Getting to Know You Challenge. Forty different participants with 42 blogs are represented. You can read about the brightest, the breeziest and the most beautiful from some very talented geneabloggers here, here and here.

Our host, Terry Thornton, in his usual Southern charming fashion, did a thorough job putting this project together. If I were pressed to describe Terry with only one word, I think that word would be gracious. He certainly handled this Herculean task in just such a manner. Thanks, Terry for a wonderful idea.

PS Just to put this in perspective - Terry had to read 42 posts, and another 126 posts that we geneabloggers submitted for our brightest, breeziest and most beautiful. Then Terry had to write a summary about each blog. When that was all done , he had to LINK 168 POSTS to his own blog. By comparison, my post had a mere six links .Just the thought of posting this to my archive blog, Desktop Genealogist Unplugged, makes me darn cranky - and I only am talking a paltry six links. So Terry really is THE MAN!.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Getting to Know Me, Getting to Know Desktop Genealogist

Something was missing. Like the midnight snacker standing before an open refrigerator, I had a taste for “something,” but I couldn’t quite put my finger on what that something was. When the News-Messenger advertised for bloggers for their online edition, suddenly it all clicked.

Overcoming my usual shyness, I submitted a proposal to the city editor, who requested a meeting and some writing samples. From that meeting the Desktop Genealogist was born.

Initially I had hoped to help other family historians better navigate the waters of Internet research. However, once I started posting, I realized the posts I enjoyed writing the most had to do with telling a simple story. Whether it was about a grandmother, an old church, or why my toes are deformed, the constant knot in my stomach dissolved and that missing “something” was suddenly found.

My friend Mississippi Terry, of Hill Country of Monroe County, Mississippi, decided with the growing number of geneabloggers finding their way to the Internet, it might be nice if each of us posted an article about our blogs, including an example of the brightest, breeziest and most beautiful of our posts.

Below are my own nominations for my best of the best:

Brightest Stories My Grandmother Told Me

This was written for an edition of Smile for the Camera. It gave me a chance to experiment with my tools for telling a story.

BreeziestOne SuperPower to Go – Please!

My answer to the question, “Why are you twitching your nose?”

Most BeautifulThe Art of Painting Pictures

Note my breeziest and brightest posts links take you to my original Desktop Genealogist Blog on the News-Messenger.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Strange Things A Happenin'

Note: This post pertain's to my Desktop Genealogist blog on The News-Messenger. In the interest of keeping my archives up to date, and because some people follow this blog, (thank you Sheri, Miriam and Apple), I have went ahead and posted it to the Unplugged site. If I've confused you, imagine being me!!!!

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but of late, I have been MIA on this blog. My MIA status extends to all my “homies” in the geneablogger community. So when I did a quick check in on Monday to find out what ‘s been happening in the world of genealogy, I was surprised to find my blog mentioned in Randy Seaver’s weekly Best of the Genea-Blogs September 14 -20, 2008.

Surprised, pleased and dismayed because Randy wrote, I also had Terry Snyder's post "The Gentle Ferocity of Love" from The Desktop Genealogist blog on my list, but the Fremont News-Messenger site is messed up and I couldn't find a link. I'll add it to my list when I can find a good link.

So I sent Randy the link, and I thought all was well. But hold it, not so fast. I noticed in my Google Reader that a post I had dated September 4, now showed that it was posted September 20. Huh?

For those of you not familiar with Google Reader, it is a wonderful little tool offered by Google that allows you to organize your blog subscriptions, and see them all at a glance. Occasionally, however, it does some wonkie things.

So being a Curious Georgia type a girl, I clicked on this new link to my old post, and what do you know, I end up on Cincinnati.Com’s very own online edition. AND THERE I AM IN ALL MY GLORY!

I’m giving you the link right HERE, but just in case they fix the darn thing, and you start thinking, “That Terry chick has finally gone off the deep end,” I took a print screen picture of me, on Cincinnati.Com’s online edition. Darn, I almost feel famous.

I’ve reported the problem to the media editor here at the News-Mess, and he basically said:

1. Huh, really AND

2. That's above my pay grade.

But bless is heart, he did report it and you can see how quickly the wizards behind the newspaper curtain have reacted to the problem.

I haven’t seen any other bloggers mentioning these weird happenings, but then again, I haven’t been paying close attention. I’m not sure when the Cincy newspaper will notice they have a freeloader on their website, but hey, my screenshot proves I was there – hidden where nobody can find me, but there nonetheless.

In the meantime, you can head on over to Randy Seaver’s blog, and find a variety of blog posts to keep you in the genealogical loop.

Hey, I wonder where this post will end up? Who knows - today Cincinnati, tomorrow Hackensack!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Gentle Ferocity of Love

The elderly couple came tentatively into the waiting room of the doctor’s office where I sat. Both were white haired. Both were frail looking, though she, the more frail of the two, leaned a bit unsteadily into the arm of her mate. He fussed with getting her seated and letting the receptionist know that they were there.

I saw the look of concern etched so clearly on his face, as he continued to fuss around her until she took his hand into her own and patted it softly. I watched the look that passed between the two of them, feeling as if I had somehow invaded their privacy yet unable to pull my gaze away, drawn in by the gentle ferocity of love that passed between them.

I saw that same look this past Saturday, with a younger cast of characters, as I witnessed the marriage of my eldest stepson and his new bride. Though this time the look included the exuberant dash of youthful joy, it was, nonetheless. the same gentle ferocity of love that I had viewed so many years ago in that doctor’s office. It was beautiful and breathtaking to behold.

Erin, my new daughter, had her heart set on being married beneath the trees on her grandmother’s farm.

The weather, which had been withholding rain for weeks, suddenly decided that this weekend it was time to let loose. It rained on Friday and it rained on Saturday. A call from my stepson, told us that they were moving the ceremony to the reception hall, but because Erin still hoped to say her vows on the farm, the wedding party and a few close friends were going to meet there.

Sure enough, the rain stopped. Erin and Matt were married just as they had wanted to be - on her grandmother’s farm.

I don’t know what kind of journey awaits them. I hope that life is kind to them. I hope that when their hair is white and their gate is slow, their love is still beautiful and breathtaking to behold.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Kościół p.w. NMP Królowej Polski

In the village, nestled beside neighboring trees, it stands. Made of brick, embedded on a stone foundation, it is the perfect example of Gothic architecture - pointed arches, stained glass windows, and ribbed vaults. First built in the sixteenth century, fire has been its natural enemy. Repeatedly it has been rebuilt, so that bits and pieces of the structure originate from different centuries.

It was here, beside the eighteenth century alter, that my great grandparents, Leo Schröder and Emma Gleffe Schröder were baptized. It was here, standing above, in the 17th century pulpit, Reverend Walter Bielenstein preached the last sermon before he and the rest of his flock were forced to leave their church and their homes at the end of World War II.

I had thought, looking at the few pictures found online, that the church had been abandoned. I imagined a dusty, dark neglected cavern, left as a relic of a forgotten time, and a forgotten people. I imagined this, that is, until a certain German friend set me straight.

Below you are looking at Kościół p.w. NMP Królowej Polski or Church of Our Lady Queen of Poland. The church, far from being abandoned, is still busy baptizing the children of Budowo

From Website:

Though the dogma preached from the 17th century pulpit is slightly different and the voices lifted in song are of another language, the ghosts of Budow's German parishoners must be smiling. For their church, still lives. It lives.

Until Next Time . . .

Information Sources:
Email correspondence with Siegfried Krause.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Sandusky County Kin Hunters at the Hayes President Library

I’m popular. Well, okay, not so much popular as I am in demand. Family, work, and my dirty house are all crying for extra chunks of time. And if you haven’t noticed, there is an exciting presidential race in full swing. (I think I have whiplash from trying to follow all the charges and countercharges that are floating around the Internet and TV – talk about silly season.)

So, I’m going to be dialing it back a bit on my blogging – unless of course, someone discovers how to add more hours in a day. Seriously – anyone - more hours?

Carnival of Genealogy

Jasia has posted a whopping 50 entries from 49 geneabloggers at the 55th edition of the Carnival of Genealogy. There is a lot of great reading (and a fair amount of picture viewing) on the subject of “Show and Tell.”

Sandusky County Kin Hunters

A little birdie (okay, not a birdie but Dave Golden) tells me that this Sunday’s Kin Hunters meeting will be held at the Hayes Presidential Library this Sunday at 2:00 PM. Head Librarian, Becky Hill, will be presenting the program that is free and open to anyone interested in family history.

For further information, you can contact Dave at 419-502-7620

Well, that’s all from my corner of the world.

Until Next Time – Happy Ancestral Digging!

PS Special thanks to Randy Seaver for including my post One Year and 199 Posts Ago, in his Best of the Genea-Blogs- 31 August - 6 September 2008.