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!.