Tuesday, January 31, 2012

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History - Richard & Me

Richard and I meet on Saturday July 20th of 1991 at a church dance. I knew right off the bat he was younger than myself. We danced and talked and he even laughed at a story I told. I thought well at least he has a sense of humor and I will have someone to speak with at the dances. He walked me out to my car and said good night and that was that. Most of the guys I meet told me I wasn’t there type, I was too strong, too intelligent, too independent, too intimidating and too everything else. So it was nice to have a down to earth guy to speak with.

A month later, August 17th, I went back to the same dance. I saw him standing by himself so I went over to say hi. He said, “I have looked for you at every Friday & Saturday night dance and every Sunday night Fireside.” Well I wasn’t accustomed to guys looking for me most of them went the other way when I came by. So I stood there in shock and thought to myself OK, just let it in Mary. So we danced some more and talked.

He invited me out to eat after the dance; and we planned to meet at Denny’s on Southern and Country Club. I arrived first and I was waiting, about 15 minutes went by and no Richard yet. I thought if he isn’t he in 5 more minutes I will leave. He made it before his time was up. He ran out of gas across the street from a gas station. He had to push his car to fill up the tank. I had met my share of strange guys and I decided I was going to lay it all out. I told him over breakfast that, “There wasn’t a man who walks on the face of the earth worth taking crap from.” I can’t remember if I said it or just thought, “And I define crap.” That did not scare him off. He made sure he had my last name and phone number this time. He was upset with himself for not asking for it when we meet in July.
He called on Wednesday evening while on break from his classes. After the first couple of weeks we were dating every Friday & Saturday night after that. He was working, managing apartments and going to school to be an airplane mechanic. So we didn’t see each other every day, which I think was a good thing and allowed us some down time.

I didn’t meet the kids until October though he wanted me to meet them sooner. They were cute and liked me right off the bat. Of course that changed a little after we had been married for awhile and they came to live with us.

Our Engagement Picture

He proposed in January after we had attended a relationship workshop, Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus. We both learned a lot about relationships and the differences between men and women.  After the workshop he had taken me home and said he had to go run an errand and he would be right back.  He came back with fresh flowers and red I love you balloon.  He got all serious, nervous and asked me to marry him. 

Since we knew it was the right thing to do we set the date for March 13th a Friday. He wanted the 17th so he could remember the date of our first date but that was a Tuesday and I didn’t want to get married on a Tuesday.

He tells people the Lord put me right in his lap. I had sat down by someone I knew and Richard was on the other side of me, so when I finished speaking to my friend, I turned to Richard and said, "Hi, what's your name?"  It was his first singles dance and I was only going once a month because there were boring and painful. I tell him I had to moved to Arizona for him to find me. 

It was twenty years ago in January that he proposed and I am glad he did and I am glad I said yes!   

Friday, January 27, 2012

My Ancestors Sailed on Some Interesting Ships

My grandfather William T. Chaplin sailed to America on this ship in 1906

Picture from http://www.searlecanada.org/volturno/volturno56.html
This is the ship my Grandfather sail on, according to the passenger list, his brother Bertram paid his fare, he was 23 years and had $10 in his wallet.  He was listed as a steerage passengers.  This links gives a lot of good drawings and pictures of steerage.

Here is some history on the ship.

R.M.S. Carmania (I)
Like many of Cunard's liners, Carmania was built by John Brown & Co., of Glasgow. She was launched on 21 February, 1905 and made her maiden voyage from Liverpool to New York on 2 December of the same year.

In October 1913, Carmania distinguished herself by being one of nine ships to rescue a total of 521 (out of 654) people onboard the burning Canadian Northern ship Volturno.

In August 1914, Carmania was requisitioned as an armed merchant cruiser; in that capacity, she sank Hamburg Sud Amerika's Cap Trafalgar (disguised as Carmania herself) off Trinidad in September 1914. Carmania was returned to Cunard's Liverpool-New York service on November 1916 and remained on that route until 1923, except for a few months' service out of Southampton in 1921-22.

After a 1923 refitting that included conversion to oil, Carmania remained in Cunard's service until 1931, used at various times on the Liverpool-Canada, Liverpool-New York and London-New York routes, as well as for winter cruising between New York and Havana. Her final sailing was from London to New York in July 1931. She was then laid up off Sheerness and went to the shipbreakers in 1932.

http://www.searlecanada.org/volturno/volturno56.html This site give more history on the ship. 

My great uncles sailed on the Lusitania, here is an earlier post I wrote about them.  It is really interesting to read about these old ships. 

Thursday, January 26, 2012

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History - Books

Books. What was your favorite book, or who was your favorite author from your childhood? What do you like to read now? Books or other formats?
Books seem like they have always been in my life.  As much as I struggled with school work I did enjoy reading.  The first book that I remember being my very own book was a book given to me my Aunt Bea.  I felt like it was a big girl book.  I was only ten or eleven when she gave it to me.

This is the cover on my first big girl book
She was working as a Librarian.  On the cover was a gold seal for the Newbery Medal it had received.  The book was TheWitch of Blackbird Pond.  If I remember right it also had a plastic cover on it like library books have to protect the jacket. It is probably why I enjoy historical novels now. 

I became more involved in reading after I moved to Florida.  It was too hot and humid to play outside in the summer and I would stay inside and read.  My Mom would get upset with me for spending so much time reading she would yell at me, “Go outside and get the cob webs dusted off”.  I read a lot of classic novels like Jane Eyre and books by Charles Dickens.
I still enjoy reading but I seldom send hours reading like when I was a pre-teen and teen.  I have too many other fun things to do like quilting, genealogy and blogging. Now I read things like Harry Potter, Pride and Prejudice, The Millennial Glory Series by Wendie L Edwards and Genealogy books.  I also like audio books and listen to them when I am driving or sewing.  I usually listen to Science Fiction, or mysteries as well as the classical books.  

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

William T Chaplin

This is a picture my cousin recently sent me of our grandfather. I like it!  Year taken unknown. Place Brooklyn, New York.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Happy Blogiversary to Me

Today my blog is two years old.  I had remembered last week but after being so busy with the Expo over the weekend and trying out some of the new things I learned I almost forgot what today was.  Thanks to Thomas MacEntee's Facebook announcement I had a friendly reminder. That is what happens when you don't check your editorial calendar.

I started after the Family History Expo in January of 2010 after being encouraged by Thomas and Lisa Louise Cooke to start a blog.  I am so glad I lisitened.  It started off very humble but with enthusiasm.  I didn't really think I would have a lot of topics to post about but I decided nothing ventured nothing gained.  First Blog post here.

Because of other blogs and becoming a follower of other blogs I have found topics to use as ways to record my memories and to help me share my family stories.  I have meet other people some near and some far.  I have made friends.  Most importantly I have grown and I have started writing the stories of my life to share with my family.  As my tag line suggests:

It started as a place to share family stories
but it has turned into something bigger.
I haven't found any long lost cousins, Hartmann, Spahn, Jirak, so if you are out there please look for me.  My Chaplin cousins have enjoyed what I have shared and that is fun and I am very glad for that and my relationship with them. 

Thanks to all my followers and all your encouragement! 
You helped me along the way!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Arizona Family History Expo Report on Saturday

On Saturday I attended four classes and again I learned a lot.  Well that is the purpose of attending these expos!

So here is something I learned for myself.  I had looked at each handout for every class.  Yes it took a lot of time but it was worth it.  First I found a class that turned out to be very worth while that I might not had attended because of the title but I saw something in the handout that said to me go attend this class.  The other thing was because I looked at the handouts, I didn't attend a class I had attended last year and it was the exact same handout from last year and on an out dated version of the software.  In both cases that was a win - win for me.  I gain something of value and I missed something I didn't need.  It might not always be so clear cut as this was but to me it is worth it to take the time up front to find the best classes for me. 

So the first class at 10 AM, (thanks Holly for starting a little later). was Ruth Ellen Maness, the one presenter I went to twice.  The topic was Searching Scandinavian Church Records and Interpreting Feast Days: Analysis and Evidence.  OK I don't have any Scandinavian ancestors so why would I go to this class?  Well my ancestors from Germany are probably in church records and I would need to know Feast Day, plus in her handout she mentioned that "the Lutheran Church was the official record keeping body....".  And what church was in Germany, yup the Lutheran church.  So I went and I am very glad I did.  Learned a lot about how births and other life events were recorded.  Dates weren't used but Feast Days were used.  Now I had some knowledge of this since I was raised Catholic.  But Ruth really went into a more lot of depth. 

As an interesting side note I mentioned this to one of my friends at church today and her father was a pastor, I forget what domination but she said her father recorded events by the feast days also in the records he kept.

So Easter is a Feast day and if you were born the day after Easter it would be written 2nd Easter day instead of the day and month like we think of it now.  So you would have to have your thinking caps on to figure out the date, especially since Easter is one of those movable feast days. 

If you ever have the opportunity to hear her speak, I would highly recommend her class. 

The second class for the day was Top 10 Data issues in the New Family Search & how to Avoid Them, by Amanda Terry & Samantha Sulser both staff from Family Search.  This was very specific for LDS researchers and I learned a few pointers.  I am luck as I am a convert to the church and as far as I know the only person submitting names for Temple work.  So I have no competition in adding info to records.  I do have some clean up work to do. 

You sNEWS you Lose: Using Newspapers in Research by Bret Petersen.  Fun title and a lively presenter, a good thing to have after lunch.  He had good examples and fun stories with some good tips on researching newspapers.  I jotted down three topics I can try and look up in the newspaper myself for my own family.  So not only did I learn things I thought of things I can do for my own research.

My last class was Organization and Presentation is Everything, Phillipp Mayer was the presenter.  Who doesn't need tips on being better organized and having a better way to present the material you have.  This was his first Arizona Expo he has been to, since I have been to all four of them, I kind of know who has been here before and who is new.  So it is good to see a new face with new ideas.  I liked his idea of giving every one a unique ID number, different then a RIN.  The problem with RINs are they are developed by when you enter the name in your program.  His numbers also include 5 letters from the last name.  So for example if I started with my Dad he would be Hartm - 0100, his Dad would be Hartm - 0099, his son would be Hartm - 0102, since I was the first child I would be Hartm - 0101.  But I pick the three men because they are all Georges.  So the ancestors numbers go down and descendants could go up, so you would always know which direction you are going on the family tree.  And you would have an idea of which George you are speaking about.  The unique number is always used with the person.  There is also a pointer number you use on the charts to find the next part of the tree. 

His charts were very attractive that he had with pictures and sections of the tree (pedigree chart) that was for that part of the family.  I will need to do more studying on his technique,  It speakers to my over organized self that I keep locked in side of me.  His technique extends to computer files and paper files. 

That was the last class and I skipped the closing exercises because my living family wanted to take the light rail or the Metro into Phoenix to eat at the Old Spaghetti Factory.  So I went home to be with part of my family, who I love.  I love the other part also they just weren't fortunate enough to be with Richard & I.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

A New Fun Toy

How is this toy related to Genealogy...Well a picture is worth a thousand words.
Randy made the Saturday Night Genealogy Fun challenge.   Jenny made her sample, which I immediately imitated when I saw it today.

I just throw in some pictures, some of them aren't even fixed on photo shop.  I just wanted to try it and do it fast.  I like it.  It is a free down load from Shape Collage and it is easy peasy.  I will play with this again. 

Arizona Family History Expo Report on Friday

On Friday I attended the Opening Exercises with the Keynote speaker and 5 classes all of them good and I learned something from all of them.  Or so I thought at the time, let's see if I can remember what that was I learned.

  • Arlene H. Eakle started us off with enthusiasm and passion for doing good research.  She talked about using every kind of documents even those we don't think apply. She told a wonderful story of how she found out more about an ancestor by looking at military records when she was sure he would never be in the military.  Guess what he had been.

  • How the Genealogist Can remember Everything with Evernote! by Lisa Louise Cooke was next.  Now I have been using Evernote and wanted to learn more and to learn how to use it better.  She pointed me in the right direction to use more tools than I knew about such as the clipping tool, using the search function within Evernote.  I learned I need to increase my use of tagging.

  • How to Plan & Organize a Family History Book with Nancy & Biff Barnes.  It is nice to know I am on the right track as far as adding stories to the lives of my ancestors.  No I don't want a formal book but I want my scrapbook of My Family History to be interesting and also contain good information that my audience will want to know.  So the two big things I can away with was find out the top 10 things my audience wants to know and write about that.  Second dramatize the story, add your thoughts and feelings to the story to make it more interesting.

  • Colleen McHugh did a dinner presentation which I am sad to say I missed some of it, because I was busy getting my dinner.  Her topic was designed for beginners but was given with a clever title.  What Do Skeletons & Family History Have in Common.  I am not sure now of the correct wording she had the answer but my take on it was: Skeletons need tissue to be held together and Family history needs facts and stories to be held together.  She did a good review of the steps to get started with a good remind to do those citations. 

  • The next presenter was so good I went to two of her classes.  Ruth Ellen Maness.  Friday's class was Much More than Passenger Lists! Putting your Ancestors Back in the Homeland. I learned about records that were made in the old country that I never knew existed.  Records at the church taking the person off of the church roles in Germany and would be used to add them to the roles in America.  The American record f found would take you back to his/her home church.  What a find that would be.  Your ancestor also has to speak to a civil official on the local area he/she was leaving as well as at the port he/she was leaving from.  I have more reading to do as she had a 9 page handout. 

  • The last class for the day was a panel discussion of Social Media - How New Technologies Increase Success.  Holly had invited me to join the panel earlier in the day but I can in late, because I went to the wrong classroom so I didn't bust in as they had already started.  Thanks for the invite Holly.  I have to admit I haven't meet any lost cousins with my blog, but it has helped keep me in touch with the cousins I know.  The panel spoke about Blogs, Facebook, Google + and Twitter.  I had everything but Twitter and my Google + is very neglected.  One of the presenters brought up a good tib bit that Google + can be geared more to the circles and reading only what you want such as Genealogy.  So I came home and Friday night I beefed up the people in my Genealogy circles on Google + and opened a Twitter account.
So that is the account of my first say at the Arizona Family History Expo.  I did remember the things I learned, now to use them.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Arizona Family History Expo #2

Well I had a good time yesterday, learned lot and saw lots of my genie friends.  I didn't have the energy to post last night and I don't have the time now.  So you will have to wait to hear about the classes I attended.  My head is spinning.  Tonight it will be exploding!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Arizona Family History Expo

Starts today at 1 PM. I am looking forward to going and see my friends.  I have half my classes picked out but I still have a little time to think about which classes I will attend. 

If I have more than one class I want to attend at the same time I print the class outline for each class off and decide just before class which one I want to attend.  I have several hours like that.  I have to decide between speakers I like, topics I want to learn about and topics I like. 

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions!!!

I try to have a theme of focus but I usually lose that.  I am all over the place today.  It doesn't matter I will learn something and I will be excited again.  So it is all worth it!

So far I like a class by Lisa Louise Cooke, Ruth Ellen Manness & Phillip Mayer, Collen McHugh, and Geoff Rasmussen. 
I hope to see you there!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Happy Birthday Aunt Em

Happy Birthday Aunt Em

Aunt Em

This is my Aunt Em, one of my favorite aunts.  She took me to plays, the zoo, and many other fun attactives when I was a kid.  We stayed closed all my life.  She would have been 93 today but she has gone Home.  She is missed and boy do I have questions to ask her now.  She did tell me a lot of family stories but I have more questions now.  Hey Aunt Em, give my Dad a hug for me. 

Here are two previous posts I wrote. Post

Contact your Elected Officials

Monday, January 16, 2012

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History Water

Water Week 29: Water. Do you have any memories of the sea or another body of water? Did you live there or just visit? What did you do there? You can also describe a body of water by which you live or visit in the present day.
Mary & Mom 1949
Do I have memories of water! Until I moved to Arizona I called myself a water baby! I still am but somehow living in the middle of the desert makes me forget. I keep waiting for California to fall in the ocean so it would be closer to me. (Just Kidding)

My earliest memories of the beach were going to Jones Beach in Long Island. I loved going to the beach it was really a special occasion for us as a family. I like playing in the waves on the ocean side but I like swimming in the bay side which was has calmer water. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jones_Beach_State_Park

Here is a quote from their web site. “Jones Beach State Park is a world-class swimming destination. The park offers surf bathing along its 6.5 miles of ocean beach, one-half mile of bay beach for still water bathing, and two swimming pools.” It seemed to take us forever to get there but any travel in a car takes a long time for a kid. I just Google the map and direction and the drive time is 40 minutes for a 29 mile drive. Not really that long.
Mary in Nantucket 1958

Another fond memory of the beach was in Nantucket Island when we went to visit our Grandparents. Here is a picture of my friend Miriam Hull when I was ten. We were pen pals for a lot of years; I think she also went to nursing school. I thought it was wonderful to live only two blocks from the beach.
Mom and my brothers Don & George 1959 Fort Lauderdale

The best time of all was when we moved to Fort Lauderdale, Florida and my Dad for awhile was off work at 3 PM so every afternoon we all piled into the car and drove to the beach. I think the second summer we were in Fort Lauderdale my Dad signed us up for a membership at the Beach Club. It was a hotel on the beach with a pool and cabanas. We had that membership until I was junior in high school. I am sure it was a way for the hotel to do some business during the summer months when all the snow birds were gone. I am sure they don’t need to do it anymore. I am not even sure it is still there.

Anyway I learned to dive off the high dive at the Beach Club. I remember the first year I wasn’t a very strong swimmer yet. I had decided to swim to the shallow end to the deep end but not the diving end. I ran out of strength when I got to the six foot end. My Dad noticed I was in trouble and he ran all the way from the cabana to the pool to help me get out. Makes me wonder were the life guard was and why he didn’t notice. I am pretty sure they had them.

My love affair with the beach continued into my teens and young adult years.  During spring break one of my friends and I would drive down 1A or Atlantic Blvd and look at all the crazy college kids.  I think lucky for us we couldn't find a parking spot. 

When I worked in Miami as a visiting nurse I loved it when I had patients in South Beach as I could drive down Ocean Drive, park and take a short break to look at the ocean.  On weekends I would ride my bike to Key Biscayne Park and go to the beach there.  Fond memories. 

Of course my love of the ocean lead me to learn how to scuba dived.  I did most of mu diving off the Florida Keys and you can read about that in these posts listed below. http://meandmyancestors.blogspot.com/search/label/Scuba%20Diving

I have seen the Pacific Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico, and Sea of Cortez also known as the Gulf of California. I love them all.  I miss the water and my husband is not a beach fan so I don't see it a lot any more.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

What's Coming Down the Pike?

Tonia over at Tonia’s Roots post a series last year of 31 weeks to a Better Genealogy Blog, I wanted to join in last year but work was crazy and time didn’t permit. Things have settled down and so I am giving it a go now. Here is my second week’s entry. This week’s challenge was to write a List Post, she explains the purpose of that here.http://www.toniasroots.net/2011/07/10/31wbgb-make-list-posts-work-for-your-genealogy-blog/

I actually did a list post yesterday, when I listed the things I learned during my public library trip. Of course I had been thinking about the topic during the week and it just seemed like a logical place to try it out.  The topic I have plan for my official activity is to preview some of the post I have planned on my Editorial Calendar for January.

I am still working on last years series of 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History, I have a total of 9 more post I want to do from that series, I have 5 more planed for January.
  • Books
  • My Wedding save for March for my 20th Anniversary
  • Secrets
  • Dad in the Newspaper
  • Punishments
  • Childhood smells
Other topics include:
  • Aunt Em's Birthday
  • Wordless Wednesday
  • Blogiversary
  • Arizona Family History Expo
  • Week 3 of 31 Weeks to a Better Genealogy Blog
  • Week 3 of 52 Weeks to a Better Genealogy
Well it looks like I have a busy month of writing.  I just recently started using an Editorial Calendar thanks to a post I read on Michelle's Blog The Turn of GenerationsIt has really helped me stay focus on writing instead of having a vague idea in the back of my brain.  It does allow for changing the schedule as you see from my list above.


Saturday, January 14, 2012

52 Weeks to Better Genealogy Local Library

Week 2: Go to your local public library branch again. Examine the local history, archives and/or special collections section. Ask a librarian if you don’t know if your library has special collections or where they are located. Be sure to check the reference section, too, as many of the newer and more valuable books are held in that area. If you have a genealogy blog, write about what you find in your library’s local history and special collections.

Thursday evening I returned to the Mesa Public Library and spoke with the reference librarian.  She answered the questions I asked but I wasn't able to draw her out and she didn't offer an other information.  In her defence she was working on a project on the computer.  I just offer this as an observation, I probably needed to think of more questions but I didn't have any at the ready. 

So what did I learn. 
  • There is a good size section of Arizona history and that the numbers for the reference section match the numbers in the history section.
  • Mesa does have a special collection but it is only available on Tuesdays from 10 to 12 and Wednesdays 10 to 12 and 3 to 5.  There are no evening hours because the collection is in the basement and they can only afford one librarian to work there and it is "too creepy" for only one person to work there.  So until they can afford two people to work in the special collection, there are no evening hours.  My thought was in these economical times, that is not going to happen.
  • There is no genealogy section because the Family History Center is 3 blocks away and they did not want to duplicate services.
I asked a question of how do certain books become reference and some not.  The answer is the librarians decide. 

The factors include:
  • cost of the book,
  • type of  book,
  • used for a quick look up of information or studied 
  • A series of books, such as World Books, or Encyclopedias. 
  • Some books are duplicated and are in reference section and circulation. 
I did check out two books that caught my eye, Trail of Hope, The Story of the Mormon Trail and The London Bridge in Pictures

My catalog search came up with 291 books on Arizona History alone and 10 more pages of Arizona topics. Below is a screen shot of something I thought was very interesting.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Happy Birthday Kinsen

Happy Birthday Kinsen!

Last year's Birthday Dinner

Kinsen is our son, see I do have living relatives! This is when we took him out to dinner for his Birthday last year. He looks so much like his Dad that our co-workers call him Mini Richard. He is a really nice young man. Polite, kind, thoughtful, can see when things that need to be done and does them without being asked. We enjoy his company. We wish him the best in all he does.  Love you!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Happy Birthday Bill

Happy Birthday Bill!

It is a busy week for Birthdays.  This is my husband's father, Bill.  He was a very kind, loving and generous man.  He was a man of faith.  He is missed by many but we all know he is watching over us from above.

This picture is from before I meet my husband. It does have his name on the back but not a date.  Richard thinks it was taken in 1975 or 1976 when he was an officer at Mission Bank.  It was taken while Richard was on his mission. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

52 Weeks of Personal History Fame

Week #20 – Fame: Tell us about any local brushes with fame. Were you ever in the newspaper? Why? You may also describe any press mentions of your family members.

I have been in the newspaper 4 times for myself and mentioned in an article about my Dad. I will do a separate post about my Dad's article. 
East Valley Tribune
You can see the previous post I wrote about three other times I have been in the paper. The fourth time was in 2000 when I received an excellence in Oncology Nursing Award. This was a national award and I was chosen from many other worthy candidates. It was an honor to be nominated my the local chapter in Phoenix of the Oncology Nursing Society (ONS).  I still have a copy of the questionnaire I filled out to receive the award.  I was very surprised when I was notified that I would be the recipient.  It is truly an honor as there are many wonderful oncology nurses out there.  Even some of the other nurses I worked with would be worth of this award.

Arizona Republic
On a personal level it was a very healing time for me.  As I wrote my acceptance speech and reviewed my feelings about being an Oncology nurse I was able to thank the Heavenly Father for the experience of loosing two mothers to cancer before the age of 17.  Not a pleasant experience at all but definitely a character defining experiences. Just remembering that time brings tears to my eyes it was so meaningful to me. 

Program cover
I have a picture of me speaking at the award lunch in front of 600 or so Oncology nurses someplace and of course because I want it I cannot find it.  I will post it when I find it.

The Advocate
This article was in the Advocate a quarterly newsletter from US Oncology, which is networks of community-based oncology physicians.  The practice I worked with was a member of this organization.

In case you are wondering I purchased a new bedroom set of furniture with the award money.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Happy Birthday Annette

Funny how your brain works, I was think a lot about my Mom Annette yesterday.  This is the Mom who rasied me after my Mother died.  I was thinking it is her birthday week, and maybe I should post something about a person on their birthday on my blog.  But since I thought I had already missed her Birthday I would wait until Sunday to do it, when life wasn't so busy.

So this morning I cranked up the old Genealogy software to check which day was offically her Birthday and it was the 7th, not the 6th.  See I was thinking about her on the correct day. 

Our Family 1951, Whitestone NY
Mom, Happy Belated Birthday, I haven't forgotten you and all you did for me. 
Mom with all four kids 1960, Fort Lauderdale FL
Other posts about Mom are here, here & here.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

31 Weeks to a Better Blog - Elevator Pitch

Tonia over at Tonia’s Roots post a series last year of 31 weeks to a Better Genealogy Blog, I wanted to join in last year but work was crazy and time didn’t permit. Things have settled down and so I am giving it a go now. Here is my first week’s entry. This week’s challenge was to write an Elevator Pitch, she explains the purpose of that here.

This is my pitch & tag line. I also added my tag line to my email signature and made a new business card just in time to hand out at the Family History Expo in least then two weeks.

Elevator Pitch:
I am learning about Genealogy and one of the tools I am using is my blog, Me and My Ancestors.  I write about my experiences doing research as well as the family stories I know of my ancestors.  This way the stories are save and the people not forgotten.  Just for giggles I throw in a few of my own life stories.  I originally started my blog so my children would have a place to fine the family stories but it has turned into something bigger.  I have shared things I have learned, made new friends and learned from others.
Tag Line:
It started as a place to share family stories but it has turned into something bigger.

I have been thinking about this all week and couldn't find the right words this morning the words just flowed.  I like it! 

Friday, January 6, 2012

52 Weeks Personal Genealogy & History Dinner Time

Picture from pjvanoverschot.wordpress.com
We usually ate together as a family every night.  Some nights my Dad would be missing because he was a New York City Fireman or a Bar Harbor Florida and worked 24 hours on and 48 hours off.  We had a very set routine to our dinners, we always ate by 5:30 for some days of the week we had a set menu.  We had liver on Thursdays, with either bacon or grilled onions.  Friday’s we had spaghetti with butter and garlic or fish sticks or salmon with rice & peas.  My Dad was an excellent cook, so our meals were always tasty.  My Dad had some strange favorite food items that he would eat every once in awhile.  Like a Cannibal sandwich and bone marrow (cooked) on rye bread.  I had made myself bone marrow once when I was in my 30’s and I was surprised how grease it was.  I still liked the favor but it wasn’t something I was going to cook for myself.  I sure loved it as a kid.  The Cannibal sandwich was raw chopped steak, on rye bread with slices of onion.  I didn’t mind a bite or two or the raw meat but I am not a big fan of large amounts of raw onion.  I won’t recommend eating a Cannibal sandwich now. 
One of the things we did at dinner was word games.  Since I am not the best speller in the world you can imagine how much I loved doing these games, NOT!  Mom or Dad would give us a word family like the “at” family and we had to take turns naming all the words that ended in at, bat, cat, etc. 
Our dinner time was so set that when I became a teenager I learned real fast to be home in time for dinner or my teenage brothers would eat all the food and I would have to eat a sandwich or something else.   Nothing was saved for me. 
Unfortunately after my Mom died dinner time was not a happy experience.  My Dad did the best he could but when you bury two wives in 16 short years you aren’t the same person you use to be.  Alcohol became his companion and these were hard years.  It is also the reason why I got a job as a senior in high school, I worked 3 to 11:30 pm and left home at 18 as soon as I was an LPN and could work and support myself. 

Thursday, January 5, 2012

52 Weeks of Personal Genalogy & History High School

High School: Describe your middle and/or high school. Was it a large or small student body? Is the school still in existence today? How has it changed since you went there?

I had the unique experience of going to a brand new school.  The school was so new the day it opened the roofs were still not on the two buildings present on campus.  I just noticed on the website that it is celebrating 50 years.  1961 – 2011.  Quote from the website: “CGHS opened its doors to 176 freshmen and sophomores on a sand-strewn campus with two partially completed buildings.”  I was a freshman, and the first graduating class to attend all four years at Cardinal Gibbons but the second class to graduate.  The area was so underdeveloped that there was a rattlesnake on campus one day.  Luckily no one was bitten and I think animal control was called.  Such are the adventures of attending a new school.  New buildings were added while I attended.   
The school was co-institutional when I attended.  The boys were in one building and the girls in another building.  The girls were taught by the nuns and the boys by priest except some of the priest taught chemistry and physic to both the girls & boys.  We could mingle during lunch and we called the area were me mingled, “Check Point Charlie”. 

My path was college prep but the principle was very concerned that I would never graduate from high school.  She called my parents in for a conference. She is the one who told me I was too stupid to be a nurse.  So at my 10 year reunion I mentioned to her I was a semester away from having my BSN and had been a licensed RN for many years.  She stood there in front of me and said, “I knew you could do it you just had to do it your way.”  Well I who have never hit a person in my life felt my right arm and fist curl back for a swing. I was so furious, not an encouraging word the whole time I was in high school, but now that I had fought and slaved to make it, it was like yeah I knew it all long.   Lucky for both of us I just walked away.   Now I think of it this experience has made me who I am today and so it was worthwhile. 
Mary on campus 1965 a Senior

I didn’t like high school; I didn’t like the girl - boys stuff, the competition, and the clicks.  The only years I felt like I was successful were the years they split the class by grades.  So the excelling students were in one group and they who had to study very hard students were in the other group.   I became the top of class in my group, the ones who had to study hard and that felt good not to have to compete with the brainiacs. 
It was also a difficult time at home as during those four years of high school my Mom was fighting cancer and finally lost the battle when I was a senior.   I wanted to go to the public high school but my Mom was a firm believer that a Parochial school education was better. I did get a very good education. 

My high school is still there and now boasts 10 buildings on campus.  I attended Cardinal Gibbons High School in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.