Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Calendars and Journals

Yesterday I finished reading the last of my mother's calendars and journals. Thirty-two years of her life are documented in her own handwriting, from the ages of 46 to 78. The journals cover from 1980-1983 and 2000-2013, while the calendars fill in for the years 1986-1999 and 2006-2011. The main difference is the calendars are in small squares with more detailed information, while the journals share more of her feelings about the events in her life. Sometimes she would go on for pages about some days, while other days she would not write anything.

Reading the journals was a priority as we are coming close to finalizing her probate estate. There were no great discoveries, but she did provide many details to bring up memories of the discussions we had over the years. She also included details about her house and any improvements or repairs. This is helpful in determining when things were done to the house which will be helpful for the future owners.

For many of the journals keeping notes was helpful in being able to locate details in the future. For other family members my plan is to scan the calendars and journals so that they may have copies. It is difficult to know if it would be better to just transcribe them as sometimes her writing is challenging to read. Then there are some details that may be unsettling to others. There is very little about her personal life that might be awkward to read, but we are all grown adults and should be able to accept her writing for who she is.

Mostly the writing is about how her days were spent, where she went, what she ate, who she was with and what the weather was like. Occasionally she would share the price of things, especially the price of gas as it fluctuated. She took several trips to Hawaii and one trip to the Grand Canyon. Later in life trips were associated with the square dance groups she was involved with. Her favorite place to go was the beach, often traveling up and down the Oregon coast. While on these trips she would stop to play golf along the way. There were also trips hiking in the Columbia Gorge, on Mt. Hood and in other scenic areas. She was most delighted when she saw wild animals in these settings, especially deer.

Her love of flowers is noted by all the plants she purchased to put around the house. There were flowers, bushes, and trees. Her property must have thousands of dollars of plantings from over the thirty-three years that she lived there. The plants were in flower beds, wheel barrows, a manure spreader, and pots that covered their huge deck.

One of the highlights of the journals is she would record her activities at her art classes and what projects she was working on. She attended these classes for most of these years and would stop in just to visit if she was not going to paint. Many of her paintings have been given to family members and now the provenance of those items can be more fully explained. Her white elephants were actually purchased at a ceramics shop and she cleaned them up and had them fired. At this same ceramics shop she purchased the antique wash stand that has been passed on to me.

Many more details will be helpful as we write her life story. Some people may feel it is crazy to capture all of these details, but that is how we preserve our memories and provide history for our descendants. Today while reading another book of hers a small card popped up and said "Merry Christmas." To me that is her way of saying she is still watching over us and helping us along our life's journey. All this feels like serendipity to me. With all the other challenges that we face in our lives little "aha" moments keep us grounded and moving forward. Now I just need to start writing in a journal and keeping more details in my calendars. What about you?

Friday, November 21, 2014

Preserving Right to Access Puclic Records

I recently received this important notice about preserving access to genealogical records and felt it was very important to share with all of you. The message is copied here below:
Genealogists’ Declaration of Rights

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Celebrating 45,000 Blog Views Research Review

 In celebrating reaching 45,000 blog views yesterday, in less than five years, I want to share my latest completed project results. This project started in mid-August of this year. See previous blog post, Caught Up in the Research.  In less than three months the extended family comprised 322 people and 99 marriages. While there are additional people and marriages, the project focused on the direct line families. This may seem like a small database of names, but there were 134 documents copied, many others indexed only information, and several online family trees accessed. The concluding thirty-four page report included ten pages of document information.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween Haunts in Courthouses

There is probably not a more scary, intimidating or spooky place than a county courthouse. In the past sixteen months my experiences in these repositories of government records have proven very rewarding after I got over the initial feelings of intimidation. What is it that draws up these feelings within us? Is it the security search before entering, the forgetting to leave our camera in the car, the long lines just to talk to someone, or the people who linger there waiting for hearings?

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Caught Up In the Research

Do you ever get on a roll in doing family history research and you can hardly make yourself stop long enough to take a breath, or eat, or sleep? That has been me the past couple of weeks, but Sunday night was the most challenging yet. So here is a walkthrough of what happened in the research for a client project.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Putting Off Writing Blog Posts

Sometimes one does not feel like writing or things get in the way of getting the words to flow in writing a post. Lately I have been doing a lot of reading, more as a distraction from dealing with my mother's probate and the selling of her home. Even though we are working with a potential buyer and have had several offers, my anxiety is running rather high. Over the weekend I spent about three hours re-doing the power point presentation for this week's class.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Happy Eightieth Birthday Mom!

While you may not be here to help us celebrate, today we honor your dedication and courage in being our mother, grandmother and great grandmother. With four children, twelve grandchildren, and ten great grandchildren you have an impressive group of heirs who inherit so much more than material things. Thank you for all the hours you spent encouraging us in our endeavors and guiding us in our life choices.