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.

This past week in going through some of your collections your scent came forth and filled me with sweet memories. In the process of viewing your thirty picture albums and putting the pictures in a safer type of albums, there was great joy in viewing the few short years that they cover. It is apparent that the earlier years of pictures were divided up amongst our four individual albums, which we were able to scan at the time that they were put together. Now there is a need to scan and share the albums which cover the years 1960 to 1982. There are more pictures to add to these albums, which you became distracted from doing when our father was diagnosed with a brain tumor.

There are now three albums of family events including our trip to Florida in 1974, one album of hikes and state wide trips to Mt. Hood, Ghost Towns, and other beautiful spots in our great state of Oregon. Your trip of a lifetime to Arizona and Utah to visit the ancient Indian settlements there is well recorded in its own album. Now all of those pictures are safely mounted so others can spend time enjoying their memories. Still to go are six albums from various trips to Hawaii. There are a few collections of more recent trips taken to Canada and other places. How you thrilled in seeing the beautiful places of this world, and the flowers and animals that lived there.

For today we are most grateful to not be going to court on this day. Our plans are to go out and do fun things in your memory. We spent days and long hours cleaning up your home in preparation of putting it up for sale. You were able to spend thirty-four years living in the home in Carver that you and our father built out of hard work and determination. Most of us were living on our own, so this was to be your retirement home. When our father passed away eight years later you became determined to leave this home as a heritage to your children. It is such a lovely place, and we are grateful that you lived out your life there. Our more fond memories are of the home we all shared on Roselawn Street in Portland, where we moved to in 1957. The twenty-three years you lived there are so full of wonderful memories. No matter where you lived you created a loving environment for our family.

The serendipity moments flooded in as the pictures of the albums bring back those fond memories. Seeing your precious china and silverware displayed in your apartment in Linnton when you were newly married demonstrates the great value you placed on the collections you acquired. Growing up in the Depression years and losing your home, moving to Oregon with what could be packed in the car, created in you a deep appreciation for the work required to obtain such collections. Your twenty-five Barbie dolls for the granddaughters to play with and the other twenty-four still in boxes are now shared by your family. The fifty porcelain dolls we can only remember in pictures, but they were very a significant part of your life.

Your art work, tole painting, oil paintings, painted saw blades, pictures, all capture the love of creating new things. All of the painted Christmas houses, many with our names on them, are also only memories. The bag with your crocheting and knitting work, the clothes you made for the dolls reflect the hours spent making gifts for other people. Your sewing machine on which you and your daughters created so many things truly served us well. The hours you spent ironing for our family and others have unfortunately not created a love for ironing in me. How you loved golfing and being outdoors with nature, especially the birds and deer. Your cats and dogs over the years brought such companionship and comfort. Then there were the birds that you raised and at times sold the babies. There was never a dull moment in your life.

You watched your favorite TV shows like Lawrence Welk, Jeopardy, Wheel of Fortune, Dancing with the Stars, Gray's Anatomy, Desperate Housewives, the nightly newscast and sports including basketball, football and golf. The collection of books of every variety and many magazines that you subscribed to were read after you read the daily newspaper. It was fun sharing these things with you as we pondered the events of this world. In the last few years the world changes seemed to bother you more and it was hard to understand why certain things were occurring.

We talked almost daily about so many things and it is wonderful to have shared in those conversations. When you started giving things to me it is now a sign that you were preparing for what would soon occur. Thank you so much for ensuring that we knew of the things most important to you and what you wanted us to have. While you are not physically here to celebrate this special day with us we can look back on pictures of previous birthdays and events to remind us of your sweet spirit and pray that you now enjoy the most blessed peace of all.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Genealogy Reading Update

Five months ago my post on Genealogy Reading listed a collection of magazines and other publications that were waiting to be read. There were one hundred overall and today there are twenty-one publications left to read. The feeling of almost completing this task is wonderful.

Then after lunch today my friend handed me a box of twenty-six more publications. Four were easily eliminated as they are duplicates to what is in my collection. At lunch we talked about my reaching that goal of reading and eliminating some of the collection already in my home. She must have smiled inside as she knew what was awaiting me.

From a few of the publications there were stories that were worth keeping, and so they were scanned and added to my collection of digital files. These may be used in preparing presentations or just to refresh my memory of some great genealogical information. The collection of publications remaining in my office is very small. The nice part is that they are listed in an excel file, so checking what there is requires very little time.

The new additions are:
APG Quarterly - 1 issue
Archival Products - 1 catalog
Bulletin, Genealogical Forum of Oregon - 1 issue
Everton's Genealogical Helper -1 bi-monthly issue
Family Tree Magazine - 1 monthly issue
Genealogical Journal UGA - 1 quarterly issue
Heritage Quest - 3 bi-monthly issues
National Genealogical Society Quarterly - 5 issues
New England Ancestors Quarterly - 1 issue
NGS News Magazine - 3 bi-monthly issues
OnBoard BCG - 2 issues
Oregon Historical Quarterly - 2 issues

Now, there is no reading the new publications until the old set is completed. On the coming cold and dark fall evenings, my attention will turn to reading and gleaning from the writings or our fellow genealogists. There is so much to be learned from the writings of others. Someday when these are finished it will be time to turn to my collection of books.

May you find some good reading material to read over the fall and winter months. Take time to savor the wisdom of others who have experience to share. Writers are unique people, who are willing to put their thoughts in print. There are always new and interesting materials being made available. Find some today. Maybe even start your Birthday, Christmas, etc. wish lists. And always be on the look-out for used books and freebies being offered by local groups and societies. A serendipity moment may even be found in the next publication that you choose to read.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Tom Jones - Alsace Lorraine and Bavarian Connections

While preparing for the Genealogical Council of Oregon Advanced Workshop on August 1, 2014 with Tom Jones, that had a limit of twenty-five attendees, there was some required reading we were asked to do ahead. Some of this "pre-homework" was the same as what is in his book, Mastering Genealogical Proof, and the other was new material.

The first part of Tom's presentations was an opportunity to ask questions about these readings. There were many interesting things discussed and explained about the two articles. Tom suggested previously that we chart the relationships in the articles. For this I created Family Group Records for the families and this proved to be very helpful.

The first article was, Logic Reveals the Parents of Phillip Pritchett of Virginia and Kentucky, written by Tom and published in the National Genealogical Society Quarterly March 2009, ten pages. It includes a map drawn by the author which is extremely helpful in understanding the conclusions drawn. For this article there were four families discussed, three of which are found on the family tree at

The second article was, Identifying an Immigrant Generation: Medarts of St. Louis, written by Tom and published in the St. Louis Genealogical Society Quarterly, Summer 2008, eight pages. He included lists of names from passenger records and then a comparative list of baptismal records, arrival list and family records. For this article two family group records for eighteen people helped to identify them.

Upon arrival we were given the syllabus for the day. The courses were:
1. Bringing Law to Bear on Complex Genealogical Problems, 12 pages
2. Resolving Conflicting Evidence, 8 pages
3. Writing Genealogy, 12 pages

Throughout the classes he would refer back to the articles. The syllabus materials are so good that there is little need to take extensive notes. This material will be great for future review of what was discussed. It was a great day and my favorite part of the conference. We met with wonderful, friendly genealogists who have a vested interest in learning from a professional and highly respected colleague.

For me the best part was being able to ask a question about my own family research that was sparked by a note in one of the articles. In the article about the Medart family it is mentioned that the family was from Ilbesheim, Bavaria, Germany. There are birth records for the family in this parish from 1802 to 1831. On page 47 he notes that, "Mr. and Mrs. Philip Medart, natives of Germany, came to the United States in 1832." He goes on to note that, "From where in Europe the family originated, I don't know for sure, I have always been told France", "Their ancestors are from the Alsace-Lorraine district", and "Grandfather Phillip Medart, came from Westphalia, Germany in 1856."

Very similar comments to these were made by my Nepple and Schaffer families who have children born in Arnbruck, Bavaria, Germany from 1845-1856  and Zwiesel, Bavaria, Germany from 1854-1869. "Family indicated she (Mary Schaffer the mother) was born in Paris, France and lived in Alsace-Lorraine, but the records located indicate she was born in Bavaria." They also mentioned that French was spoken in the home after they arrived in Iowa. So, could it have been Mary's mother that was born in France?

My question is why would families move from the Alsace-Lorraine area to the far side of the country in Bavaria? There must have been some type of push/pull reason for this to occur. After learning so much from Tom and the other attendees, I know this is something that I need to explore further. Families move for many reasons, relocating to unknown places in distant lands, like the United States. Exploring for possible answers and understanding is the best reason for attending these workshops. The personal level in a limited group setting was the perfect setting for a very enlightening day.


Thursday, August 21, 2014

Writer's Blog Tour


Judi Scott invited me to participate in this Writer's Blog Tour.
Judi and I enjoyed working together over the past five years as part of a team of editors for the Bulletin, a quarterly publication of the Genealogical Forum of Oregon. We also traveled to several genealogy events and conferences where we were presenters of classes or attended classes.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Respecting Personal Boundaries in Genealogy and Life

How many times have you had someone you don't know call on the telephone or knock on the door, expecting you to allow an intrusion into your life? Maybe as we age we become more sensitive to such people who assume that we are open to discussing with them our lives and the lives of our families. When doing genealogy and family history research these same personal boundaries are subject to intrusive questions from complete strangers.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Summer Genealogy Fest - Genealogical Council of Oregon Conference

My bags are half packed in anticipation of leaving in about three hours to drive to Eugene, Oregon, the location of the 2014 Summer Genealogy Fest sponsored by both the Genealogical Council of Oregon and the Oregon APG group. These bi-annual conferences are a wonderful opportunity for genealogists on the west coast to connect and share in some wonderful learning opportunities.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Turning Sixty - Let's Celebrate

Turning sixty is a monumental event. One reward is the eligibility to receive the senior discount. Yes, some places do start this reward before and a few after, but overall this is the age of getting a price break for enduring to the end. Several of my friends are also achieving this landmark birthdate this year as well. We join together in honoring and sometimes consoling each other on our life's journey.