Jul 25

Genealogy as a Game

James Tanner, a lawyer and genealogist, has written a post which I believe should be required reading, especially for beginning genealogists.

Many people begin their genealogical quest with no instruction, background, or assistance in research methods. Some advertisements for genealogical websites give the impression that solid, grounded research is not needed to learn about your family history. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

In a few simple words on his blog, Genealogy’s Star, Mr. Tanner bares the monster of that flawed thinking for all to see. Head on over and check out his post, The genealogy video game.

When you have finished with that, take a look at a helpful post he recently made on how to obtain instruction to help you avoid being a game player.

Jul 16

Funeral Card Friday – George Emerson Fenton

I am sharing funeral cards on Friday, following a Facebook meme which you an see here.

A well known character in Papa’s family, George Emerson Fenton was know to his nieces and nephews as a fun loving practical joker on some days. He is missed at every family gathering.

You may enlarge this thumbnail for a larger view.

george emerson fenton funeral card

Jul 14

Land Records, Wexford County, Michigan Liber 132 page 328

I am posting information gleaned from land records in the areas where our family’s ancestors resided. You can read more about this project in the overview. You may also check my deed record listing, which I will update with each post.

This little deed is an odd ball of sorts, it does not really fit in any category. I collected it because my grandparents, William and Winnie (Kaiser) Yearnd were the purchasers of the property.

Date: 14 April 1937
Liber: 132
Page: 328
Location: Cadillac, Wexford, MI
Grantor: Elsie Caulkins
Grantee: William H. Yearnd and Winnie Yearnd, Husband and wife
Witnesses: Clay Colcord, Albert Pearson
Type of deed: Warranty
Rec’d and recording: 2 April 1938
Clerk/registrar: Samuel A Tibbits
Location of land: Cadillac, Wexford, Michigan
Consideration: $1
Notes: Elise Caulkins was the Delia Conway Kaiser’s aunt. Delia Conway was Winnie’s stepmother.
Description: lots 3 & 4 in block 235 of the Home Building and realty company addition to the city of Cadillac.

Esther M. “Elsie” Caulkins was a resident of Cadillac, Wexford, Michigan for some portion of her life, and on the 1910 census of the city in the household of her widowed mother, Maria Caulkins at 447 Chapin Street. Her sister Mamie was also in that household. At some point, the Caulkins family moved to Illinois, where by 1920 they were residents of Chicago, Cook County. Maria M. Caulkins died died on December 7, 1937, age 77 years, 10 months, 2 days, her residence was Woodstock, Illinois. The informant was Clay Colcord (Mamie Caulkins’ husband), of Woodstock Illinois, and burial was in Cadillac, Michigan on 12 December 1937.

Perhaps another search of the deeds would show a transfer of the property to Elsie, or a deed recorded to settle the estate of Maria. Whatever the case, The Caulkins family turned to their “relatives” in Cadillac to dispose of the property after their mother’s death.

You can see a map of the Home Building and Realty Company Addition to the city of Cadillac on the Michigan subdivision site.  When I compared the subdivision plat to the current Google map, I can see that the two lots in question reside in the 600 block of Chapin Street.  I do not know if this was a different house from the one the Caulkins family lived in at the time of the 1910 census, or if the numbering of the houses has changed.
View Larger Map

Jul 13

Remembering Dad

I have a bundle of things to do today, but I am barely treading water. The reason is that my father died on July 13, 1979, 31 years ago today. Somehow, that 31 years seems like a long time, but the events seem like they happened yesterday.

James Yearnd (1927)
James Austin Yearnd, Sr., 1927-1979

I remember the blur of the day, but not much more. It was Friday, the first day of a busy weekend at a concession stand I ran. The night before, my stepmother stopped at that very stand, and told me it would be wise to go see Dad. Papa and I went that Friday afternoon, an hour’s drive to a unfamiliar hospital in Traverse City, Michigan.

It was clear that he was not doing too well, and I do not remember if he was conscious enough to know who we were. What I do remember is the nurse seeing that he had visitors, and that she hurried to find a doctor. That doctor wanted to talk to us, so we stepped out into the hall. He delivered the bad news that there was nothing more that could be done. Although I knew in my heart that that was the case, I did not even know how to react. I remember asking, “How long?”, and the doctor just shrugged his shoulders, and said “A few days, perhaps a week.” We stayed for a while, and when we got up to leave, I said, “Dad, see you in the morning,” and gave him a kiss.

I had a concession stand to run, so we headed for home. I do not remember who was watching the little girls, but I do remember that our oldest daughter was at camp. When we got home, Papa got out of the car, and I was about to head to town to open my stand when he came back out of the house. The call had come just before we got home, Dad was gone.

He was fifty-one, and would have been fifty-two on July 20. I was twenty-seven years old, married, and the mother of 3 little girls; my youngest sibling was only fourteen. For twenty-four years, every time I had a birthday, I would wonder if I would make it to fifty-one. Since I turned fifty-one, I wonder how far past that number I may live on every birthday. For many years I was very angry with Dad, because some lifestyle changes might have prevented his early death. Then I just became sad, sad that he missed my daughters growing up, his beautiful great-grandchildren, all the fun times you can only appreciate after your children are grown.

How can I forgive him for being himself? When I was particularly bitter, or sad, or frustrated one day, one of his sisters pointed out to me that he had good qualities, as well as the undesirable ones I remembered. Lately, as I go through some old photographs, scan them, and file them away in sleeves, I do remember to good qualities, and the young dad who loved babies and small children.

I just wish I had known him longer.

Jul 09

What I Do – or – What I Do It With!

This meme was posted by Thomas over at Geneabloggers. He asks that we list the technology we use in our genealogical pursuits. Thomas rightly speculates that those of us who work at home have few colleagues with whom to compare notes.

Genealogy is actually my avocation, I spend much of my time on research and compilation. I have done many free lookups, some pro bono work for other researchers, and some paid work, but this is mostly about me.

* Hardware: My desktop is an HP Media Center PC. Actually that is just what the case says, I have added, removed and changed the set-up so much it really does not resemble the original. Here are the specs:

OS Name: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium
Version 6.1.7600 Build 7600
OS Manufacturer Microsoft Corporation
System Manufacturer HP Pavilion 061
System Model EG642AA-ABA M7260N
System Type X86-based PC
Processor Intel(R) Pentium(R) D CPU 3.00GHz, 3000 Mhz, 2 Core(s), 2 Logical Processor(s)

There are 4GB memory, I added some. The desktop computer has two local fixed disks, the first is the original equipment, a 500GB disk which contains drive E, the preload/recovery files, and drive C, the operating system and program files. I added a 700GB internal disk on which my data is stored.

I have a DVD reader/writer and a CD reader on the computer.

Attached to the computer is a killer set of Logitech speakers that my grandson left here at the house, if he ever wants them back, I will have to buy some. I have a 3 port Belkin KVM switch, which allows me to use my keyboard, monitor and mouse to switch between as many as three computers. This is handy when I am getting ready for a trip, since I hook my laptop to the switch and can use the laptop as my “main” computer for a day or so before a trip, while still having a real screen and keyboard.

I use an Envision flat panel monitor which I grabbed a Costco a few years ago. It is square, I hate the stretched out look.

Speaking of laptop, I have an older Toshiba Satellite, it has 4GB memory, and I recently upgraded the OS from XP to Windows 7, which it handles well. It has a square monitor, too. The keys are starting to fall off, but what the heck, it works!

* External storage: I run two removable disks, a 500 GB MyBook which contains only the backup of the data my computer, and a 3TB network drive which contains a second backup of my computer and of my husband’s computer. I do not backup the operating system and programs, just the data. I have the original disks for all my operating systems and software, so I just “take a chance” on that aspect of my computers. We also have an external drive which contains a 4th backup of our data only, and remains off site except when the data is being refreshed. Backups are very important to me, because of my husband’s photography hobby, and because I do some website design. I need access to all my data and revisions at all times. I sometimes use flash memory to temporarily store files.

* Online storage: I have some data on my personal websites, but do not rely on on-line backups.

* Backup: The three drives described above. I use Compare & Backup, and Everyday Auto Backup.

* Firewall, Virus, Spyware: AVG Internet Security, version 9.0.839. We scan all computers every night. I really like the link checking feature of this software, which warns about threats. Our router also acts as a firewall.

* Internet Service: ATT Uverse. We use their router for our home network. It is far more satisfactory than my previous software solutions. We back-up and share data across that network daily.

* File cleaner: Occasionally, perhaps once per year, I use C-Cleaner.

* Printer: I have a Hewlett Packard DeskJet 895CXI. It still works, and I do not usually replace things that work.

* Phone: MagicJack at home. We like this because it sends us an e-mail if we have a message. For mobile phones, I use an ATT family plan, and personally have an Iphone 3GS 32GB, with text messaging and internet. This is my one small bow to “new”, and I enjoy it a lot.

* Mobile media: Iphone

* Music player: Iphone on the go; Windows Media Player at home.

* Car audio: Sirius Satellite Radio, I only listen to the channel 65, Bluegrass Junction. Also, an ITrip for my Iphone, which broadcasts the tunes on my phone to the car radio.

* eBook Reader: I used both the desktop and Iphone version of Stanza.

* Browser: I use Firefox nearly exclusively. I do have IE on my main computer, since some sites simply don’t work well with anything else. I have many other browsers installed, which I use to test websites.

* Blog: Self-hosted WordPress.  I compose my posts with BlogDesk.  It works very well for me, and uploads to my site with FTP.

* RSS: I use the WordPress built-in RSS.

* FTP: Filezilla

* Text editor: I use notepad or wordpad. For programming I often use Scintilla, and for transcribing I use Transcript.

* Graphics: Adobe Photoshop Elements.

* Screen capture: Old fashioned, I use the old control/PrtScn key combination, then paste into a new Elements file, as in, File, New, From Clipboard.

* Social media: Facebook, Twitter. Have a GenealogyWise account, but never check it. Ditto with MySpace.

* Social bookmarking: I do not use this.

* Social profile: Facebook, MyBlogLog

* URL shortener: TinyURL.com.

* Office suite: Microsoft Office XP, Google Docs. I have used OpenOffice but found the transition difficult. With my husband’s retirement creeping up on us, I am likely to use OpenOffice rather than buy or upgrade my Office Installation.

* E-mail: Thunderbird with a lightning calendar attachment which integrates with Google Calendar.

* Calendar: See above.

* Accounting: Quicken Home and Business 2008 (out of date again!)

* PDF generator: Nitro PDF Professional.

* Genealogy database: RootsMagic 4.

* Genealogy tools: Notebooks, paper, pencils, pens. I have used GenSmarts in the past, and may give it another whirl if I ever get the data I have entered.

* Other tech stuff: I have Sony Cybershot digital camera which I bought many years ago, and paid a small fortune for. It does not have the capabilities of the newer ones, but it has an eye piece, which is almost necessary for me to get a good shot. I have been taking photos of books and microfilm machine displays with that camera for 8 or more years. I use GedView on my Iphone when I travel. I have a lightweight Canoscan scanner, which I use at home and away.

So that’s it. The people my age or older who I know think I am a technology genius, and the younger people think I am a dinosaur. I believe I am actually somewhere in between.

Jun 11

Funeral Card Friday – Edith Fellows

I am sharing funeral cards on Friday, following a Facebook meme which you an see here.

This folder is from the services for Edith Elaine (Watson) Fellows, wife of Loren.

Edith Watson Fellows funeral card

Edith was born 8 December 1923, and married Loren W. Fellows on 23 August 1942. They were the parents of twelve children.

Jun 08

The Church

My great-grandparents on my mother’s side lived in Hoosick Falls, Rensselaer County, New York for some portion of their married life, and are buried there. They appear on the 1880 census in Chatham, and in 1900 in Hoosick Falls, so they arrived in Hoosick Falls sometime between those dates.

They were members of the Methodist Episcopal Church in Hoosick Falls, and one of my goals on my trip to New York was to attend church in that building myself.

cornerstone

The Methodist and Presbyterian church joined together some years ago, and use the building as their home today; the congregation is called First United Church, Presbyterian.

The building is beautiful, and I noticed the heavy wooden doors my mother had remembered and told me about. I attended the service with my first cousin, once removed who lives in Hoosick Falls. She is a wonderful lady, who has been very gracious since I wrote her several years ago. She remembered my mother as a small child, and was the only person connected with that family who even knew who Mom was.

DSCN0013

My great-grandparents, Orlando William Palmer and Libbie Winn were the parents of five children, Nellie E., 1875-1890; Lillian S., 1878-1888; Edwin Ernest, 1884-1943; my grandmother, Helen Lois, 1891-1966; and her twin, Hazel Sarah, 1891-1947. A window in the church honors Lillian, and I especially wanted to see that again.

lillians window

My visit to the church was a reminder that we do stand on the shoulders of those who come before, and a concrete reminder that they were here on this earth. It is especially meaningful to me, since I never met any of my mother’s family until I found the cousin I mentioned.

Jun 03

Treasure Chest Thursday — Aunt Jane’s Treasures

When you wish to know or understand someone, it is helpful to consider what they think is important. When my Aunt Jane passed to a better place on 5 February 2002, I was called upon to clean out her apartment. There were other things I did, but cleaning out the apartment was the most difficult. We had visited her there for nearly twelve years, holiday after holiday, so the place was familiar. I had also stayed in the apartment for a couple of nights when Aunt Jane was in the nursing portion of the facility.

Margaret Jane Yearnd was born on 29 January 1910 in Cadillac, Michigan. Her parents were William H. Yearnd, Sr., and Winnie Alice Kaiser. Aunt Jane graduated from Cadillac High School, and received a AB degree in social work from the University of Michigan in 1931.  She married Leo Edward Joseph Devereaux on 25 December 1931. Concern for others was the hallmark of Aunt Jane’s life.

When Jane  was eventually forced to relocate to a small retirement apartment, she did not save too much. What I did find tells a lot about the who Jane was.

Hidden away in the place I keep all my most important things, a top bureau drawer was Jane’s master’s degree from the University of Michigan. She earned the degree in 1943, I can only imagine the difficulty of study and full time work, while worrying about her soldier husband.

yearnd devereaux jane masters degree

yearnd devereaux jane masters

Next, I found some remnants of Aunt Jane’s volunteer efforts at a sheltered workshop in Paris, Michigan. I know she drove there from her Evart, Michigan retirement home each week, but had not been aware how important that activity was to her. As soon as I saw it, it remembered; one of Aunt Jane’s jobs was slaving over a hot grill on cook-out days.  She had saved a remodeled fast food crown to remember her time there.

yearnd devereaux jane hdq

The organization had honored her, also. There is an inside joke here, we will never know the whole story. I do the staff at MOARC treasured and cared for Jane.
yearnd jane devereaux moarc

Old habits live on, and Aunt Jane was a person who lived a life of service to others. Even with her sight problems, she found ways to help during her time at the retirement home. We usually visited Jane on Sunday, but if we made a Saturday trip, we were cautioned to arrive after 11:30. During the morning, Aunt Jane was busy helping with bingo and other games in the facilities health center.
yearnd devereaux jane fv vol

Jane Devereaux
Friendship Village Heath Center
May, 1994

Jun 01

Elizabeth Laurence Longstreet

I received a comment on on on my cemetery posts recently. The writer wondered about the burial of Elzabeth Longstreet. Elizabeth or Elisabeth Laurence, was the wife of Henry Longstreet; they were the parents Harmon Henry Longstreet, second husband of Papa’s ancestor, Susie Melissa Burdick. Her death record on the Seeking Michigan website give the spelling as Elisabeth, but most early census records use the more conventional Elizabeth.

Although I had never heard the cemetery referred to as Dahuff cemetery, the sign said “Dahuff” and “Meauwataka”. A lake just around the corner from the cemetery is “Dahuff Lake”, and some early settlers with the surname Dahuff are buried in the cemetery.

Since Papa and I were already in the area, we scouted around, looking for evidence of her burial. longstreet george

We found a marker on a morning trip, but even high tech manipulation left the image difficult to read.longstreet henry laurence elizabeth cem 1

A trip later in the day revealed that the headstone we found did indeed mark the grave of Henry and Elizabeth Longstreet.

DSCN0247

Henry Longstreet
BORN
Mar 29, 1823
DIED
June 13, 1894
____________
Elizabeth Longstreet
BORN
Aug 19, 1821
DIED
Sep 10, 1903

May 27

Treasure Chest Thursday – Aunt Bertha’s Tray

I have had this hammered aluminum tray for a number of years. Aunt Jane, my Dad’s sister gave it to me, along with a story.

aunt berthas tray

Aunt Jane said that Bertha went to some classes and made the tray. That is an interesting story, I wish I knew if it was true. There is no mark or emblem of any kind on the tray, which is just over twenty-one inches in diameter.

. Bertha Elizabeth Kaiser was born 21 February 1893 in Cadillac, Wexford, Michigan and died there on 11 June 1981. She was my grandmother’s half sister, the daughter of William Kaiser and his second wife, Delia Conway. Bertha married Henry Cornwell Ballou on 10 August 1916 and the couple lived in Cadillac and Detroit.

When I knew Aunt Bertha she was a widow, and in my child’s eye, a typical older lady. When Papa and I decided to marry, she had us to lunch one day. At that time, she would have been seventy-six years old. No wonder I can’t imagine her taking a class and hammering out an aluminum tray!

I wonder if the B stood for Ballou, or for Bertha?

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