Sep. 23rd, 2007 08:32 pm
twilight33: (genealogy)
I find it utterly amusing that tonight in church, I learned how Gertrude Stein totally dissed the other multi-generational California hometown I've sort of kept in the closet. I freely admit to being a fan of the baseball team that sent me to numerous free games when I was growing up because of my grades, but little else: Oakland. 2 and possibly 3 direct ancestors, including my father, and my beloved 101-year-old cousin were all born there.

... anyway what was the use of my having come from Oakland it was not natural to have come from there yes write about it if I like or anything if I like but not there, there is no there there. Gertrude Stein, Everybody's Autobiography (New York: Random House, 1937, p. 289)

It was not natural to have come from there?


Maybe that explains some family dynamics?

It's even more amusing that some urban sociology website in the Netherlands covers this best.
twilight33: (genealogy)
Here's another one for my bizarre genealogy journey:

The librarian who sits to my right at my internship & I both have direct ancestors who were members of... the Knights of Pythias Lodi 41 lodge! w00t! The place only has 62,000 people today and it's rapidly grown even during my lifetime, we're not talking Sacramento or Stockton for those who are (thankfully, trust me) unaware of Central California demographics.

Hers was cited in a 1878 county history book she received via regional interlibrary loan while I staffed the information desk, very odd considering we live two states away, and mine from checking an online index of a 1923 county history book that my mom has stashed in a closet somewhere.
twilight33: (genealogy)
I left a message with EBSCO with a question for midterm project, and the Texas vendor representative who returned my call has the same unusual French-Canadian last name as my great-grandma.

I've never encountered anyone else (outside of genealogy forums) with the name before, although there aren't that many French-Canadians running around on the west coast compared to the east either. At least I learned I've been pronouncing it wrong all these years in my head.


Jan. 23rd, 2007 12:33 am
twilight33: (Default)
Well ok, not exactly, but I opened up my luggage to find a TSA inspection notice in there. Memo to self: bringing home 3 bottles of jalapeno BBQ sauce, 1 bottle of salsa, 2 chili seasoning kits and over 1 lb of Creole seasoning may be overkill.

Kieran loved the pinto from Pilot Point (I now have printed proof his great-great-great-great grandfather had 1 horse and 1 buggy there that he paid $3.22 in taxes for in 1877) and a bigger UNT football, the kid's caught on fast that when I'm gone for a bit that means there are presents for him in my bags when I get back.

Kieran also has a fever and laryngitis and stayed home from preschool today. I find myself thankful that I made a mistake with my vacation request so that tomorrow is both noted on my boss' calendar and approved for me being out, I think we all need it.

It is so wonderful to just breathe the moist air here again.
twilight33: (genealogy)
Genealogy has been on the back burner for the most part since I started grad school but finding my direct ancestors prancing around Texas in 1880 (ok, farming) in the same county my school is at necessitated getting my butt in gear to uncover as much as possible while I have student access to their resources.

I asked a simple question: Where was the census district located that they were listed in? It's snowballed into information gaps regarding census information in their Texana collection with a possible GovDocs (government documents) purchase of several reels of information in the pipeline as a result of me being nosy. Whoa!

By the correspondence between the different searchers, you can tell we are all on a MISSION now! ;-) (Hey, it's been slow during the break!!)

I think the staff is more excited than I am due to the absolutely phenomenal amount of research they've put into my question. Everyone from the State Library in Austin to a Census Guru has been involved and they're still not letting go of it. They have dug up additional tax records and a probable (now city) location about a half hour NE of campus that I'll go visit after class one of the days I'm there.


Nov. 3rd, 2006 10:23 pm
twilight33: (genealogy) has been offering a free-for-all the past 3 days, and after homework & family time I've been cramming in nonstop genealogy work. I haven't touched it in months, and am quite glad to leave it again now because I'll vomit if I have to review any more family trees or download and carefully catalog census and WWI draft card images anytime soon.

I always catalog first, then dig into just who all these people are. There is a rather snooty-sounding society for descendants of those sailing as part of the Winthrop fleet (1630 to Massachusetts Bay) that I could probably make a case for with some better source docs for a few generations.

We are very proud that our membership by some coincidence includes mainly persons of high achievement and honor. Hmm. Just too lofty for a Boston cowkeeper's 10th-great granddaughter.
twilight33: (genealogy)
On the longest day of the year, I spent an ungodly amount of time stuck in traffic on the way to Tacoma which made it never-ending.

There I met my dad's 3rd cousin from Oregon, a second generation namesake of my grandma's uncle, and some of his family. He gave me pictures of my 3x-great grandparents and the grave in France, dinner, family gossip, and a big hug. I gave him pictures of his namesake, the story of his great-grandma's birth according to my great-great grandfather, and a running commentary about lineage through my laptop when we all got confused among the generations.

I'm starting to get used to the incomprehensible look my father's kin gives me when I mention he wants nothing to do with me & my family.

My cousin took one look at me and said I have the family's eyes, then listed off various other family members who have them. I've always wondered because they didn't seem to match up with anyone in my substantially smaller direct line, but he's right. My 3x-great grandfather is staring back at me from the 1870s with them in the portrait I'd never seen before tonight.

Our neighbor's car is currently stuck in the ditch in front of our home as he was trying to do a 3 point turn in our driveway. He lives way up the road so we hadn't met him before, and his first name is the same as my father's.

Go figure.
twilight33: (genealogy)
Poppies for young men
In honor of the first Memorial Day I knew that a big brother of the little guy (my great-grandfather) in my icon was shot down over France in WWI.

In my inbox this morning from a second namesake of his on a cousin branch of the same generation:

I went to the cemetery where Jay Willis is buried. Have many photos. I
couldn't be there for Memorial Day but did put some red poppies on his
grave. When I was at the cemetery, they were putting an American and French
flag at each headstone for Memorial Day; they let me have the ones from in
front of his cross. How cool is that? I was absolutely bowled over by the
kindness of the French and by shocking numbers of dead at the Meuse-Argonne cemetery.

I find myself unable to articulate the combination of thankfulness, sadness and anger I feel that I'm having to learn about my family members from distant connections because my direct line has been silent for generations.
twilight33: (genealogy)
It occurred to me this morning, as I was sitting on the couch with my mom, that her teenage grandmother & family all survived the 1906 San Francisco earthquake in a place where it was actually shook worse than SF: Santa Rosa.

Yes I know, some genealogist I am that this historic connection hadn't dawned on me earlier, but even more startling was my family's story... nothing. My great-grandmother only mentioned seeing large cracks in the ground everywhere.

What?! I grabbed my trusty laptop and showed my mom that Santa Rosa was demolished & all the family that hadn't even been in the United States for a year yet carried forward from the ordeal was cracks?

I am mystified & dying of curiosity. I know there's more than that & if there's a way I'm going to find it.
twilight33: (genealogy)
I emailed my new family contact a picture of my great-granduncle that I assumed he already had, but it was the only good thing I had immediately available to offer him for sharing my great-great grandfather's obituary.

He responded with absolute astonishment and gratitude, as he had never seen a single picture of his namesake before.

This is hammering home the concept that I need to digitize everything I have in order to easily participate in the reciprocal process of miscellaneous/priceless genealogy information.

As part of this, I may have finally found the cost justification to jump into the 21st century with a large capacity mp3 player only if it has a voice recorder function. No trendy iPod for me. I must have media files of my almost-100-years-old relative talking about various family members to burn & stash in a safe deposit box as well as share with her immediate family and future contacts.
twilight33: (genealogy)
I should be used to people who are very distant cousins emailing me with information about my family, but it's still somewhat surreal that I know the least about my own direct ancestors. Today's was the .jpg of my great-great grandfather's obituary stating that he scared an entire post office by literally dropping dead of a heart attack when it was his turn at the service counter. His son died of a heart attack after bowling one night, and of course his granddaughter died of one in the middle of an ER as my boyfriend (now husband) & I were getting to the airport to spend Thanksgiving with her in 98.

No previous heart problems for the lot of them, but I think part of me is now prepared for a similar call about my father someday. Clearly modern technology is no match for when this branch of the family decides it's time to go for whatever reason. I wouldn't object to going the same way someday, I hate waiting around for much of anything.

Two generations of these distant cousins also have the name of my great-granduncle who was shot down in WWI, and they're going to visit his grave in France this year. I... had no clue his gravesite was a known location.

I have so much work to do still in order to pass on any sense of family history to Kieran.
twilight33: (genealogy)
It was slightly painful to look through our state's digital archives collection of this name today and find my (at the time) elderly fourth-great grandparents, my third-great grandfather & his brother listed as defendants on an 1879 mortgage foreclosure case in Thurston County.

The family story only tells that the land was sold to meet the mortgage after the patriarch was paralyzed by a stroke, not that it was foreclosed. Considering this is a line of multiple generations of farmers, my guess is the shame associated with foreclosure on their land may have been the reason why the whole western clan purposely changed the spelling of their last name by the next year's federal census in California and the fourth-greats' tombstone in 1882.

The little guy in my icon is my great grandfather around 1900. I bite my lower lip the same way when I'm pensive and something about him reminds me of Kieran.
twilight33: (Default)
After my best friend's wedding (which was beautiful, perfect & preceded by 3 days of drinking too much yet not a single hangover... skol!) last weekend, our time in California turned to meeting more of my grandma's cousins and their families. This branch of the family is extremely close knit, numerous (direct descendants are over 300 now) and have lived in the San Jose area forever. It killed me hearing the Caltrain whistle from her house sometimes when the wind was right knowing I passed by there so many times before.

An unexpected discovery )

We had the most fun with this relative )

Sacre bleu!

Aug. 8th, 2005 07:09 pm
twilight33: (Default)
My options when I got home from work today were to either work on my final project, or go check out the free access to from the library to try and break through a brick wall that has been annoying me for a few years.

The wall is history now, and the infusion of French Canadians from Quebec is overwhelming. The coolest part is seeing my 11th (b.1631) & 13th (b.1600) great-grandmothers with the proper French spelling of my legal first name (H = sacrilege). I know my parents were just being trendy in the 1970s & didn't have a clue, but at least it really is a family name.

10 days left til the end of class, the plan is to outline this week & write it up over the weekend and voila! BA!
twilight33: (Default)
If my grandmas were still alive today, I know they'd have wanted actual (not email) pictures from graduation to share with their friends and all those degrees of cousins and great aunts & uncles you never see much of.

Then, there's my grandma's 79-year-old cousin, whose website I found last year by Googling the name of the town in Germany where my great-great-great grandmother was born.

She took the jpgs I sent her (including the one of our 3 generations by the university library sign with our common name connection on it for fun), asked me to write about graduation & my college education story starting back at SSU, made a graduation webpage about me to include on the huge family/genealogy site, then emailed hundreds of various degrees of cousins on the family email list the URL.

I still have to help my mom navigate email sometimes.
twilight33: (kieran)
And out of everyone from my great-grandmother's line, I'm the only one who has spoken it since she died a few years before I was born.

How that came in handy in the latest genealogy puzzle )

Maybe someday we'll just have to go to all the St. Sulpices in Bordeaux in person and see what we can find out now that my French is a bit more polished than it was in the 1990s. We were in Bordeaux during our whirlwind European vacation in 2001, although not near any of them & it was also the location of the only fight (so far) with my husband where I was so angry I had to just leave the room and go walk for a while.


twilight33: (Default)

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