Sunday, January 31, 2010

Family Events ~ January 31 - February 7

[Yes, I know - February 6th should be the last day...but I have a special reason for including it here!]

January 31st ~ On this day in 1901 in Edinburgh, Scotland William Hannan RITCHIE, my 2nd cousin twice removed is born. He will only live for 4 days.

February 2nd ~ On this day in 1838, marriage banns are read for David RITCHIE and Agnes GOURLAY in Ceres, Fife, Scotland. They are my 3x great-grandparents. This day in
1993 is also marked by the death of my granduncle, Windsor Benzie RITCHIE in Ohio.

February 3rd ~ This day is marked by the death of James KIRK, my 5x great-grandfather in 1829 in St. Andrews, Scotland. I am fortunate that there is a marker for him in St. Andrews, erected by his son and that I got to see and photograph it! It was an early Tombstone Tuesday post last year.

This day is also marked by the death of Selma EICKELBERG, my great-grandaunt in Denver, Colorado in 1913. She was just 5 days shy of her 19th birthday.

February 4th ~ On this day in 1897 Edna SAURER is born in Dalton, Wayne County, Ohio. She will become the wife of my great-granduncle Raymond GRABER. She will also cause be no end of problems early in my genealogical "career" as she was born Edna SAURER and became Edna GRABER while her sister-in-law, Raymond's sister, is born Edna GRABER and becomes on marriage Edna SAURER!!! Even when people noted names on the backs of pictures it all depended on who was doing the labeling as even after marriage both women might be noted by a maiden name.

And now for the most special days of this week:

February 6th AND February 7th ~ On these days, some years ago, right before and right after midnight my twin nephew and niece are born. My niece, the one born on the 7th used to say that the 6th was always, "the worst day of the year for me" because on that day her brother would tell her, and anyone who would listen, that HE was a year older! "I'm already x but you are NOT" I'm sure any of you with brothers can imagine. While they are teenagers now, I just couldn't resist using their one-year old birthday party pictures.

Happy Birthday Twins!!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

What I Did On My Christmas Vacation...

...or how I tricked my family into a Genealogical Holiday!!

I'm sure I'm not alone in wondering how to create more interest in my genealogical pursuits among my family. I know many of you are familiar with the glazed looks that appear anytime the subject of family history is ever so subtly dropped into a conversation. Oh, some members of the family will humor you and at least TRY to look interested for awhile, but oddly enough none of them ever seem to actually get excited when you tell them that yes, you finally found great-great uncle Zephaniah on the 1880 census - listed as an inmate of the Podunk County Jail.

Well this Christmas I resorted to games and bribery ~ and it worked!

I have 2 nieces and a nephew who are all teenagers. During a lull in our Christmas morning activities I brought out a pile of presents and told them I had a game that would result in their winning some of this loot. [I do have to say that they are all very good-natured kids and are used to humoring their slightly wacky aunt.]

I had put together a family tree for each of them and worked back through their great-grandparents...except that the 8 greats were all blank. [in the example here I have deleted some of the information, but the originals had all had full names and birth dates etc]

I also gave each of them a list of 20 question and told them that they would have to work together because contained within their questions were answers that would help them fill in a few of the blanks but not all of them (each one of them had different questions.)

Some of the questions were straightforward - "Who is your father's father's father?" Others required them to go around and talk to multiple people - "Who had a dog named 'Stinky' and how did he get that name?" Still others required them to take my hand-held recorder and interview someone to get the answer - "How, when and where did you Dad propose to your Mom? - and then get your Mom's version of the story."

The reward for finishing their family tree and list of questions was to pick one of three presents. First one finished got the first choice. In addition there was a smaller present attached that would go to whichever adult couple they were "competing" for. So, when my youngest niece finished first, she picked her present and the attached present went to my Mom & Dad. Once all the gifts were selected and everyone (or each couple) had one they all opened them. Of course when they unwrapped the presents they soon discovered that they were all the same - a family history calendar that I had created using's MyCanvas application. I've attached a slide show of the calendar below.

Everyone loved the pictures and actually asked me questions about who they were and how they were related. It was so much fun. At one point my nephew said to me, "What are we going to do next year? We will have to get different relative so we can have more questions." I told him not to worry, I have a lot more stories and questions about his current relatives. I was just thrilled that they really seemed to think this was now a family tradition and wanted to do it again next year.

The final bonus was having 9 short audio clips created...but that's a story for another post.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

I Know It's Been Awhile...

...and believe me, I've missed blogging. It's just that I'm not so good at dealing with my life and still finding time for blogging. So when a close friend was diagnosed with cancer in October, many things went on hold. We are still dealing with that, but I've decided to spend at least a little time with my blog. I made so many great contacts in 2009 - I had no idea what I was getting into when I started and it's been great!

So, instead of my usual New Year's Resolutions - complete my entire family history, lose 50 pounds, blog every day and bring about world peace...or sometime like that - I've decided on a more moderate approach. I'm going to post my weekly family events each Sunday. That was always my favorite post and also generally seemed to elicit the most comments.

I also have some unfinished business from the beginning of January. I find I've been given the Happy 101 Award three times in January! I know that I'm way too late to this party, but I'd still like to take a moment to thank Mary at Mary's Musings, My Family's Roots Run Deep and Felicia at My Nola Heritage for taking the time stop by my blog! I won't attempt to pass this along at this point, but I will list 10 things that make me happy ~ in no particular order:

1. My big ol' German Shepard, Killer
2. Being able to go snowshoeing with my parents!
3. Christmas with my family
4. Reading
5. Chocolate
6. My German class on Saturday mornings
7. Laughing with a friend
8. Connecting with new living relatives
9. My extra day off every other week
10. Taking photos for Find-A-Grave

So, that about wraps it up for now. Time to get that Weekly Family Events post in order!