Monday, December 31, 2018

2018 in Review


Another year has come and come.  My annual review.

1. What did you do in 2018 that you’d never done before? Bought a house! Won money in Las Vegas, took Julian on an airplane, went to Arkansas, took Julian to NYC and went to see Santa at Macy's and to the Museum of Natural History.

2. Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year? I'm not a fan of resolutions; I much prefer a word of the year.

My word for 2018 was explore.  I did a lot of exploring, we made it to Las Vegas, Philadelphia, NYC, and Scranton as a family, I went to GRIP in Buffalo, and to Orlando and Little Rock for conferences. I didn't make it to South Dakota, sadly, but will keep that on the list for next year, along with a visit to Chicago, and another trip to NYC. It looks like an overseas trip is unlikely in 2019, but hopeful for 2020. Plus we explored the homes for sale in Syracuse and bought one! I have also gotten back into exploring my family tree.

For 2019 my word is nurture. I was listening to a podcast recently where the guest was talking about how, for so long, she only focused on her head, like it was a balloon without a body. This resonated so much with me. My focus is on nurturing my body this year with whole foods and exercise. I also want to continue to nurture my relationships with family and friends.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth? My friend Claire. We also went to 2 weddings (Scott & Laura, Theresa & Jeremy)

4. Did anyone close to you die? We were not close, but my great uncle Bud passed away.

5. What places did you visit? Orlando, Philly, Fireman Museum, Las Vegas, Scranton, Little Rock, Washington, DC (very quick trip), Cooperstown, NYC, the North Pole (via the Polar Express Train Trip), lots of places around Western & Central NY.

6. What would you like to have in 2019 that you lacked in 2018? …

7. What dates from 2018 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? July 5th when we bought a house!

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? Something that also turned into a big sadness (sorry for the vague-blogging; see also #6…)

9. What was your biggest failure? Continually starting exercise programs, but not keeping up with it.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury? Just the usual sinus infections

11. What was the best thing you bought? Our house!!!

12. Whose behavior merited celebration? My mortgage broker

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? Our government

14. Where did most of your money go? Buying a house!

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? Moving into our new house (can we detect a theme?)

16. What songs will always remind you of 2018?  Shut Up & Dance, Call Me Maybe, Santa Claus is Coming to Town (sung by Julian &n Bruce Springsteen)

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder? Happier
b) thinner or fatter? Same
c) richer or poorer? Hello, mortgage…

18. What do you wish you’d done more of? Exercise

19. What do you wish you’d done less of? Worry

20. How did you spend Christmas in 2018? Christmas morning was in our new house!!! Then dinner with friends. We also did Sunday with my dad & gramma, Monday with my mom and then her family, and the following Friday with my in-laws.

21. Did you fall in love in 2018? No

22. What was your favorite TV program?  Great British Baking Show

23. What did you do for your birthday in 2018? We were in NYC and saw Santa at Macy's and got a cupcake from Sprinkles.

24. What was the best book you read? I Miss You When I Blink: Essays by Mary Laura Philpott (not out until 2019 - one of the best parts of being a librarian is the ARCs)

25. What did you want and get? A great spring break trip to visit my Aunt & Uncle in Las Vegas; to become Membership VP for JLS; to visit NYC after not making it last year

26. What did you want and not get? To drive from Buffalo to South Dakota with Wendy and her kids.

27. What was your favorite film of this year? Crazy Rich Asians

28. Did you make some new friends this year? I did :-)

29.What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? Winning the lottery. I ought to start playing.

30. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2018? I'm not sure I've ever had a "personal fashion concept" though I have gotten into long sleeve t-shirts.

31. What kept you sane? Reading; Aaron; driving to Madison County to see wind turbines

32. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? Justin Trudeau

33. What political issue stirred you the most? What they are doing to the undocumented children and families.

34. Who did you miss? My Grandpa Acquard and Uncle Brian, like every year now.

35. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2018: Wind turbines make everything better. Follow your gut.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Census Sunday: Judd & Emma Earl 1875

I have recently been researching my husband's father's family. My husband's cousin has become a genealogy addict and we've been sharing information, particularly on the Earl family of New York. The 1875 New York state census shows Juddson/Jedediah Byron and Emogene Earl (listed as Jedd B. & Emma Earle) living in Lyonsdale, Lewis County, NY as newlyweds.



If your ancestor had gotten married or died during the previous year, it is listed at the end of the census before the agricultural information. The next page shows Jedd B. Earle and Emma Yauger getting married on 3 May 1875 in Hawkinsville (a hamlet of Boonville); he had been previously married, but she had now. The were married by a Protestant Methodist (PM) clergyman.

Looking back at their census record, they lived next door to Jane Yauger and her children. Hoping this was a relative of Emogene's, I traced Jane back in the census and found that Jane is her mother (her father is Henry who died in 1873.) Excited to push this family back a generation, especially since both of these families have been researched by other genealogists. Now to collaborate their findings.

Saturday, November 3, 2018

SNGF: Your Zigzag Ancestor Line

It's Saturday night and time for another installment of Saturday Night Genealogy Fun.

Here is your assignment if you choose to play along (cue the Mission Impossible music, please!):

1)  What is your father's Zigzag Ancestor line (NOTE: I just made that up...}?  In other words, your father's mother's father's mother's etc. line back as far as you can go.

2)  Tell us in your own blog post (and drop a link here in a comment), or on Facebook with your response.

For my father's line:
1. Me
2. My dad
3. His mother
4. Her father, Albert Emil Nuwer (1906-1989)
5. His mother, Anna Marie Zaepfel (1874-1943)
6. Her father, Joseph Zaepfel (1839-1915)
7. His mother, Magdalena Matter (1804-1872)
8. Her father, Joseph Matter (1766-before 1834)
9. His mother, Marianna Herrmann (1738-about 1800)
10. Her father, Johann Jacob Herrman (1690-1767)
11. His mother is currently unknown

For my mother's line:
1. Me
2. My mom
3. Her father, Robert Alfred Casell (1930-1983)
4. His mother, Lillian L. Eichhorn (1908-1938)
5. Her father, William Fred Eichhorn (1874-1931)
6. His mother, Katherina Weiß (1849-1936)
7. Her father, Johann Georg Weiß (1809-1870)
8. His mother, Rosina Böhringer (1783-1852)
9. Her father, Johann Georg Böhringer (1744-1801)
10. His mother is currently unknown

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Herd About (GRIP in) Buffalo?

Amazingly decorated fiberglass buffalos were all over WNY in 2000. One is on display in the main building GRIP was located in at Daemen College.
GRIP came to Buffalo this year for its second "on the road" experience (the first being outside Detroit in 2014). I attended the Tackling Tough Problems: Tools & Strategies for Tackling Tough Research Problems class coordinated by Kimberly Powell.

One of my favorite things about this class was that we were to take the ideas given and think about them in relation to our own tough problem - mine being "who are Barbara (Griss/Kries) Fleeman's parents and where was she born?" I don't have an answer, but I have improved my research plan and look forward to one day knocking this brick wall down.

Another thing that really hit me at this institute was the importance of a good education plan. I tend to pick courses based on what looks interesting and take the webinars I see and read all the journals and books. This has worked up to this point, but if I want to get my certification, I need to get a plan in place. This course reminded me that I need to work with deeds and DNA more than I do and, as always, write more. Looking at people's certification portfolios also gave me a lot of ideas on where to head next.

One thing that was different this year was not staying on campus but rather with my family. There were good and bad parts to this. Seeing my son everyday and not having to pay were good, but I missed getting to know a roommate and being right there to go relax in my room and not have to wake up so early since it was just a short walk.

What I love best after attending 5 GRIPs is that it's becoming a bit like Cheers where everyone knows your name. Getting to know the attendees, organizers, and instructors is what keeps bringing me back. 

Friday, August 3, 2018

An Italian-German-French-Swiss American Boy’s Story: Genealogy in Buffalo in the 1960s


Image result for gilbert harry doan genealogy


Anyone who knows me is aware I'm from Buffalo. I'm proud of where I'm from and being from Buffalo is an important part of my sense of self. If you've heard me speak about my family history, you know I'm a mutt. German, French, Italian, English, Polish, Canadian, Luxembourgian, and Belgian (like the waffle.) My ancestors came to the western New York area in the early to mid-1800s, some stopping in Canada first, so no Mayflower or Revolutionary War ancestors for me. Which leads to the lecture I heard last night.

The Western New York Genealogical Society sponsored 2 lectures last night by John Philip Colletta, a renowned genealogist and speaker. His first lecture was on the Erie Canal; I've heard this a time or two before and it's a great one, but it was his second lecture that made me want to write. Titled "An Italian-German-French-Swiss American Boy’s Story: Genealogy in Buffalo in the 1960s," John talked about being a new genealogist as a tween/teen living in Buffalo. In the 1960s, genealogy was all about getting back to your Mayflower and Revolutionary War ancestors, which was seen in the first book he got out of the library on the subject, "Searching for Your Ancestors: The How and Why of Genealogy" by Gilbert Harry Doan.

So John went off in search of his ancestors, planning to get to those who arrived in 1630 like Gilbert's, and found, well, nothing. He talked about his research at a church and in the library, about talking to family members and flipping through census microfilm. Finally, one day, he headed to the cemetery where he found his ancestors, surrounded by other people whose names he knew. He searched in Sanborn maps and city directories and found more ancestors. He eventually realized that he may not have had those ancestors who came over before we had a country, but that his family looked like those all around him in Buffalo and that that was even better than what he had started to search for.

He talked about those people who settled Buffalo and Erie County, those who came from Baden, Wurttemberg, Alsace, Lorraine, Luxembourg, and Poland. As he mentioned these places, I teared up, because they were my people, too. There are no kings or Revolutionary War heros, but there are farmers and coopers and gardeners and railroad men and even an innkeeper or two. People who are like me, who lived and worked and raised their families and helped their neighbors.

John mentioned how much genealogy has changed over the past 50 years. He never knows what ancestry people will have in his audiences and he's been changing his lectures to be more inclusive of all ethnicities (my one recommendation here is for him to not use "ladies and gentleman" to be inclusive of all genders). He also mentioned his book "Finding Your Italian Roots. The Complete Guide for Americans," which came out in 1994 and was actually either the first or second genealogy book I ever bought (along with Unpuzzling Your Past), and how books and classes for different ethnicities continue to expand.

I don't know if John does this lecture widely or if he wrote it just for us, but if you get the chance to see it, please do. 

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Buffalo Gal Won't You Come Out to GRIP

Dessert on Opening Night
One of my favorite times of the year is GRIP, the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh, aka summer camp for genealogists. I have attended almost yearly since they began in 2012 and was thrilled last year to find out they were going "on the road" to Daemen College in Amherst, NY (outside of Buffalo and about 25 minutes from my mom's house.)

For the second year in a row, I'm taking Kimberly Powell's class, which this year is Tools & Strategies for Tackling Tough Research Problems. In addition to Kimberly, Angela Parker McGhie, Karen Stanbary, and Nancy Peters are teaching sessions.

Check-in day with an opening dinner was Sunday, July 29th and classes started yesterday. I'm looking forward to getting new ideas for my research and to help others at the library.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Your 8 Greats


I was at a Junior League meeting on Tuesday listening to a speaker on deciding how to donate your money, including through bequests in your will. She mentioned the about 1/3 of Americans cannot name their 8 great grandparents (citing Ancestry.com) and that if you want to be remembered, donations to nonprofits is one way to do it. Based on the response of my fellow members, I think Ancestry might be overestimating.

They say you die twice. Once when you stop breathing and the second, a bit later on, when somebody mentions your name for the last time.

When I teach introduction to genealogy classes, I start with 4 generation pedigree charts and seeing how much participants can fill in. Most can name their grandparents, though not always the maiden name of their grandmothers, but few can name all 8 greats. I tell them that a great first goal is to research to find out who each of their great grandparents are, by starting with themselves and working backwards.

If you're new to genealogy, I recommend the same. Then, post about it in a blog or on social media or tell your family about what you find. Not everyone will be able to make a large donation to have their name live on, but everyone deserves to be remembered. 

2018 in Review

Another year has come and come.   My annual review. 1. What did you do in 2018 that you’d never done before? Bought a house! Won mone...