Saturday, May 21, 2011

Sorting Saturday and Happy Birthday, Grandma P!

Grandma P last Christmas
It was my Wonder Grandma's birthday this week.  91 years young!  She is an amazing lady, I talked about her before on my first Thankful Thursday post.  She works out at the gym three times a week, is in better shape than I am (I'm not kidding), and is sharp as a really sharp tack.  I was able to go with her Tuesday night to her church women's group and listen to her talk about part of her life - the nine years she spent married to her second husband, Dr. Robert C. Pendleton, who was an amazing, kind, man, and a genius.  He was head of the Radiological Health Department at the University of Utah and was one of the, if not THE, biggest force that stopped above ground testing of atomic bombs in the US.  He was very outspoken against the government, dedicated his life to studying the impact of the fallout on plant and animal life, and was interviewed by People Magazine in 1980, at the request of the children of Dick Powell, John Wayne, Susan Hayward, and others, because they all died of cancer after filming in Utah's west desert, downwind of atomic testing.  Just a wonderful man.  He died on July 10, 1982, when I was almost 7 years old.

Grandpa Pendleton loved hiking, fishing, hunting and camping
Anyways, what does this have to do with sorting?  Well, I have the unique privilege of having my 91-year-old grandmother, who can remember some of the smallest details and faces and stories from her life and others over the last 85 years.  She has these great old photo albums and she knows who almost everyone is and the stories behind the pictures, and I need to get them scanned in and tag each person in the album so we don't lose that great information.  I need to get her to write down more of her life story; this woman lived through the Depression, World War II - she sent my grandpa off to war as a Sea Bee, and saw him home after he was sent home with malaria.  She moved all over Utah and Nevada, has read and learned about everything related to geography and history, knows about flowers and rocks and birds, she was president of the Salt Lake Chapter of Dental Assistants, and then has had that amazing chapter with Grandpa P.  And in the 30 years since he's died, she's parasailed, skied, hiked mountains, visited Nova Scotia, ridden horses, spun around a racetrack, and lived through bypass surgery, hip replacement, an artery replacement in her leg, she's our bionic grandma!

I need to sort through her mind (sounds creepier than I intend it) and take advantage of the time I have with her so I won't lose any part of her amazing story.  She's in great health and I pray all the time that she'll have many more years with us - I can talk to her about everything and she always cheers me up with a bright, "Hello, Pretty Girl!" whenever I call or visit.  I'm so thankful for her and her influence in my life.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday - Emmaline Duncan Myers

Emmaline Duncan Myers, born July 1856 (1858?) in Greene County, Pennsylvania, died 19 April 1929 in Wetzel County, West Virginia.  She's buried in Quiet Dell Cemetery, in Aleppo, Greene, Pennsylvania. She married Andrew Myers on 17 Feb 1875 in Greene County.  Their families had lived practically next door to each other since before Emma was born.  Andrew was about 14 years her senior, but according to his pension papers, neither were married previously.  He apparently had poor health and lingered several months after a stroke, finally dying on 29 April 1908 in Cameron, Marshall, West Virginia.  They were extremely poor and had only his pension from the Civil War to live on.  They had 13 children:  Mary Sharlota, Lena Myrtle, Loucena (Lucinda?) - who died before 1900, John L., Easter B., James G. B. - died at age 15, Ethel, Wiley, George Washington, Goldie Agatha, Charles, Anna, and Encil Raymond.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Amanuensis Monday - Will of Andrew Myers, Senior

"Will of Andrew Myers:
The last will and testament of Andrew Myers, Senior - In the name of God Amen I Andrew Myers Sen. do make this my last will and testament hereby revoking all other wills by me heretofor made in manner and form following to wit:
Item   I will and bequeath unto my wife Elisabeth Myers the Interest of one third of my estate during her natural life.
Item   I will to my son John Myers, heirs the sum three dollars.
Item   I will to my son Andrew Myers the sum of Two Hundred and fifty dollars
Item   I will to my Daughter Margaret Deboldt the sum of two hundred Dollars.
Item   I will unto George Myers, Anne S. Debolt, Mary Hinerman and Stanton Myers the remainder of my estate to be equally divided betwixt them.
Item   I do hereby appoint and establish Lindsey Hinerman my executor of this my last will and testament.
Signed with my seal this 22nd day of April 1872
Andrew Myers (his mark)
Signed in the presence of us by Andrew Myers Sen. and in his presesnse and at his request have signed the same as witnesses.  A.J. Hinerman, A.B. Pipes, Lindsay Hinerman
State of Pennsylvania,
Greene County"
(Note in sideline:  "For Assignment of the dower interest of George Myers, hereunder, see Deed Book 33, Page 577."
Will Book Vol. 5, Greene Co, PA, will #3343, FHL #1318266

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Sentimental Sunday - Special Day Breakfast

Since today is Mother's Day, and my kids made me the most amazing breakfast ever, I thought I'd touch on that family tradition.  I know a lot of families do this.  When I was growing up we took my mom breakfast in bed every Mother's Day.  A couple years ago I decided to make it a little easier on my kiddoes and told them to just set the table, then they can come get me and bring me out.  They love that, because now they decorate my chair and put their presents and homemade cards around my plate.  I heard them from about 7:15 this morning, but they didn't come get me until 8:40.  It was fun to hear them in there trying to be quiet and working together.  I have older kids now, so I "slipped" them a more difficult recipe and they pulled it off like a five star restaurant.  It's been a wonderful morning.

As I was thinking about it, I remembered visiting my dad for Father's Day.  He always made the most amazing food when I stayed with him, and I wanted to give something special to him, so I decided to make him french toast.  I was six, but we'd made it together many, many times.  So I cracked the eggs and added a little milk, and mixed them together.  Then I got my fork and dipped the bread into the egg and put it in the pan.  I turned it over after a few minutes, then I put my delicious concoction on a plate and proudly presented it to my dad.  And I'll be darned if that man didn't eat it.  Uncooked.  That is true love.  He never said one word about it being completely, disgustingly raw, and I didn't know until I was an adult and he was telling that story to my kids that I hadn't cooked the french toast. 

A very Happy Mother's Day to everyone out there who has nurtured and cared for children in any way.  Happy Mother's Day to my ancestral women who sacrificed and lived and raised their children through hardship and happiness.  And a Happy Mother's Day to my own amazing mom - we laugh until we cry, we talk forever, she's been my best friend, my example, and a huge strength my entire life.  I love her dearly. 
My beautiful mama, about a year before I was born

My beautiful mama with her cute hubby, Bob

Friday, May 6, 2011

Family Recipe Friday - Skunk Creek Cabbage

This is a recipe my mom made a lot while we were growing up, and one I still make today for my kids.  She calls it Skunk Creek Cabbage.  Cooking the potatoes and cabbage with the kielbasa gives them a great taste.  You can omit the cabbage, as well, which is how my kids like it.  It sure beats her tofu phase (picture chunks of tofu floating in spaghetti sauce.)

Skunk Creek Cabbage

1 Package Polska Kielbasa (I use Hillshire Farms Turkey Kielbasa, for less fat), sliced into 1/2 inch disks
3 Potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 small sweet onion, sliced into rings or 2" slices
1 small head of cabbage
2 T butter
salt and pepper to taste
water or chicken broth

Melt butter in a large pot or frying pan.  Panfry potatoes, onions, and kielbasa for a couple of minutes until potatoes start to brown a little.  Pour in a little chicken broth or water, add cabbage, and cover, stirring occasionally and adding a little more liquid to keep things from burning and to allow the potatoes and cabbage to steam until soft.  Salt and pepper to taste.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Thrifty Thursday - Utilizing Free Online Resources

I've been very lucky to within a few hours drive of the LDS Family History Library for much of the past 18 years.  However, being a mother of five kids doesn't lend itself well to genealogy expeditions, even if they're only an hour or two away.  I've been so thankful, especially in the last few years, for an increasing number of websites and records that are available for free search online. This might be pretty basic for old pro's, but it's always nice to get tips.  Some of the ones I've frequented (in no particular order) are:

  • FamilySearch - As more records are digitized and transcribed, this increasingly becomes a great resource for me.  I'm not totally happy with the organization of results from a search, yet, but I've been able to find important information that I hadn't found in years of research, because I didn't know where to look.  
  • Utah Digital Newspapers - I LOVE newspapers!  I have a Newspaper Archive subscription that I utilize regularly, but it's not comprehensive.  Having a lot of ancestors that lived in Utah at some point, the Utah Digital Newspapers site has been a wonderful resource for me.  I've found clues, obituaries, scalliwags, and funny stories that flesh out the bare facts and make my ancestors personal.  
  • Utah Death Certificate Index - Death records and more for the State of Utah for the years 1904 - 1958.
  • Find A Grave - I think most of us has used this.  Many thank you's to the amazing volunteers who make this site possible.
  • Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness - This is a free and great way to have someone in the area that you're researching (and can't get to immediately) do some legwork for you.
  • West Virginia Vital Research Records - Birth, Marriage, and Death Records for West Virginia.  I love when states put these resources online.  HUGE help!
  • USGenWeb - One of the original resources for online genealogy, volunteer-driven, this has been a great resource over the years.  Some county pages are better than others, but it's been a helpful website for me.
  • Ohio Online Death Certificate Index - 1913 - 1944.
  • Google Books and Images - I always run these searches on someone I'm researching - I've found pictures, digitized county histories, business directories and almanacs, etc.  
  • Family Tree Magazine's 2010 Best State Websites for Genealogy - Self-explanatory, and very helpful.  I just found this.  :)
Anyways, these are just a few of the ones I've found over the years.  I know there are more.  Many universities have digitized records for their state, including photography collections.  

Please comment with other websites you've found to be helpful, I'll add them to the list!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - Gene and Eva Rhinehart

Gene and Eva Rhinehart, about 1940, at Gene's mother, Goldie Bonnell's, home in Cambridge, Ohio. The child running in the background is the son of Gene's older sister, Esther (Hagerman) Gibson.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday - World Memory Project

This is the headstone for my husband's great-grandparents, Jack and Mollie (Fond) Shapiro.   Jack was born on March 11, 1884 in Romania, immigrated to the United States with his parents, Max and Ida (Solomon) Shapiro, about 1890.  They lived in Philadelphia for some time, his youngest two siblings were born there, and in 1900, Ida and her children were living in Chicago.  Jack and his brother, Benjamin, were naturalized on September 26, 1906. Jack's brother, Benjamin, stayed in Chicago and married.  Ida and the rest of the family moved to Los Angeles.  There, Jack met and married Mollie Fond, daughter of Marco and Sarah (Schwartz) Fond.

Mollie Fond was born October 9, 1890 in Menes, Arad Megye, Hungary.  Her family immigrated in 1895.  She and Jack were married on January 25, 1913 in Los Angeles, California.  Their daughter, Marian, was born in 1917, and soon after, they moved to Salt Lake City, Utah.  There, they had three more children:  Morris, born in 1918, Sam, born in 1920, and Beverly, born in 1926.  Jack ran the Shapiro Grocery Markets until 1947.  He and Mollie were members of Congregation Montefiore.  They are buried in the Montefiore Cemetery in Salt Lake City.  Jack died on November 28, 1957, and Mollie died on November 6, 1974.

Their son, Morris, is my husband's grandfather.  He went by "D" Morris so as not to be confused with another, unrelated, Morris Shapiro in Salt Lake City (their mail would get mixed up.)  I'll write more about him another time, but he was an amazing man.  He went blind at a young age and it never slowed him down a bit, he married, had nine children, and worked his entire life to support his family. 

In honor of our Jewish ancestry, I would like to talk about a new and exciting project.  The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and are teaming up for the World Memory Project.  Volunteers, like you and me, can transcribe digital images of millions of documents that have information about survivors and victims of the Holocaust.  These records will be made available in a free searchable online database.  This is an amazing undertaking and will give faces and humanity back to the 6,000,000 Jewish victims of the Holocaust and the Nazis, who tried to erase their memory.  To learn more about this and to participate, go to the World Memory Project.

It's very easy to start - you just download the software, download an image batch, and transcribe the information into data fields.  I can't change the past, but I can help families reconnect and find out what happened to their loved ones.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Yom Hashoah

Today is the nationally observed Holocaust Remembrance Day.  This article from the Huffington Post explains it well, I think.

From a young age I read everything I could about the Holocaust.  I don't know why I was so drawn to the history and the stories of the victims and the survivors.  I think I read Treblinka when I was about 11 or 12 years old.  I remember sitting in a world history class in 7th grade, and we'd been learning about World War II.  I had an amazing teacher, a little Italian man, named Mr. Giordano, or Mr. G.  I remember he had a huge bunch of keys attached to his belt and he'd jump up and down when he got excited, and the keys would jingle.  The day we talked about the Holocaust, he sent around 8x10 pictures of the camps.  I remember feeling reverent, for lack of a better word, and tears were flowing, and suddenly a boy asked if I had a strong stomach and thrust a picture in my face.  I think I got hysterical, I remember being very, very upset that he would take things so lightly.  Mr. G sent me a note later that day that said something to the effect that if there were more people in the world like me, the Holocaust would never have happened.  That has stuck with me for the past twenty-plus years, and has affected how I take sides on a lot of issues.

Having married a descendant of Romanian Jewish immigrants, the idea of the Holocaust strikes even closer to home.  My husband and I took a trip to Washington D.C. last summer and spent some time at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.  It was an emotionally draining experience, but I'm glad we went.  Having read so much about this horrific period of history, I was better prepared for the feelings I had there than my husband was.  It was a bit of a shock to him.  There was a sweetness at the end of the tour as you watched a looping video of survivors.  One particularly poignant story was of a young woman in a camp that was being liberated by Americans.  One of the only prisoners able to stand, she watched as the soldiers entered the camp.  A soldier came up to her and she said simply, "We're Jewish."  He could hardly respond for the emotion that came over him, then he said that he was, too.  They later married.

My senior paper in college was "A Community at Work:  Activities of the Salt Lake Jewish Community During World War II".  Written from a very Gentile perspective, I had fully intended to give a copy to Rabbi Wenger in Salt Lake City, Utah, but I was newly married that semester, pregnant with morning sickness, and I was so worried that having written it as a non-Jew, and knowing I didn't give my all in writing the paper, I've been ashamed to give it to them.  I need to just do it, with profuse apologies for its many flaws, maybe it will have some meaning for their community.

I think that I have always been drawn to this part of history because of the suffering, but also because of the amazing examples of courage and compassion that have come out of such a dark time.  In a time when people were dehumanized and treated as trash, a time when people could have just broken and given up, where the monsters from nightmares took the form of man, there were people who survived and who lived and those that didn't make it through have left echoes and tangible emptiness - and I believe it's important for us to remember and to try to give them a voice.  We haven't jumped The Pond, yet, so I don't know which of our ancestors' relatives were lost during the Holocaust, but I'm not naive enough to assume that a vast amount of those that stayed behind in Romania and Russia and Hungary weren't lost.  I honor them and all of those who fell victim to hatred.

*Follow-up note:  After writing this post, I decided to scan in my old senior paper from college and send it to Rabbi Emeritus Frederick Wenger of Congregation Kol Ami in Salt Lake City, with a big apology for waiting 15 years, and for everything the paper lacks.  The subject deserved a scholar, not a pregnant senior with morning sickness just trying to make it to graduation.  Here's a link to the paper, for better or worse, if anyone's interested:

A Community at Work: Activities of the Salt Lake Jewish Community During World War II

Amanuensis Monday - Will of John Duncan

"I, John Duncan of Moundsville in Marshall County West Va make this my last will revoking all others i give devise bequeath my estate and property real and personal as follows that is to say:
1st i direct that that my real estate be sold to the best advantage my personal ? all other expenses and lawfull debts be paid.
2nd After paying all claims i direct that my Children and grandchildren hereafter named be paid the sum specified to wit: George Duncan, my son, twenty dollars, Jane Whitlatch my daughter four dollars, Emeline Myers, my daughter, four dollars, Jackson Whitlatch (grandson) one dollar, Albert Duncan (grandson) one dollar, Harry Duncan (grandson) one dollar, Oney Duncan (granddaughter) one dollar, Lila E Hartsell, my Daughter who has been a faithfull and good daughter in keeping house and caring for me is to have the remainder of the money devised from the sale of my real estate, with all my personal property, Household and kitchen furnishings.
I appoint my daughter Lila E. Hartsell of Moundsville, West Va my executrix without ? of this my will.
In witness whereof i have signed and sealed published and declared this instrument as my last will at Moundsville West Va, on this 23 day of June 1906, John Duncan (his mark)
Attest:  S. F. Earliwine, George Dorsey

The said John Duncan at Moundsville West Va on June 23rd 1906 signed and sealed this instrument and published and declared the same as, and for his last will.  And we at his request and in his presence and in the presence of each other have hereunto written our names as subscribing witnesses.
S. F Earliwine
George Dorsey

Office of the Clerk of the County Court of Marshal County West Virginia
August 29 1906
A paper, writing bearing date June 23 1906 and purporting to be the last will and testament of John Duncan, deceased, this day fully proved before me on the oaths of S. F. Earliwine and George Dorsey the two subscribing attesting witnesses thereto, and is admitted to probate and ordered to be recorded as the true last will and testament of the said John Duncan, deceased.  Teste: J C Chase, Clerk."

Will Book Vol 4, Marshall Co, WV, p. 360, Family History Library, 35 N West Temple Street, Salt Lake City, Utah 84150  USA, FHL #0853789.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Sunday's Obituary - Aged Lady Dead

"Aged Lady Dead"

Mrs. Mary Duncan, aged 82 years, died of paralysis at her home in the east end Tuesday morning.  Funeral at 2 o’clock Thursday afternoon.  Interment at Mt. Rose cemetery.
(Moundsville Daily Echo, 29 March 1905)."

This "aged lady" is my great-great-great grandmother, Mary, married to John Duncan, mother of Emeline Duncan Myers.  She's a bit of an enigma, and with Pennsylvania being the black hole of records (at least where my ancestors lived), I wonder if I'll ever solve her mysteries.

Here's what I know:

1850 Census - Aleppo, Greene, Pennsylvania - Mary is married to John "Dunkan", she is 26, he is 21, they have two children listed with them:  William, age 4, and Lucinda, age 2.  All were born in Pennsylvania, and the next family listed is Andrew and Easther Myers, whose son, Andrew, will eventually marry John and Mary's daughter Emeline (not born yet).  John is a farmer.

1860 Census - Aleppo, Greene, Pennsylvania - Mary and John are listed as age 41 and 40, respectively.  William H., 17, Lucinda, 12, Isaac, 5, Rebecca J., 4, Emeline, 2, are the children listed with them.  All are born in Pennsylvania, except Emeline, who is listed born in Virginia.  Still living near the Myers family.  John is a farm laborer.

1870 Census - Springhill, Greene, Pennsylvania - Mary is 47, John is 41.  Isaac is 17, Rebecca is 14, Emaline is 12, George is 7, Mary Anne is 3, and Delila is 2.  All born in Pennsylvania.  John is a laborer.

1880 Census - Aleppo, Greene, Pennsylvania - Mary "Dunkins" is 44 (truly, an ageless woman!), John is 41, Mary Anne is 14, Delila J. is 12.  John is again a farmer, all born in Pennsylvania.

1900 Census - Moundsville, Marshall, West Virginia -  Mary is 77, born May 1823.  John is 69, born Mar 1831.  They've been married 45 years, she says she's born 5 children, 3 of which are still living.  Daughter Isabella is 31, born Jan 1869 in West Virginia.  I believe this is either Mary Anne or Delila, it fits Delila's birth date better.  John owns the home free from mortgage.

In John's pension papers, it appears that they moved to Balls, Marshall, West Virginia in 1890, and were in Moundsville by 1891. There is no mention of Mary or the children in any of the pension papers in my possession.  

Mary died 28 Mar 1905 in Moundsville, West Virginia. 

Obviously the census is not the source of all wisdom and truth, so I take the age fluctuations with a grain of salt.  I was thrown off by the "5 children, 3 living" marks because I count 8, maybe 9, and I know for sure that 4 were still living.  William and Isaac had died by 1900, but Rebecca, Emaline, George, Delila, and Isabella (who may be Delila) were still living.  I don't know what happened to Lucinda, and there is a Mary Buble Duncan buried next to John and Mary in the Mount Rose Cemetery in Moundsville, with no dates on her headstone.

George's middle name is McClelland, and I've wondered if that's Mary's maiden name.  I also wondered if she was perhaps married previously, and if William and Lucinda are from a previous marriage, because John would have been 17 when William was born.  Not impossible, but an interesting switch in the typical marriages where the girl is younger.  There's a discrepancy in John's birth year - it's either 1827 or 1831, and if it's 1831, he would have actually been 15 when William was born.  Highly unlikely.  And a little creepy. 

But, since they lived one mile from the border of West Virginia, in rural Pennsylvania, it's likely that I may never find answers to these questions.