Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday Thomas Thorn

This was a gift from FindaGrave Old Bwana.
I would like to quote him here.  It is something that should be considered.
"I strongly suggest that old, worn grave markers be replaced every 100 years, or more often if needed. So many families just let them go and the graves of ancestors become lost forever. 
Please think about this. 
Thank you!!!"

Monday, March 29, 2010

Report on Our Open House

The Conroe Family History Center Open House on Saturday was an exceptional day.  
We had a a great time.
There were many visitors and many people who are interested in how to start their genealogy as well as many who were looking to get through brick walls.

It was marvelous that we had someone for every need. There were constant discussions on how to and where to find information.

Some who said all their work was finished took the time to check their pedigrees.


The scrap booking expert was able to give many ideas.
 I love the way she made a special book for each of her grandparents.

The Director of the FHC was busy directing and taking pictures.  Ah ha I caught her.

Our guests the Montgomery County Library's  Genealogy Department Heads were a wonderful asset.  

We had a Family Search Indexing Arbitrator talk about how to give of your time to aid in opening more records to the public for free.

The speakers were exceptional.   They took time with each person who asked for their help.

Robert Vann shared a marvelous amount of information on how to track down the truth of "family rumors of Native American ancestry".

He also did some storytelling for the younger crowd.

Allen Peterson who published in the NGS Quarterly, helped many in understanding documentation and sourcing.

Louis Helleman (standing on the right)assisted many of our African American researchers in where to look and overcoming seeming brick walls because of Slavery.  He is very knowledgeable about resources.

We greatly appreciated all who helped and those who came to our "party", and those who provided the scrumptious snacks.

We will do it again.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Sentimental Sunday The Hero and Hollywood Stars

I think by now you are beginning to understand the Hero was an understanding tolerant man.  He had to be married to me.  ; )

When I say Hollywood Stars, I am figuratively speaking.  My father liked to box, when he was in the service he was on the army boxing team.  I learned to box, yes a girl, (I was an only child) from my dad.  As a result, one of the fun things I would do with the Hero when we first got married was challenge him to spar with me.  He would always get a giggle out of my dancing around him to get him to box. 
This one time, we were in the front yard and I was dancing and throwing fun punches at him, when all of a sudden as he was looking at my feet, my fist hit him directly in the nose.  Oh MY! He saw Hollywood Stars for a minute.  I was laughing (partly from nervousness, I didn't want to hurt him and partly from the look on his face), when I realized what I had done.  Then when he "came to", he was laughing, but said I was going to get it.  Imagine the neighbors' thoughts as they saw the young couple running up and down the block, laughing and threatening each other.  When he finally caught me, we were laughing so hard all we could do was sit and look at each other. 
He decided it was a new story he had to tell. Thus it became, 'my wife was taught to box by her father, she has the funniest foot work........'
He knew how to make the most out of any incident.  Life was good.

Monday, March 22, 2010


In the spring time, my thoughts turn to trees.  I love trees. When they first start blooming, I am spell bound at the wonderful contrast of colors.

My father loved trees too and would try to capture the personality of trees in sketches.  He was unlearned as far and instruction in drawing goes, but he would really try.  Unfortunately, I only have pictures of his works, because my mother gave away all his pictures to my cousins.  An interesting note was his favorite time to draw a tree was after it had dropped it's leaves, when you could best see it's twists and turns. The picture in the upper left had corner, that you can barely see was typical of his drawings. (If you click on the picture it will be larger for viewing)

I worked for a nursery and the emphasis there was to have straight and true trunks.
I had a hard time, for I love crooked trees and trees that have survived the storms that have battered it.  They have character and form.  They are a testimony that one can survive and fulfill the full measure of your being even with adversity.

This is how I view much of family history.  The tree sometimes looks perfect with all the blanks filled in on paper, but when you delve into the lives of the names, you are filled with awe at the courage, faith, strength, and character you find there.  They had to finish without a body part sometimes like my father and grandfather, or lift up their hands to find a better place to look forward to like the Hero's uncle who struggled with Lou Gehrig's disease, or persevere in spite of  overwhelming odds to raise children without a husband like my grandmother did with 8 children.  Knowing their stories, helps when looking at the challenges in life.  Some times you think, how did they do that.  Other times, it is, I can't possibly have anything to complain about, they had it much worse.  Life is wonderful, full of twists and turns that fills us with character, much like my wonderful trees.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Sentimental Sunday The Hero and the Bully

There was one thing the Hero did not take kindly to and that was when someone would bully others.  He frequently would tell a story of taking the part of the underdog.  I think that was why he loved Popeye.  He was never afraid to tell a story even if he did not win the fight.

When he was in Junior High School, they would occasionally walk  home and stop by the ice cream store.  There was apparently one young man that delighted in picking on the younger boys.  After watching this going on for a while, the Hero decided that he had to do something to stop it.  

The story in his words:  "I was hopping mad that this guy would come up and take the ice cream from the younger boys and continually pick on them.  I decided that I was going to do something about it. 
One day I heard him coming up a picking on the younger boys.  I had just bought my ice cream cone.  I walked up to him and said 'pick on someone your own size.  He got in my face and said "yeah, what are you going to do about it shrimp?"  I looked at him and before he could do anything, I smashed my ice cream cone on his face.  Right smack dab in the middle of his fore head.  The look on his face was so funny, I started laughing.  I had to run, because I knew he would kill me and I couldn't stop laughing."

I so wish I had a picture of that.  Wouldn't the look on the bully's face when he realized someone had just hit him in the head with a drippy ice cream cone have been priceless!. 

The Hero never told if it stopped the bullying, but he said the other boys took heart in the action of someone standing up for them.  A pattern he would continue to do through the years. 

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Family History Center Open House Conroe TX

You  are invited to come to our community event on March 27 at the Family History Center on 1516 Wilson Road, Conroe, TX  .  We are excited about the speakers and the available resources that have come to our center. The Montgomery County Library's Genealogical Department will be attending to share information here too.
At the end of the blog is a biography for each speaker and the title for their topic is given.

                  COME DISCOVER WHO YOU ARE


            Saturday March 27 10:00 – 2:00 pm

            Guest Speakers

             Robert Vann  
Class:  10:30 - 11:15 in Relief Society Room

       "Is There an Indian in My Genealogical Cupboard?"

Robert Vann is a Cherokee Elder, author, storyteller, actor and teacher. He was born in 1941, in Little Rock, Arkansas and grew up in Hot Springs, AR.  He served in the U.S. Air Force for 12 years, reaching the rank of Captain.

Educational Background
Associate of Arts – Cisco, Jr. College, Cisco, TX
Bachelor of Science – Education – North Texas State University.
Master of Education – Tarleton State University, Stephenville, TX
Master of Arts, History – Tarleton State University, Stephenville, TX
Post graduate studies/Vocational Teaching Certification – Texas A & M University, College Station, TX
Currently enrolled in M.A. Political Science program –

Memberships and Honors
Association of Texas Professional Educators
Woodcraft Circle of Native Authors and Storytellers
Tejas Storytelling Association
Go La Nv Storytelling Guild
Huntsville, TX Public Library Board, Past President
Walker County Genealogical Society, Past President
Star Teacher of Mississippi
Teacher of the Year, Windham School District
Junior Officer of the Quarter, U.S. Air Force, European, Africa and Middle East Communications Region
Member Phi Alpha Theta, Pi Sigma Alpha, National Blue Key, Arnold Air Society. Walker County C.A.S.A. Board of Directors

                    Allen Peterson
Class:  11:45 - 12:30 in Relief Society Room

                "Using Indirect Evidence to Locate Ancestors"     
Allen Peterson is a professional genealogical researcher and writer. He became licensed in English genealogy in 2007 through the Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG) in Washington, D.C. His specialties include 16th and 17th century document transcription and research. 
He has done extensive research in Lancashire, Yorkshire, Derbyshire, Cambridgeshire, Norfolk, Lincolnshire, Somerset, Wiltshire, Hampshire, and Monmouthshire. He has also performed research in Texas, North Carolina, Georgia, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Utah, and Wyoming in the United States; and the Republic of South Africa and Morro Velho, Brazil. His English family comes from Lancashire, Yorkshire, and Derbyshire Counties; his Danish family comes from Alborg, Skanderborg, and the Isle of Fyn. 
He has been the director of the Katy Texas Family Center in Katy, Texas for over eleven years and has been interested in genealogy his entire life. Allen holds a BS and an MS degree in geology from Brigham Young University and is currently employed as a petroleum geologist with Apache Corporation in Houston, Texas. He has worked as a geologist in the oil business for nearly thirty-five years. Allen is married to Patrice Casebolt, and they have four children and seven grandchildren.

                Louis T. Hellewell
Class:  1:00 - 1:45 in Relief Society Room

      "Searching Out Our Ancestors and How We Are All Related"

Louis T. Hellewell grew up in Green River, Wyoming and graduated from Brigham Young University in 1971 with a degree in commercial art and photography. He owned a dairy farm for several years in Mississippi, creating one of the best farms in the state. He received several awards, including National Farmer of the Year and Conservation Farmer of the Year as a result of his inventions. Louis has lived in the Houston area for 25 years and currently manages a branch of a company headquartered in Chicago, which supplies the electronics industry.
He and his wife, Kathy, have been married for 39 years. They have four children and seven grandchildren.
Louis began his own family history research many years ago when he was still farming. His ancestors are from Sweden, England, and Scotland. With patience and dedication, he learned to read Swedish and Gallic as well as he does English. As a result, he has been able to trace his ancestry back to the year 1500 and identify over 12,000 names. The total number of names he's located on both sides of his family tree is now 130,585. 
Louis has 14 years of experience in assisting others in learning more about their family history through the resources made available by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He has been a family history librarian for many years, He spoke several times at the Houston Genealogical Society. He and his wife serve as the directors of the Church's Family History Center in Klein/Cypress, TX. Currently he travels extensively to teach African American Family History.          

Tombstone Tuesday The Other Side of the Pathway

As you notice, I have a street sign on my side board.  Langley/Ellsworth.  I tend to write more on my husband's side of the path than mine. This is the grave marker of my great grandfather.  His name was Benedict, but he always went by BD or Benny Dick.  Must have been the association with Benedict Arnold that he didn't like.  What ever he just never used his proper name.  His life was interesting and I have been finding out more about the customs around him and his times.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Sentimental Sunday, The Hero and The Snake

This post is not for the faint hearted or snake lovers.  It is a funny post about the Hero coping with a paranoid wife and a surprise visitor.

We were trying to get down the road to go to grandmother's house which was and hour and a half a way.  Knowing that, everyone was told to go to the bathroom before they got in the car.  The last one of course, was the Hero. 
I must digress here and explain we had moved into our house as a shell and were finishing it slowly.  Our downstairs bathroom was just roughed in.  The sheetrock was not completely installed.  There was an area in the back of the toilet that had to be finished.  There was no solid door; we had a folding door. That being said, you will understand the rest of the story.
I was seat belting children in and heard a yell from the house.  I ran in and found the Hero with his pants at his ankles in the kitchen trying to get up.  This will be in his words again:  
When he saw me he said, "Go get me the BB gun!" 
' What?, Why?' I said.  
He said, "I was on the toilet and looked down and saw a long licking tongue coming at my leg.  I yelled and jumped for the door.  The snake just went back in the wall! Get me the BB gun."
I have to say, I was not cooperative.  I was like the woman in the BC cartoon.  A snake would look like this after I saw it.

I came back with an axe.
The Hero said, "Woman! what are you doing? Where is the gun!"
I said, ' Well, you could cut it out and chop off it's head.'
"Get me the BB gun!"  [at this point the snake was swaying half way out of the wall.  I was becoming excited. I gave in and got the BB gun.]  Toink, went the gun, a BB gun does not go bang, and the snake went limp.  He had shot it directly in the head.
I was so relieved, but was not sure a BB could kill a snake and I didn't want to have him come back in the house, so I said, "put him on the drive way and I will run over him." 
He laughed about this for years to come. "Come see my wife the dead snake slaughterer. I can't believe she wanted me to axe my wall to get the snake."
Don't ask me what kind of snake it was, it was in my house and not invited.
You have to have some humor when living in the country with unwanted guests, and a never ending fix it up house.  He was a good man.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Sharing Memories Week 15 Grandfathers

Olive Tree Genealogy gave the prompt on the 7th to talk about our grandfathers.  I border more on lamenting that I never knew them.  Of course, my father lamented his father died while he was in Europe during WWII and my mother lamented her father died when she was two and thus she grew up without a father.
I will start with my paternal line.
My Grandfather William Richard Langley was born in Missouri in 1879.  He was a farmer and blacksmith and part time evangelist leaning towards the Church of Christ, but never committing to an organized church.  He apparently had a sense of humor and earned the complete adoring love of all his children.  I have never heard a disparaging word spoken of him.  I wish I had known him, he looked like so much fun to know, and I believe my grandmother might have seen life with more humor had he lived.     

My maternal grandfather was much more adventurous.  I will later write in detail about different aspects of his life.  As a young man, he was a soldier, a cowboy, a straw broom salesman, an entrepreneur who brought the first generator to a small town.  He served at home during WWI.  Soon after the war, he was diagnosed with cancer of the bone, he lost his left lower leg, but the cancer continued and he died young at 51 years of age.     


Thursday, March 11, 2010

Wearin' O' The Green and St Patrick's Day Tradition

St Patrick's Day has not been a religious holiday for my family.  Rather, I would say it has been one of fun.  "The Wearing of the Green" had a totally mischievous meaning  for our household.
As I grew up, it was a challenge be in green and not be greeted with a pinch on the morning of March 17th.  I have searched the web and can not find a true symbol of why one is pinched.  The only reason I found given is that it started in America as a manner of teasing others.  [Some how leprechauns were incorporated into this in the 1700's.  I wonder about the date given because I just don't think in the 1700's there was a lot of worry about wearing green or finding a shamrock in March in the thirteen colonies.]  When I married, the tradition continued.  Sometimes with consequences when I got over zealous and took advantage of the Hero.  Has anyone heard of being tickled to death after being chased around the house.  Grave consequences.

I did develop a great appreciation for St Patrick as I studied about him while growing up.  I really do not like snakes.  I have a phobia of snakes.  To think that there was even a possibility that he actually drove the snakes from Ireland makes me love him.  The National Geographic wants to say that it is just because of  Ireland being an island.  I don't know, there are snakes on many islands in the world.  I think St Patrick did a miracle for the island.  Just my thought.

I know that St Patrick himself did not start out as native born of Ireland, but he developed a deep love of the people and island.  I have empathy with this. I have a little Irish heritage through the Magill Family, but I have a huge love of the culture, the people and their ability to persevere in the face of adversity and to have fun with legends and myths.  I appreciate the love that those who immigrated to America kept for their heritage, although they did appear to be clannish in their thoughts. 

We continue to have fun with St Patrick's day in our family and I have made a collage of the different clothing through the years we have worn to commemorate the holiday.

Treasure Chest Thursday Descendant Gifts

I have expressed before and will always say that sharing of genealogical data and pictures is important.  I love it when I know that if my house burns there is someone else with my precious possessions. That all will not be lost.
And if something happens to me the information will not be lost to generations to come.
I had the blessings of receiving copies of pictures of George Vance and his wife Susan Harper Vance that was taken when they got married.  Not a wedding picture, but one of each at that time in their life.
The owner does not know who did the colorization of pictures, but it did not alter the appearance.  Love it that we now have these pictures.  Thank you to a distant cousin that was thoughtful enough to share when she found my family tree on Ancestry.com.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Wordless Wednesday Modern Day Garden Warrior

You might wonder why I have this on my family history blog.  This is my son.  The nursery he is working in was mine when I managed Hummingbird Gardens.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Sentimental Sunday Bandit Redeemed

The Hero adored Bandit even with his short comings.  He was always worried something might happen to him, so when a rancher near by came asked if he would allow Bandit to come visit and "take care" of her female Blue Heeler, it was okay with the Hero.
It was funny watching the Hero and son get Bandit ready for a 'lady friend'.  Since Bandit was such a stink dog, (you remember I told you his favorite activity was to find smelly stuff to roll in), he was washed and combed.  At last they loaded him up in the pick up and off they went.

The rest will be the Hero's story:
"We arrived at the ranch and the owner said 'before he stays, I would like to see if he knows any tricks'.  I was puzzled, but said  'Well, he will fetch a stick, sit, shake hands, but I never was one to teach him tricks.'  She said, 'That is okay, how about herding?'  I thought, oh great, but said, 'he's only had one cow and her calf to herd.'  She said, 'Let's watch him, I have some new calves in a near by pen.' My heart sunk, I was remembering the times Bandit 'herded' right over me, but he was just cavorting around with his new girlfriend,  so I thought I will give him a chance.  We walked down the path to a small fenced field and there were about 15 calves.  Woo, I thought, this may be Bandit's Waterloo.  I looked at him, said a silent prayer, and said 'sic em  Bandit, bring them here', and pointed at the calves.  Off he went at a dead run for the calves.  He circled them, when one would try and break out of the circle he would run bite it's nose, put it back in and circle them again, barking as he went, and moving them up towards us. The ranch owner was clapping and saying how wonderful he was.  I thought, you sucker, you knew all along how to do this, and yet tried to kill me.  Then I laughed, it was the new girl friend!.  He was showing off for her!  I should have gotten a female a long time ago!

When the Hero came home, he and our son were whooping and hollering in glee.  They vied with one another to tell the story of how Bandit had proven he was a real cow herding dog.  Of course, said they, it might have been the girlfriend's influence.

Just goes to show you, a good woman can make a man.  LOL ;)

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday Wrong Family

I had asked for a picture to be taken of what I believed to be my ancestor on Find a Grave.  Interestingly, it turned out that there were different names on each side of the grave stone. 
1. Patrick O'Brien
2. Julia O'Brien Dooley
3. J J McElligott & Catherine McElligott
4. W H O'Brien

I went to Ancestry and discovered that this was Patrick's wife who remarried just before 1870 and Patrick's two children.

In 1860 Geneva, Kane Co., IL she is a widow. Notice the misspelling of O'Brien.
Name                 Age
Julia Obrine        38
William Obrine     9
James Obrine       8
John Obrine         6
Briget Obrine       2

I found it interesting that Briget is Katherine in the 1870 Blackberry, Kane Co, IL census

Michael Dooley      53
Julia Dooley     45
William Obrien     19
James Obrien     17
John Obrien     16
Katherine M Obrien     14
It is definitely not my family but I offered the information on Find a Grave and hopefully it will help someone who might be searching for this family.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Sharing Memories Week 14 Grandmothers

I have been joining The Olive Tree Genealogy Blog  (clicking on this will take you to her memory)in the Sharing Memories on my personal blog because they were associated with my personal memories of myself.  This prompt was to share memories of our grandmothers, so I thought this blog would be a better place for my participation. 

My Grandmothers were alike but different.  Interesting you say.

My mother's mother talked some about her youth, and she was always engaged in doing something.  She was not a sit still person.   I have looked at some newspaper clippings of her activities as a community hostess for Eastern Star meetings, Methodist Church Women's meetings, etc.  She was actively engaged.  I will give you some background on her. 
Mathilda Roberts Whitson is on the right.
If you click on the picture you can view it in a larger size.
She was born in Elk Falls, Kansas.  She was the ninth of 11 children.  They moved to Oklahoma after some very hard winters in Kansas.  When her father obtained land in Oklahoma, they lived in a tent near an Indian reservation.  One of her favorite story to tell, was of her sister (who is shown with her above) and her going down to a near by village.  The Indian women were cooking and doing other chores.  They ventured near one tepee, and the woman smiled at them and while stirring the pot, gestured for them to get some bowls for food.  Then she said, as they started to dip the spoon in," hmmm, dig deep, puppy in the bottom".  My grandmother would give a hearty laugh when she told this.  It was almost always when we were stirring a pot of stew.  
She loved sports.  I don't remember days associated, but if there were a bowling league on TV or baseball game (she loved the Yankees) she was there watching it.  Interestingly she had arthritis all her life.

She was a good cook.  Her rolls were to die for.  I think that the recipe book her recipe was written in was ruined when in storage.  My favorite cooking memory was of making a spice cake with her.  We did it together, and some how when we took it out, it looked like a ski slope.  I was distressed.  She laughed and said, 'failed cakes taste the best' and proceeded to show me how good it tasted.  That stuck with me to share when my grandchildren have been distressed when a food did not come out as they planned.  
Her other talent was sewing.  She pieced quilt tops, and when she was young, quilted them also.  When I was 15, she gave me two quilts.  One for then, and one for when I would get married.  The admonition was:  I was to use them, not put them up in a box.  I used them, and now I am salvaging pieces to make pillows for my children to have a piece of their great grandmother's handy work.

She died when I was 16.  She was a mother of 13 and raised 2 grandchildren a widow when my mom was 2.  That subject will be for other posts.

Lenorah Gildon Langley with youngest daughter Lillie
My dad's mother was around a lot more than my mom's mother.  My dad kept trying to take the roll as care giver of her by purchasing homes for her live in.  We ended up having 4 rent houses near ours, because she would live in one for a while, then go off to another child's home.  I had fun while she was there.
She was a quiet person.  She didn't talk about her youth or family at all. [ I did know her mother.  She lived with my grandmother until I was 5.  I remember she always had nickels  in a pocket book and gave one to a great-grandchild when thy came to visit.]
My grandmother would sit daily and read the scriptures.  She had a devotional calender every year that she would mark off the scriptures as she read them.
She would take me to church with her.  My dad said his father was a Church of Christ evangelist. 
Her favorite thing to do was to make fried bread and jam for me when I got home from school.  I can still remember the great taste.
She loved sewing.  She would embroidery, piece, and crochet.  I learned my love of sewing creativity from her.
If you gave her what she considered a treasure, the gift went into a trunk.  When she died, my aunt  gave some pillow cases my grandmother had put back in the trunk for when I got married.  She died two years before I married.  I was to have been given the trunk, but lightening burned the barn it was stored in at my aunt's farm.
They were two similar women in that they loved creating and cooking, but different in that one was out going and the other was not.  I was blessed to get to know each.