Sunday, October 30, 2011

Sentimental Sunday... The Hero Had a Friend

Tonight instead of writing a personal story about the Hero, I am going to use something that recently happened to illustrate how others can verify stories told by a family member.
The Hero's twin brother is active in the alumni of their High School.  He was contacted by the developer of a website for their class.  When looking at it he was surprised that his brother was not listed among the deceased.  He contacted them.  They said if he would write an obit, they would put it on the site, and oh, by the way, we need a picture.  He contacted me for the picture, and used the obit written for the newspaper to compose his own eulogy for the Hero.
This last Thursday, he was at the Halloween party at my mother-in-law's assisted living home. I told him I couldn't the page online.  He assured me it was there and, oh, by the way, one of the Hero's old friends who was into conspiracy theories with him in High School, wrote on the page saying he was sorry to have missed the Hero.  I went back to email he had sent me, and was able to find it as well as the comment. Up to this time the only thing any of us knew about the Hero's High School days was what he had told us.  The man verified that the Hero was indeed someone who cared about his country as early as 15 years of age.  I am going to contact this person to see if he will write any stories about his and the Hero's journey in fighting for America and Freedom.
The Hero's twin brother called it conspiracy theories, I have seen what is happening and read books regarding the warnings given about Communism taking over America without a shot.  Nope, would not call it conspiracy theories, just pretty much what was happening.
The Web page for the Hero: http://www.westburyhshouston.com/class_profile.cfm?member_id=2992277
Hope this tells you to never quit looking for those who knew your family member before you knew them. 


Sunday, October 23, 2011

Sentimental Sunday The Hero Went to His 20th HS Reunion

In 1984, the Hero decided we needed to go to his High School Class's 20th Reunion.  He had graduated from  Westbury High School in Houston, Texas. His class was one of the first to attend, as it was opened in 1961.  He loved his High School and there are many stories to be told from this time period.  He kept in touch with most of his friends, and lamented the loss of some who died in the Vietnam War.



When we arrived, his twin brother and his wife were already there.  We worked our way over to sit near them. It was an interesting crowd.  They were from diverse walks of life and some well traveled.  I enjoyed listening to them renewing acquaintances. Then a (hmmm, what do I call her) young blond woman came and threw her arms around the Hero and said "You made me cry."  Needless to say, it was a bit startling.  He looked at her puzzled and said, "I did? Sorry, I don't want to be rude, but I can't remember your name."  She laughed and said, "It is okay, I'm ... I was a year behind you and had a terrible crush on you.  (someone's name) and I decided to crash the party and see our old friends."  He smiled. At that time, the Hero's brother came back to the table and positioned himself in between them, and said "Hi, I don't remember you." and steered the conversation away from the Hero.  As soon as she left, he turned to the Hero and said "I can't believe she was making a play for you in front of your wife!"  
Later the Hero and I laughed that his brother had been observing from a far and felt the need to come and protect his brother from a "huzzy".  (Their words not mine, I was staying out of it...a bit overwhelmed.)
It made the Hero feel good on both accounts.  He found out that a girl had a secret crush on him and had cried because he didn't notice.  He wouldn't have done it on purpose.  However, the male ego loved the boost.
Also, it made him feel good that his brother cared enough to come and "protect" him, even though he was the oldest.
For years after that, if I wanted to tease him, I would look at him with big eyes and say "You made me cry."  He would look at me and a slow smile would cross his face. He would wink and say,  "I love you."
I miss that smile.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Open Thread Thursday, The Genealogy Experience

I have thought about this all day.  First, I had read Lynn's post at The Armchair Genealogist about "The moment you knew...  Then I read Thomas's post at Open Thread Thursday, and decided I would give the topic a whirl.
My reason for collecting family stories.
I was enjoying the puzzle experience of finding the pieces as I started researching my family in the 80's.  I loved solving the mystery.  It was exciting to fill in the blanks as my aunts and cousins shared family information with me.  
Then one day I looked at my surnames list, and realized it had gone beyond names, I felt a connection with those names.  I knew where they had come from, where they lived, what they did, and who their children were.  Now it was turning into, why did they do this? What was it that drew them from other countries or across the US from one state to another state.  The story within the story is what I am wanting to achieve. 
I think eventually I would like to write a historical fiction about one or two of my ancestors as they seemed to have an interesting time, place, and connections.
I began to look at my research and discovered I was doing a terrible job of documentation, sourcing, and citing, not to mention keeping track of all my papers.  It was time to bring about a change. I attribute the becoming acutely aware to Geneabloggers community and twitter.  I became a FamilySearch missionary about 2 1/2 years ago.  I found myself thrown into first looking at the new.FamilySearch.org and the mandate to the LDS members to clean up their trees.  This brings a big sigh out of me, because there are so many things you can add a different opinion on but cannot change. I was brought to a great awareness of do it right the first time.  As the Ward Family History Consultant and I assisted the Family History Teacher in teaching that which had eluded me in the beginning. 
Realizing I was inadequate in formal education regarding genealogy, I enrolled in several online classes through ProGen, and now participating in a study group mentored by Valerie of  Family Cherished  and Toni of Tonia's Roots. What I am hoping to come away with is a mindset that will be more organized and focused than I have been, resulting in well documented and clear family history for me and any I will be helping. 
I love genealogy. I love my ancestors and the Hero's ancestors.  I crave to learn their stories. The bottom line is I want to be a better genealogist. Yes, pretty much that is me.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Sentimental Sunday: Hero Takes the Lead in Geneology

Who was the first in the family to begin searching for their ancestors? Why the Hero of course.

He followed the correct methods of starting instinctively. He first sat down and wrote what he knew, his birth and what were his parents and his grandparents names. Then he went to his grandmother and asked her questions about where, who, and what she knew about his grandfather. Next he visited with his mother and asked about her family. He quickly had his four generations sheet filled out.


Next he began collecting stories and history behind his family. But life pressed in and he began to lose momentum. He told me all he knew and quit actively researching himself, but when I would say I had need of his help, he would assist me. He continued to visit his grandmother and take our daughters so they would know her. When she died, he was distressed because his father decided he didn't need to attend the funeral, but to stay and watch over the company while the rest of the family attended. It wasn't surprising when he said he needed to visit and view his grandparents and great grandparents graves in East Texas.
He had a great love and testimony of family. In fact, that was one reason I was chosen by him. He wanted a large family and wanted someone that believed in family too. I still work on his family for him and our children.  It is a need.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Sentimental Sunday ...The Hero and Fashion

Many of us have had the experience of arriving on a business trip and discovering we left one of our bags sitting on our desk, in the hall way, or in our car trunk not transferred to the other car.  Such was the dilemma the Hero found himself in when arriving in Louisiana on a business trip with the company's salesman.  He had left his bag in the trunk of his car.
Fashion wise, I would say the Hero was pretty much traditional in clothing, with a tendency leaning toward wanting to be elegant like David Niven with a smoking jacket.  (He smoked pipes when we were first married).  I have to say I was not prepared for the fashion the Hero came home with from his trip. 
 He and the salesman had gone out shopping.  The salesman had talked him in to some very faddish duds.  (It said a lot for the salesman's abilities of salesmanship.)  Let me describe them to you. First there was platform shoes, then brown bell bottom slacks, with a bright yellow tie, and dark blue shirt..  The salesman had apparently convinced him he looked really in style so he would seem up with the times to those they called on.  I really am not sure what he was thinking of, but I can tell you he did not wear the platform shoes or bell bottom pants once he got home.
In all honesty, I don't think I remember what happened to those clothes. The experience taught a good lesson.  When leaving on a business trip, the Hero always checked twice before leaving to make sure he had the things he needed.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Sentimental Sunday The Hero Was a Romantic Who Sang

Lately a song has been running through my head reminding me of a tender time with the Hero.  He was such a romantic. From the time we dated until he left this world, he sang to me with great love.

There were many mornings I would be awakened by the Hero leaning over me on his elbow, singing "My Cup Runneth Over With Love." I would open my eyes to his loving glance, and slow smile. I can tell you the Hero had a  nice bass voice for singing.  It was a wonderful way to be awakened, a song, a smile, a kiss.  What more could one ask for.
I hope you are having a wonderful Sunday. I am listening to our church's conference today.  I am reminded we would never miss the conferences when he was living.  We were uplifted and filled with love for the Savior when attending.  I have a testimony that marriage is a wonderful thing.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Organizing My Genealogy Files

I joined the study group organized by Valerie of Family Cherished. and Tonia of Tonia's Roots .  They are wonderful in encouragement and offering ideas.
The first order of the day was to read chapter 7 in A Researcher's Guide to American Genealogy, set goals for organizing and write a blog about it.
I have been working on my assignment, just had not blogged about it.  The group is a gregarious group and I have learned much from them.
My secret...I am a closet perfectionist.  I love organization, and I constantly purchase file folders, bins, file cabinets, and binders to do my organization in. I watch the blogs and twitter for new ideas.  Unfortunately, I find myself with stacks of organizational material to be utilized or "organized".
Therefore, my First goal must, of necessity, be to pick a method,Second it to USE IT, Third is to begin with one family.
I had heard of using OneNote as a organizational method reading Elyse's blog about it. I knew I had the software, and had used it for my FamilySearch mission to keep things in order.
With a little encouragement from Valerie, I set up my Genealogy Notebook on OneNote.

This is what my paper file looked like...
My pictures, which I will not fill you with the visual horror of the stacks in boxes, file folders, tubs, etc., are being organized by scan into folders on my external hard drive.

I am the guilty person who has a stack of 'backs of envelopes', scratch pads, multiple notes for different people on the same notebook page.
I am now sorting out the physical file folders one family at a time and am scanning information and adding it to the OneNote folders, and I love the feature of being able to 'print to the folder'  It saves when working on line, Copying and pasting or printing, scanning and sending  to folder.  I can print it out later for the hard copy file.
This is my hope for a better genealogy life, and I plan to stick to it this time instead of giving up because it is not happening perfectly.

If We Were a Tree In The Forest...

created by Footnote Maven
This is my entry for the 110th Edition of the Carnival of Genealogy. "What tree best represents your family’s history?"
The Quercus alba L or White Oak is a great match for my Langley Tree. The White oak grows throughout most of the Eastern United States. It is found from southwestern Maine and extreme southern Quebec, west to southern Ontario, central Michigan, to southeastern Minnesota; south to western Iowa, eastern Kansas,  Oklahoma, and Texas; east to northern Florida and Georgia. The tree is generally absent in the high Appalachians, in the Delta region of the lower Mississippi, and in the coastal areas of Texas and Louisiana.
The west slopes of the Appalachian Mountains and the Ohio and central Mississippi River Valleys have optimum conditions for white oak, but the largest trees have been found in Delaware and Maryland on the Eastern Shore.
My wonderful family is 100% US grown.  I know that once I get back to the early 1600's it will be different, but for now they go back to the late 1600's in the US. They are as the Oak tree.  Deep roots that thrive anywhere but in shallow soil.  The family profession was farmers and planters, not city folk at all.
The Oak is long lived. Many of our family members lived to be 90 to 100.  
The tree is characterized by a short trunk with a wide crown. It is the tree on our farm that has beautiful character developed from resilience from storms, adverse growing conditions, and time weathering.  Just as our family has developed as it moved from the east to the central area of the US.  
The Langleys came from North Carolina, to Kentucky, to Missouri and ended up in Oklahoma where I was born. This family is still growing on my genealogy tree making tangled and interesting branches.
The Carriers, Kemps, and Hankins came from Virginia to Tennessee, to Missouri and then to Oklahoma. They had loss of family members from wars, illness, and anger, but survived and thrived.
Just as the oak has a large crop of acorns in adverse times to continue, so did this family have a fine bumper crop of children. 
The Gildons and Sellicks came from Connecticut to Georgia, to Texas, and then to Oklahoma where I was born (oh I said that already).This family is an object of my second submission for DAR.  
The resemblance of this tree and my family is so close, that I think it is the perfect match.