Saturday, July 01, 2017

Why I Will Never, Ever Transfer That Findagrave Memorial To You


You don’t remember me, but not long after I started adding pictures and memorials to, using my trusty camera and the online records of the neighborhood cemetery, you found your relative’s memorial among the ones I added, and you decided you needed to "own" that memorial.

At first you were polite about it. On April 24 you wrote:

“I see you’re in my old neck of the woods. Thank you so much for what you do. My husband and I use [sic] to visit The Cemetery and clean graves, because I have many relatives buried there. I’ve worked on genealogy since the 70’s, but only recently joined Find A Grave. I see you have a memorial for my [relative] and if possible could you transfer that to me? Would also like to request the transfer of memorial for my [another relative]. Thank you again.”

Then a week later, May 1, you wrote:

“Just following up on a memorial request from last Tuesday, no hurry on it though. It was for my [relative]. I know he is not in the 4 generations, but I forgot to let you know that him and his wife did not have any children, so there are no closer relatives. Thank you again.”

Still perfectly fine.

However, at the time I received these emails, I was a busy mother of five young children, married to a sweet man who worked full time and coached our children’s sports after work almost every night, living in an apartment the size of a cardboard box, active in a very demanding and time-consuming religion, and – it cannot be overstated – completely overwhelmed by life. My occasional visits to the cemetery with two good friends were an escape, one that I loved because it also provided a service to other genealogists like me. I enjoyed it, and I certainly didn’t get into it to engage in drama with strangers over the Internet.

Busy as I was, I didn’t have time to constantly check this particular email address for requests like these, so imagine my surprise at receiving your last letter, sent on May 27:

"I've been going to The Cemetery since I was a little girl in the 60's, with my family. Many of us have been there to funerals and to clean, maintain the graves for all that time. In fact my husband and I have been there a couple of times this month to clean and photograph at least 10 headstones of my family. One of them was my [relative whose memorial I asked you to transfer to me]. His headstone was practically all covered up, but I guess you girls just hadn't gotten to it yet. Kept an eye out for you, but haven't seen you there. Did you make a trip to the Archives in Washington D.C. to look through microfilm to see when [this relative's] parents came from [their native country]? No. Did you make a trip to [native country] to the town he was born in? No. I don't recall you being in the kitchen listening to my Dad tell stories about his uncle [this relative] and others? Didn't think so. Did you work on the [surname] genealogy for 35 years? No. Not sure why you feel it necessary to hang onto a memorial of someone you're not even related to, unless it's a power or greed issue. You're certainly not in the direct line, 4 generation category. You'ld [sic] think by now you'ld [sic] understand what it would mean for family members to handle their own family memorials, instead of a complete stranger who doesn't know what to add. See you haven't added anything, but then you know him so well. I would appreciate it if you would please send me his memorial."

This being the age before smart phones, I read these emails in order from newest to oldest, so the May 27 email was the first one I read. As I read your earlier requests for this transfer, I decided that your going from zero to butthole in 60 seconds was not something I wanted to reward. I consulted with a friend, another Findagrave contributor, and she advised me to keep the memorials. After all, according to Findagrave policy, I have no obligation to transfer a memorial to you unless it fits under the "direct line, four generations" criteria. So I kept them.

After reading this latest, very polite email with your very polite request for the SAME memorial (don't screw with me - we both know how you really are), I looked at your Findagrave profile. You've turned off the ability for fellow Findagrave contributors to communicate with you via public messages - gee, go figure. Of the thousands of memorials you currently manage, less than one fourth of them were added by you personally. Not only do you like to prey on others' hard work, but you have a compulsion to "own" every single one of your relatives' Findagrave memorials - which, as you know, is not how Findagrave works. How many other contributors have you tried to menace with your bratty demanding emails, Verruca Salt? How many were like me, and said "HELL no"?

Sorry, honey, it's not happening.

Have a nice summer. :)

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

What are you trying to say??

It's been 18 months since I last posted? Well, I've gone longer.

This morning I learned that a distant cousin of my great grandmother Alice Johnson Keen was killed at Iwo Jima on 27 February 1945. A sergeant in the Marine Corps, he died of his wounds aboard the USS Barrow. That makes the event much more personal to me than it ever had been before. May God bless these brave young men who faced horrific fighting, bloodshed and loss. Freedom isn't free. Though most of them are gone now, their sacrifice will live on forever.

23 February 1945, Iwo Jima
Photo credit: Joe Rosenthal

On a much, much lighter note: on the blog sidebar, I have placed a countdown clock for the release of the 1950 census. Only six and a half more years! I'm excited to see my parents as little children with their families, and also for all the changes in this census - information that will or won't be included, as well as the changes in technology that will make its viewing possible. How much changed between the 1930 and 1940 census releases! This little thing called "The Internet" has improved things vastly (she said understatedly).

If anyone is still reading this, awesome, thanks. May your genealogy endeavors bear sweet and plentiful fruit. 

Saturday, March 29, 2014

My Burial List

Like most of my genealogical projects, I have no idea what propelled me to create a burial list; but I must say it's turned out to be quite handy.

I believe it stemmed from a desire to focus on my closest relatives - grandparents, aunts, uncles, first cousins - and work harder on filling in their missing bits of information, as opposed to finding (and becoming overwhelmed by) the "low-hanging fruit" philosophy under which I'd been operating.

By "low-hanging fruit" I mean, "Hey, look, a new leaf popped up on my Rootsweb family tree!" and several hours/days/years later, I was the new owner of several hundred more names, most of which were very, very distant relatives. Not a bad thing, but I've been on my genealogical quest since around 1989, and my PAF program is getting pretty full of very, very distant relatives. (Yes, I still use PAF - only judge me favorably.)

The burial list I generated using the "Custom" printing feature of PAF only includes those closest relatives. Fields include Names, Birthdates, Death Dates, Burial Places - I added Relationship in Word. Once I created the report and "printed to file," I began to organize the names by generations - first my grandparents, then great grandparents listed in order of their placement on my pedigree chart, then 2nd greats, and so on. Grandparents are in bold font, with their children listed underneath.

A typical entry looks like this:

Go on, give it a click
Why am I so concerned with the burial places of my close relatives? 

1) I love my ancestors. I like knowing where they are, their last physical presence here on Earth. I like seeing their headstones. I never knew these people but I feel closer to them when I can visit them, or at least look at their headstones via the wonderful volunteers at

2) If I know where someone is buried, the odds are good that I have a good amount of information about that person's life - at least from a genealogical research standpoint - from birth to death.

3) I like seeing where everyone ended up. Two people have a large family of children, the children marry and spread out or stay in the same county their entire lives. What were the dynamics that made all of that happen? Seriously, it's fascinating.

4) Having the list helped me zone in on who was "important". Obviously everyone is important, but neglecting my more difficult direct ancestral lines in favor of locating third cousin Harry's military history was a problem, and this has helped me solve it.

If you decide to create a burial list, or have some other method of keeping yourself focused in the midst of so many inherited or downloaded names, I hope you'll tell me about it. :) 

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Columbian Gleanings - 18 March 1943

From the Columbian newspaper, Vancouver, Washington

Allen Leroy Brown
Deanna Marie Berger
Services for Allen Leroy Brown, 20 months, and Deanna Marie Berger, 4, both of route 5, were held Thursday at 2 p.m. at Hamilton's chapel, with the Rev. Walter Givens and the Rev. G. W. Pettit officiating at the double ceremony. Interment was at Park Hill cemetery.

Archie Monroe Hearing
Services for Archie Monroe Hearing, 56, 1515 Harney, who died Tuesday at his home, will be Monday at 10 a.m. at Hamilton's chapel, with the Rev. Maurice G. Brock officiating, and interment at Park Hill.

Viola Quintane
Viola Quintane, four months, died Tuesday at a local hospital. She is survived by her parents, Mr. and Mrs. James Quintane, McLoughlin Heights, and five brothers and sisters: Jeannette, Selma, Rose, Betty and Billy. Services were graveside ceremonies Tuesday at 4 p.m. with Limber's in charge. The Rev. Stuart Goude officiated; interment was at Park Hill.

Alma Johnson
Alma Johnson, 40, 2115 Kauffman, died at her home Wednesday evening following one week of illness. Born in Finland she came to Minnesota when 18 years old, and to Hoquiam in 1927. She had lived in Vancouver one year, and was a member of the Apostolic Lutheran Church in Hockinson; and is survived by her widower, Gunnar, in Vancouver; and by four brothers and sisters. Funeral services will be Saturday at 2:30 p.m. at the Apostolic Lutheran Church in Hockinson, with interment in the Elim cemetery. The Vancouver funeral chapel is in charge of arrangements, and the Rev. John Sakrison will officiate.

We wish sincerely to thank friends for their kind expressions of sympathy and for the beautiful floral offerings in our recent bereavement in losing our dear brother, James A. Blair.
Mrs. Emma Litchfield,
Mrs. Sarah E. Bradley.

Messing Around With Stuff

Why hello there.

Though I've been absent from blogging, I've still been quite busily researching. And, in a sheerly geeky move, I used my genealogy computer program to make a list of my direct ancestors, aunts and uncles, and first cousins, with their birth and death dates and places of burials (or whatever info I have). I'm now organizing it into generations which is going to take forever, but I'll be durned if I won't know where all my people are currently "residing". I don't know why, but that's a thing with me.

Today I went to the library and messed around with newspaper archives on microfilm. My great grandparents moved to this area in the 1940s and lived here for the rest of their lives (mostly - my widowed great grandmother moved around a little). Their sons, my granduncles, both passed away here at young ages, and my great-great grandmother (great grandfather's mother) also lived here for a good long time. All of them are buried here. I decided to peek around and see if I could find their obituaries, which I did (along with my dad's birth announcement, yay).

Along with my family members' articles were obituaries and birth announcements for other families, so I've decided to type them up here and see if anyone could use them. And they'll be Google-able! Nifty!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Really Awesome Cousin Sooze

As much as I would like to think of myself as a genealogist extraordinaire (ha!), I am truly humbled when I read my cousin Susan's genealogy blog.

She is a master researcher. Not only does she find great, obscure, weird information about our ancestors, she reviews it deftly, creatively and charitably. In short, I love reading her stuff, and when she finds something terrible and upsetting, she frames it in the best possible way, always giving our ancestors the benefit of the doubt. Made of gold, this woman.

Her husband is my third cousin; our common ancestors are Thomas Merrill Johnson and Hattie Ellen Duggan. I haven't met her yet, but will be giving her a big squeeze when I do. I seriously can't thank her enough for all the great research she has done.

Here's to you, Sooze :)

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

"Bring Out Your Dead"

Can I just tell you that I love calling funeral homes, cemetery offices and county death record offices? 

Not once have I ever encountered anything other than a helpful, kind employee when I've made the effort to look up a number and get on the horn. 

One lady in South Carolina (SWEET accent) offered to go outside in the snow one January day and take a picture of my relative's headstone and email it to me.

Bless you, employees.  We geeks couldn't do it without you.

Now on to today's character - my great uncle Burt Damon Bathrick*.  Never married as far as I can see, Burt lived what must have been a colorful life.  Born in 1863 in upstate New York to Lysander and Phoebe (who died when he was seven years old), the youngest child by fifteen years - Burt made his way west with his father and landed in Great Falls, Montana.  (Lysander ended up in Wyoming.)

I'm trying not to mix him up with a Bert Bathrick, who was born five years earlier and died in 1923. 

My uncle Burt held a variety of jobs, from railway laborer to beer hall employee to novelty salesman.  Just guessing from the occupations he chose, he is an adventurous, hardworking, gregarious, people-loving soul, who loved his adopted city but wasn't much for sticking around in the same job.  He never owned a home, always lived at boarding houses, which to me says he preferred to take life one day at a time.

I'm about to call Cascade county and see if he did stick around long enough to be buried there.  What's funny is, I find myself mentally stuck in the 1980s way of genealogy-ing sometimes... "So Great Falls, huh... it would be so fun to go there, but it's so far away..."

Then I remember "when" I am.  In these days of instant access to telephone numbers listed online, help is only a few clicks and a phone call away. 

Blessings abound :)

*Why Burt today?  The 1940 Census, of course.  I did an individual search on PAF using my ancestors filter (grandparents and aunts and uncles only) and filtered them by individuals born in the 1840-1941 birth range, so I didn't miss anyone.  Three hundred and ninety-six people I'm looking up.  I've already found new family members all over the place.  Yay :)

Monday, June 04, 2012

Now, where was I?

Oh yes - I was having an awesome genealogy time.

I heard from a Keithler cousin on Findagrave today (hooray, my faith is restored!).  Her great grandparents, Ignatius and Jennie (Dragoo) Keithler, are my great-great grandparents.  We are second cousins once removed.

Yay :)

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

I! Have Made Fire!!

As of this morning, I now know where all sixteen of my great-great grandparents are buried, city and cemetery.

(Obviously my grandparents and great grandparents, too.)