Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Uncle John Had Seven Wives

What's that nursery rhyme about "When I was going to St. Ives"?

My husband is a fifth-generation Latter-day Saint on every single line of his family tree (more than five on some lines). All of his 2nd-great grandparents were born in places like Tennessee, New York, Denmark, England, Missouri - and ended up in Utah. In his Rowley line, an uncle named John Rowley was the husband of seven wives, including a widowed mother and two of her daughters - and he had children with all three women, along with the other wives. (The mom and daughters are Emma James, Emma Ozella Johnson and Orissa Jane Johnson - wives 3, 4, and 5.)

This is fascinating to me, coming from my LDS-convert background. The most exciting thing going on in my family tree is first cousins marrying each other (and yes, some of them were my grandparents - I know that was your next question).

On a completely unrelated topic: I hope we're all good about sharing our stuff and helping each other, when it comes to our family history records.

A friend I sometimes help with her genealogy has had her hands tied because of one rather bratty cousin who at one point, told my friend to just "forget" about one line because SHE was doing all the research. Now that it's done, instead of sharing it with my friend (making copies, emailing a GEDCOM, etc.), she tells her, "Oh, it's all online now - go look for it there," without any further instruction or help. My friend isn't too computer-literate and has a hard time knowing where to go or what to do. Everytime I talk to her, I can feel her frustration and sadness caused by her cousin's behavior, and I feel like calling up this woman myself and giving her an earful. Who acts like that? It's like having for a cousin.

I can't imagine what would possess people to act this way. It's like people who won't share recipes. What exactly is the point of that? So no one else can take credit for making a certain dessert? Who cares? If we're all trying to find out more about our families, why on earth would anyone try to impede another's progress?

The best genealogists are the ones who share.

Monday, January 28, 2008


I think I'll start collecting Ackleys.

My ancestor, Alfred W. Ackley, fought in the War of 1812. He married Perthena Tillinghast and had four children, one being my 3rd-great grandfather Henry Tillinghast Ackley. Henry was a Union soldier in the Civil War and died en route home, on the train, in 1863. Awwww.

I am sick - SICK! - of not finding anything about Alfred. He died in 1841, so he didn't survive to see any censuses listing him with his wife and children... that's a huge mental roadblock for me. Yes, there are historical sketches and military records and wills and family Bibles, etc., but so much of that information is still on paper or microfilm, instead of online, and well, I guess I'm just lazy. Also, I don't have the cash to pay researchers to head to the library, look stuff up, make copies, and mail them to me. (That's why I love people like Carl, who do such great work for free - of course with Carl, I had all the information and he just had to find it.)

The thing is, other family members have tried to research him and have come up empty too, so my laziness is not the only problem here. The problem is that he seemed to have followed the advice of ecology-minded forest service rangers: "Leave No Trace."

So I'm thinking it's time to just round up every Ackley I can find (past a certain date), and maybe I can make a connection somewhere. With all the other clean-up projects I've undertaken, this will be a nice change of pace... I guess.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Photo of the Week: 27 January 2008

(Click on the picture to make it bigger)

Happy Birthday to me! (Friday the 25th)

And I'm just as stunning, all these years later.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Life History of William Ricketts Smith, Part 5: The Bicycle, the Saxophone and the Orchestra

Sorry I haven't posted anything all week... hubby broke his ankle, kids home from school on MLK day...busy, busy, busy!

(Part 4 is here.)

The next summer my dad bought his only competitor and was doing quite well. My friend Claude Abel was the paper boy for the Billings Gazette and we were getting the paper. I guess that was my introduction to the "funny papers." One day there was an insert in the paper from Mead Cycle Co. of Chicago for a Ranger bicycle for $32.00. It had a headlight and even a tool box. I asked my dad if I could get it. He said that if I could get a job he would help me to get the bicycle. He got me a job leading the stacker-horse in the hay field of his friend Howard Johnson. Even though their farm was only about 3 miles from town, I stayed with them during the harvest of the first cutting. I earned about $14.00 and was very anxious to order the bicycle so my dad said he would give enough money to place the order. I didn't try very hard to find another job after that. Some time later the bicycle came on the local freight train and as it was my dad's business to meet all the trains, he hurried right home with my bicycle. He was a wonderful dad!

My best friend Wendell Forman, of a progressive and fairly well-to-do family, decided to take cornet lessons from a local barber and musician. I had had the desire to learn to play the saxophone for some time and this was my opportunity to prevail upon my mother concerning my desire. My mother had a cousin living in Casper, Wyoming who was a musician, so she wrote to him requesting that he might find a used horn that we could afford. His return letter listed quite a few and his recommendation of the best buy. The price was $35.00. This would amount to about four months' worth of groceries for our family in 1933. Somehow my mother, probably with my dad's help, came up with the money and I got my saxophone.

The manager of the hardware store had previously played the saxophone but said he would not attempt to teach me, but would loan me a book. I began to learn on my own and finding that I was unable to play like Jimmy Dorsey within a few days, became quite discouraged; however, my friend Wendell was progressing quite well and not wanting to let him get too far ahead of me, I got back to it.

A local music teacher, Mrs. Cornwell, became aware of the fact that there were several of us in town struggling with our musical education and decided to organize a sort of orchestra. She was an accomplished musician and played the harp and piano professionally and was learning the xylophone. She had quite a library of music, some of which was well-known semi-classical music that beginners could eventually learn. In a town of 500 people, it didn't take long for the public to become aware of our presence and we were called upon to provide entertainment for various occasions. The local School Board decided to set aside a few dollars for the program and we became the School Orchestra, with the school providing the music and even paying Mrs. Cornwell a small salary to be our teacher and conductor.

In my senior year in High School we had a band instructor, Mr. McNeil, who was also coach of the athletic program. Real progress for our little school.

(Part 6)

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Susan Virginia "Jennie V." Cummings Zane

And.... that's a really long name.

I have to say, the guy in Wyoming (whose name is Carl, not Steve) will have a nice soft bed in Heaven if he treats all of his patrons as well as he treated me. Color me IMPRESSED.

Today I received Jennie's death certificate from his office, exactly seven days after I called him, and the best part was, Carl also threw in a copy of her obituary from the Sundance newspaper. Color me THRILLED.

And, even after writing about it, I completely forgot that I ordered it, and was very happily surprised when my husband came in with the mail last Thursday. Color me AIRHEADED.

At any rate, Carl at the Wyoming State Archives Office (307-777-7826) is a sweet, sweet man and I would send him flowers and chocolates if he wouldn't think I was stalking him, or something. Color me GRATEFUL.

As for the death certificate itself, it was very well-filled in, including her parents' names and birthplaces, birth date and place, husband's name, cause of death (cerebral apoplexy - stroke)... and her obituary went like this:

Mrs. Jennie Zane Passed Away Here On April 4th
Had Been Resident of Community For Thirty Years

Mrs. Jennie V. Zane, for more than thirty years a resident of this community, passed away at her home in this city on Thursday, April 4th, following an illness which extended over a long period of time. Funeral services were conducted on Sunday, Rev. Calvin officiating and interment was made in the local cemetery.

Jennie V. Cummings was born in Loudan County, Virginia January 17, 1849 and died April 4, 1929 at the age of 80 years 2 months and 17 days.

She was married to Thomas W. Zane at Lawton, Michigan January 27, 1867, her husband died 25 years ago.

From this union two children were born, Jesse T. Zane, who preceded her in death several years ago; and Mrs. W.R. Fox of Gillette, Wyoming.

She came to Wyoming in 1890 and has been a continuous resident of Crook county up to the time of her death.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Photo of the Week - January 20, 2008

(Click on the picture to make it bigger - I love all the details.)

The Johnsons and the Keithlers, having a killer time.

From left to right: Cora Clark Johnson, Howard Keithler, Aaron Johnson, Adina Clark Keithler. Cora and Adina are sisters, and Adina and Howard are my great grandparents. Howard and Adina seem to be looking at something - was Lawrence Welk on TV yet?

I love seeing my ancestors in their "natural habitat."

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Today is D-Day

The "D" standing for "DAR," of course.

In precisely 57 minutes, I have an appointment with my local DAR chapter's registrar. Right now the priority is a shower, something suitable to wear, and making a decision about what to order at Starbucks when I meet her there. I'm thinking definitely hot chocolate (even though it's death in a cup) and possibly a piece of buttermilk coffee cake (ditto).

Cute Bri had it in his head that the meeting today would be interview-ish. How they would interview someone about joining DAR, I don't know. "Are you sure you have a patriot ancestor? Are you sure? ARE YOU SURE?" I told him, it says right on their website that any woman who is 18 or older and can prove her lineage to a patriot ancestor can join DAR, so even if it's Trailer Trash Trixie with eight missing teeth, an off-center pony tail, Daisy Dukes and 75 illegitimate kids... she's still in like Flynn.

Although... the fact that this is a genealogical society might put someone like TTT off. This is more or less a geeky endeavor - an OLD LADY endeavor, even. So not only will I fit right in, being a geeky old lady of almost 38, but I imagine people like Trixie would run screaming the other way from the idea of demurely sipping tea (in my case, hot chocolate) while wearing white gloves.

Which is pretty much what I'll be doing from now till the age of 90, now that I'm joining DAR.

Have a fantastic Saturday, and think of me as I'm signing my young life away this morning. I hope we can still be friends after this.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Life History of William Ricketts Smith, Part 4: Bill's dad Maurice and Baptism

(Part 3 is here.)

In 1930 my dad bought a dray business which he operated until 1939. The business provided us a pretty good living. It was hard work as most of the hauling was done with horses and wagon and all the loading and unloading was done by hand. The work consisted of hauling coal, gravel, ashes, lumber and whatever freight came on the daily passenger and freight trains including mail, parcel post and express as well as merchandise for the local stores. Ice cream came in big five-gallon insulated packers on the passenger train as did most perishables. My Dad seldom asked me to help him but was always happy to have me do so. I helped mostly when he had carloads to unload consisting mostly of lumber, coal or cement and handled the mail often on and off the passenger trains and hauling it with our model "T" truck. My dad was an honest hardworking man.

The property in town was three lots wide, a two-story house, barn, chicken house, coal and ice house, garage and a large vegetable garden. There was no inside plumbing so we also had an outhouse. My high school years were spent there. We had a milk cow and chickens and my dad had a green thumb so we always had a productive garden and we always had enough to eat.

Lodge Grass was my first experience of living in a town and I gradually became less intimidated by other people. When I was 15, I was baptized into the Baptist Church. My mother had been baptized in the Episcopal Church when young and she believed that you should be baptized by immersion instead of sprinkling, so she had been baptized in the Little Big Horn River a year or two before. Our preacher was a young man from Chicago, recently out of seminary, and wanted to have a baptism service at Easter time.

At Easter time in Montana the Little Big Horn is usually frozen over. Rev. Engle had acquired a large metal tank and placed it by the heating stove in the church. There was a well with a hand pump behind the church and some of the men spent several evenings pumping and carrying water in buckets to fill the tank. By the time Easter evening arrived the water may have warmed up to about 50° or so. There were about four or so of us being baptized. My friend Adrian Crosby was first and I was next. As soon as I was baptized I ran home, about two blocks, it was freezing outside, to change into some dry clothes.

(Part 5)

Thursday, January 17, 2008


Sometimes it pays to just pick up the phone.

I wanted a copy of a death certificate for an ancestor who died in Wyoming. And I wasn't trying to mooch or anything - I was ready to cough up between $6-20, type up a letter, send it off and wait six weeks, because usually, death certificates are valuable pieces of information - the exception being that of my great-great-grandmother Mary Lucinda Newberry Ackley, where almost every field was filled in "unknown."

I Googled "Wyoming Death Records," was taken to their official page, read the instructions, and saw their phone number. After I dialed it and pressed 1 and 2 and 1 a few times, I was directed to another phone number, for the Wyoming State Archives. Any death that occurred more than 50 years ago is filed with the Wyoming State Archives, not at the Vital Records department (good to know if you have peeps in Wyoming).

After dialing up the State Archives office, I was privileged to speak with a real live human being of the male persuasion, who asked me what I needed. I told him I wanted a death record for Susan Virginia "Jennie" Zane, gave him the death date and county, and he said "OK" and took down my name, address and phone number. I'll probably have it within the week. And that was that. I asked what the charge was and he said, "No charge for one record."

What - no paperwork? No fee? No pleading, "Please, I'm begging you, it's just for genealogy, I really am her granddaughter, I promise to not use her information for identity fraud" letter to the Archives Office? Sweet! And all this time, I've been a tad bugged at Wyoming (and all the other states) who so far haven't bothered to create an online death index. "Come on, Wyoming... all the other states are doing it..."

But if it's as easy as calling up Steve at the Archives Office and just plain asking... I guess I can live with that.

Your Chance To Tour the Rexburg Temple

... is almost gone!

The open house for the new Rexburg Temple ends January 26, so if you're anywhere in the vicinity (Rexburg is on the eastern side of Idaho, next to Montana and north of Yellowstone National Park), head on over.

(My original post is linked to the press release.)

Also: What a blessing it is that the Holocaust records are finally being opened to the public. After all they've been through, at least now Holocaust survivors can find out what ultimately happened to their family members. Read more here.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

You Don't Have To Do It All

"...In the work of redeeming the dead there are many tasks to be performed...all members should participate by prayerfully selecting those ways that fit their personal circumstances at a particular time...Members of this church have many individual circumstances — age, health, education, place of residence, family responsibilities, financial circumstances, accessibility to sources for individual or library research, and many others. If we encourage members in this work without taking these individual circumstances into account, we may do more to impose guilt than to further the work...Our effort is not to compel everyone to do everything, but to encourage everyone to do something."

-- Elder Dallin H. Oaks

(Read the rest of the article here.)

Monday, January 14, 2008

One Reason Why I Do This

Not only did my grandfather, "Gran" (William Ricketts Smith), lead an interesting life, he was someone I felt very close to and still hold dear. I'm so grateful he left behind a record of his life, even a relatively short one, in his own words. What a treasure it is. Because he took the time to write it, the great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren and so on will all have a chance to get to know him.

The same with Grandma Keen (Alice Muriel Johnson) - just that one brief sketch of her family history and her childhood, really helped me get a handle not only on her family's comings and goings, but on her spirit and personality. I know from talking to older cousins that her life, and her parents' lives, were very hard, and full of heartbreak. To read her take on it - "What an adventure!" - points out the sweetness and optimism inherent in her nature.

By contrast, here's what I know about Gran's grandfather, William Raymond Fox:

1) He was an undertaker.
2) Every morning at 9:00, he had an appointment... with his outhouse.

Gran once told me (I don't know why on earth this was our topic for discussion, but there you go) that Grandpa Fox was so regular, you could set your watch by him. If anyone asked him to meet somewhere at 9:00 AM, he would even tell them, "I can't." I'm pretty sure Gran also said that Grandpa Fox would tell the person why.

Unfortunately Grandpa Fox left no other record of his life, and everyone who knew him is gone also. Well, maybe Neenaw (my grandmother) knew him, but obviously not as well as Gran did. Consequently, those two facts - aside from his birth, marriage, and death information - are all I can pass on to future generations, and all I'll ever know about Grandpa Fox until I see him when I die. I would really like to have more to say to him than, "So what was it like, being an undertaker?" and "Wow, so... 9:00 every morning, huh?"

That's why I do this: I want some say over how people remember me. I'm interested in preserving not only my family history, but also the life stories of the people I knew and loved, whom future generations will not have the chance to know in this lifetime. It's important to me that my descendants know a little more about me and my ancestors than our occupations and (ahem) personal habits.

Otherwise, Heaven is going to be kind of awkward.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Photo of the Week: 13 January 2008

(Click on the picture to make it bigger)

My grandmother Alice "Dorothea" Keen Dysart and me, shortly after my birth. After I was born, she came to our apartment in Seattle and visited us (notice my parents' fun cement-block bookcase behind us). I was born two days after her birthday.

"Grandma Dot" always had a beautiful yard and garden. My brother B.C. and I visited her and Grandpa for a week one summer, and since we lived on the Oregon coast and were used to milder weather, their town (Walla Walla, Washington) seemed incredibly hot. The sun would heat up their boxwood hedge by the front porch and make it smell so wonderful - the scent still reminds me of Grandma's house.

She was a funny, feisty, peppery little lady. She loved chocolates, and would buy herself a box, eat a few chocolates, hide the box, forget where she hid it, and buy herself a new box. After she died, almost-full boxes of chocolates were discovered here and there all over the house. Other than that, her house was immaculate. She played the organ and kept a notebook of the songs she practiced or played. Sometimes we'd go to her house and her organ would be turned up so loud, she couldn't hear the doorbell, but we could hear her outside. Judging from her 8-track tape collection, she loved Elvis Presley and Tom Jones. One funny discovery was a tape called "Music to Strip By."

Grandma loved keeping up with the local law enforcement, fire department, and ambulance activity, and always had at least one police scanner turned on and making noise on her hutch. She liked keeping track of the numbered codes of each department and would type up lists of the codes to post near her scanner, so she could see who was doing what. When she died, I inherited her manual typewriter and one of her half-finished scanner code lists was still in the typewriter case.

Her memorial is here.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Life History of William Ricketts Smith, Part 3: Showers, Indians, and Electricity

(Part 2 is here.)

We lived in our oilfield shack at Parkman Camp from about January 1927 until March 1928. We had free natural gas and the water tank was right by our house. There was a "company" bath house and if you had a membership you could bathe there. The first shower bath I ever saw. My dad worked for one of the oil companies and we bought our groceries at the commisary in Midwest. Times were pretty good for us.

By the spring of 1928, my dad had saved up a little money and he couldn't stand being away from the farm any longer so we made a trip to Lodge Grass, Montana where my dad rented a farm from an Indian named Martinez. By the time we got started moving, the spring thaw was beginning and the roads were solid mud or rather sloppy mud. The engine went out of the truck and my dad bought another one and with all the other expenses, we were nearly broke when we finally reached the farm.

Our neighbor was an old Indian, Chester Otter Chief, and he painted his face. I had never seen an Indian before and he used to peer at us through the bushes along the creek. My mother was afraid of him, so was I. The fields were foul but my dad was able to grow a fair crop of barely but it was worth about 20 cents a bushel I guess. So he decided to buy some pigs and feed them the barley and maybe make better money that way so he moved us into town and we didn't have to ride the bus anymore. The bus was a horse-drawn covered wagon. It had a small coal-burning stove and would have been comfortable except it was so rough riding.

In the early part of 1929 I became ill with typhoid fever and came very near to dying. I missed almost two months of school and was a long time after that recovering my strength. The evening of the fourth of April brought a telegram saying that my Great Grandmother Zane had passed away. The same year the town of Lodge Grass incorporated and installed a light plant bringing us the first electric lights we ever had in our home. Also in 1929 my Grandfather Fox bought a farm on Owl Creek southeast of Lodge Grass and a house in town in which we lived for ten years.

(Part 4)

Thursday, January 10, 2008

DAR Lady Meeting

DAR Lady and I are meeting next Saturday morning at a super-secrety Starbucks location, so I can sign my application and fork over my fee. I can hardly wait! She says that at the next board meeting, all the little DAR ladies in my chapter will sign my application and they'll send it off to Washington, D.C., and I'll be a full-fledged member of DAR after it's... whatever they do to it.

I don't know why but I feel super-compelled to do this. It might be repentance for not using Grandma Dot's money to join DAR when she sent it to me. We were in college and broke, so (naughty us) we used the money for groceries. The fee has almost tripled in amount since then. That's what I get. That can't be the reason why I feel so eager, though. Usually my overwhelming guilt is what does it to me, but for some reason I think it'll be fun (fun?) and I'll have some kind of ... something happening.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

DAR Geek Happiness

I just read that my friend Emma Sometimes is also joining DAR! And she lives in my town, so we'll be in the same chapter! I sense some serious geek-bonding coming up soon.

Monday, January 07, 2008

DAR Paperwork Update

DAR lady emailed me to say she received my paperwork and it looks to be in order. We will meet sometime next week so I can sign my life way to DAR.

DAR... I am your servant....

Family History Library and Vicinity

Last August, I took a trip and met some bloggy friends in Colorado. It was a great trip, and part of the fun was visiting Salt Lake City, aka "Genealogy Mecca." While there, I captured some of my favorite genealogy sights. Click on the images to get a better viewpoint.

Inside the Joseph Smith Memorial Building in downtown Salt Lake, there's a small Family History Center, much like others found around the country (minus the books, microfilms, and other resources, since the big Library is nearby), staffed by full-time sister missionaries who switch shifts every half hour throughout Temple Square. They come from all over the world and speak a variety of languages from every continent, to be able to guide visitors from any country through the area. My friend Angela served her mission here. Luck-eeeee.

This picture, found on the wall in the Family History Center at the JS Memorial Building, is fun and a little earth-shattering: a chart outlining some of the Howland family's descendants. From three sons of Henry Howland - one came to America on the Mayflower - come these individuals: the Presidents Bush, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, President Gerald Ford, President Richard Nixon, the prophet Joseph Smith, his wife Emma Hale Smith, and Sir Winston Churchill, along with Mr. Joseph Ira Earl, a Utah native - kind of a "If this guy is related to all these people, who might you be related to?" thing. Imagine that family reunion.

In the Family History Library itself, located across the street from the west side of Temple Square and next to the Church History Museum (also a must-visit), this portrait faces the front entrance of the building. It features Christ in the center, a modern-day family discussing their family history, Joseph Smith and the Old Testament prophet Elijah in the lower left corner, spirits of the deceased working on family history in their sphere, and ancestors from different eras in history dressed in period clothing (my favorite). The painting communicates to me the emphasis of all of us being one big family, the importance of "finding" each other (and doing it NOW rather than waiting for a better time), and the family ties that exist throughout eternity.

Also in the Family History Library, on the back (south) wall of the first floor, behind all the tables: a chart similar to the Howland family's, depicting the descendants of Joseph and Emma Smith, some of whom are only now being found. For the founder of a Church so connected to family history, it's sad and kind of amazing that Joseph's family flew to the winds the way it did, but they are being found and documented, and gathered onto this HUGE chart. I had to try several different angles to get the whole thing in the picture and probably looked pretty goofy to the other patrons who watched, but who cares. My dear friend No Cool Story and I have long had the motto, "Anything for the blog."

If you've never been to Salt Lake City to research your ancestors, I would definitely recommend it (beg you to book a trip at your earliest convenience is actually what I'd do). It's absolutely worth the time and money spent, and you can even search the Family History Library Catalog before you go, to get the most from your time there. I'm counting the days till my next visit!

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Photo of the Week - January 6, 2008

(Click on the picture to make it bigger)


Don't you love the ripped edges? Many of the photos I inherited from this side of the family (the Johnsons) are ripped like this - apparently it was "the thing" back then, as was gluing the pictures to the black scrapbook pages, rendering whatever was written on the back impossible to read. Other than that, it's kind of a cute idea.

It's my hunch that this beautiful lady is my great grandma Alice Johnson Keen's youngest sister, Hattie Quintilla Johnson Biersner. Sadly, Hattie died of pneumonia in the influenza epidemic, and family rumor says that she was expecting her first baby when she passed away. How heartbreaking this must have been for her husband.

Of course, they're all together now. I love happy endings.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Life History of William Ricketts Smith, Part 2: Measles, School, and Oilfield Life

(Part 1 is here).

There were four of us, my brother Raymond having been born in June 1921, and six of them [Uncle Harold Fox, Aunt Ella, four cousins] in an unfinished house with two bedrooms. To make matters worse, all us kids came down with measles. We pooled our efforts in the spring of 1926 but as fall came we were no better off than we were in the spring, just tireder. My dad got a job in the Midwest oil field and began work about September. We sold all our belongings except our car and clothes and household goods as well as my dad's share of the homestead for a total of about $300.00.

We moved to our oilfield shack at Parkman Camp about three miles south of Midwest, Wyoming. That was the first school I attended where there were more than six students. The school was about 1 1/2 miles west and was also attended by kids from Consolidated Camp. I was accustomed to walking to school about that distance as I had always done so. The first school I attended had barely room for the teacher's desk, the stove and four pupils' desks and the teacher's chair which was used to prop the door shut on windy days. There were three Eastwood kids, Ralph, Earl and Ina and me for a total of four. The teacher (Miss Reynolds) stayed at our house and my dad used to take us in the bobsled sometimes.

I don't remember very much about my life on the homestead, just sketches. We got our drinking water from a spring at our neighbors' place about 1 1/2 miles west. I guess our places joined. Their name was Speilman and we hauled water on a stone-boat in a barrel. There was a place where we dug our coal at Harry's place and Aron Speilman and my family used to get coal together so we had plenty of coal to keep us warm in those Wyoming winters.

I remember one time when a big threshing machine came to our place and threshed our grain. I remember a terrible hail storm and my mother went out to save her little chicks and a hailstone hit her in the back and made a big black and blue mark. I remember a winter day, a bright sunny day, my dad and I went horseback to look after the cattle and we found some of them dead. When I got back to the house, I was standing by the window looking out across the snow and I came to the realization that I was an individual and that someday I would have to die as those cattle had to do and I have never forgotten that day.

(To be continued next Friday)

DAR: Will the Cousins Be Joining??

After Bri brought home the copies Tuesday night, I got everything ready and put it in the mail yesterday morning. Today I received an email from cousin Mandi, excitedly thanking me for sending the paperwork. We live in the same town but I still didn't expect next-day service! Pretty sweet! The registrar lives in Camas so we'll see if I hear from her tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

DAR: Grandma Keen's Application

I received Grandma Keen's DAR application in the mail on 12/29 and sent it with Bri to work today, so he can make copies of it - it's on 8 1/2 x 14" paper and my little copier at home only does regular-size paper. It was exciting to receive it. I called my chapter registrar and she's all excited too. So far Aunt Nancy and Becky have expressed an interest in getting copies of Grandma's application for their use.

After the copies are ready (of Grandma's stuff and all my birth, marriage and death certificates), I'll mail them to the chapter registrar and she'll fill out my application for me. Sometime after 1/15 (payday), I'll meet with her, sign my application and pay the fee. She'll get more signatures and mail everything to DC, and sometime after that I'll be a member. I'm excited to see what it will bring!

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy New Year!

May your genealogy endeavors bear much fruit and be really, really fun and exciting.

P.S. is my new favorite toy.