Monday, September 27, 2010

Hi there, Cousin Arthur...

So nice to unexpectedly run into you today... a little weird, but nice...

I woke up earlier today with the idea of working on a family timeline for my great-grandparents, Howard Mitchell Keithler and Adina Irene Clark. It was fun and I made some good progress. It'll be even MORE fun when the 1940 census shows up.

I got to work on more Keithler timelines - one for Howard's parents, Ignatius and Jennie, and then Ignatius' parents, Alexander and Caroline.

Alexander's family has been hard to figure out. He was born in 1828 in Ohio, and the earliest record I can find of him is in the 1850 census, when he was 22 and living with another family in another state, working as a farmhand. He married Caroline in 1851, they had three babies, and then she passed away - all before the 1860 census.

Which is a huge "sux donut" because I have no record of this sweet little family ever being together. My husband and babies and I have made it to two censuses so far and I hope it'll be many more.

Their oldest daughter, Martha, was mistakenly listed as having the last name "Mitchell" (Caroline's maiden name) in the 1860 census. She, her little brother Ignatius and her little sister Susan Caroline all went to live with Caroline's parents after Caroline died and Alexander remarried. I finally figured out and fixed that mistake today...

Then moved on to Martha's husband and children, another huge nest of huge mistakes. I've unraveled skeins of knotted yarn that were easier to repair. Yikes!

Martha's son Arthur was born in 1875, and as I found out today from his death certificate, died in 1932.

His death date leapt out at me like it was sitting on a spring.

On TODAY'S date, in 1932. September 27, 1932. What were the odds of that happening? I guess just one in 365, but still...

It was weird. Freaky. Goose-pimply awesome.

Friday, September 24, 2010

"That's a nice nose! Did you pick it?" of my dad's old corny jokes I still enjoy throwing at my children.

My whole life, everyone has told me I look like my mom. I do look like her - our coloring is very similar, but as I grew older, I noticed our features aren't quite exactly the same... my nose and chin were different, my eyes crinkly-er, my eyebrows arch-ier or something. Our skin is different, too - she tans easily, while I burn and freckle like my father.

This observation led to much mirror-perusing. If I wasn't a carbon copy of my mother, the way everyone seemed to think, then who DID I look like?

And of course, being the genealogy geek that I am, I had to trace the features I saw on my face back to their original source - at least, as far back as the family photograph collection would allow.

I've split my face into four people. I know you were wondering.

From the nose up, I look like Ruby Fox; from the nose down, Jennie Dragoo; my dimples came from my grandfather, Carl Dysart; and my dark haired, dark-eyed coloring (and that of my mother, grandmother, great grandmother, great-great grandfather) came from Lorette Proctor.

And of course, being the genealogy geek that I am, I wonder endlessly about the three ladies and where THEIR features came from. Who does Lorette resemble with her brown eyes? When did this very distinct Dragoo nose and chin first make its appearance, and with whom? Was it a Zane or a Bathrick that Ruby inherited her eyebrows from?

And those pesky dimples! I have exactly one picture of Carl's parents, Carl Sr. and Ruth, smiling. I can't tell for sure but it looks like Carl Sr. is the dimpled grandparent. His son, my grandpa Carl, had them, my mom has them, I have them, and my middle son, who (out of our five children) looks the least like me and the most like his dad, was also somehow born with them.

Adam and Eve's first invention should have been a camera. And film that lasts millennia.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


So live that when thy summons to join
The innumerable caravan, which moves
To that mysterious realm where each shall take
His chamber in the silent halls of death,
Thou go not like the quarry slave at night,
Scourged to his dungeon, but, sustained and soothed
By an unfaltering trust, approach thy grave
Like one who wraps the draperies of his couch
About him, and lies down to pleasant dreams.

~ William Cullen Bryant

Going through some old papers and pictures today, I found my great grandmother's funeral book. This poem was printed on the first page.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Photo of the Week: John William Smith family

The poses the photographer had the family assume have always been interesting to me. He was obviously taking artistic license with the ONE PICTURE I have of this family. Dude, really? I can't even tell what half of them look like.

Oh, well, I suppose that in a hundred years our descendants will check out pictures like this one and bust a gut laughing. But at least my family was TRYING to be serious.

From left to right, top row: Maurice or Shelby, Ruby looking very thoughtful and possibly lost, Jennie lovingly brushing lint off John's shoulder (I'm going to assume it was lint)

From left to right, bottom row: Mary Elizabeth, John holding John Jr. (always called Jack), and Maurice or Shelby.

Maurice is my great grandfather and I'm bugged that I can't tell which one of the boys he is. The birth order is Ruby, Maurice, Shelby, Mary Elizabeth and Jack, and if only I could ask the boy sitting on the right to stand up, I could measure their heights and possibly decide. Since I can't, you know, see his face.

But they tried. Bless their hearts.