Thursday, October 30, 2008

Organizing, Again

Seems to me I spend to much time organizing. Every time I think I am done and ready to move on I find something else that needs organizing. The toughest thing for me to keep up with is photographs. I seem to always be taking photos. I download them, and sometimes when I download them I get lazy and you never know where you will find the latest download.

Having my paperwork all filed and organized is great, the scanning I have done this year is all in the folders they belong in. My digital pictures for the last three years have only been downloaded, never labeled or organized. I have organized the two oldest years and they make sense now, one more year to go. (This does include personal pictures, along with my genealogical shots) I have improved my download process to help simplify my organizing process. But really, who has time to label every picture you take?

I have been working for a long time on getting everything in order, and have accomplished so much. I am happy about that. But when is it time to actually research? I say very soon! I need to collect more paper and pictures and such so I can worry about the next organizing session I will need!

Thanks for stopping by!

Wishing you success in all of your genealogical treasure hunts!


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Wordless Wednesday ~ Happy Halloween

Grandson's first pumpkin. Date October 26, 2008. Location Livermore, California. Digital Image. Photo by Msteri. Privately held by Msteri, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE] California. 2008

Monday, October 27, 2008

Tombstone Tuesday ~ Dolores Howard

This is the sign outside of the Downieville Cemetery. Downieville is a very small town in the mountains on the way to Sierra City in Califonia. My husbands family lived there when he was a child. His parents owned the motel, his uncle owned the gas station, still the only one in town.

Every year we make an official Harley run to Downieville. My husband leads the run and we have several bike take the ride with us. We have been doing this for about eight years, if I remember correctly. We have the "old faithfuls" who make the trip each year. Some of riders from the chapter don't make any other chapter runs during the year, but they won't miss this one!

Originally this run was a one night, overnighter. People loved Downieville so much, it has now become a two night trip, which I believe we having been doing for about six years. We average approximately 25 to 30 bikes each year, with a total of 40-50 people attending. We take over the whole town!

My husband has family buried in Downieville, is paternal side. A tradition we have every year is our annual walk to the cemetery to clean the grave. What has been most interesting though, is the fact that several of the people who make this Harley ride with us have come to making this walk a tradition of theirs also. Some make the trip us, and others make the walk on there own. I can't think of anything more special for my husband than friends who care to take the time to do this with us.

Headstone of Delores Howard. Date June 2007. Location Downieville, Sierra County, California. Digital Image. Privately held by Msteri, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE] California. 2008

I have chosen on this Tombstone Tuesday to share the image of my husband's aunt's headstone. I never had the pleasure of meeting Delores, however I know her and care for her by visiting and cleaning the grave every year.

This cemetery is the first cemetery I got "addicted" to. Every year I go through most all of the headstones, and look forward to doing it! This trip to the cemetery is a big part of going to Downieville, it is one of the things I look forward to most. Next year when we go, I plan to make a special note to take other pictures of the cemetery to post here.

Thanks for stopping by!

Wishing you success in all of your genealogical treasure hunts!


Sunday, October 26, 2008

Graveyard Rabbit

If you haven't heard yet, there is a new association that has developed called the "Graveyard Rabbits". Terry Thorton is the founder. Many Genea-bloggers have chosen to be charter members by starting a Graveyard Rabbit blog of their own!

These members each represent an area and will be blogging on the cemeteries of that area. The blogs are for this purpose only, to cover any and every bit of information they choose regarding cemeteries! From what I can see so far it looks like there are at least 29 Rabbits!

Graveyard Rabbit of British Columbia -

Graveyard Rabbit of South Alameda County-

San Diego County Graveyard Rabbit -

Central Florida Graveyard Rabbit -

Graveyard Rabbit of Moultrie Creek -

Untangled Family Roots -

Graveyard Rabbit of the Quad Cities -

Chicagoland Graveyard Rabbit -

Graveyard Rabbit of Bloomington-Normal Illinois -

Graveyard Rabbit of Christian County -

International:Jewish Graveyard Rabbit -

Granite in my Blood -

Rural Michigan Cemeteries Graveyard Rabbit -

Arnevet Beth Olam-St.Louis -

Graveyard Rabbit of Attala County -

Graveyard Rabbit of Hill Country -

Netherlands:Graveyard Rabbit of Utrecht and Het Gooi -

Graveyard Rabbit of New York Rural Cemeteries -

Graveyard Rabbit of Central Ohio -

Essex County Graveyard Rabbit -

Lancaster Pennsylvania's Graveyard Rabbit -

Philadelphia Graveyard Rabbit -

Graveyard Rabbit of Eastern Tennessee -

Graveyard Rabbit of Cowtown -

Graveyard Rabbit of South Denton County -

Southern Graves -

The Educated Graveyard Rabbit -

Graveyard Rabbit of Snohomish County -

Western Washington Graveyard Rabbit -

There should be some very interesting articles from these Graveyard Rabbits covering headstones, history, pictures and more! Be sure to check them out, I have and really look forward to hearing more from them! Notice too that there are a few from out of the country!

Thanks for stopping by!

Wishing you success in all of your genealogical treasure hunts!


Another Class ~ Land Records

I have to admit, I wasn't to enthused about this class, probably because I haven't gotten to the point of delving into land records. At one point I thought I would have to miss this class.

We had so many plans for the day, between my husband and I. Originally we were supposed to have house guests for the weekend and with everything else we had going on, it was almost a blessing they cancelled.

My morning was busy as I had so much to get together for the day, phone calls to make prior to leaving for my class, and making sure my grandson was taken care of, as I usually babysit him on Saturdays. My husband agreed to watch him so I could take these classes, but on this day he also had a major commitment. My daughter got it worked out which was good as I was feeling guilty.

I am generally early to everything, and hate being late. I gathered everything I could remember that I needed for the day and jammed out the door, running late. First obstacle, the garage door wouldn't close! Played with the remote, checked the button in the garage and nothing worked. Pulled a chair over, reached over the car and manually undid the latch. Ok, on my way. Almost got hit on the freeway. Get to the college, and the parking pass machines didn't work. I drove to several and tried them and they just didn't want my money. Finally, pulled over a security guard, he gave me a pass, and didn't charge me. Needless to say, I was a few minutes late to class, and was embarrassed sneaking in, but I made it!

I was able to finally unwind after a few minutes and really get involved in the subject at hand. Missing the class would have been a mistake. At one point, when I knew I had so much going on, I had told myself, "It is only land records" trying to convince myself I didn't need to go. That is when I need to go!

Another amazing class! Land records are your bread and butter! I had no idea how much land records can tell you about your family. Now, I can't wait to delve into them! The most important thing I learned is:

"The descent of land is the purest form of lineage!"

Land records are easily available, and help prove many things. Migration, chains of title, divisions of estates, marriage, relationships, place names, and life style are prime examples. We were instructed on county land records, and federal land records and how to locate these records.

I learned how important it is to follow siblings and neighbors in these records. I learned about deeds, platting land, the difference between a grantor and a grantee, metes and bounds, and how some surveys are read from right to left! Another important factor, make to follow the trail from the time land was acquired until it left the family, it is crucial.

Deed books are full of information. The documents you may find in them are~

QCD-Quick Claim Deed
Trust deed
Land Bond
Personal bond
Real or Chanttel Mortgage
Mortgage Release
Contract (business, prenuptial, etc)
Patent Rights
Power of Attorney

Before I knew it class was over and I was on my way to meet with family to discuss what we were going to do with a house that I just became part owner of. I had many mementos in my possession of this family that I didn't want the responsibity of any longer, I needed to get this important stuff to the rightful owners. Wedding rings and things of value made me nervous worrying if something happened to them. And a house setting empty for 6 months needed to be attended to. So off to the next part of my hectic day....

To sum up this class though, again there was so much covered I can't begin to tell you everything. Unfortunately, next week is my last class.

Thanks for stopping by!

Wishing you success in all of your genealogical treasure hunts!


Family Photographs

I finally made my purchase of Maureen Taylor's "Uncovering Your Ancestry through Family Photographs." I have been wanting to get this book for some time. After doing the post regarding our top ten books in our genealogy library, I was even more adamant to make this purchase.

I have read almost half of the book and am finding it extremely interesting. I wish I had some of the old daguerreotypes and tin types of my family members, however at this point all I can do is keep wishing one may fall in my lap unexpectedly.

Learning to date and place family photos is a science. What type of paper was used for the photo, how it may be encased, clothing, hairstyles, and possible photographers imprints are all clues to help you uncover the information you are looking for. There are many clues in this book to assist you with your photograph.

The history of photography is related in this book, including when color photography came into play. The photos alone in the book are amazing.

I was fortunate enough to hear Maureen Taylor speak last year. She drew me into photography like never before. I have always enjoyed taking photos. I have never taken real photography classes, so I am just the average joe, who snaps a shot here and there. I LOVE looking at photos and always have. My interest has been majorly amplified however in "reading" old photos.

My photo collection doesn't included many extremely old photos. As I go through my scanning process of these photos, I notice I take longer with the process as I find myself analyzing every photo. I feel like running down to an antique store or flea market or somewhere, just to buy some old photos! Buy them to share, find rightful homes for, and analyze.

I highly recommend this book and if the opportunity arises for you, attend a Maureen Taylor presentation. Trust me, you will not regret it. I was most impressed with her gloves, presentation, and knowledge of photographs!

Thanks for stopping by!

Wishing you success in all of your genealogy treasure hunts!


Saturday, October 25, 2008

Pennsylvania Genealogical Cause

Here is a link to a web site that is promoting more and better access to death certificates in Pennsylvania. Online indexes currently aren't available. This site gives all the information how you can help promote updated information on the web and where write to in order to help all genealogy researchers involved with the state of Pennsylvania, I happen to be one of them. Death certificates are tough to get in this state.

Please if you haven't done so already, check out his site and write in, support this cause for all genealogists! Thanks you.

Thanks for stopping by!

Wishing you success in all of your genealogical treasure hunts!


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Halloween Hauntings ~ Was my Story Fact or Fiction?

Time to unveil whether the post I did for the COG's 58th edition was Fact or Fiction!

In case you missed this post, you can read it here:

Almost all of you who left comments were exactly correct in guessing the post was fact. I needed to stop the story when I did or I would have given to much away! Besides I decided leaving a "cliff hanger" gave something more to ponder.

These two women lived together in their younger years as well as in the later years of their lives. They were mother and daughter! The daughter took care of her mother during her final years of life.

The mother developed Alzheimers Disease and was a tough patient for her daughter. The daughter spent many sleepless nights as she was always on the watch to make sure her mother was ok. Her mother would try to leave the house in the middle of the night and do many other off the wall things. This mother was the victim of a terrible, sad disease.

On this particular night that I wrote about, the daughter was so exhausted she fell asleep, only to wake with a fright as to what she saw before her. She was able to take care of the matter at hand, and spent many more sleepless nights before her mother's passing.

I was told of this event, and many more shortly after they happened, via letters the daughter and I exchanged. I do not have any of those letters, I sure wish I did. The women lived in a different state and I always wished I lived closer so I could help them. This was over 20 years ago. These women are from my family and I have chosen to keep their identity's private to protect living family members. So, the story is sad, but true!

Thanks for stopping by!

Wishing you success in all of your genealogical treasure hunts!


Wordless Wednesday ~ Cake

Baby Shower and New Home Cake. Date October 2006. Location Alameda County, California. Digital Image. Privately held by Msteri, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE] California. 2008

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Tombstone Tuesday ~ Heredia, Costa Rica

Heredia Cemetery. Date April 30, 2008. Location Heredia, Costa Rica, Central America. Digital Image. Privately held by Msteri, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE] California. 2008

This is a view of the only cemetery located in Heredia, Costa Rica. I was amazed to see all of the burial sites elevated on top of the ground. I am used to seeing headstones and the burials under ground, although I remember when we were back in Pennsylvania we saw graves elevated same as these. This Californian had her eyes opened in the last year with cemeteries.

The graves are all nicely finished, some in cement and many with tile. Some are plain and some are rather elaborate. Many have several family members in one plot. My family spent a bit of time there, but this genealogist would have loved to spend more time there than we actually did. I was fortunate to even get to the cemetery as my family just doesn't see the "vacation" in doing this. Some of the family didn't even come along.

The entrance to this cemetery does not have a name attached to it, although I know it is the only cemetery located here. There is not an office located on the site either.

All over the country I remember seeing cemeteries such as this one. Six months prior when we were in Pennsylvania, I was so amazed at seeing plots elevated above ground, that I actually had a tour bus stop for me so I could take a picture. Then in Costa Rica, they were all this way.

My spouse has family buried in this cemetery, look for future posts elaborating on them.

Thanks for stopping by!

Wishing you success in all of your genealogical treasure hunts!


Monday, October 20, 2008

Seventeen Years Ago Today

Seventeen years ago today I had my family over to celebrate my mother's birthday. It was a great day with my family, and we were enjoying each others company. Mother had opened her gifts and we were getting ready to have a nice meal.

The television was on and for some reason we all caught wind of the flash alert across the screen. It seems there was a hugh fire going on in the Oakland Hills. The newscasters were talking about mandatory evacuations, and all of a sudden my family's hearts sunk. It was like the world came to a sudden stop. We listened eagerly, trying to hear exactly where the evacuations were.

You see, my grandparents lived up in the Oakland Hills and we were all very concerned about them. Suddenly my phone was a hot line. Calls were going out and coming out. My husband, even though it was out of his district, immediately was called to go to work, and he left to head for the hills! My father was trying to find my grandfather. We were all in shock..........and I can't even remember what happened with my dinner......It was a very strange turn of events for my mother's birthday celebration.

As it turned out, my grandparents were fine, my house didn't catch fire (from not caring about dinner), and my husband was gone for a week working, but came home safe and sound. He worked for the power company and what a mess there was! Being there with the fire still roaring and watching more devastation take place was tough. The clean up and rebuilding afterwards was unbelievable.

My husband took me up there a few weeks after the storm. He had told me how it looked like a bomb had hit and it felt and looked like the middle of a war zone. I feel fortunate to have been able to see this devastation as the news just didn't do it justice. Charred ground everywhere. Houses gone, trees gone, a community gone, lives to rebuild. It was a nightmare. If you have heard of seeing a Weber barbecue being the only thing recognizable, this is true. I saw one and the remains of a brick fireplace, beyond that soot and blackness.

Well, it has been seventeen years ago today that this famous Oakland Hills fire raged and tore peoples lives away. My grandparents were fortunate, but many others weren't. Some people rebuilt there lives in the same location, others left for good. Either way, I still can't imagine how drastically it would have changed their lives.

It seems like yesterday.

Thanks for stopping by!

Wishing you success in all of your genealogical treasure hunts!


Sunday, October 19, 2008

Getting Serious Class-Probate Records

Pop Question - Can you explain what the term "orphan" referred to?

My class yesterday was another real eye opener! Any of our ancestors affiliations with the government would have taken place at the county courthouse. So, the coverage of the class involved county courthouse records, primarily probate records.

Our fabulous instructor covered the who, why, and wherefore's of probate. The purposes of probate, the probate process and the many records that could be available for us to research. Again, I was impressed and amazed at the records involved.

Here are some records possibly available when a probate is involved:

Petition to Administer the Estate
Hearing on the Petition
Bonds posted by the Executor
Letters Testamentary
Letters of Administration
Inventory of property
Creditor's claims
Interim accounts
Sales of property
Determination of widows rights
Guardians for minors
Bond changes
Final settlement

What a lot of information there is to be found in probate records! Most information will be found in courthouses, but you may find notices printed in newspapers also. Information on siblings, the living spouse (if there is one) , along with possible occupation and social status are just a tidbit of info you may find. Locating and viewing the inventory of property can really give you a sense of the social status of the deceased.

Key points from the class~

1. If you know your ancestor owned property, but can't locate a probate file, check the land records. A large amount of land was transferred to heirs prior to death, therefore bypassing probate.

2. Probate didn't always take place immediately after death. You may have to check a large range of years.

3. Knowledge of inheritance laws of the area and time period is necessary for a complete understanding of probate records.

The list of actual records to search total over 50, I never would have realized the abundance of records probate could entail.

I have not had the opportunity as of yet to research probate files, but I have the information now to know what to search for, where to search and what I may find.

Answer to pop question - "Orphan" usually referred to a minor whose father was deceased. The mother may still be living!

Thanks for stopping by!

May you have success in all of your genealogical treasure hunts!


Friday, October 17, 2008

Feelings on Friday

Having not felt well this week, I took a couple days off from work sick, a difficult thing for me to do, but probably this best thing I did. I haven't had much ambition to "think" very hard about anything. So at this point I can offer to share some feelings I have had the last few days, they tend to come easy when I am ill.

With just under a couple months from starting this blog, I feel I have been blessed. I have been able to participate in a meme, a few carnivals and a couple of challenges. They have been so much fun!

These events put you in a position to focus on whatever the subject is. I'd find myself wondering, before I was blogger, if I would have ever written stories on my own. Probably not. In fact, 100% probably not. Many articles I used to read said to me, "you can write about that" and I would add it to my list of things to write about. Did I do it? No. Writing for these events has given me written information I would never have written on my own.

I am grateful to everyone who pulls together these events and thinks of the subject line. They make me spend time writing, thinking and enjoying in another way, the genealogy field. If you have followed the Genea-Bloggers at all and have had even an iota of thought to starting a blog, I suggest you go for it. It has been extremely rewarding for me already! The best part, if you can top that, is the socialization with the genealogy community. They are the most supportive, helpful and fun group to be involved with! I thank you!

The only thing I regret is not having the time to enter and do everything! I have learned I need to pick and choose. I have also found there may be subjects I don't feel ready to write about, and that it is ok. Not everything is for everyone. In time my confidence and experience will change that, I am sure.

In the last couple of months I have accomplished more with my genealogy than I had in a long time. Not so much with "Happy Dances" from researching or adding that date I didn't have. Instead I have been learning about blogging and genealogy from the classes I am taking. I haven't actually done much research in a very long time, but I have been able to organize what I do have in an even better way than before. Believe it or not, I do not have piles of paper on my desk waiting to be scanned or filed or reviewed. I have maybe one pile an inch thick of notes I want to redo, neatly. Other than some photos, everything else I have accumulated is filed properly.

With that said however, I have a lot of work ahead of me still. I struggle with sourcing and need to really strive to learn to do it properly. I have known I should do Family Group Sheets and Research Logs, but it has never been a priority. Before I continue researching I want to make sure I am doing everything properly, so later on I am not in a bigger mess! In the past year, I have worked to organize, clean, scan, file and learn. And what I have learned is that I need to learn more!

I want to thank all the Genea-Bloggers for being so delightful, amazing, helpful and encouraging. You are all great teachers and I learn from you. To all the readers, the Genea-Bloggers thank you. Leaving comments regarding our posts reminds us we are not just blogging to ourselves, it gives us encouragement and excitement to continue!

Thanks for stopping by!

Wishing you success in all of your genealogical treasure hunts!


Thursday, October 16, 2008

Pier 39 ~ Wordless Wednesday

The picture I posted yesterday is one of my favorites taken a couple weeks ago when our daughter was here for a visit from Tennessee. She brought a little girl with her who is six. This little girl has been a BIG part of our daughter's life since this child was born. She had never been to California, so it was our duty to entertain her as much as possible for the short time they were here.

We chose to take the family to "The City" the day after their arrival. Once in San Francisco, we took a cable car to get down to the wharf. I found out later that this was the first time my daughters had ever been on a cable car! Oh, did we parents get blamed for that one!

One of the highlights for this little girl was to see the bay, and another was most definitely the sea lions! She loved hem, especially when they were "barking" away. This picture happens to show where we were and in the background you can see bits of the Golden Gate Bridge. Also in the background you can see a ship, the Jeremiah Johnson. One day I will post more about the significance to me of this ship.

For lunch we went to Bubba Gumps. A spectacular view from our table was most entertaining. Watching the fishing boats, speed boats, cruise boats and sail boats across the bay made for great conversation during lunch. Beyond that we had the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz and the beautiful clear day!

After much sight seeing, shopping and eating, we wore ourselves out. This photo will always remind me of the trip the six year old was able to make to see California for the first time.

Thanks for stopping by!

Wishing you success in all of your genealogical treasure hunts!


Would You Care To Comment?

I accepted the challenge from Kathryn at Looking4Ancestors! Her blog is @ She has challenged us to leave at least 10 comments on the blogs we read. Such a great idea! I am guilty in that there are many blogs I read and most of the time I have not left comments like I should have. This has changed me forever though! I love getting comments and I know other bloggers do also. This challenge will help the genealogy blogging community get better acquainted and we can show support to our fellow bloggers.

I believe I have left many more than 10 comments this week so far, but here 10 I have chosen to share with you!

1. Looking4ancestors, "Would you Care to comment?" @

2. Creative Gene, "Who's Dog's Rule? These do!" @

3. Janet the Researcher, "Thanksgiving Canadian Style" & "Almost Wordless Wednesday-Beautiful Colour" @ and respectively. I suppose I could count these as two......but I won't. The is a fairly new to me blog!

4. Kinexxions, "Peruse our Virtual Album and Tickle your funny Bone!" @

5. All My Branches, "I've Been Tagged for a Mime" @ This is a new to me blog.

6. Spence-Lowry Family History, "I'm Still Here" @

7. Taylor-Stales Genealogy, "Wordless Wednesday....ummmmm" @ A new to me blog.

8. Before My Time, "Tickle" @ A new to me blog.

9. I dream of Genea(logy), "Smile For the Camera" Another fairly new to me blog.

10. Shades of the Departed, "Aug. 29 - Friday from the Collectors" @

So there you have it~Have you posted comments lately? They were fun to do and we all love them!

Thanks for stopping by!

Wishing you success in all of your genealogical treasure hunts!


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Footnote Maven Tagged Me for a Meme!

I have not been tagged for a meme before, so this is new! I happened to be reading Footnote Maven's blog and was enjoying this post when all of a sudden the end of the Meme I found she had tagged me! Surprised, yes I was! Very surprised! Yes, thank you, I will play along!

10 years ago I~

--was a Cosmetologist
--was getting involved with Harley Davidson Motorcycles
--played golf
--hadn't even thought of genealogy

7 Things On Today's To Do List~

--read all the new genealogy info
--homework for the genealogy class
--set up new files and relocate
--order a couple genealogy books I have been wanting
--watch my almost 2 year old grandson for about 4 hours
--attend a Harley meeting
--work on Family Group sheets

5 Snacks I Enjoy~

--ice cream
--granola cereal
--apples and peanut butter
--anything chocolate

5 Places I Have Lived ~

--San Ramon, Ca.
--Hayward, Ca.
--San Leandro, Ca.
--Oakland, Ca.
--San Lorenzo, Ca.

5 Jobs I Have Had ~

--Events Coordinator
--Human Resources
--Harley Davidson Motor clothes sales

Now I am suppose to pass this on to five other "Newbie" Genea-Bloggers, although I am not sure what is considered a newbie, but here I go!

I will tag......

--Find Your Folks @
--Spence-Lowry Family History @
--Taylorstales Genealogy @
--Grace and Glory @
--Life's Journey @

Now it is your turn to tag!

Thanks for stopping by!

Wishing you success in all of your genealogical treasure hunts!


Halloween Hauntings - Fact or Fiction?

There were two women who lived together for many years. These were the later years of their lives. They did just about everything together, shopping, meals, day trips to the market and such. They were great companions for each other. Conversation, communication and companionship made the arrangement wonderful for both of these women.

Eventually though, the conversation became less, communication varied. One night the younger of the two women was totally exhausted, went to bed, called it a night. She was in peaceful calm sleep, dreaming away. All of a sudden her eyes opened, she instinctively knew something wasn't quite right. What she saw frightened her terribly!

There, along side of her bed was the other woman, standing in the pitch dark of night. But that wasn't the worst of it! This other woman was bent over the bed with a pair of scissors in her hand aiming them at the younger woman's chest...............READY TO STAB HER!!!

The younger woman couldn't imagine if this was a dream or reality! What happened next???

Find out in a later edition!

This is posted for the 58th Edition of the Carnival of Genealogy "Halloween Hauntings - Fact or Fiction?" After all entries for this carnival have been posted, the time will eventually come to find out if the entries are really fact or fiction. Come back to find out the truth!

So what do you think? Is this story fact or fiction? Please leave comments and let me know your thoughts!

Thanks for stopping by!

Wishing you success in all of your genealogical treasure hunts!


Wordless Wednesday ~ Pier 39

Pier 39, Date October 5, 2008. Location San Francisco, California. Digital Image. Privately held by Msteri, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE] California, 2008.

Thanks for stopping by!

Wishing you success in all of your genealogical treasure hunts!


Sunday, October 12, 2008

Getting Serious Class - Military Records

This class covered the Military Timeline. Each United States war was discussed and we were given the types of records available and what you will find in these records. We were informed where original records would be found and the many online references available. The variety of records to search through are bountiful! A few new to me websites were nice surprises.

A basic outline of the records to be searched covers the military career of the service person. Samples available to us include:

The draft
Enlistment papers
Muster rolls, pay rolls, hospital records, court martials etc.
Discharge papers
Pension and bounty land applications
Veterans homes and possibly more hospital records
Headstone applications

Looking at military records in this manner really opens what may be available and gives a definite plan to follow. And again, the list of reference areas was wonderful! I have to admit I am one who has basically used one site online thus far, and lately I am flooded with many other sites, how to use them and what is available. Really can't wait to start digging deeper!

Thanks for stopping by!

Wishing you success in all of your genealogical treasure hunts!


Immigration Passenger Lists Post 5 ~ Markings in Occupation Column

(Notes from a Study Group I attended)

Obviously this column lists a person's occupation or trade. The annotations in this column generally didn't have anything to do with an occupation. Annotations may be numbers, dates, words and letters.

In 1926 clerks began to note record checks, or verification and certification activity of naturalization's in this column. Because of a terrible scandal regarding fraudulent naturalizations this came into affect. The annotations noted would prevent anyone else from using a record for another naturalization. These annotations actually may be seen on manifests prior to 1926 as well as after 1926. The markings prior to 1926 related to activity occurring in 1926 or after however.

Verification of naturalization annotations had a specific format. It would have one or more of the following:

District Number - where the application was filed
Application Number
Date of Verification
Document issued - which would be a form number

At times clerks couldn't be sure a record found was actually related to the person who claimed their arrival record on their naturalization application. There may be minor differences of age, hair color, eye color, etc. In these cases you will see an annotation of "No CA", which meant no certificate of arrival.

Prior to June 30, 1906 there wasn't a "No CA" annotation. An "X" between the district number and the application number meant the passenger did not have to pay the Certification of Arrival Fee. A reference of "C.L." or "C/L" was annotated meaning a Certificate of Landing. A Certificate of Landing served the same as a Certificate of Arrival in the naturalization process.

Interpreting verification for naturalization annotations isn't always easy. The notations do not indicate when the immigrant initiated naturalization. The application number is apparently useless in finding these records. The district number is of limited help, as it will at least give an idea of where the immigrant was living when they filed their application.

The Naturalization Service would sometimes change the districts and this would be very confusing if you don't know what district is what in a given year. A certain city might be District #5 in 1927 but in 1931 it may be District #10.

District numbers by years are listed here -

1926-1929 -
1929-1933 -

(This study group followed the article "A Guide to Interpreting Passenger List Annotations" by Marion L. Smith, Historian, U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service. With assistance of Elise Freedman, Flora Gursky and Eleanor Bien.)

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Wishing you success in all of your genealogical treasure hunts!


Friday, October 10, 2008

"Dogs Rule Day!"

Riley. Date October 11, 2008. Location Riley's home, California. Digital Photo. Privately held by Msteri, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE] California, 2008

Dogs have been members of people's families for years. For some, dogs may be the "only children" they have ever had. For others, a dog may be their "main" companion. And still for others, some dogs are guides. But most dogs are pets and with this being Dog's Rule Day, let me introduce you to our "son," Riley, also affectionately called "Moose," a nickname my husband gave him.

Riley joined our family almost 10 years ago. He is an English Springer Spaniel. We bought him from a breeder, he was the "misfit" of the litter. The white stripe down the front of his nose goes off to the side and not straight like a well bred dog's stripe should be. But we didn't care, his crooked stripe actually added character! After all, we never planned on showing our dog, we just knew we wanted a Springer Spaniel. Wouldn't you know I took the strongest liking to the "misfit"?

I should have realized what we were getting into with this dog when I first saw him playing so rambunctiously. He is the most hyper dog I think I have ever owned. I call him the dog that bounces off my walls. So high strung, I was sure he would have a heart attack someday.

When he was young, he was tough to keep up with. Don't open the front door, or you will be in the car chasing him down, he was so dang fast! The Obedience Trainer gave up on him because he wouldn't sit still for 2 seconds. I almost hated for the doorbell to ring, Riley was sure whomever was there came just to see him. He would get so excited and jump on anyone that came through the door. We would wait to see if his tail was going to fall off, he would shake it so crazily.

Riley has mellowed, but it was a long time until he mellowed. He has always been a great people dog, except when it comes to the Veterinarian! There have been a couple of them that refused to even get close to him. It is the only time Riley has ever growled, and it has been at the Doctors.

Luckily one of my daughters is a Veterinary Technician and she has a "mother, son" relationship with Riley. Through her he has been extremely well taken care of. I have always said that her three dogs and my dog have been better taken care of than a lot of peoples children.

Riley is spoiled, he has to sleep next to me, in my bed. He has special times when he gets treats, but somehow he manages to work more of those treats in. He has his own chair in the family room, two beds (but still chooses to sleep with me at night) and gets toys you know he will chew up in 30 seconds. He has always had the run of the house and can come and go outside as he pleases.

"The Moose" loves the park. He will run and run and run and run and run...I would literally have to drag him away to take him home, or he would run until he died. He never knows when enough is enough. He also gets vacations! Yes, he goes to my daughters house when we are away, and he socializes with her menagerie of 3 large dogs and 4 cats. We tend to be gone several times a year so he gets many vacations, at least he is always happy to come home!

Riley gives so much back to us all. He has a clock inside of him that says "mommy is coming home" and will be waiting for the garage door to open and for me to walk in. My husband says he actually senses the time and will go wait for me. He loves lots of love, hugs, play time, and scratches. We have many great memories and plan to spend extra time with him on "Dog's Rule Day."

As I am writing this "The Moose" is in his chair snoring away in deep slumber. Soon, as I turn out the lights, he will be at the steps waiting for me to go upstairs to bed. Eat, sleep, play, look for some loving... oh, the life of Riley!

Thanks to Jasia at (Creative Gene) for doing a round up of posts for "Dogs Rule Day" and Thomas MacEntee at (Destination: Austin Family) for bringing it to her and our attention.

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Wishing you success in all of your genealogical treasure hunts!


Thursday, October 9, 2008

It Tickles My Funny Bone!

James Fleming, Date unknown. Location Knotts Berry Farm, California. Digital Image. Privately held by Msteri, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE] California, 2008.

During my recent scanning adventures I happened to run across a few pictures that "Tickled My Funny Bone!" The photos reminded me of the great sense of humor that this side of the family carried with them throughout their lives. It was tough to choose just one picture. Mostly the sense of humor in this line came out while speaking, as in telling jokes, being silly and maybe imitating someone famous. I do have a few "funnies" that are handwritten, and very precious to me, along with the few pictures. This family line is full of silliness!

As I am writing this and realize my personality tends to be more on the logical side, questions popped up in my mind. How will my ancestors see me in photos? Do I really want to be the one who takes the photos all the time? As much as I dislike having my photo taken, shouldn't I really be in more of them?

My sense of humor comes out on very rare occasions. I will throw people of kilter and surprise them when it does come out. So I guess when I do cut loose, I do it good! I can remember only one picture off the top of my head that I have of me actually being a little silly. I am not sure that is enough.

My thoughts of this "Funny Bone" article has sent me back to some wonderful, fun times, and I have really enjoyed dwelling on them. So much so, that I think I will make a conscious effort to have more "silly" pictures of me taken for my ancestors to reminisce over when their turn comes.

This post submitted for the 6th edition of Smile for the Camera carnival.

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Wishing you success in all of your genealogical treasure hunts!


The Sphere ~ Wordless Wednesday

I wanted to give the information that is on the plaque where The Sphere has been placed. It will help to understand what is is ~

"For three decades this sculpture stood in the plaza of the World Trade Center. Entitled "The Sphere, " it was conceived by artist Fritz Koenig as a symbol of World Peace. It was damaged during the tragic events of September 11, 2001, but endures as an icon of hope and the indestructible spirit of this country. The Sphere was placed here on March 11, 2002 as a temporary memorial to all who lost their lives in the terrorist attacks at The World Trade Center.

This eternal flame was ignited on September 11, 2002 in honor of all of those who were lost. Their spirit And Sacrifice will never be forgotten."

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Wishing you success in all of your genealogical treasure hunts!


Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Wordless Wednesday ~ "The Sphere"

"The Sphere" Date October 2007, Place close by Battery Park, New York. Digital Image by Msteri. Privately held by Msteri, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE] California, 2008.

Tombstone Tuesday ~ Viola Breithaupt

Viola L. Breithaupt headstone. Date October 27, 2007. Location Hawley, Pennsylvania. Digital Image. Privately held by Mysteri, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE] California, 2008.

I was so excited to get this picture of my great aunt last year when I made my first ever genealogy/vacation trip to Pennsylvania. I have learned so much since this picture was taken. First, I should have taken the picture at a different time of day. Then shadows would have been eliminated. This was the best photo I could get showing her name.

Second, I realize that I didn't have the name of the cemetery noted with the picture. I am going to have to do a bit of research to update the name.

As you notice, the date of her death is missing. It looks at though "19 " was engraved, but never finished. I have the death year as abt. 1966. If the date was ever engraved on the headstone, it looks almost as if it had been removed.

The stop at this cemetery was not a planned stop. We had actually driven through this town a day or two prior and I didn't realize I had family buried in the town at the time. When we were back at our room and I was going through papers, I realized I did have family buried there. It made me ill to think I missed it. My husband was kind enough to take me there again.

When we entered into the town, we stopped at the post office and I asked where the cemetery was located. The town was so small I never thought there could be more than one cemetery. I was wrong, there are at least three. Once I figured roughly the possible burial date we were given the directions and came to the cemetery where my great aunt was buried.

I was so overjoyed to actually get to the cemetery, that I never thought to take a photo of the name of the cemetery. Actually I am not sure there was a name displayed, because I am generally pretty consistent about doing that. Either way, updating needs to be done.

I also didn't realize I should talk to the office to see what additional information they may have recorded. Again, I am not sure there actually was an office located on those grounds, I don't remember seeing one. Had there been more time I am sure I could have found more information about this cemetery but as it was I felt very fortunate that my husband even took me back there! (He is a pretty great guy!)

I have learned a lot looking back on this photo...and as I was hoping, blogging brought it to my attention! Please, feel free to comment if there is anything else I could have or should have done!

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Wishing you success in all of your genealogical treasure hunts!


Monday, October 6, 2008

Class-Vital Records

In class last Saturday we discussed vital records. What are vital records? They are records that were created because of a life event that occurred. Vital records include birth, marriage, and death certificates and even divorce records.

Where can we locate these records? Church records, cemeteries and newspapers are a few ideas to help us with our research. Many online sites, town and county records are other ideas to look into.

This lesson taught us how to begin looking for these records and how every search will be unique. Each search will depend first on what we already know and this will start us on the path to our next discovery. Each vital record has it's own discrete information that will be revealed, so depending what information we find on a given record, that information will guide us through to the next step.

The instructor tested us on direct and indirect evidence with these records. Later on we also were reminded of primary or secondary information. It was emphasized that we must locate original copies!

I wish I realized earlier on not to only take pictures of tombstones and headstones but to also see what records the cemetery carries. They may maintain sexton records along with cemetery deed and plat books. There may be records including burial permits, grave openings and re locations. How many records have I overlooked this far? Oh, maybe I'd rather not think about that right now...

Again I took a lot of notes and with the addition of our class handout, we were informed of many directions to research. Instructions on seeking these vital records was most informative. Seeing sample records showed us the important information we can learn from any given record.

This class sounds like it was basics, but oh no! I again have pages of notes and left with the desire to spend the next 24 hours researching! I certainly hope my notes are clear, by the time I get back to them they had better make sense and get me fired up like the instructor did! I have to admit that the last two weeks have been whoppers for me, and I have not had the time to research or work on any of my homework. (very sad face)

I do hope the next week or two I can get caught up again, there should be more free time to do so. It is most important for me to work with these new bits of information while they are fresh in my mind!

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Wishing you success in all of your genealogical treasure hunts!


Sunday, October 5, 2008

Follow Up on Tables Are Turned

I received a response from my cousin regarding the information I e-mailed her about her paternal grandfather. (I blogged about this in my last post).

She was very happy that I found some of the information she had in question regarding this side of her family. My cousin said I did a good job, and told me I was right with the information. She confirmed her grandparents names and even remembered 7 of their children's names! She also remembered a girl who had died. I need to go back and look at everything I found and send her additional information. I really wanted her to verify it was the correct family before I got carried away giving her information that may not have been who she was looking for.

My cousin shared with me that at some point and time she had gone to the courthouse in Scranton, Pennsylvania and tried to look up records of her grandfather and his side of the family. At the time she was only able to find deaths of the children who had past away.

She recalls the house her grandfather's lived in and said it is still there, at least it was the last time she was visited. My cousin described it to me and all of the surroundings. She remembers riding ice sleds in the snow there.

Her grandfather was Roman Catholic and now of course she is wondering where exactly he was born. I will send her some additional information I have on them and try to find where in Ireland her grandfather was born!

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Wishing you success in all of your genealogical treasure hunts!


Friday, October 3, 2008

Tables Have Changed

I have a first cousin once removed whom I met as a child but never knew while I was growing up. After I was involved in genealogy for a few years and had been asking family members for all of the stories I could get from them, one of my family members suggested I contact this person, who only lived about 10 miles from me.

I contacted her and we met. It was wonderful. She shared so much with me about the family, pictures, stories, and memories. Through her I have met more family relations. I visited her and her husband occasionally and we always had such wonderful visits.

Unfortunately, she lost her husband in July. He was a sweet, dear man, and lived a wonderful 91 years! To imagine, they were married about 64 years! My cousin is moving forward the best as can be expected, considering. She has moved in with her daughter and is now a little further away from me, but we keep in contact via email.

This cousin of mine made a remark in one of her recent emails that she would like to do some research to find out about her paternal grandparents. It doesn't sound like she knows much about them and her father couldn't really help her when she had asked him years ago. He thought his parents were born either in Ireland or Pennsylvania. Tonight I decided to see what I could find, it was my turn to try to give her some information. Maybe I could bring a new spark of life to my cousin!

I did a quick check on the censuses and first found conflicting evidence of where the grandparents were born. Starting from the most recent census, it looked like they both were born in Pennsylvania. I went further back in time on each census and eventually found these grandparents with their children. This one stated grandpa was born in Ireland and grandma was born in Pennsylvania. No wonder her father wasn't sure, he was right all along, but didn't know which one was born where. A couple different censuses verified this information.

As dad grew older and his census time came with his own family, his parents were listed as being born in Pennsylvania. Lack of knowledge? Lack of memory? Unsure who was born where? Simplicity? It can all happen! By going back further and further it all made sense, and I did find one of the grandparents was born in Ireland. Actually the grandmother's parents were also born in Ireland.

Earlier this evening I emailed a lot of the information I found in the census records to my cousin. We will see how it all fits into her memory, or not. I am hoping she is happy about what I found and it keeps her mind thinking about her Irish side of the family, and maybe a little less time missing her husband so.

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Wishing you success in all of your genealogical treasure hunts!


Wednesday, October 1, 2008

"Getting to Know You"

I would be really amiss if I didn't steer you to Terry Thorton's blog, Hill Country of Monroe County at ~

Terry has challenged bloggers to post an article about themselves and their blogs. The introductions alone have me curled up on edge wanting to read more! Make sure when you go to his page you click the title for an amazing intro to the collections of posts. I haven't even read one post yet, I am still enjoying the introductions and his presentation. There are 40 posts that I can hardly wait to start reading! See how nice I was though, I stopped my reading just so I could share this with you!

Terry listed these posts of the "Brightest, Breeziest and Beautiful" of participating bloggers in three separate posts. They are ~




I know the articles are awesome, they are from the wonderful world of Genea-Bloggers! Although I am running on sleep deprivation already, I have to go read some of these posts now! Won't you join me?

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Wishing you success in all of your genealogical treasure hunts!


Wordless Wednesday ~ My grandson

My grandson, age 18 months. Date April 24 2008. Place Cahuita, Costa Rica, Central America. Digital Image by Msteri, privately held by Msteri. [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE] California. 2008