Saturday, July 4, 2015

4th of July Memories

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I don't remember any special 4th of July festivities when I was growing up in the 1950's.  Elmhurst had a Memorial Day Parade every year which I duly marched in as a Brownie and Girl Scout, but I don't remember a 4th of July Parade.  I think at the time the various surrounding communities shared the parades.  Of course there were always the big city parades to attend.  Though I don't remember the parades, I do remember the fire works.  Sometimes we would go to the park and lay on the grass to watch the spectacle in the skies and sometimes dad would park along the side of the road for our viewing plaesure. Back at home there were sparklers and black cows (root beer floats) to end the day.

Fast forward to the 1960's and celebrating the holiday at my in-Laws.  My in-laws happened to live on Main St in Wheaton.  Wheaton had a huge parade every year and it just happened to go right past my in-laws front door. The 4th of July was an all day occasion at my inlaws.  Early in the morning the step-ladder would be set up at the end of the drive-way.  This would be m father-in-law's perch as he took photos of almost every entry in the parade. Next the lawn chairs would line-up across the front lawn to save places for expected guests. Sometimes there were playpens and strollers too!
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Friends, family, and friends of family were all included. This was a mlti generational event, involving grandparents and great-grandparentsas well as parents, babies and children of all ages.  The fridge in the basement was full of soda for the children and the beer was in a cooler in the driveway.  Hot dogs and hamburgers were kept warm on the Weber grill for snacking during the parade.  When the parade was over the party moved to the backyard for the picnic part of the day.  The food was the same every year:sloppy joes, potato salad, macaroni salad, various relishes, and for desert glorified rice or ambrosia salad and Always ice cold watermelon!! About 7 pm, those who wanted to watch the fireworks would pack up for the 3 block trek to the park.  The sidewalks and even the streets were full of people heading in the same directions,  At the park, blankets would be spread and strollers parked.  Portable radios would be tuned to the same station and decks of cards would come out to while away the time until the show began.  Then it was time for the "OOOOH"s and "AHHH"s.  After the show was over it was time to join the tidal wave of humanity heading back to Main St.At the house, those who chose not to go to the park had moved their chairs back to the front driveway so they could see the arial displays. The advantage here was that babies too young to appreciate fireworks could be safely left behind. I believe this continued until they moved to Florida in the early 1980s.
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When our children grew older and joined Scouts we both marched with them and watched from the sidelines as they participated in the parade in Elburn.  Between Scouting and the Kaneland Band our kids were in 4th of July parades until they graduated from high school. One year when we lived in Elburn, we and 2 neighbors bought the same album of patriotic songs and at a pre-appointed time opened all our windows and dropped the needle and full volume.  It certainly added a festive note to the day!

Often when we lived in Kaneville we would watch fireworks from our deck, while listening to the Boston Pops on the radio.

Living in Florida we celebrated sometimes at the beach and sometimes at home in the pool. Dave went back to being in parades with the Knights of Columbus.  One year we even watched the fireworks at the Naples Pier.

Dave and I were lucky enough to help celebrate the 4th on a military base in Germany.  That brought the meaning of the holiday home in a special way.

I have also celebrated the 4th of July in the mountains of Colorado after a hailstorm.

Now it has come full circle as my daughter and son-in-law watch their children help their communitiy celebrate the holiday as Scouts and Band members.

Off all the ways I have celebrated  the 4th of July, I think the "Wheaton Years" hold the strongest memories both because of their duration but also because of the memories of the family and friends associated with those years.  I know that borh of my kids asociate the "Wheaton Years" with the 4th of July.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Bright Shiny Objects - They Are Everywhere!!

image: navy83girl.deviantart.com


In late December, I committed to the Genealogy Do Over.  I had already begun a partial do-over by selecting a family line and reviewing every person an piece of paper for any missed or overlooked information,  at the same time creating source citations that were missing.  It is one of my failings, not creating source citations as I enter details.  Fortunately I have kept the order cards from the microfilms I have used for my research.

In January I entered the Do Over in earnest.  Enter BSO #1!
image: richardburn.com
 I had plans to attend FGS2015/RootsTech in February.  With a few extra days included for my first visit to the Family History Library, there was the need to plan to make the most effective use of my time at the Library.  I decided to concentrate on two of my husband's Swedish ancestors for whom I had no place of birth or accurate date of birth.  I created a research plan and timeline for both.  Another part of my plan was to check out the Library's holdings for Ireland, especially Counties Limerick and Cork.  These are the ancestral homes of my maternal grandparents.  While I was not very successful in my plan, I was successfully distracted from the Do Over for most of February and a good part of March.  I do not easily admit defeat in searching for clues.

After I returned from Salt Lake City, I went back to the Do Over and finished reviewing the original line I began working on in July 2014 and continued on to another line, following up on my Swedish research.  At RootsTech I attended a class on using the Arkiv Digital to find Swedish records.  To use this program you must first know the place where your ancestor lived.  This resource is free to use at the Family History Centers.  Having learned in class that the immigration records are part of the police records, I have been able to find the record of my husbands great-grandmother Caroline Nelsson leaving Sweden in 1871 to go to Boston, Massachusetts.  

In late March, I became aware of a free class offered online by Trinity University in Dublin, Ireland. It is a six week class titled: Irish Lives in War and Revolution: Exploring Ireland's History 1912-1923. Enter BSO #2!
image: disruptiveconversations.com
 The counties that my maternal grandparents came from in Ireland were heavily involved in the fight for freedom.  " learning the history solves the mystery" right.  How could I not follow that BSO?  While my grandparents were already in the United States at this time, they each had atleast one sibling still living and working in Ireland and they also traveled back to visit several times.  Knowing that they responded to the census question on "Place of Birth" with Irish Free State in 1940 leaves me with little doubt about their leanings.


As I continue the Do Over, I know I will be distracted at time by other BSOs like webinars, conferences, traveling, and life in general but I have resolved to keep returning back to the goals of the experience.  I will never finish in the 13 week cycle of even in a year, but I will accomplish quite a bit this year.

Oh, there is BSO #3 Jamboree in June!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Saturday Genealogy Fun - Which Date is the Correct Birth Date for Alice?

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun -- The Date Your Grandmother Was Born

It's Saturday Night, 
time for more Genealogy Fun!!


For this week's mission (should you decide to accept it), I challenge you to:
1)  What day of the week was your Grandmother born (either one)? Tell us how you found out.

2)  What event was a headline in the newspapers on that date?  Tell us how you found out.


3) What has happened in recorded history on your Grandmother's birth date (day and month)? Tell us how you found out, and list five events.


4)  What famous people have been born on your Grandmother's birth date?  Tell us how you found out, and list five of them.

5)  Put your responses in your own blog post, in a comment on this blog post, or in a status or comment on Facebook.

Because it is St Patrick's Day, I have chosen to begin with my Irish Grandmother Alice Fleming Connery,  According to family tradition, Alice was born to Thomas and Mary Hennessy Fleming on 1 January 1872 in Ballylanders, Co Limerick, Ireland.  Although Irish Civil Registration provides this information:

Alace Fleming
Ireland Births and Baptisms
Name:Alace Fleming
Gender:Female
Birth Date:31 Dec 1871
Birthplace:Limerick, Ireland
Father's Name:Thomas Fleming
Mother's Name:Mary Hennessy
Indexing Project (Batch) Number: C01237-8 , System Origin: Ireland-EASy , GS Film number:255846 , Reference ID: v 4-2 p 993 *
I cannot at this time determine which is the correct date although I suspect that the actual birth was 31 Dec 1871 with a baptism date of 1 Jan 1871.  Perhaps this summer when the Catholic Church records for Ireland are released the actual date can be determined.  For this project I will use both dates.  
Alice was born either on Sunday 31 Dec 1871 or on Monday 1 Jan 1872.  To determine this I used a google search for the phrase "calender January 1872"

These were the headlines in the New York Times on 31 Dec 1871 and below are the headings from the Chicago Tribune for 1 Jan .1872.

For this information I accessed my newspapers.com account.

Monday, February 23, 2015

FGS 2014 and FGS2015/Roots Tech Reflections

I've been home from Salt Lake City almost a week now.  While putting away the things of FGS2015/Roots Tech, I came across the schedule book from FGS 2014 which was the first FGS conference I attended.  I thought it might be interesting to compare my lecture choices for both to see if a pattern existed.

Gone to Texas
August 2014


For FGS 2014 I only attended two society session and one was about Society Projects with Thomas MacEntee.  This would cover things that our group could take on such as an indexing project. The second session was about "Marketing Your Society" with Marian Pierre-Louis and talked about ways to spark interest in your society.  The tracks these topics fell under were Society Projects and Outreach and Education respectively.

Over the next three days I attended five sessions dealing with Records, five sessions dealing with Methodology, one session on Research Strategies.  I also volunteered for 8 hours at the Welcome Desk and the Vendor Hall.  I did have time to visit the vendor hall and visit with both blogger friends and facebook friends.

Celebrating Families Across Generations
February 2015


For FGS2015 / Roots Tech  I was able to attend five sessions for Societies.  Topics included:  Communicating on a Shoestring Budget, Your Society Can't Afford to Do a Seminar? Here's How?, The Ethical Genealogist, Tips for Robust Society Websites, and Social Media for Societies: It's Not a Bandwagon, It's a Freight Train!  These sessions on Wednesday are all aimed at helping Society members help their groups grow and stay strong.

On Thursday FGS2015 began holding four sessions a day with six lectures per session.  At the same time Roots Tech began also holding four sessions a day with eighteen choices per time slot.  That is a total of twenty-four topic choices per session time!

Thursday I elected to attend Roots Tech offerings choosing to attend: Self-Publishing for Genealogists: Tips, Tricks, and Tools; Irish Records, Beyond the Obvious; What Can Public Libraries Offer Genealogists? and The Future of Genealogy - Indexed Obituaries.  These sessions fell under the tracks of Sharing, General, Find and Organize.  Actually except for the class on Self-Publishing, I would say they mostly fall into Records.

Friday morning I attended another Roots Tech class: Research Your Swedish Ancestors in Living Color Using ArkivDigital Online.  This is a program available at local Family History Centers but locally no one uses it or knows how to.  In the afternoon I went back to the FGS side of the convention center to attend:  German Genealogy on the Interner: Beyond the Basics; Doing History Eliminates the Mystery; Fraternal Orgnizations: Records and Resources; and Using Tax Records for Genealogical Problem Solving.

On Saturday I stayed on the FGS side again and attended "She Came From Nowhere: A Case Study Approach to Solving a Difficult Genealogical Problem; Beyond The Census: The Nonpopulation Schedules; Getting to Know Fold3; and Martha Benschura:  Enemy Alien.  At the close of the conferences I attended Dick Eastman's Dinner.  It was a great evening meeting and visiting with other genealogists.  Dick even had some door prizes and I was lucky enough to win a one year subscription to MyHeritags!

In looking back at the sessions attended in August and February I would say that most often my choices are records and methodology with occasional tools added!  I LOVE attending conferences!  What could be better?  Education, networking, and meeting old and new friends.  Bring it on!





Thursday, February 12, 2015

It has Been Five Years!! Five Years Since I Posted My First Blog!!

Happy Blogoversary to Me!  Five years ago Thomas MacEntee initiated a challange titled "Winter Games for Genealogists".   Something about it appealed to me, so I joined the fun.  Until that time I had been pretty much a solo genelogist.  I volunteered at the local Family History Center but didn't belong to any Societies or genealogy groups.  The Winter Games has changed all that.  I became a happy Geneablogger.  Reading other blogs gave me encouragement and inspiration.  The memes that Thomas publishes daily also helped me to select topics.

Following Genabloggers on Facebook helped me feel as though I knew the different bloggers by name and I was encouraged by their generosity and friendliness.  It was with some trepeditation that I signed up for the Southern California Genealogy Society Jamboree in June of 2010.  Once there I felt more than welcome,  genealogists are very friendly and love to talk to others.  I have been back several times and plan to go again this June.

Going to Jamboree taught me that there was a lot of education out there and I needed to take advantage of it.  Since my first trip to Jamboree, I have also taken four genealogy cruises, joined the Southern California Gebealogy Society, and the Illinois State Genealogy Society.  I have also joined a local genealogy group, Schertz Cibolo Valley Area Genealogists and as part of that group I am a member of FGS.  I am currently at my second FGS conference and my first Roots Tech,  I will also be making my first visit to the Family History Library before I return home.

Lynn Palmero's writing family history series of prompts has also helped me with inspiration and challanges.  There are so many people out there I'm not going to try to name them all but each and every genealogist out there has helped me to become a better genealogist.  Thank you all!  It all began with the 2010 Winter Games.


Wednesday, February 11, 2015

FGS 2015 Day 1 - Society Day

Unfortunately I missed the thw opening session which featured Curt Witcher, Jen Baldwin and Deena Cotant.  I really hope it was recorded since the topic was "Successfully Embracing the Future"

The sessions I did attend were "Communicating on a Shoestring Budget: Cost Effective Solutions for Societies" with Deena Coutant, "Your Society Can't Afford to Do  Seminar/ Here's How! with Paula Stuart-Warren, " The Ethical Genealogist" with Judy G Russell,  "Tips for Robust Society Websites" with Cindy Ingle, and "Social Media for Societies: It's Not a Bandwagon, It's a Freight Train!" with Rory Cathcart.
I tried to attend sessions that were not recorded although several were but all  the sessions were excellent.  Without a doubt Judy  Russell's session had the heaviest attendance and I am sure that Thomas MacEntee and Lisa Louise Cooke's sessions were also heavily attended.

With 3 days to go I know this is only the beginning!fgFGS2015 #fgs2015

Saturday, February 7, 2015

FGS 2015 Getting Ready to Research and Learn




It's almost here!! Something I have yearned to do but doubted I ever would.  My upcoming adventure to FGS2015, Roots Tech 2015 AND a visit to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City!!

I have been getting ready for about a month.  I have looked at the syllabus for FGS2015 but have not made any final choices for classes yet.  With 25 or more sessions per day to choose from, how do I ever decide?  That is not even including the Roots Tech sessions that will be going on.  I am staying a week even though both FGS2015 and Roots Tech last only four days.  I have built in some research time in the Family History Library too.  Looks like I will get some extra time in the Library since in addition to being open on President's Day, they are open until 9 pm.  Here is where I will need some serious time management skills.

In preparing for the research portion of my adventure, Since I am part of the Great Genealogy Do Over, I have created two different research logs.  Early on I decided to limit my research to two different areas which have been pretty much my brick walls.  On my husband's Swedish line there are two men for whom I have been unable to establish a birth date of place of birth.  I have a reasonable expectation of some success because of a finding aid available at the Library.  Wish me luck!  My second area to be searched is Limerick County, Ireland.  I have town and village names and lots of surnames to look for.  Both of my mother's parents and as far as I know all of her her ancestors came from County Limerick.  Given the reported state of  Irish records, I am hoping that there are some genealogies of other books that will help me with finding out more about my Irish.

I will Connect with genealogy facebook friends, Explore the Family History Library, and Refresh myself with new knowledge and enthusiasm!