Sunday, February 16, 2014

Our Own Childhood Memories... Saturday Night Fun~

The ever energetic Randy at Genea-Musings proposed a great idea for 'Saturday Night Fun', his weekly post... since I went to bed with the chickens on Saturday night, I'm just getting to his article early Sunday morning... His idea was inspired by the RootsTech keynote speech that Judy Lewis, the Legal Genealogist gave... demonstrating how easily family stories are lost & forgotten. [I've linked up to Randy, Judy & RootsTech in case you haven't seen them before you got to me... check them out!]

The questions Randy posed are about our own childhoods... and since I'm in my mid-30s, it hasn't been a super long time since I was a child... but I even had to think about a couple of the questions...

which are-
1)  What was your first illness as a child?
2)  What was the first funeral you attended?
3)  What was your favorite book as a child?
4)  What was your favorite class in elementary school?
5)  What was your favorite toy as a child?
6)  Did you learn how to swim, and where did you learn?

and my answers-

1) I think my only real illness was the chicken pox, which I came down with just as Summer began after 3rd grade, that whole Spring our class was ravaged by chicken pox. I, of course, waited until school was out to get it. Ugh. Otherwise I never had a broken bone, never had surgery, never spent time in the hospital, and never had any other strange/rare illnesses. Which was great, because my Mother was not one to take us to the doctor. In fact, we never went. I tease her still that we were like Christian Scientists...of course, we didn't really pray to get well either...

2) My Great-Uncle passed away when I was 11. That was the first funeral we all attended as a family. My Grandmother died in Arizona, and her illness was swift and uncertain, so I was left in Minnesota with my other Grandparents, and did not go to her funeral with the rest of my family. And when my Great-Grandma passed away, our neighbor lady Hazel walked across the street to watch my brother [still in diapers] and me, while my Mom when to the small funeral home service.

3) My favorite book as a child was probably the Box Car Children series, which I started ready in 2nd grade. I was a big reader, so a "favorite" book is really difficult. Even today, I can't really pick favorites.

4) Again, I don't know that I had a "favorite" class in elementary school... I loved to read and I really liked geography... So I think it was a toss up between them! School was easy for me [back then] so I like most classes I had.

5) My favorite toy was my large stuffed monkey "Georgie". I loved Georgie. I'd take him for wagon rides, etc and he was clearly my favorite toy for years. I have photos of me unwrapping him for Christmas... [wish the photos were scanned into the computer so I could insert one here... I was adorable then! So was Georgie].  I still have Georgie, though the wagon rides have ended.

6) Yes. I learned to swim. Though I was slow to do so, and was one of the older kids in my swimming lessons class, which was held at our local swimming pool. I was initially scared of the water. I hate the diving boards. The first time (or 3?) the instructor basically had to throw me off of the diving board...which I'm sure helped my fears [not really]. Though after a couple of Summers, I became a good swimmer and lived at the pool. When I was young, I had a traumatic [for me] water experience... a story my Dad loves to tell... but I will save for another day here [or never].
Ok. There are my answers....and some fond memories attached as well.
Not only is it a nice exercise for our own minds to relive some old a great motivator to get these & other questions answered by our family members...the older the better! I'm always prattling on about how we need to fully utilize the living, breathing family members we have!

Now, we should all take a little stroll down memory lane... and grab Grandma or Aunt Myrtle along for the ride!

Thanks to Randy for the challenge & to Judy for planting the seeds in the first place!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

1,000 Unmarked Graves in Mississippi...Forgotten & Lost

1,000 Unmarked Grave in Mississippi...Forgotten & Lost
Is there a growing crisis today in cemetery preservation?

 This story, which in the last week, as been making news nationwide...especially in the genealogical community, brings to light many questions!

I'm including a link to the original news story & video, so you can read it there... and I can skip rehashing it.....  Discovery of graves affects UMMC parking plan

Weed Cemetery in New Canaan, CT
January 2014
Photo compliments of Pamela S.
Unfortunately, while I'm passionate about cemetery preservation...I'm not very well educated on any groups or organizations that might exist. Recently, I posted about a neglected family cemetery in Connecticut, which is the final resting place for some of my very long ago ancestors. Today, we are constantly hearing about the abuse/neglect of ancient burial grounds....

In 2012, here in Minnesota a farmer in Grant County destroyed an old family cemetery. Pioneer cemeteries fall under plow's threat is the original MPR article, which is very good! Check it out.

Of course the cemetery in Mississippi is a little different, as there were no headstones or cemetery records even acknowledging this as a burial place. Though, one does have to wonder if someone didn't have an idea it existed... after all this is prime real estate in the heart of Jackson... it seems that in the last 100 years someone would have developed the land before today?? But that's just my own opinion.

Genealogists are fortunate that there are websites such as Findagrave & Billiongraves that are devoted to preserving cemetery records & photographs... And while Findagrave has millions of graves from around the world, there are still millions left undocumented! Myself, I've been slowly trying to walk & photograph cemeteries in my small rural section of Minnesota... just my own little part in cemetery preservation!  And fortunately, I don't know of any cemeteries in my immediate area that would appear to be in the "danger zone" of being abandoned/neglected/destroyed. But certainly that isn't the case elsewhere!

What groups exist for cemetery preservation?
What can we, as individuals do to help?

Monday, February 10, 2014

Enjoy the Living, While pursuing the Dead!

Don't neglect Aunt Myrtle & Cousin Herman
Maintain those relationships with living relatives today!
New Years Resolution #5

Life is crazy busy these days -- we are a society constantly on the go and have almost constant stimuli -- but that's another dilemma for another day! And since we are in the second week of February, I am wrapping up my genealogy resolutions for 2014, with this final posting!

Between juggling jobs, families [those we habitate with], and other life responsibilities--
there isn't always a lot of left over hours in a week to devote to genealogy-- and when we do find ourselves with some treasured genealogy time-- we spend it searching, stumbling through cemeteries, or digging through dusty ledgers at the courthouse.

So.... due to the above and countless other reasons-- we often put of visiting with our real-live-still-breathing family members! I struggle with this as much as anyone! Not only am I fortunate enough to have a large extended family-- as someone in his mid-30s, I still have quite a few relatives from that "older generation"-- people like my 103 year old Great-Great Aunt! And after many years of researching-- I have relationships with many "cousins" who also share a passion for genealogy [or at least a remote interest!]. So I have both elderly family & fellow researchers I want to see in the first half of 2014.

Sine I'm lucky that many/most of my relatives life reasonably close-- some 20 miles away, while others about 2 hours-- still all doable in a day! So I have created a list of relatives I want to physically pay a visit to by June 1st, 2014! My list is numbered at 10-- though it could have been twice that... Perhaps I'll expand the list if I go gangbusters and see everyone by June-- than I can add to it for the last half of the year.

And for those important people who live states away from me-- there will be phone calls- especially for those like my 89 & 90 year old Great-Aunts who don't use email or Facebook.

Not only do I actually enjoy these people I'm maintaining relationships with-- but as I mentioned in my Brick Walls- Resolution #2 post, these living breath folks often have great tidbits of information-- or game changing bombshells-- that may shatter [or create new?] Brick Walls.

Well, this all being said-- what about you? Do you have any relatives that you need to spend some time with this year? Or are there previous unknown relatives that you need to establish a relationship with? In this age of busy living & technology over load, it is easy to let "real people" moments pass by....

So today, I challenge you! Call Aunt Myrtle and plan a coffee date! Call Grandpa's cousin Herman and see if he has any old photos! Make a list...and start in on it! After all, this is really what genealogy is all about...not that internet downloaded pedigree that takes you back to Adam & Eve... But the real people in our family tree, who can tell us stories and help us make great memories!

I'd keep writing...but I have to refill my coffee cup & call my 89 year old Great-Aunt!