Saturday, March 31, 2007

A bit of humor for April 1st

The topic of the April 1st edition of the Carnival of Genealogy is "Funny, foolish, family!" which is appropriate for the day, don't you think.

Embarrassingly Funny...I have a cousin who is named Ralph. His mother really wanted another boy. When Ralph was born his mother exclaimed "It's a boy!" so, naturally, his family nickname became "Boy". Now, Ralph lives in Indianapolis and one day a few years ago (back in the 90's, 1990's that is) he and his nephew were shopping in a sporting goods store. The nephew sees something he wants to show Ralph, and hollers out "Hey Boy, look at this!" Well, there were a few young black men shopping there also. Rather red-faced Ralph tries to explain, but just seems to make the situation worse, so they left the store as quickly as possible. Since then, that moniker has not been used out in public. Actually, since Ralph is nearly 50 years old it isn't used much at all anymore.

Silly.... Another nickname we had for Ralph was "Fred" because of a dumb joke he told when he was about 12 years old. "Did you hear about the farmer who had three sons, all of them were named John except Ralph and his name was Fred!" We still sometimes call him Fred.

Sad and Silly.... When I was a teenager my mother and I worked in my grandmother's restaurant. On Sunday's we'd both work the 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. shift. When we got off work, we'd go home and usually watch the Sunday afternoon movie on tv with my little sister. This particular Sunday the movie was a real tear-jerker. It was called "All Mine to Give" and was the story of a young teen-age boy whose mother had died and left behind seven children. I don't remember why, but the father was no longer on the scene. Anyway, before his mother died the boy had promised her that he would find good homes for his siblings. Now, you're thinking, that's not funny. And you're right, it wasn't. We were all still relatively dry-eyed until the very end of the movie when the young man had found a home for each his siblings and himself. Even then we were "ok" but when we all looked at each other we started crying. We cried and cried until we laughed because we knew it was so silly to be crying so much. Well, we thought we had gotten through it. Then the doorbell rang. It was my grandmother and she could tell we had all been crying. She wanted to know what was wrong. Well, the three of us started crying all over again and we tried to explain, between the laughter and the tears. I don't think she ever did understand.

Foolish...In 1965, my older brother (Doug) was in the Navy. He was coming home on leave and was flying in to Chicago's O'hare airport. My mother, sister, other brother (Jack), and I drove to the airport to pick him up. We went to the gate for his flight but he never showed up. For whatever reason, one that I've never been able to figure out, after several hours of waiting, my mother decided that Jack and I should stay at the airport to wait for Doug. Now, you're talking about a 16 year old boy and a 17 year old girl. Well, we did as we were told. We waited, and we waited. We waited until it was too late to get a bus home that night. So, there Jack and I were, spending the night at the airport! Jack and I are both explorers. We like to check things out. So we wandered around that airport and somehow ended up near the International terminals. It was about four in the morning when we were awakened by an announcement being blasted out of the speakers "the Beatles have arrived, the Beatles have arrived". My sleepy response was "the who?" and Jack said, "No, not the who, the Beatles". About 7 a.m. we called home and told mom we were going to get the first bus out that we could. She said "Okay, Doug was asleep on the couch when I got home!" Seems he had gotten an earlier flight and hadn't had time to call us since he was flying standby. He hadn't seen us at the airport and instead of waiting and trying to find us went ahead and took the bus home.

A Dirty Day

Today was spent getting really dirty! Last fall the Genealogical Society of Whitley County (GSWC) was given 30+ boxes of old records from the county archives that they were going to dispose of (not sure if they were going to destroy them or send them to the state archives). Anyway, they were offered to the society and, of course, we said yes! The records are from the office of the Clerk of Courts and include packets from small claims court, civil actions, insanity applications, divorces, past due notes, and other miscellaneous stuff. It appears that they cover a period of 100 years or so, roughly from 1847-1947.

Like I said, we got dirty! After 5 hours our hands were black with grimy dust. And don't say we should have worn gloves to protect the records! Maybe we should have, to protect our hands! There were five of us that gathered for a "fun-filled" day at 9 a.m. We moved the boxes from the storage building at the Historical Museum to the annex where we had some good light and plenty of room to spread the packets for sorting. Right now we are basically trying to get them into some semblance of order so they can be indexed. We foolishly thought we'd be able to get them in packet number sequence today, but that didn't happen. We stopped today at about 3 p.m. We're going back tomorrow morning and will work until the sorting and boxing is finished 'cause the Museum will need their space back on Monday morning.

In one of the boxes was a very nice surprise. A bunch of loose papers were literally stuffed into one box amongst the packets. It's a stack of maybe a hundred or so marriage affidavits with some parental consents thrown in for good measure. Way cool. Dated 1893-1902. What I wouldn't give to have something like that for one of my ancestors!

Like I said, we got dirty! But, oh, what an interesting day it was! And in the company of good friends too!

This is an example of one of the court records:

Packet 373 dated September 1883
State of Indiana Whitley County

In the Whitley Circuit Court Sept Term AD 1882
The State of Indiana on the relator of George Snyder Trustee of Columbia Township in said Whitley County Indiana vs Seth E Kerns, a minor

To the Hon Elisha V Long, Judge of the Whitley Circuit Court, the above assigned, would respectfully show, that one Seth E Kerns, who is now at the County Asylum in said County and in the charge of Cyrus Coplin, Superintendent of the same, is about thirteen (13) years of age. That said Seth E Kerns, should be committed to the state House of Refuge, for the reason that it is not safe for him to be at the county asylum. That he is addicted to stealing and has stole articles of value at said asylum, and that he has threatened to burn the barn on the county farm. That has by his own confession burned one barn in the north part of the town of Columbia City – in said county. That his father Jeremiah Kerns, has wholly abandoned his child, the said Seth E Kerns, and that the then said Jeremiah Kerns now resides somewhere in the state of Michigan. That Catherine Kerns mother of said Seth E Kerns died more than three years ago. That said Seth E Kerns was born at the Village of Coesse in said County about January 1869. That the said Jeremiah Kerns was a day laborer and so was the mother Catharine Kerns. That the said Seth E Kerns can read a little. That the said Seth E Kerns is an incorrigible boy and dangerous to be where he can not be watched and managed all the time. That this complainant obtains this information from Cyrus Coplin the Superintendent of the County Asylum and other reputable persons. Wherefore he asks that the said Seth E Kerns be committed to the State House of Refuge, and such other orders as the court may deem proper in the premises.

George Snyder, Trustee of Columbia Township Sept 1882

Genealogy Blogger's Quilt

Some other genea-bloggers have posted on this but it is so cool I just had to do it too! Check out the Genealogy bloggers Quilt at the footnoteMaven. She has created a patchwork quilt of blogger images with a link to each blog on her blogroll - some I had not previously visited. Definitely an interesting collection.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

GSWC Workshop

The Genealogical Society of Whitley County (GSWC) held a Beginning Genealogy Workshop in conjunction with the Peabody Public Library on Saturday, March 17th. Attendance was limited to 20 people and the spaces quickly filled up. We were told there were enough people who wanted to attend that we should have another workshop - so, we will, on Sunday, May 20th. We are also planning a workshop for the kids who sign up for the 4-H Genealogy program, probably sometime in April.

My portion of the workshop covered "Internet Genealogy" and was only supposed to be 45 minutes. It ran a bit long, like an hour and 15 minutes total. Thank goodness there weren't any problems connecting to the internet! Randy Seaver mentioned that he'd had some connection problems with his presentation on blogging - I hadn't even considered that scenario. Guess I'd better make alternate plans, just in case.

As promised to the attendees, the Web Site Links have been posted at Kinexxions to make it easier for them to visit the sites listed on the handout (and so they don't have to try to type in the URLs for those sites). Have Fun!

Light Blogging & Retirement Date Set!!

Blogging has been light for me the past couple of weeks. My job is taking about all of my energy nowadays. Just finished one major project and am starting on another one along with several smaller projects. And new ones coming in all the time since people have found out I'm retiring. The next 2 1/2 months could get a bit stressful...

I gave notice of my retirement date to my boss, his boss, and his boss (the IT manager) in mid February. That is June 14th, 81 days away! They have known since last September that I was going to retire this year, they just didn't know when. I'm sure they were hoping it would be later in the year but I decided it would be nice to have the summer to do whatever I want! I gave them plenty of notice so they could find a replacement. My job is not a hard one, just challenging and one that no one else in the department wants. There was one person in the company that I thought could take it on but she decided to stick with what she's currently doing, so now they are looking outside the company. If you have experience with Lotus Notes development, know what the "EtQ" Software package is, live or would like to live in northern Indiana, I've got a job for you!

I've also got a few projects for the Genealogical Society of Whitley County that have been in the works for a while (like 2 years) that I want to get finished, in addition to putting out the next issue of Whitley County Roots (the GSWC quarterly) by the end of March (that's this week!). I've pretty much stopped transcribing for the Indiana Marriages project. Have to figure out how to allocate my time more effectively but I can't do 'everything' that I'd like to do right now. Do you 'spose I'll have more time for the 'fun stuff' after June 14th? Sure hope so!

Sunday, March 18, 2007

20th Edition of the Carnival of Genealogy

Jasia has posted the 20th Edition of the Carnival of Genealogy over at Creative Gene. To help celebrate National Women's History Month, the theme for this edition is: A tribute to women. This edition is one of the largest and, in my opinion, one of the best. You'll find stories that make you laugh, some that make you cry, some that tug at the heartstrings; but the common thread throughout is love.

The topic for the next edition of the Carnival of Genealogy will be: Funny, foolish, family! In keeping with April Fool's Day, April 1st, it's time to share those funny family stories... tell us about wild and crazy Uncle Guido, the practical joke you played on your younger brother, or the family parrot who spouted off something naughty when the priest came to visit. Share with us those stories that make everyone smile when they're told and retold, short quip or long story - doesn't matter! Write up your giggles and submit your blog article to the next edition of Carnival of Genealogy using the carnival submission form.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Randy's Search for Cornelia Bresee

Randy Seaver over at Genea-Musings has created an index to his posts on his search for Cornelia Breese and her ancestors.

He is attempting to identify the parents of Cornelia Bresee who was born 5 December 1780 in New York. Cornlia married James Bell about 1797 in Schodack, Rensselaer County, New York according to records held by family members. They resided in Henderson township, Jefferson County, New York from about 1810 to their deaths in 1839/40.

Randy is documenting the searches he has done on various websites; providing information on the searches themselves as well as the results, and doing an excellent job of it. I highly recommend this series of posts. For beginners it is a very good "tutorial" on the research process itself and for those who have been "doing genealogy" for a while, it's an extremely good refresher course. There are a lot of new resources on the internet that have recently been made available and Randy seems to be covering the bases very well. I know I've gotten some good tips from him and he has highlighted some resources that I wasn't aware of. It doesn't matter that his search is for someone from New York... the basic process and sites searched can easily be applied to other surnames and geographical areas.

Of course, his posts serve a dual purpose for him by creating a research log for where he's searched and what he's found. A lesson there as well - keep track of what you've done and found, whether the result was positive or negative! Another side-benefit could be if he makes contact via his blog posts with other descendants or others researching the Bresee surname.

Thank you Randy!

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Grandma's Story

After spending a great deal of time the past few days trying to decide who to write about for the "International Women's Day Challenge" I've selected my grandmother, Hazlette Aileen Brubaker Phend Dunn Ferguson (1902-1984).

Stages of life: 1902, 1910, about 1948, 1980.

In many ways Grandma was an "ordinary" person, but at the same time, she was really quite extraordinary. There were many sides to her personality. There were times, as a teenager and young adult, that I didn't "like" my grandmother. Some things were done and said that haven't been forgotten, though they have been forgiven. But even though I didn't always like her, I did love her and, I think more importantly, respected her very much.

Grandma's parents, Charles R. and Maud Wise Brubaker, moved from Whitley County, Indiana to Lorain, Ohio shortly after the death of their first child, John Wise Brubaker, on February 24, 1901. He was born prematurely and died 8 days after his birth. Maud's brother Harry and other relatives lived at Lorain. Grandma was born there on January 16, 1902. She was also born premature, weighing only 2 1/2 pounds. When she was 6 months old, the family moved back to Whitley County.

Her parents had a somewhat tumultuous relationship, which I am sure affected her in many ways. Grandma did not graduate from high school as she had a "nervous spell" when about 12 years old and never returned to school. When she was 15 years old, after recuperating from appendicitis and an operation, she began working as a telephone operator. She worked at several telephone companies in the area through World War I then got a job as an office clerk and "girl Friday" and learned bookkeeping.

On October 15, 1921 grandma married Rolland Victor Phend. They had five children between 1922 and 1934. They divorced in 1937 and grandma and the children moved to Elkhart. There she baked pies for her brothers restaurant, cleaned houses, took in a boarder with two little girls, and eked out a living. Then her grandmother, Malissa Joslin Brubaker Bower died and left her an inheritance of $500.00 which was enough to purchase a small house in Larwill.

Grandpa and Grandma remarried in 1939 and purchased a larger home in Larwill. She worked for a trucking company in Fort Wayne for a while, and then went to work for Jewell Tea Company. She drove a truck for them for two years during World War II then went to work for an insurance company. A few years later, they divorced again and Grandma moved to Auburn in DeKalb county. The three youngest children remained in Larwill with Grandpa.

In 1945 Grandma was married to Harold Dunn, but that didn't work out either. She worked for a dry cleaning business, then a milling company. During this time she took a high school course and learned the double entry system of bookkeeping. Changing jobs once again, she went to work for a Chevrolet & Buick dealership in Auburn as head bookkeeper. She belonged to and was an officer in BPW (Business & Professional Women) and worked in the Methodist Church.

About 1958 she moved to Fort Wayne and became manager of Miller's Ice Cream store and restaurant, at Five Points on Goshen Road. A few years later she moved to North Webster and opened her own restaurant which provided jobs for many family members, including myself.

In 1964, Grandma was married to Ray Ferguson. He died in 1967. I graduated from High School in 1966 and 3 years later joined the Navy, so I was pretty much gone from the area until 1979.

In 1972, after a visit from a distant cousin, Grandma began writing her life story and family history. She wrote: "When we were going thru Grandma Brubaker's letters from her parents and her sisters, I began to realize how important they were to Helen and me even though they were very poorly written and not always well done as to spelling and punctuation. So I have decided to write as I feel the urge and as I remember things and have a lot of enjoyment in doing it this way. Working with Helen I became enthused again with the genealogy and have worked all day on the records. I had planned on writing a book so that my children might know more about their ancestry. I am afraid I am too lazy and I know that I have no talent for writing. My typing is almost as bad as my handwriting and my spelling is outrageous."

At that time she only wrote a few pages but picked it up again in 1976 after being diagnosed with cancer. On August 4, 1976 she wrote: "Well, I did get a little writing done. I do hope some one of you kids enjoy it. Maybe one of the grandchildren or great grandchildren will really get some good out of it." Little did she know what she had started! She was right, her spelling was bad and her handwriting was terrible! But it was legible and we (her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren) have all enjoyed it. Her writings "Tales From the Life of Hazlette Brubaker" have been transcribed and posted online at my Kinexxions website. I can only hope that others enjoy her story as much as we have and I am ever so thankful that she took the time to write them down for us!

Grandma passed away at the age of 82, on May 3, 1984 after having suffered the indignities of losing a leg and having a colostomy. I think she hated that colostomy bag even more than losing her leg! But she dealt with it. She was a stubborn lady who just didn't ever give up, a trait that has been passed down to more than one of her children and grandchildren.

Updated January 3, 2011 Changed link to "Tales From the Life of Hazlette Brubaker" to a blog post. Kinexxions website will be taken offline the first of March and the articles on the website are moving to the blog.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

In honor of Women’s History Month…some links

It's a bit of an understatement, but there are a lot of excellent websites 'out there' that celebrate women, whether famous or not. These are just a few of the sites I've bookmarked over the years, all of them are very good. Enjoy!

History’s Women
Highlighting the extraordinary achievements of women throughout history and recognizing the obstacles they have had to overcome in order to reach their goals.

Notable Women
The lives of ALL women are "notable" - at least in the eyes of the genealogists who research them, and that is the ONLY criteria necessary for a woman to be included at this web site. Some are famous, others are not. Those who are famous have, until recently, often been overlooked by mainstream historians. The extent to which our schoolbooks and popular folk collections have largely ignored the most vivid, powerful women is simply astounding.

They Gave Their Lives
Honors the American women who gave their lives in service to their country. Whether from illness, injury, disease, enemy fire, plane crashes, or the unknown, they deserve to be remembered as having made the ultimate sacrifice. Let us all remember that women have served proudly since our nation began.

Women's History at
As Women's History Month in the US opens on March 1, you may be wondering why this event is celebrated in March (it's in October in Canada). This article explains the history of Women's History Month. And you'll find more resources on Women's History Month here on this site -- including a wealth of women's history articles and information, from ancient times to the dawn of the 21st century, from the US and around the world.

Women in History

300 Women who Changed the World
For millennia women have left their mark on the world, at times changing the course of history and at other times influencing small but significant spheres of life. Only in the past century, however, have concerted efforts been made to mention women's contributions in history books. Moreover, changes in status for many women in modern times - the right to own property, to vote, and to choose their own careers may obscure the accomplishments made by women of earlier eras. In profiling 300 women who changed the world, Encyclopædia Britannica has chosen those whose contributions have endured through the ages.

Women’s History Month at
The History of Women's Suffrage, a Hall of Fame, Firsts in Women's Achievements and more.
In the early nineteenth century, women were considered second-class citizens whose existence was limited to the interior life of the home and care of the children. Women were considered sub-sets of their husbands, and after marriage they did not have the right to own property, maintain their wages, or sign a contract, much less vote. It was expected that women be obedient wives, never to hold a thought or opinion independent of their husbands. It was considered improper for women to travel alone or to speak in public....

Women’s International Center
The mission of WIC is to Acknowledge, Honor and Encourage Women. To celebrate women and their positive, enduring contributions to humanity through the Living Legacy Awards. Includes biographies, Words of Wisdom, and an interesting feature where you can find out which famous women were born on your birthdate.

One of my interests is Women of the Civil War era. . .

Civil War Women
An excellent blog by "MaggieMac" that celebrates the lives of women of the Civil War era. Her sidebar includes links to blogs covering various aspects of the civil war as well as links to general Civil War websites.

Civil War Women: Primary Sources on the Internet

Civil War Women – Duke University Online Archive

eThemes Civil War Women

Sallie Bingham Center for Women’s History and Culture

Women in the Civil War

Women in the Civil War at

Women were There
The War Between the States was also a war between brothers, cousins, friends and neighbors - and some of them were women.

A Women's History Challenge from Jasia

Jasia over at Creative Gene has issued a challenge to all bloggers:

Today, March 1st, is the start of Women's History Month. As genealogists and family historians, we often look to historical events to give context to the lives of our ancestors. Because women were often at home taking care of the children while the men folk were out back in the garage inventing cars, or far away from home marching across battlefields, they often weren't in positions to accomplish noteworthy things... except for an exceptional few. But their lives were impacted by the events around them and they in turn impacted the lives of their husbands and children in the course of everyday life. This month we have a chance to honor women, not only the ones whose accomplishments have made headlines but the ordinary and extraordinary women in our own family histories as well.

March 8th is International Women's Day... Compose a poem, write a tribute, share a memory, post a photo, or create a digital scrapbook page for One Woman. Wouldn't it be a wonderful tribute to women's history if all bloggers everywhere took the time to write something about One Woman that impacted their life on International Women's Day, March 8th? (... and then submit it to the Carnival of Genealogy... even better!) We could fill the blogosphere with tributes to women who might otherwise have fallen into obscurity. Sisters, friends, aunts, neighbors, deceased or living...

So, how about it, are YOU up to the challenge? I'm certainly going to give it a try. If you don't have a blog of your own, ask a blogger to post your contribution!