Saturday, June 30, 2007

Friday December 12, 1969 ~ Letter from Boot Camp

This is the 9th in a series of letters written home while I was in Basic Training. Click on the "Boot Camp" label at the bottom of the post to see all of the letters.

Recruit Training Command (Women)
U. S. Naval Training Center
Bainbridge, Maryland ~ 12 Dec 1969

Hi Mom,

How are you all? Is the house sold for sure? When will you be moving? I'm sorry but I haven't had a chance to write all week. I got your letter Wednesday. It sounds like you had a real brawl at the Legion last weekend - I guess they think they have to get back into the swing of things. That's a pun in case you didn't get it. Thanks for the stamps. I sure needed them.

I made out pretty good on the tests last Monday. Hope I do as good this coming Monday. I didn't think the tests were too difficult but they get harder as you go along - that just means I'll have to study more - right? Actually I'm rather proud of my test scores.

  • Orientation 3.6 - missed 2 out of 20
  • Jobs & training 3.8 - missed 1 out of 20
  • History 4.0 - didn't miss any
  • First Aid 3.4 - missed 3 out of 20

My average was 3.65 - there was one girl in the company that got 4.0 in all subjects. At least half of the company is on either military or academic probation. 2.5 or less was failure (probation).

My military grades for last week improved some but our cubicle score brought my average down quite a bit. It would have been 3.56 but I ended up with a 3.05 for last week. This week it will be better.

Tuesday we had our classification interviews. My scores on the battery tests were all above average so I was qualified for almost anything except Air Controlman and Aerographer's Mate because of my eyes. You had to have 20/50 uncorrected vision. They said my right eye was 20/200 and left was 20/70. Well I didn't believe them so I asked to be retested. Today they checked my eyes and guess what - they were right. My vision has gotten worse and I'm supposed to make an appointment to get my prescription for glasses changed. Anyway I finally put down JO (Journalism), DK (Disbursing Clerk) and PN (Personnelman) for my choice of schools. Today we found out where they were located. There is a very slight chance of getting JO and a good chance for DK school which is in Newport, Rhode Island. If I don't get that its PN school in Orlando, Florida. Actually I think I'd like about anything I got in to. We get our orders in our eighth or ninth week.

We are now sophomores and are wearing our dress blues. It sure feels good to get out of those slacks and into a skirt again. You can't believe what it's done for the morale of the company. We feel like women again and also more like WAVES. Today was our first participation in the graduation ceremonies. It was pure agony - standing at attention and parade rest - which is worse than attention - for two solid hours. I thought it would never end. But it did. And the agony was worth it all. You can't imagine the feeling I had when we passed that reviewing stand! Anyway we are all proud to be wearing the Navy Waves uniform.

I have to close for now. I've got to shine a pair of shoes for the Children's Christmas Party. I'll tell you about that Sunday. Bye for now. See ya in January.

Love, Becky

Friday, June 29, 2007

Saturday December 6, 1969 ~ Letter from Boot Camp

This is the 8th in a series of letters written home while I was in Basic Training. Click on the "Boot Camp" label at the bottom of the post to see all of the letters.

Recruit Training Command (Women)
U. S. Naval Training Center
Bainbridge, Maryland ~ 6 Dec 1969

Hi Mom & Terry,

How are ya? We had our pictures taken Friday. They gave us about an hours warning so all of us were really in great shape - Ha! We won't get them until our tenth week just before graduation.

Hey, even if I make the drill team don't spend all that money just to come here for a few hours. Its really not worth that much. Besides I can spend about $30.00 for a plane ticket and be home that same evening. I'd rather do that anyway, flying is great. I'll get some pictures on the way back - I packed my camera in the suitcase on the way here so I didn't get any pictures. Not much happens on weekends except that we're busy getting ready for the week.

Did I tell you about the last inspection? I can't remember if I did or not. Anyway, I did a lot better this time. I only had one discrepancy on IO inspection and two discrepancies on CC inspection. I don't know what the score is yet. Bunk was 3.50 and locker 3.65. We start wearing our dress blues next Friday and pass in review at the graduation. I got my recruit patch sewn on them today!

Tomorrow (Sunday) is going to be spent studying for the test Monday. I got all of my laundry & ironing done today except for the clothes I have on that is.

I just addressed about thirty Christmas cards. We got paid yesterday and went to the main exchange today. Please don't expect any Christmas presents from me. I hate to say that but I really can't afford anything.

Well I have to go now, Love, Becky

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Letter from Boot Camp December 5, 1969

This is the 7th in a series of letters written home while I was in Basic Training. Click on the "Boot Camp" label at the bottom of the post to see all of the letters.

Recruit Training Command (Women)
U. S. Naval Training Center
Bainbridge, Maryland ~ 5 Dec 1969

Hi Mom,

I got your letter today - Terry's too. Was glad to hear from you - thank you for the stamps - airmail even, gee! I've got about half an hour before taps. We got paid today! $30.00 Tomorrow we get to go to the main exchange for about an hour - time to spend our hard earned money.

As far as Christmas presents go about the only thing I really need are nylons. We'll start wearing our dress blues next Friday - another graduation and we'll be in the review - standing for at least two hours - but we'll be sophomores - that's great. That first week we were here and wore civilian clothes I ruined about 4 pairs of nylons in that week.

We can receive food stuffs if they are marked on the outside that it is food. We can't get them till our Christmas party here so they will be kept in cold storage till then. If you send something don't make it an awful lot though. Some of your peanut butter candy would be very good about now. Grandma's divinity sounds good too.

I have to go. I'll write more this weekend.

Love, Becky

Monday, June 25, 2007

FamilySearch - Record Search and Indexing

This is "old" news but Shirley Richison Fields, the coordinator of the Indiana Marriage Indexing project (being done in conjunction with FamilySearch) spoke at the monthly meeting of the Genealogical Society of Whitley County on June 21st. She went through the process of signing up for the project and did a great job of demonstrating the process of downloading a batch and doing the actual indexing. I signed up in February but have only indexed a little over a hundred images so far but am planning to get back to it in the near future. It only takes 30-45 minutes per batch at most. I see this as an opportunity to "pay back" all those who have helped me in the past and contribute something as well.

There have been a few glitches, such as indexers catching up with the images, and arbitrators not keeping up with the indexers but so far there have been more than 250,000 records indexed!

At the link above there is a "Roll of Honor" listing the volunteers who have either indexed or arbitrated more that 5,000 records. There is also a table of statistics showing how many records have been indexed and arbitrated since the project began in late December 2006.

If you don't want to work on the Indiana Marriages, there is a list of other projects at FamilySearch Indexing. Some of the projects, like the Indiana Marriages, you have to sign up for the specific project, but others are "open" and you can work on any of them if you sign up through FamilySearch.

Speaking of FamilySearch, I signed up with the FamilySearch Labs Record Search pilot program yesterday morning. You can read about this opportunity at Dear Mytrle where I first read about it. Just as I was about to retire for the night last night I checked my email. Lo and behold, there was a message from FamilySearch Labs with instructions on how to sign in and access the Record Search area. Of course I had to check it out and take the challenge they give you. I'm not sure how much we're supposed to talk about this, but I will say this - WOW! Everything is so quick. The images I looked at appeared onscreen fast (compared to some other sites) and it was really easy to navigate through a series of images. This is going to be an AMAZING resource! Three hours later, about 2 a.m. this morning, I finally decided to go to bed. It's a good thing that I don't have to go to work anymore!

Updated at 7:35 p.m. Tuesday 06/26: The "confidentiality" clause included with the initial email from FamilySearch for the Record Search Pilot Program has been "sort of" lifted according to Dear Myrtle. She has a comprehensive posting on how the Record Search site works and what information is available. She nailed it! I had so much fun playing with it Sunday night. I did have an issue with saving the images but reported it immediately and then first thing Monday morning had an email from FamilySearch stating they were looking into the problem. As Myrt said, if they can make it so you can copy/paste the full transcription, that will make it even more awesome. Thanks Myrt!

A Thinking Blogger, Am I?

The footnotemaven has me tagged (er, has tagged me) with the "Thinking Blogger" award which is making the rounds of the blogging world, and, as such these are the rules that are to be followed:

  1. If, and only if, you get tagged, write a post with links to 5 blogs that make you think, tag blogs with real merits, i.e. relative content, and above all - blogs that really get you thinking!
  2. The origin of the meme, is at The Thinking Blogger.
  3. Display the 'Thinking Blogger Award' with a link to the post that you wrote.

These are the blogs I've selected, each with their own merits, that I find engaging, interesting, and thought provoking.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Letter from Boot Camp November 30, 1969

This is the 6th in a series of letters written home while I was in Basic Training. Click on the "Boot Camp" label at the bottom of the post to see all of the letters.

Recruit Training Command (Women)
U. S. Naval Training Center

Bainbridge, Maryland ~ 30 Nov 1969

Hi Mom, and Terry, and anyone else,

Today is Sunday, no classes, all of my work is done, and we have area liberty. I'm going to go to the gedunk for a while this afternoon and then I think I'm going to get some sleep.

Yesterday I had my first watch. It was really easy. A lot of the girls were scared because they were thinking about what would happen if they did something wrong. I haven't been afraid of anything since I've been here. The girl I stood watch with was from around Indianapolis and she knew Chief Waugh - the Wave recruiter in Indianapolis. There were four other girls that enlisted at the same time as her all from around Indianapolis. It was good to talk to someone from Indiana - at least there are some other Hoosiers here.

Our company seems to be working together better now since the baby boots have arrived and we are freshmen. In two weeks we'll be sophomores, another two weeks juniors, another two weeks seniors, and another two weeks Seaman Apprentice. When you look at it that way it's really not very long.

Our schedule for next week is really busy. Tuesday morning will be spent taking our battery tests - I think I already told you about them. We have classes all day Monday - three in first aid alone. We start Navy history some time next week. We also have to go back to uniforming for one afternoon. We start wearing our dress blues next graduation - that will really be great.

The baby boots started coming in last Wednesday. They really look dumb. After wearing a uniform for a week - even the recruit uniform - people in civilian clothes look kinda funny. It feels strange to have civies on even for church - where I have to go now. So I'll see ya later.

Love, Becky

Friday, June 22, 2007

Letter from Boot Camp November 28, 1969

This is the 5th in a series of letters written home while I was in Basic Training. Click on the "Boot Camp" label at the bottom of the post to see all the letters.

Recruit Training Command (Women)
U. S. Naval Training Center
Bainbridge, Maryland ~ 28 Nov 1969

Hi Mom,

Well yesterday was Thanksgiving and we didn't have classes. We had all day to do what ever we wanted. We also got our area liberty and went to the gedunk in the afternoon and had a coke and candybar. Noon mess was really a mess. We were supposed to wear civilian clothes so at 11:30 we changed into them. They then told us to get back into our recruit uniform because we wouldn't be leaving for at least an hour and a half. So we changed back into them. At 1300 (one o'clock) they called and told us to get ready for mess so we started to put on our civies. They called back and said not to change so we put on our uniforms and at 1330 we left for noon ? mess. We were only an hour and a half later than usual. We found out today that Regimental Command made an error and we almost didn't even get to eat. It was pretty good though. Of course we had turkey and dressing, potatoes, cranberry salad, jelled cranberry sauce, pumpkin and mince pie, and other salads. We usually have a good choice of foods but it keeps repeating itself.

Today at noon we became Freshman! I'm not a baby boot anymore. It's hard to believe I've been here for two weeks. The graduation was really nice. Only one company graduates every two weeks unless there are sister companies. Approx. 350 recruits participate in the actual ceremonies and another 100 watching. Some of the other companies recruits couldn't participate because of various reasons. This graduation was different from others because it was a "grand entrance" because there was a Lt. from England as the reviewing officer or something like that. Next graduation we will be participating. The companies stand at attention and parade rest for about two or 2 1/2 hours all together. There is some marching but not much. It's going to be hard to do - but we'll do it.

We only had three classes all day today. We don't have classes on weekends and if we're lucky we get area liberty. That means we can go to the exchange and gedunk - the gedunk is actually a big lounge. It has coke machines and candy machines, a juke box, pool table, and shuffleboard. It's a nice place to go just to get away from the barracks for a while.

I got a letter from Jack today. If you can could you please send some stamps. I've only got four left and not too much money. Well I've got to go now and finish my ironing. I think that all I have to do is my laundry. So Sunday I can read my recruit guide some more and find out what I'm doing. They don't give you time to think about what you're doing while you do it. Tell everyone I said hi and to be sure to write.

Love, Becky

Note: Jack is my brother. He enlisted in the Navy in June 1969 and was stationed at Great Lakes Naval Training Center at this time.

Scanners and Scanning

My portable scanner went phooey on me Wednesday and decided to quit working. Guess it thought it should be able to retire too! So, I spent yesterday afternoon shopping for a scanner. I had received a 'Best Buy' gift card from some of the folks at work so went to the Fort Wayne North store first. Well, it turns out they have stopped selling 'stand-alone' scanners. All they have is the 3-in-1 kind (printer, fax, scanner combo). Not what I want. I want something small enough to easily take off-site, like to my Mom's or on research trips. The techie said the Jefferson Point store might have them though. Nope.

Went across the highway to Staples. They had three models in the store - small, medium, and large. The small one was just what I wanted. It's a "Canon LIDE 70" model and scans up to 8.5" x 11.7" originals. What's nice is that it doesn't need an external power source and it is small enough (1.5" thick, 10.25" wide, 11.75" long) to take on research trips...

I Spent about 4 hours this afternoon scanning letters and it seems to be working quite well. In fact, I think I like it better than the big HP model I have that cost a "lot" more than this new little puppy. The HP can do legal size documents, which does come in handy sometimes, but it's not exactly what I'd call portable.

When you scan documents and pictures do you attempt to "correct" them (contrast, color, etc.) as you scan them? Or, do you simply scan at the defaults and make any corrections later?

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Letter from Boot Camp November 26, 1969

This is the 4th in a series of letters written home while I was in Basic Training. Click on the "Boot Camp" label at the bottom of the post to see all of the letters.

Recruit Training Command (Women)
U. S. Naval Training Center

Bainbridge, Maryland ~ 26 Nov 1969

Hi Mom and Terry and anyone else,

How is everything with you all? I got your letter today - what took you so long? Thanks for sending the pictures. Waves are classified the same as men as far as ranks and ratings go. I am now a Seaman Recruit (SR). When I get out of basic training I will be a Seaman Apprentice (SA) and then after another six months or so of training and passing certain tests I will (hopefully) be a Seaman (SN).

I'm not going to lie to you - I do like this place. There are a lot of rules and regulations you have to obey but they are all for the good and help to discipline yourself. I'll be glad when boot camp is over so I can start further training or schooling or whatever. Boot camp is the basic training you have to have so that you can adjust yourself to the regular Navy, as they say here, it is a necessary evil.

We have eight periods per day for classes and lectures but we don't have the classes on a regular schedule. Sometimes we have two periods in a row of the same class and we don't have all of the classes everyday. So far we've only had four different classes but we will be having more.

Recruit information which covers all of the information in our recruit guides such as how to stow lockers, make bunks, do our laundry, stenciling, jobs of petty officers, watch standing, demerit code, inspection information and a lot of other info pertinent to the recruit.

Orientation in which we learn how to recognize the different personnel of the Navy such as enlisted men, women and officers (men & women) by the types of uniforms they wear and their insignia and the different pay grades (E-1 thru E-9).

Jobs & training where we have to learn all of the jobs, occupations, and training available to all personnel in the Navy - men and women. We also have to learn the patches and insignia worn by each occupation.

Hygiene and first aid where we learn personal cleanliness, first aid, etc.

Physical training and swimming. Each recruit is required to qualify as third class swimmers by the fourth or fifth week of basic training. There are three requirements to do this.

1-Jump off of the pink elephant (which is a platform, painted pink, approx five or six feet off the surface of the water) swim in any manner to the other end of the pool and back again.
2-Jump off of the pink elephant with a life jacket on and swim on your back to the opposite end of the pool.
3-Make a life jacket out of a pair of pants by putting air in the pants legs and tying it somehow and swim to the opposite end of the pool.
About half of the company is in the non-swimmer category so it is going to take several weeks to get everyone qualified. The rest of us got through the first two phases of qualification but didn't have time for the third. After we have qualified as third class swimmers we can try to qualify as second class, which I'm going to try to do. We also have gym classes as a part of our physical training but we haven't had any as of yet. Swimming and gym are alternated each week. All in all I think the classes have been interesting.

We also have drill instruction in which we learn the terms and steps to march. Right face, left face, about face, right dress right, skip step, half step, counter step, rank, squad, platoon, company, how to salute properly, etc., etc., etc.

Tuesday we had an IO personnel inspection. I don't know what my score was but I had eight discrepancies counted against me. The RCPO had our scores but didn't tell us what they were and gave them back to the CC but she's going to get them again so I should find out tomorrow what I got. We also had a locker inspection Tuesday. About three-fourths of the company failed because we weren't expecting an inspection so soon. I got a 3.55 which isn't bad since 4.00 is perfect. Most of the company passed the personnel inspection - I'm pretty sure I did with only 8 discrepancies.

Today we had bunk inspection and only eight girls failed. I got a 3.55 on that too. So you see your "weird" daughter is doing pretty good - so far. I hope I can keep it up. We don't start getting tested academically until a week from Monday. Then we get tested every Monday, on all subjects, until we graduate. Next week we start taking our battery tests. These are our general classification tests, ability to solve problems, mechanical and electrical aptitude, clerical, response to sound, and pitch discrimination. The score on these tests will determine whether or not we will get a school or go to on the job training.

Monday we got our flu shots. My arm got red and swollen but I didn't have any other reaction to it.

You say you got a letter from the C. O. telling you where Bainbridge is. Keep it. I'd like to see where I am. The flight was from Indianapolis to Baltimore with a ten minute stop in Cleveland or Columbus or somewhere in Ohio but anyway it was beautiful, fantastic, great, thrilling, and exciting. I wasn't a bit afraid because I was so excited with everything happening. I couldn't tell whether it was a jet or prop or what but it made a lot of noise but that didn't really bother me. I got to Baltimore at about 3:45 and had to wait til 7:30 for a but that took us directly to Bainbridge. It was dark so I couldn't see much of the country.

Have you had any more snow? We had some flurries here last week and it was pretty cold. This week it has been really nice with the sunshine and good weather. It is usually dark when we go to morning and evening mess. There has been a full moon the past couple nights. The view just outside the barracks looks across the grinder to the flag and at sunset it is really pretty.

Tomorrow we have no classes because it is Thanksgiving. Friday Company Nine will graduate and at noon we will officially no longer be baby boots, but freshman instead. I'm going to have to do my laundry & ironing tomorrow and really shine my shoes (spit & polish) Ha. They have a graduation every two weeks and only one company graduates unless there are sister companies like 15 and 16 are going to be. They should be coming in Friday. Then we can laugh at them like everyone has us!

We've really had a rough time of it this week since we are totally on our own. Our advisors dropped us last Saturday. They were really great people. I hope we can stand up to their expectations. As a company we really haven't been doing very well. When we are called to muster (get in ranks) everyone moves slow and some talk which is against the rules and a recruit can be put on report for talking or moving in ranks.

We had a chance to see a movie tonight but I didn't feel like going. It only cost a quarter but recruits are not allowed to buy candy or cokes while there, cannot talk to anyone outside of the company, and if you have to go to the head or scuttlebutt (bathroom or drink of water) the SA in charge takes you there one at a time to be sure no one buys anything or talks to the trees (men). That is the first thing they told us - we cannot in any way attract attention from, pass notes to, or talk to the trees at anytime. Don't ask me why they call men trees because I don't know.

Well I have to go. Love, Becky

P. S. Tell everyone I said hi and tell somebody, anybody to write. See ya in January.

= = = = =

A couple things to keep in mind: When I told my mother that I was going to join the Navy she said I'd hate it and wouldn't make it through two weeks, let alone ten weeks, of basic training. I tend to try to be the "best" at whatever I do, hence my emphasis on scores. I love a challenge. I really did like boot camp! And, I did get homesick at times, especially around the holidays.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Gravestones don't lie? When did Bela die?

The gravestone for Bela Goodrich, my 5th Great Grandfather, is located in Adams Cemetery, Troy Township, Whitley County, Indiana and has the inscription "1776-1845" and "War of 1812". Neither the year of his birth nor the year of his death is correct!
This is not the original marker. Another researcher, a descendant of Price Goodrich, Bela's son, says she was told by an uncle that the original marker was illegible and in bad condition when some family members decided to erect a new marker. Apparently they didn't know his year of death or, perhaps, that is how they interpreted the remaining transcription on the original marker. At any rate, a new stone was set with the incorrect dates. So when was Bela born and when did he die? Stick with me, and we'll see, maybe.

Wethersfield, Connecticut Vital Records 1634 - 1868, from the Barbour Collection online at Rays' Place (and elsewhere) show that Bela Goodrich, son of John 3rd & Abigail, was born February 4, 1777. Those records also show that his parents John Goodrich and Abigail Price were married on October 1, 1776, just four months prior to Bela's birth! John and Bela moved with their families to Franklin County, Ohio about 1807 and 31 years later, in 1838, Bela along with some of his grown children came to Whitley County, Indiana. Bela is not listed in the 1840 census for Whitley County but his son Price and son-in-law, James Joslin, are both listed.

On May 6, 1852, Bela, aged 75, applied for Bounty Land based on his service in the War of 1812 while living in Franklin County, Ohio. He also applied again on May 31, 1855. This time he was 78 years old.

Bela is enumerated in both the 1850 and 1860 Whitley County, Indiana census records. In 1850 he is age 74, in the household with his daughter Abigail and her husband Jonas Joslin (my 4th Great Grandparents). In 1860, Bela is listed as being age 83 and is living with his grandson, Silas Goodrich.

So, we know he was still living in 1860 because he's listed in the census, right? Well, I have found instances where deceased people were listed in the census records, but another clue was found in the Columbia City News. The item below first appeared March 25, 1862 and ran almost weekly, with the last "testimonials" for the Scandinavian Remedies being June 2, 1863.
"Home Testimony. Huntsville. Whitley Co., Ind.
"Dr. C. W. Robeck: Sir. This is to certify that I was very much reduced in strength, and was confined to bed rom [sic] general debility and disease and being advised to try your Scandinavian Remedies, I did so with the most satisfactory result. I have since had several attacks of the sam [sic] character, which have always been removed by these remedies and can conscientiously recommend them to the afflicted. Yours truly, BELLA [sic] GOODRICH."
We're getting a little closer... chances are, if he was giving a testimony for a "remedy" he'd still be alive. I think we would be safe in assuming he was living in June of 1863.

An article that was published in the Columbia City Post on February 24, 1892 gave bits of information regarding early settlers and current residents. Of particular interest was this one-liner... "Bela Goodrich was a soldier and died at the age of 87 years. He was the father of Price Goodrich and grandfather to Fletcher Goodrich of Richland township."

We have no way of knowing if this article is accurate, but if it is, and if he was born in 1777 and died when he was 87 years old, that puts his year of death at 1864 or possibly early 1865.

There would not be any "official" record of Bela’s death since Whitley County didn't start recording deaths until about 1882, and that is hit-or-miss until about 1900 when the state required them.

So, when did Bela die? What say you?

Letter from Boot Camp November 23, 1969

This is the 3rd in a series of letters written home while I was in Basic Training. Click on the "Boot Camp" label at the bottom of the post to see all the letters.

Recruit Training Command (Women)
U. S. Naval Training Center
Bainbridge, Maryland ~ 23 Nov 1969

Hi Mom and Terry,

Hope things are going okay for you both. I am getting along pretty well. The only problems I have is time. It seems like they give you enough things to do in 12 hours to really take 24 to do it. I have 20 min[utes] before evening mess. I can't even remember what I did a week ago today because we've done so much. I think I told you about the petty officers before. Friday we had a meeting with RM Contini, our company commander, and she told us who our petty officers were. I am the AMO - ass't mail orderly. I'm responsible for the safe delivery of the mail to and from the post office and barracks. There are more duties that I have to do but that is the main thing I'm concerned with. I was MPO - muster petty officer, for four days and thought sure that's what I'd be but I'm not and I'm kinda glad because there would be a lot more that I'd have to do.

In the next week we can volunteer for the drill team, choir, ushering, etc. and I'm going to tryout for the drill team. You have a pretty good chance of getting on but if you don't keep up grades academically and militarily you are "relieved" of your duties. Wednesday we got our first series of shots. We get our next series sometime next week. Thursday we went to dental and had our teeth x-rayed and also had a fluoride treatment - that was bad stuff.

We've had some classes and a lot of lectures on uniforming, stenciling, laundering, ironing, etc. It all takes a lot of time. I've got my laundry done and my ironing. Now I have to hem up three pairs of pants. I'll get that done after mess. Their sizing here on clothes is really bad. Some of the "ladies" here that usually wear size 12 or 14 were fitted into an 18. I went back four times for my dress blues and three times for dungarees (slacks). They have to fit thru the thighs and then they are way too big around the waist. They tailor our dress blues for us so that they should fit good.

Our CA's left us Saturday and now we are on our own. The petty officers are now "running" the company. We had 63 in our company then got a transfer from another company which made 64. One girl has been discharged and two were hospitalized last week. Another girl was hospitalized today and if she is in the hospital for more than three days she will be set back into another company. Another company will be coming in this Friday and one company graduates Friday and we will no longer be "baby boots". We also go into our recruit uniforms tomorrow. That is white shirt, tie, dungarees, black socks, sweater and oxford shoes. Our oxfords are supposed to be polished every night. I have to do that after mess this evening. They are really comfortable. We have been wearing them since Tuesday or Wednesday. You know that corn I had doesn't bother me with these shoes. I can't even wear my civilian shoes anymore.

I did write a letter to Jack yesterday but it won't get mailed out till tomorrow. I am a church leader. I am responsible for seeing that all protestants in the company get to church on time. Church is required. I just have to be sure we get there. Today the petty officers had a meeting with the CC. It lasted for two hours so I didn't get much else done. We are RM Contini's second company. She is really expecting a lot out of us because her first company was really bad. Half of the petty officers were on demerit patrol the night before they graduated. The company had over 900 report chits turned in on them by the petty officers.

Well, I have to go to evening mess now. Hi again. I'm back from mess. The food around here has been pretty good generally. I have been trying to eat just meat and a salad but sometimes that's hard to do and you know how I like to eat. We have had quite a variety in weather. It was snowing the first night and it was colder than the devil the first two days. It then warmed up some for a day then it rained and turned cold again until today. It was really nice today - it felt like it should be springtime instead of going into winter.

Well, I have to go now. I've got to hem my pants and polish my shoes and take a shower and wash my hair and set it. We have pictures taken for our permanent ID cards tomorrow.

See ya, Love Becky

New Opportunity for DNA Research?

A recent posting by Dick Eastman reported that was partnering with Sorenson Genomics, a DNA research firm, to be able to provide DNA testing and somehow link that data to Ancestry's existing family information. This is big news, but how is it going to work? As with many of the announcements of other genealogical collaborations last month, there will be questions without answers and it will be a while before all the ramifications are known. Dick posted yesterday's press release with more details on the partnership.

An article in the Salt Lake Tribune makes the outlandish claim that "In less than three weeks, people will be able to find distant relatives by clicking a mouse. And they can be sure that their supposed family members are related to them because instead of using old documents, people will locate their relatives through DNA tests."

DNA replace documents? I suppose that could happen, but not likely in the near future. Find relatives with the click of a mouse? According to 'The Generations Network' and other database providers, we can do that now. The implication is that DNA testing will make it so. It will only happen if you and your relatives have been tested. It'll take years of collecting and testing DNA samples. The state of current DNA testing and its use for genealogical research is limited. Not enough people have had DNA tests done, most cannot afford it. Hopefully this partnership will make testing more affordable so more people can have it done, and if that happens it may make it easier to make the connections to unknown relatives. Only time will tell. I'm certainly looking forward to the time that I can find my relatives with just the click of a mouse!

For more information on this partnership and DNA testing check out these posts:

Monday, June 18, 2007

Time to visit the Carnival

The 26th Edition of the Carnival of Genealogy has been posted by Jasia at Creative Gene. The topic for this edition is "Dads!" and there are some moving tributes to Dads, Grandads and other male ancestors. So, take some time to read all of the contributions, definitely worth it.

I'll be guest-hosting the next edition of the COG for Jasia. The deadline for submissions is July 1st and the carnival will be posted on the 3rd or 4th. The topic will be "What America / Independence Day has meant to my family" and is intentionally vague so you can interpret it as you will. Write about family picnics and fireworks or fighting in the Civil War. Write about the struggle to adapt to a foreign land or the fight for civil rights. Share what being in America has meant to your family and submit your blog article to the next edition of the Carnival of Genealogy using the carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on the blog carnival index page.

Grandpa Vic and Some Grandkids

A couple years ago, my uncle Bill Phend, sent a few photos he had scanned. Finally found where I'd put them on my hard drive. . . this is the only one that had Grandpa with us kids. Taken in August of 1949 at the home of my Aunt Phyllis in Columbia City. Looks like Grandpa and Kathy are the only ones enjoying themselves! That's me in front, cousin Tom, brother Doug (behind me), cousins Mike and Kathy, and Grandpa trying to keep us all in one spot.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Grandpa Vic

When Father's Day comes around, I always think of my grandfather, Rolland Victor 'Vic' Phend. Tuesday (the 19th) will be the 113th anniversary of his birth in 1893 and tomorrow (Monday the 18th) is the 16th anniversary of his death in 1991. Grandpa died the day before his 98th birthday. Since his birthday was always so close to Father's Day, there was usually a family gathering or picnic around that time. Sometimes everyone would be able to attend and at other times it was just a few, regardless, we always had a good time.

Photographs: Vic Phend, probably about 1917 - - With his family, 1942, backrow: Ginny, Billy, Phyllis, Pat. seated: my grandparents, Hazlette and Vic. in front: Shirley - - Grandpa with his WWI picture, taken in the spring of 1990.

Grandpa Vic was not what you would call a 'hugger' or 'kisser' which was good in a way, because he chewed tobacco and always had a big hunk of it in his mouth. I vividly remember the coffee can beside "his" chair and the smell that emanated from it. We tried to avoid it at all costs but occasionally, being rambunctious kids, the can would get bumped and overturned and the contents spilled out. It was not a pleasant site, believe me.

The oldest of the ten children born to Henry and Susie Yarian Phend, Grandpa was born in Harvey, Cook County, Illinois . His parents had moved there shortly after their marriage in the fall of 1892 at Nappanee, Elkhart County, Indiana. Henry was one of the thousands of workers hired to help with the construction of the buildings for the Columbian Exposition in Chicago. Sometime after Grandpa was born Henry became sick with "the fever" and they returned to Nappanee.

Grandpa stated many times that his father was quite sick and stayed with his parents at Hepton for a time. Grandpa stayed with his mother at her parents' home in Locke. Hepton was a mile south of Nappanee and Locke was a mile north. He also spoke of "having the run of the town" as a child, along with his younger brother Cecil. His mother had three sisters and two brothers and their families living in Locke and Nappanee. His father had his parents, four brothers, a sister and their families living in Hepton and Nappanee. Grandpa said he really did not like going to his grandparents' house at Hepton (the Phend's) as they were too strict.

Just before the turn of the century, about 1898, Henry moved his family to Columbia City in Whitley county, Indiana. He became a well-known building contractor and most of his sons worked for him at one time or another. Even as a youngster, Grandpa would carry bricks and clean up the work site. His father often took him out of school because he was needed for a job. Though his formal education did not extend beyond the 8th grade, he was a well read and educated man.

As a young man, one of the things Grandpa did for recreation on a Sunday afternoon was to take a train ride to another town, usually Plymouth or Fort Wayne, spend a few hours there and then return to Columbia City. After one rather long and hard job (the Methodist Church in Columbia City) was completed in 1913, Vic and a buddy, Tim Hively, caught a train out of town that was heading west and didn't come back for quite a while. They went as far as their money would take them and ended up somewhere in South Dakota.

They worked around a small town for a while when a farmer offered them room and board and clothing until the crops were sold the following fall, then he would pay them their wages. So they worked for the farmer until that fall, but the farmer didn't make any money so he couldn't pay them cash. By this time, Tim Hively was homesick. They worked odd jobs until they had enough money to pay his fare back home. Grandpa got a job working a crane dredging along the Mississippi River, so he stayed on a while longer. He never did say how long he was gone. Now, I don't know how much of that is true, because Grandpa had a tendency to exaggerate a bit when telling his tales. His children inherited that trait also. ;-)

However, I recently found the following on Ancestry's newspapers: The Fort Wayne Daily News, Thursday, March 15, 1917 - "Victor Phend left Tuesday for Muscatine, Ia. to accept a position on the Chapman Bros. dredges, the manager, L. L. Chapman, leaving here Monday for the west." His World War I Draft Registration Card gives his occupation as "Craneman on dredge" and his employer is listed as Chapman Bros. So at least the part about his working on a crane dredging the river is true!

Grandpa was very proud of the fact that he had enlisted in the Army at the beginning of World War I instead of waiting to be drafted. I don't know if it really made a difference, but he thought that he had gotten "special treatment" in the Army because he was an enlistee instead of a draftee. While in the Army, Grandpa was assigned to Company C, 309th Engineers and served in France. Although he never saw combat action, he was an expert marksman and as such was assigned to reconnaissance missions and sniper duties. While on a patrol to go after a prisoner, he was gassed. His mask didn't work properly so there was extensive damage to his lungs. He was sent to a French hospital for about two weeks, then returned to his company for regular duty.

At the time of his discharge in June 1919, he wanted to get out of the Army so badly that he told them he wasn't sick. That denial of his illness prevented him from receiving many of the benefits awarded to other victims of World War I gas attacks. He wasn't out two weeks before he was back seeking medical help. Because of the damage to his lungs and asthma-like attacks, the diagnosis was that he probably wouldn't live long. Well, he proved the doctors were wrong, living until the day before his 98th birthday. But he was sick for many years and for a long time had to sleep sitting up in a chair.

Because he could no longer do the heavy construction work he had done before the war, the government sent Grandpa to a typewriter repair school. He got a job with Rozell Typewriter Service in Fort Wayne. He was living in Columbia City at the time and commuted on the train.

On October 15, 1921 Grandpa married my Grandmother, Hazlette Brubaker. They raised a family of five children. Their's was not a perfect marriage; rather stormy at times. They were divorced, got remarried, and divorced again. They lived at various times in Columbia City, Fort Wayne, Troy township in Whitley county, Elkhart, and finally settled in Larwill in Whitley County.

Often were the times when he'd load up the kids in the car and take off for a "Sunday ride". There would not usually be a destination in mind when they left but when cherries or peaches were in season, they knew they were off to Michigan. And never did he go anywhere that he came back the same way! Back roads were the rule. You'd see more that way than you would if you stayed on the main highway!

When I was about 10 years old Grandpa and my aunt, Shirley, took my brothers and me on a trip to the Wisconsin Dells. I don't know if he ever took any of his other grandchildren on a trip, but we sure felt special at the time.

For nearly thirty years Grandpa worked for Rozell's, then he opened his own shop in September 1950, with his son Bill. But even before he had enlisted in the Army, Grandpa had been an apprentice at a Columbia City bakery. He learned to make the usual pies, cakes and cookies as well as candy. Many a weekend and evening he would spend making his delicious candies. Most of them were given away or donated to bake sales. Christmas was a time when he was especially busy. We looked forward to those candy making times and just couldn't hardly wait to get a taste of the turtles or cashew glace. A bit of "fame" came his way when the Warsaw Times Union printed a feature story on his candy making exploits in December 1963. At that time he had already been making candy for twenty-five years. My favorites were the turtles, but he also made cashew glace, chocolate fudge, fondant, caramels, candy canes and taffy.

Grandpa worked as a typewriter repairman, traveling to Fort Wayne every day for nearly sixty years, until he was 88 years old. He retired only because he could no longer lift or carry the machines. The candy making stopped a year later when he sold his house in Larwill to my cousin and moved to a small apartment in Columbia City. He still drove his car to visit his children and friends until the car died when he was 95!

Grandpa was also an avid gardener and passed his love of growing flowers and vegetables down to several of his grandchildren, including myself. After his car quit running, I'd go into Columbia City every Sunday and bring Grandpa out to "the farm" where we lived in rural Noble County, about 10 miles north of Columbia City. As we drove out from Columbia City, Grandpa would give me the directions by grunting and pointing in the direction we needed to go, as if I didn't know the way! As we passed the Scott/Kiester cemetery he'd always say "Girlfriend's buried there" and then "she lived there" when we passed by the next farm. Grandpa was engaged to Blanche Kiester when he went into the Army. She died on March 5, 1920 of influenza and pneumonia. I've often wondered how different things would have been if he had married Blanche instead of my grandmother. A moot point, I guess, because I wouldn't be here if he had married Blanche.

In the spring and summer, once we got to the farm, the first thing he would want to do was to go out and see how the flowers were doing and inspect the garden to see if we had missed any weeds. Oftentimes he'd grab the hoe and go to work himself.

Grandpa lived in his apartment until failing health forced him into a nursing home in December 1990, six months before his death. He had an overwhelming sense of curiosity. He loved to tinker and find out how things worked. If something broke you could count on him to fix it, and, like his father, if he did something, you knew it was being done right! He was always willing to help others but seldom asked anything for himself. About the closest he ever came to showing affection was when he'd put an arm around your shoulder or tease you about something silly. Though he never spoke the words, I know he loved us. I miss him, but he is still here, I can feel it sometimes.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Trash or Treasure? How do you decide?

For some time I've been struggling with how to deal with all of the pictures, documents, letters, etc. that my mother and I have accumulated over the years. We have both downsized into apartments so space is at a premium. Trying to determine what should be scanned is an issue I've put off for a number of years, thus almost nothing has been scanned, but nothing has been tossed yet either. My mother hesitates to throw away a single picture, even the out-of-focus ones! Me, I don't have a problem with that but some of the other "not so good" pictures are more difficult to toss.

Last Sunday, I posted A Blast from the Past about the letters that my mother saved that my brothers and I wrote to her while we were in the Navy. I appreciate the comments that were posted and the fact that several people found the first two letters interesting. One of the people who left a comment was Sally Jacobs, The Practical Archivist. If you haven't visited her blog, you really should as it is loaded with great tips on storing your documents, photos, and other memorabilia.

Then yesterday, Randy Seaver posted What to Keep, What to Pitch with a link to an article by Cindy Larson in the Fort Wayne, Indiana News-Sentinel. The article "What to keep, what to throw away?" quotes Curt Witcher, director of the Allen County Public Library genealogy collection, as well as Harriet Schechter, an author, organizer and time-management expert. To give credit where credit is due, the link to the article in Randy's post came from Megan Smolenyak at Megan's Roots World. Thanks go out to both of you!

There were several links in the News-Sentinel article:
It's going to take some time, but this project is near the top of my list of things to do this year.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Recruit Training Command (Women) - Dear Mrs. Wiseman

This is the form letter that my mother received after I arrived at Boot Camp...

Recruit Training Command (Women)
U. S. Naval Training Center
Bainbridge, Maryland 21905

17 November 1969

Dear Mrs. Wiseman

This is to inform you that your daughter has reported to this activity for basic training. The mission of Recruit Training Command (Women) is to guide the Wave recruit in the transition from civilian to military life, acquaint her with naval customs, traditions, discipline and esprit de corps, and by intensive training and schooling fit her for naval service. To accomplish this, capable leaders have been made available to direct her daily activities and every provision has been made for her physical, mental, and moral well-being. The Navy's stake in this enterprise is tremendous, and it [sic] of the utmost importance that each Wave recruit receives the best possible start in her new venture.

In order that your young lady may succeed in this training program and that the transitional period may be as smooth as possible, I am earnestly requesting your assistance and cooperation. Every recruit wants to hear from home. Based on our past experience, I would like to offer some suggestions about the mail for your consideration. Cheerful letters from home which encourage the trainee are very important to her morale. She has been advised by us to write to you about her new experiences in the Navy. Your letters in reply will help keep her spirit high and stimulate her to write to you more frequently.

News of problems at home is generally very disturbing to the recruit because while in naval training she is unable to assist directly in their solution. If, in your well-considered opinion, it is unquestionably essential that the recruit know about a problem, a complete explanation of all facts will be best.

Only in the event of a real emergency, such as the death or critical illness of a member of the immediate family, can a recruit be granted leave to go home during her training period. The request for a recruit to come home on emergency leave must be originated through your local chapter of the American Red Cross. Your chapter then will send verification of the emergency to the Red Cross Field Director here at Bainbridge. Direct requests to this command for individuals by telephone or telegram serve only to delay the leave processing. Applying through the Red Cross helps you to expedite the process. You might want to ascertain the telephone number and location of your local Red Cross chapter now so that it would be readily available for your use in the event of an emergency.

To ensure prompt delivery of mail to your Wave recruit, pleas use her complete address which is indicated below:
SR Rebeckah Rose Wiseman, B 57 40 61W, USN
Company 70-14, Recruit Training Company (Women)
U. S. Naval Training Center
Bainbridge, Maryland 21905

Should you at any time wish to make an inquiry, or to communicate with me for any reason concerning your recruit, please include her full name, service number, and company number in the correspondence, and address such mail as follows:
Administrative Officer
Recruit Training Commany (Women)
U. S. Naval Training Center
Bainbridge, Maryland 21905

For administrative reasons, your Wave recruit will be allowed to receive visitors during her training program on one of the following dates only: 13 December 1969, 14 December 1969. Visitors for Wave recruits in training must, of necessity, be limited to members of the immediate family and close friends accompanying them. Except in an emergency, visiting hours are from 1 P. M. to 5 P. M. on one of the dates specified. We realize, of course, that your employment or your distance from Bainbridge may make it impossible for you to visit your recruit while she is here with us. If you plan to visit the Training Center, you are requested to complete the enclosed visitor's pass, in accordance with the instructions printed on it, and return the lower half no later than one week in advance of visiting dates authorized. You are strongly advised against coming on other than the specified dates, and without first notifying us of your intended visit.

Your Wave recruit will inform you regarding any scheduled off-station liberty she is granted while in training.

You are requested not to send food or candy to your recruit while she is in training.

My staff and I shall appreciate the encouragement you give your Wave recruit to devote herself to the training program in order that she may graduate on schedule and take her place in the service of our country.

Sincerely Yours,
Rosemarie C. Walsh
Commander, U. S. NavyCommanding Officer

Thursday, June 14, 2007

One Chapter Ends, Another Begins...

It's been a stressful and busy time at work these past few weeks, but that's over now. Today was my last day on the job and I am now a retired person! Yipee!! Hopefully that will mean more time for research, for blogging, for scanning pictures and documents, for relaxing (relaxing ?), for spending time with friends, for traveling, for simply enjoying whatever comes my way. Wow, it's hard to believe this day has finally arrived. I'll miss the folks at the office, but sure won't miss the job. Today was a good day, one of the best!

Sunday, June 10, 2007

A Blast from the Past

Several years ago, my Mother decided to organize some of the "stuff" that she'd kept in boxes and hadn't looked at for many years. (I guess I come by that naturally as I've got some boxes in the garage that haven't been unpacked since my move back in 1987, and I've moved twice since then! They are on my to-do list...). Anyway, amongst her boxes of pictures and papers were several stacks of letters - letters that my brothers and I had written to Mom when we were in the Navy. Bless her heart, she saved nearly every letter that we wrote! (No, sorry to say, I didn't save hardly any of those that she or anyone else wrote to me.)

Thanks be to whatever 'archive gods' there may be, she didn't tape or glue the letters onto scrapbook pages. Instead she put them into the "old style" plastic sheet protectors - the ones with the top and bottom open and black construction paper inside. Not the best choice, but certainly not the worst either. This morning I finally convinced her to let me borrow the letters so I could make copies of them while I still had access to the copy machine at work. So, I spent about 5 hours this afternoon copying letters. Ideally, I'd like to scan them, but there are other things I want to do too... I took the letters out of the plastic pages she had them in so decent copies could be made. This week I'll get the archival sheet protectors for future storage.

I haven't had a chance yet to do more than glance at the letters so I don't know how much personal stuff is in them. I know that most of the letters I wrote were pretty "generic" as far as my personal life was concerned, especially when I was in Iceland and Japan. Those letters dealt mostly with the places I was seeing, my "adventures", and my duties. I'd like to go through my pictures and the ones that Mom has and put the pictures with the letters. I think that would be more interesting to other family members. I'm not sure it would be interesting to someone outside the family though. Actually, I'm not even sure other family members would be interested.

These letters have already triggered a lot of memories for me and I'm sure they will bring back some things I had completely forgotten, some good, some not so good. It will be another adventure, in some respects rather like reliving it all over again. I may not get much done in the next few weeks, certainly not what I had planned on doing, but I think I'm going to enjoy myself.

I thought I'd go ahead and share the first two letters that I wrote from Boot Camp. . .

16 November 1969

Hi Mom,

Well I'm here. Things are a little hectic and I don't have much time to write. It is seven a.m. and we are getting ready to go to the mess then mass. I was sworn in Indianapolis at 8:30 a.m. and arrived at Bainbridge at 8:30 p.m. I have been assigned to Company 14 and I went in on the 14th of November. Some "weird" coincidences. I know I won't have much time in the next week to do much writing so tell everyone I said Hi and everything is going just fine. Well, I have to go. Call to muster has just been issued so bye for now. Tell everyone to write even if I can't.

Love, Becky

19 November 1969

Hi Mom (and Terry),

Yea it's really me. This is the first chance I've had to write any letters at all. I have 1 1/2 hours until taps. So much has been happening that I couldn't possibly write it all. We have spent most of our time in uniforming. Of course I have been the last person to do everything - just because of my name. But I don't really mind. We have two Company Advisors (CA) in the afternoon and one in the morning. They stay with a company for approximately ten days and then they drop us and we are on our own. We've had three classes on Tuesday. Bunk making, personal hygiene, and fire instruction. They also give us a recruit guide for us to read in our spare time.

Each company has it's own petty officers. They try some out for the first week then they appoint them. They are RCPO - recruit chief petty officer, ARCPO - assistant recruit chief petty officer, MAA - master at arms, AMAA - assistant master at arms, MPO - muster petty officer, AMPO - assistant muster petty officer, MO - mail orderly, and AMO - assistant mail orderly. There are more but these are all we have had as yet. We had a meeting with our CC (Company Commander). We have R.M. Contini as our CC. After our meeting with her they asked for eight volunteers for RCPO. The company was seated on two sides of a room and six persons stood up on one side. I was on the other side and no one stood up so I did and then another person did. I was made AMAA for Sunday, AMPO on Monday, and MPO on Tuesday. Today I wasn't anything. The first three days they had the same eight persons as petty officers but they switched them around. I would like to be a petty officer but I don't know if I'll get one or not. It is a lot of responsibility because they run the company after the CA's drop us. I think I could do it.

We had 63 in our company to start with. One group got here early in the afternoon and then some of us in the evening. We went to bed at nine. Some came in after taps but I didn't hear them because I was dead. Anyway we finally had 63 in the company then one joined us on Tuesday from another company because she had been in the hospital. Two have already requested a discharge and two more are allergic to wool. And there are some others that I don't think will make it much longer.

Our CA's are really great. SA Kaiser is the one we have in the morning, SA Arsenault is for in the evening, and we are her first company, we are the last company for SA Wetherell. Anyway they are real nice.

How are things going for you in general? We don't have any television but we do have a radio in our lounge but it isn't on much so we don't hear any news at all. If you could, would send a paper or something once in a while so I could keep up on it a little bit? Tell everyone I said Hi and also tell them to write. I gave you my address before. Well I have to go now. See you later.

Love, Becky

Monday, June 04, 2007

It's Carnival Time Again!

The 25th edition of the Carnival of Genealogy has been posted by Jasia at Creative Gene. Ten Genea-Bloggers contributed articles this time around on the topic of "Who Inherited the Creative Gene in your family?" It's well worth the time spent in reading all the posts. Thanks to Jasia for putting it all together!

The theme for the next edition of the Carnival of Genealogy will be: "Fathers... dads, step-dads, grandfathers, or Godfathers, or even someone you thought of as a father figure!" Father's Day is Sunday, June 17th so the deadline for submissions will be extended to include that day. The edition will be posted on the 19th instead of the 18th. Submit your blog article to the next edition of the Carnival of Genealogy using the carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on the blog carnival index page.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Creative Genealogy - a new blog!

Jasia at Creative Gene and hostess of the Carnival of Genealogy, has started a new blog called Creative Genealogy.

In her first post, Jasia states"
"Genealogy research is entertaining, educational and rewarding. But if you've done it for any length of time you know it's also the result of a lot of hard work, frustration, and perseverance. Most researchers find a great deal of satisfaction from adding names to their family tree but many don't think much beyond basic document discovery when it comes to their genealogy research. But genealogy shouldn't end there, with just names and dates. There is even more satisfaction to be gained in sharing it with others!

Writing up one's family history in a fact-filled book with vintage photographs is the standard way to compile genealogy research. And that's a fine, traditional approach to telling one's family history. But let's face it, if you haven't been bitten by the genealogy bug you'll likely find the standard family history text a bit (or quite a bit ;-) dry and boring. But it doesn't have to be that way!This blog will look at a myriad of creative ways you can share the fruits of your genealogy research with your friends and family. And I assure you these ways will be anything but dry and boring!"

I'm really looking forward to reading her tips and ideas for taking the presentation and sharing of genealogy to the next level. She has already posted on Photoshop Elements, Custom Family Reunion T-Shirts, and an Overview of Scrapbooking. Check it out!

Phend Family Reunion - August 4th, 2007

The Reunion of the Henry & Susie Yarian Phend Family will be held on Saturday, August 4th, 2007 at the Senior Citizen Center, 603 W. Van Buren Street, Columbia City, Indiana. Carry-In potluck dinner at noon. For more information contact me (Becky Wiseman) rrwiseman "at"

Previous posts on Henry & Susie:

Necessity is the mother of invention...

...and therein, perhaps, lies the creative gene?

I don't know if any of my ancestors were creative in the sense of the definition of "creative" if defined as "painter, musician, poet, wood carver, interior designer, writer, knitter, singer, calligrapher, or such" but it is my belief that they each had their own talents for surviving in the world during the times they lived. The research I've done on them has not really provided many clues as to any "special" talents, most of them were farmers - but being a farmer in pioneer days had a different meaning then than it does in current times. The pioneers, both men and women, had to provide virtually everything themselves or they had to bargain and barter for what was needed. Out of necessity comes remarkable ability and some degree of creativity to meet those needs.

As an example, Elizabeth Helms Jones (1804-1883) came to Whitley County, Indiana from Muskingum County, Ohio with her five children after the death of her husband in 1843. The children ranged from 8 to 16 years of age. Did she have any "special" talents? I don't know, but she had to find some way to care for her children. Her obituary says "She was of heroic disposition and bravely combated the trials and hardships incident to a pioneer life, and labored night and day, to add to the comfort of her children and rear them in a way that should cause them to grow up to be useful men and women." So yes, she and all "pioneer" women and men were talented and gifted in their own way.

In more recent generations, one of my Dad's sisters, Eva Leah Wiseman Shock (1908-1967) always carried around a bag of thread and needles for tatting. Her grandmother, Amanda Minerva Alexander Wiseman (1860-1950) made quilts for each of her grandchildren, I have the one she gave to my Dad. They were made from the fabric left over from the clothes she made herself.

There doesn't seem to be a common thread to the talents and creativeness in my family.

I've got several cousins on Mom's side of the family who are quite good singers and/or musicians. Not me, can't carry a tune in a bucket, can't read music. They must have gotten that from the "other" side of the family, not my line. At my cousins funeral yesterday, I kind of stepped back and took a look at the relatives that were there and thought about what they do for a living. One cousin was a college professor until her retirement a few years ago. She has written several books - textbooks used to teach college level English - as well as other books. One cousin has her own business doing paintings and selling crafts at shows. One of my cousin's children is an office manager, she was originally hired as a receptionist and was promoted when the company learned of her other talents in dealing with people. Another is the manager of a Ponderosa steakhouse. Can't tell me that doesn't take special talent and creativity in dealing with the employees as well as the customers! Another of his children is a dental assistant - and one of her children has received a scholarship to attend nursing school. Several other cousins are school teachers. My niece is a teacher's assistant for special ed kids. Another cousin owns a day care center. Takes a special kind of person to do all those things.

Are these talents inherited? Is there creativity in doing a day-to-day job. I don't know. Perhaps the creative gene lies dormant in all of us, but circumstances and opportunities brings out the talent and creativeness in different people at different times. Look at Grandma Moses - she didn't start painting until she was in her 70's. Lloyd C. Douglas didn't write his first novel until he was 50. (There may be hope for me yet!) Without a doubt, some people are endowed with more ability and creativity than others but where that spark comes from is one of the great mysteries of creation.

As I've been writing this, I've half-way been watching/listening to a biography of Leonardo da Vinci on the History Channel. Talk about talent and creativity, where did his genius come from?