Thursday, May 29, 2008

Fuel for the Soul

The first of the iris started coming out of their 'cocoons' late yesterday afternoon and this morning two of them were in full bloom. They are one of my favorite flowers, so delicate and a bit whimsical. Though pretty they have no scent. They are also not the easiest flower to photograph. There are so many aspects to them and the color changes a little depending upon the light.

I cut one Iris and took it inside to get a full view of it. From the petals tip-to-tip the flower is a little over 8" across. Several of the plants are "twins" with two blooms at the top of the stalk. There are 12 plants and most of them have 3 to 4 blooms coming on. Absolutely Gorgeous! flowers to feed the soul...


While writing my post for the 45th edition of the Carnival of Genealogy, I looked for a picture of this car but couldn't find it then. In the background is our 1956 Nash Rambler Super Sedan, like the one pictured at Old Car and Truck Pictures, about halfway down the page.

My parents had just returned from a fishing trip to northern Minnesota with Dad's sister, Fern, and her husband and daughter. Doug, Jack, Terry and I are showing off the souvenirs they brought us. It was August 1957.

In July that year, Doug, Jack and I had gone on a trip to the Wisconsin Dells with Grandpa Vic and Aunt Shirley. It was the first time that we had been away from our parents and little sister. We were only gone for a few days but we still got homesick, or at least, that is what I've been told - many times!

When Mom and Dad were planning their trip to Minnesota they decided to split up us kids and parcel us out to several aunts and uncles. Doug went to Columbia City to stay with Aunt Phyllis and Uncle Walt. Jack and I were sent to Pierceton to stay with Aunt Jessie and Uncle Toby. Terry went to Goshen to stay with Aunt Leah and Uncle Shocky. I don't remember how long Mom and Dad were gone, probably a week. But at some point during that time someone decided that we kids needed to see each other. So Doug and Terry were brought to Pierceton since that was somewhat the "middle" distance between Goshen and Columbia City.

When the time came for Doug and Terry to go back to their respective temporary homes, apparently we all started crying and quite simply couldn't be separated. Each time one of them would get into the car the crying would resume. I'm sure there is some exaggeration on the part of the adults regarding the extent of the hugging and crying ;-) at least there are no pictures of that! Bottom line, we all ended up staying with Aunt Phyllis in Columbia City for the few remaining days until our parents returned. Hers was a full house with her own four children and the four of us, but comfy. And we were together. And it didn't matter that we had to sleep on the floor!

Monday, May 26, 2008

On this holiday, please take just a moment...

to remember... those who gave their lives, those who served, and those still serving today...

The White House Commission on Remembrance (website at ) is an independent government agency whose missions include:

  • Promoting the spirit of unity and remembrance through observance of The National Moment of Remembrance at 3 PM local time on Memorial Day
  • Ensuring the nation remembers the sacrifices of America's fallen from the Revolutionary War to the present
  • Recognizing those who served and those who continue to serve our great nation and reminding all Americans of their common heritage
Source of image: a t-shirt for sale and hopefully I won't be sued for copyright infringement for using it… but I couldn't resist, it's such a neat graphic.

And now, a shameless plug for a past post on The Veterans in My Family. That post includes links to other posts on some of the veterans that I've written about.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

It won't be long now

until these beauties just outside my front door will be in full bloom...

Thursday, May 22, 2008

SST (That's Sorting, Scanning, Trashing!)

For the two weeks prior to my mother's 80th birthday much of my time was spent in removing the pictures from several of her albums, scanning those pictures and then putting them into archive albums for her. This resulted in approximately 575 scanned image files! I then selected the "best" and printed out perhaps 75 images for display at her open house. I'm very happy to say that the photo-montage was a big hit and well worth the time and effort.

With that project completed I (finally) began the task of sorting my own pictures that have been stored in three "shoeboxes" (not really, but photo storage boxes about the size of a shoebox) into chronological order. I'm trashing the out-of-focus, really bad shots, and giving away duplicates. I did get a good start on scanning some of those pictures the first part of this week but got sidetracked onto another project the latter part of the week.

On Monday and Tuesday I scanned nearly 350 images working about 12 hours total. These were all 3 1/2 x 5" pictures so I could put 5 photos on the scanner bed at once. Of course, I still scanned each one individually but the fact that there would be a series or group of pictures that had been taken at the same event helped to speed things up to where I could scan about 40-45 pictures per hour at times. I also discovered a neat feature of the scanner software that allows me to set a prefix for file names so that all the images from a group or series could automatically be given the designated prefix. Eventually I'll go back and add identifying information to each picture, once I figure out how it is done. The entire process is both fun and tedious. Yeah, right! No, really, it is! So I keep telling myself...

Of the three "shoeboxes" of pictures, half of one box has been scanned. I considered sending the pictures out for commercial scanning, particularly using the free offer at that Apple used. The thing is though, after sorting and selecting the pictures to be sent out, there were only about 300 that were of the 4x6" size, which was what was required for the free offer.

While sorting the pictures into chronological order I realized that I had only had prints made of a few of the pictures from my trip through the western states that I took after getting out of the Navy. Those pictures were slides. Prints from slides were expensive back then, compared to the cost of prints from negatives. And I didn't have a job at the time. Anyway, now I'm trying to locate a slide scanning service here in the Midwest. There are lots of places on the west coast. Some that do the scanning onsite and others that send them off to India or some other country. Really, really don't want to send them overseas. And would prefer someplace closer than California.

I've got seven 3-ring binders that each have 500 or so slides in protective pages. That's 3500+ slides, and no, not all of them will be sent out for scanning! Selecting the slides to send out is problematic. I'm trying to figure out a way to jerry-rig a light box or possibly find someone who has a slide viewer. I did scan a test slide on my HP Scanner that has slide/negative scanning built into the lid. I don't have the time or patience to scan those at the rate it took to pre-scan and scan the test slide (several minutes). The scanner added an overall bluish tint to the slide as well. I was able to adjust the image after scanning to get a usable picture, but it took a lot of time to get it close to the original.

The "other" project that I got sidetracked on this week was sorting through the four HUGE boxes of mounted and framed photos that haven't seen the light of day since they were boxed up in 1996! These are mostly photos that were taken while working on my bachelor's degree from Indiana State University. As part of each assignment we had to mount our work "professionally" for presentation to the class. Needless to say the stack of matt board (nearly 4' high) was far more impressive than the photographs themselves. The majority of the photographs were saved though and the matt board went to the recycling center today.

My plan now is to continue scanning the pictures in the shoeboxes, several hours a day, with a goal of completion by June 30th. (I'm setting a goal hoping it will keep me on track and motivated.) Devise a method for selecting the slides to be sent out for scanning; get them selected and sent out as soon as possible. And there are still all those boxes in the garage that need going through! And all those ancestral genea-documents to be scanned. And, well, lots of other things too.

What I've found while doing all this sorting, scanning, and trashing is that it is difficult to wrap my mind around the task of writing. I've stated before, I'm a slow writer, it takes time for me to put together a decent post. I guess the muse has left the building. As a result, posting has been sluggish. Most posts lately have consisted of recently scanned photographs. They don't take much thought, and are somewhat entertaining. Hopefully my few faithful readers will still be around when the muse returns and I get back to writing and, also hopefully, you will be interested in whatever it is I have to say. In the meantime, I hope y'all enjoy the pictures!

Somewhere along the Oregon coast, June 1979.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Where I Was

May 1979. I can still feel the freezing cold of the water as I walked through the stream to the dunes. The warmth of the sun and the chill of the morning breeze. The quietness broken only by the occasional laughter and voices of other visitors. It was a time of change. One stage of life ending and another beginning. A return to civilian life after 9 1/2 years in the Navy.

I purchased a postcard at the gift shop that I still have posted on the bulletin board next to my computer. It included a few words written by Ann Zwinger ". . . even in winter there is the promise of spring. . . The white of snow becomes the white of summer clouds. . . part of each season is contained in every other."

Anyone care to venture a guess as to where this picture was taken? A little hint, western United States ;-)

Update May 21, 2008 11:00 a.m
Craig Manson of Geneablogie fame has correctly identified the above scene as the Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve. Located in the southwest corner of Colorado, it is an amazing area. It's on my list of places to visit, again. Someday.

Some incredibly nice photographs:

Children's artwork inspired by the dunes:

Links to more photographs:

There are a lot of other nice websites, just do a search for Great Sand Dunes...

Monday, May 19, 2008

Two Stylish Ladies

My grandmother, Hazlette (Brubaker) Phend, and her sister Jane Stoffer Jacobs at Goose Lake, Whitley County, Indiana during the summer of 1954. They may well be "rolling in their grave" at my posting this picture but I think they'd be rolling over with laughter.

Submitted to the 49th Carnival of Genealogy, swimsuit edition.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Lots of Smart Ladies at the Carnival

Jasia has posted the May 18th Carnival of Genealogy, 48th Edition the topic is "Mom, how'd you get so smart?" and is a tribute to the wisdom and knowledge of our beloved mothers and mother figures. There's some pretty neat stories I'm sure you'll enjoy.

The topic for the next edition of the Carnival of Genealogy will be: Swimsuit Edition!
Why should Sports Illustrated have all the fun? This is your chance to show off the bathing beauties in your family. Pull out the old photos of Grandma Moses in her seaside bloomers, Auntie Mae in her pin-up girl suit from the 1940s or 50s, cousin Paula in her psychedelic bikini from the 1970s, or even yourself in your Speedo! Let's have some fun here! Memorial Weekend is knocking on the door and that means the start of the summer sun, sand, and seaside season so let's get in the mood with summer fun photos. What? You don't have any swimsuit photos you dare to share? No problem! Tell us your best family beach stories instead! The deadline for submissions is June 1st.

Articles can be submitted 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.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Desktop Genealogist has an RSS feed!

Perhaps I'm the last one to learn of this, but Terry Snyder now has an RSS feed available for her blog Desktop Genealogist. Her blog also has a new URL.

I've been checking her "old" blog "manually" and noticed the site had changed a bit but there had not been any posts for a few days, which is unusual for Terry ;-)

Anyway, I clicked on the "blogs" tab and discovered that Terry had posted something today and that she now has a "new" blog. With archives and an RSS feed, and she doesn't even have to wait on her editor to approve her posts! Congratulations, Terry. I know she's happy about the change, and so am I.

And why does this matter, you ask? Well, because I really like Terry's blog. Her wit and humor is refreshing and she writes good stuff. She puts her own unique twist on the topic of genealogy and family history research.

Terry also has another blog that I've been following: The Thacker Chronicles which went online in April. Terry calls this her "not ready for primetime (aka the local newspaper) blog" and is documenting her exploration of a branch of the family that left her "a little off balance" when she discovered something that took her by surprise. I applaud Terry for tackling this touchy subject and for airing her thoughts publicly. I'm looking forward to reading about her discoveries. Good luck in that search, Terry.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Lessons Learned

Larwill, Indiana combined 3rd and 4th grades, 1936-37 class. Mom is the 4 child from the left in the top row, she was in the 3rd grade. Two of her classmates are still good friends and they attended the birthday open house for mom's 80th birthday last Saturday.

Larwill, Indiana was (and still is) a small rural community about six miles west of Columbia City. Mom's family had moved there in 1935 and she attended the Larwill School for the rest of her school years. Classes for all grades, 1st through 12th, were held in one building, which was only a few blocks from their home.

Of course, mom learned reading, writing and arithmetic in school, along with history, home economics and social studies, but she was an "average" student, and according to her she didn't excel in anything, except making friends! Mom was the middle of five children and since their home wasn't far from school, it was the natural gathering place for all of their friends.

Along with the book learning, she learned how to do housework and help take care of her younger sister and brother. Life lessons learned through firsthand experience that served her well when she had children of her own after graduating in 1946.

When the time came for her to go to work outside the home, she was more than ready! Her first paying job was working in a factory, Playtime Products, in Warsaw, where they made toy baby buggies. Then my grandmother opened a restaurant in North Webster and mom went to work there. Her social skills came in quite handy while working with the customers and the other employees. In 1964, the restaurant was sold and mom got a job in another factory, North Webster Products. They made electrical wiring harnesses for refrigerators, freezers and other appliances. It wasn't easy work, but she was good at it. The company went through many changes over the years, but mom made it through all the lay-offs and downsizings and retired in 1993 after 29 years of service.

One of the most important lessons I learned from mom and the secret to her success, she says, was flexibility and a willingness to learn. Whenever she was asked if she had ever done a certain task, which she hadn't ever done before, instead of just saying "no" she always said "no, but I can give it a try" and invariably she would do just fine, not always, but most of the time. Many of her co-workers were women and many of them refused to even try a new task but she was always willing. She wasn't a perfectionist, but she always did the best that she could. Another lesson learned.

This post was written for the 48th Carnival of Genealogy whose topic is "Mom, how'd you get so smart?"

Sunday, May 11, 2008

1st Edition of Smile for the Camera

footnoteMaven has posted the first edition of the Smile for the Camera Carnival. And it is a wonderful tableau depicting "Mother Love" which is the topic for this inaugural edition of the carnival. Congratulations to fM and all of the contributors for a great start to this new venture.

The deadline for submissions to the next edition is midnight June 10, 2008 and the topic is belles and beaus - select a photograph of an ancestor, relative, yourself, or an orphan photograph that shows a memorable wedding, courting/dating, or a photograph depicting young/old love. Additional information and instructions for submitting your post can be found at Shades of the Departed.

Happy Mother's Day!

Mom and Me - Summer of '49

If you'd like, please revisit my post from last year on Mothers and Grandmothers.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Happy 80th Birthday Mom!

1928 - - 1943

1945 - -1966

1970 - - 1993

1996 - - 2008

Thursday, May 08, 2008

She did it with Love

My mother holding her firstborn child, Charles Douglas "Doug" Wiseman. Two months shy of her birthday, Mom was not quite 19 years old when Doug was born in March 1947. In the next two years, two more children would be born, me and Jack Lynn. Four and a half years after Jack was born, my sister Teresa Jane arrived on the scene.

The pictures below were taken on Easter Sunday in 1955 at grandma's house in Auburn. Jack's coat is too big, Doug's is too small. I wore that coat for more years than I care to remember. Terry was a handful. Mom was a stay-at-home-mom. Of course, back in the 50s that's what moms did. When Terry started school, Mom got a job outside the home and things changed. That's life. Deal with it and move on. She wasn't the "perfect" mother, like Donna Reed or Harriet Nelson, but she did the best that she could with what she knew. She did it with love. Thanks Mom.

Contributed to the 1st Edition of the Smile for the Camera Carnival.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Home Sweet Home - COG 47

The 47th Carnival of Genealogy has been posted by Jasia at Creative Gene. The topic of this edition is "A Place Called Home" and takes a look at the places where our ancestors lived. It's another big one, 32 posts, with some new contributors. So take your time and enjoy your visit in other times and places.

In addition, Jasia has announced the topic for the next COG, which is: "Mom, how'd you get so smart?"
"We'll examine our mothers' education. What schools did your mom attend? Did she graduate high school or attend the school of hard knocks? Did she attend a one room school house or was she home-schooled? Was she the first in the family to attend college? Maybe your mom took self-study courses or was an avid reader. Tell us all about how a mother figure (mother, grandmother, mother in law, godmother, etc.) in your life became so brilliant!"

The deadline for submissions is May 15th.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.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Whitley County - A Place Some Ancestors Called Home

My grandmother, Hazlette Brubaker, was born in Lorain County, Ohio but her parents were born in Whitley County, Indiana. All four of her grandparents were either born in the county or came here as young children with their parents. Seven out of eight great-grandparents came to Whitley County as young adults; the eighth great-grandparent lived in Huntington County, which borders Whitley on the south. Of her sixteen great-great-grandparents, nine lived in Whitley County. In addition, three 3rd great-grandparents also lived in the county.

In 1823, the county of Allen was created in the relatively young state of Indiana. Within that territory was the land that would, in 1838, become Whitley County. Four years previous, it had been put under the jurisdiction of Huntington County. All of that area was once the domain of the Miami Indians. The earliest white settlers came to the area about 1827 and by 1838, the population had grown sufficiently enough to be allowed to govern themselves. The first tax assessment, made in 1838, included the names of 136 men. How many women and children were living here at that time is not known. By 1840, the number of households had grown by 60% as shown by the Federal Census that year, which listed 219 households, and the total population of 1,237 for the county, which was comprised of 338 square miles. To say that it was sparsely populated would be an understatement!

It was in August of 1838 that the first of my ancestors came to Whitley County. These were the Goodrich and Joslin families and they purchased land in the northwest portion of the county. About 1843, Grandma Jones came to Columbia City. With her were her parents, Conrad and Mary (Swigart) Helms, and several brothers (you can read about the brothers in the post on Hell's Half Acre). They settled in Columbia Township. Also coming to Columbia Township at about the same time were Henry and Anna Robison. And William Hamilton Dunfee. His parents, James and Sophia (Hazlett) Dunfee would follow a few years later though they lived in Jefferson Township on the eastern side of the county, bordering Allen county. By 1850 the population of the county had reached 5,190.

In 1851, eight year old William Brubaker came with his step-father and mother, George and Sarah (Foster) Parkison. The next year, Conrad and Indiana (Sisley) Stem arrived on the scene as did their daughter, Malissa, and her husband Jacob Wise. They lived in Thorncreek township, north of Columbia City. In addition to my grandmother's ancestors, my grandfather and his parents, Henry and Susie Phend, moved to Columbia City about 1898. In 1900, there were 17,328 people living in the county. As of 2000, the population was 30,707 which was predominantly white (98.37%). Native Americans constituted 0.36% while 0.19% were African Americans and 0.18% were Asian.

Of the actual homes of my ancestors, their physical houses, the only one that remains that I am aware of is the Brubaker home at the Goose Lake Farm. The old Scott School that my grandmother and her siblings attended is still standing, though abandoned long ago and now used for storage.

Whitley County has been, and still is for the most part, an agricultural community. There is some industry, mostly in Columbia City and along U.S. Hwy 30 which runs east-west through the center of the county. The other major highway is U. S. 33 which cuts through Churubusco in the northeast corner of the county connecting Fort Wayne with Goshen.

The landscape is nothing spectacular though it is quite pleasant. Rolling hills and flatlands, fields of corn and soybeans, along with lots of trees, wooded areas and a few lakes. I don't think there is a lot of tourism, other than people passing through on their way to someplace else. There are historical markers which note some events and people of the past, but there is really nothing to see at most of the markers, other than fields or trees.

Perhaps the most impressive landmark of the county is the courthouse in Columbia City, which was designed by Brentwood S. Tolan, of Fort Wayne. It was built about 1890 and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1979. The surrounding town square was added to the register in 1987.

George Bonnett "news boy" leaves $20,000 estate

The recent post Recluse dies in motel leaving $263,000 in cash in room at Genealogy Miscellanea reminded me of a distant relative who died with a fairly large estate in the early 1900s. The newspaper article, unidentified and not dated, is in a family scrapbook. Based on his age in census records, George would have died after 1910.
George Bonnett Died in Chicago. Former Resident of Near Larwill Died in Chicago. Left Estate Estimated to be Worth $20,000 - John McNabb and Dunfee Family Related.

he Wooster Daily News, of Wooster, Ohio, contained the following article concerning the death of George Bonnett, who at one time resided two miles from Larwill in this county. The News article reads as follows:

I. D. Bonnett, Shreve druggist, is one of the heirs to a $20,000 estate left in Chicago by George Bonnett, proprietor of a corner news stand who died early this week. Word of Mr. Bonnett's death came in a letter to Charles M. Lovett, of Wooster, a half brother, and probably an heir. Mr. Bonnett has one sister residing in Iowa.

The death of Mr. Bonnett comes after a period of more than 35 years during which he had not been heard from. In the letter received by Mr. Lovett from the Chicago Tribune, it is stated that the letter was sent to him because he had in his possession a letter written to Bonnett from Mr. Lovett over 35 years ago. Mr. Lovett well remembers writing the letter.

George Bonnett was born at Lakeville and lived there during the early part of his life. He was over 70 years of age at the time of his death. A short time after he left Wooster Mr. Lovett wrote to him and received an answer. He wrote a second time but received no answer and since that time no relatives here have heard from Mr. Bonnett.

The fact that the letter written so long ago was found in his possession shows that he cherished the memory of the days he spent in this vicinity and of the friends and relatives he left behind. Mr. Lovett, in the letter he received, was asked to the particulars about his leaving here for Chicago. In the letter he is called a "news boy" but this was no doubt due to the fact that he was the proprietor of a news stand at a street corner. Proprietors of these stands sell many papers and while the fact that he accumulated $20,000 doing this work may sound strange, it is by no means unprecedented.

The Post is informed that Mr. Bonnett was a first cousin to John W. McNabb, the Dunfees, the late John Robinette's children, and to the wife of William Broxon, all residents of this county, and it is probable that they will share in the estate.
Census records indicate that George was born about 1840 in Ohio. He was more than 70 years old at the time of his death so that would put it after 1910. The only census records I've found for George are in 1850 and 1860 when he was living in Washington Township, Holmes County, Ohio. In 1850 he was listed with his step-father and mother, James and Mary Dunfee Lovett. His father, Isaac Bonnett had died on February 2, 1846 and on March 28, 1850 his mother married James Hanson Lovett. Sadly, James died about six years later.

In the 1860 census, twenty year old George Bonnett is listed as head of household. His occupation was farmhand. Listed in his household were his youngest brother, 15 year old Henry, and three half-siblings; 10 year old Charles Lovett, 8 year old Eva Lovett, and 5 year old Franklin Lovett.

The next household enumerated was that of his mother, Mary Lovett, a 42 year old widow with real estate valued at $4,000 and a personal estate of $700. Listed with her was her 24 year old daughter, Rebecca and 22 year old son Isaac. Both were listed with the Lovett surname, but their father was Isaac Bonnett. Also listed in the household were Susan M. age 13, John H. 11, and William H. Ship age 9. I haven't yet determined what relationship, if any, there is with the Ship(p) children and Mary. In April 1877, William H. Shipp would marry Mary's daughter Alveretta Jo Lovett. Alveretta was listed as Eva in the 1860 census with her half-brother George Bonnett.

George Bonnett was my 1st cousin four times removed. His mother, Mary Dunfee Bonnett Lovett, was a sister of my 3rd great grandfather, William Hamilton Dunfee. Their parents were James and Sophia Elizabeth (Hazlett) Dunfee.