Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Who was my inspiration? How did I get into this?

It was about 1980 when the genealogy fire was kindled by my grandmother, Hazlette Brubaker Phend Dunn Ferguson. At that time I 'discovered' the family book that she had been working on for a number of years. I don't remember her ever talking about it before. Perhaps it was because she was not well and hoped that someone else might take an interest in the family. She had put together some charts on her Whitley County ancestors and had been writing down her memories. At that time I thought it was interesting, but really didn't have the time or resources to pursue it any further. It would be another 15 years or so before I pursued these ancestors. I guess it was because I knew that she had the information on them and there were so many other ancestors that I didn't know anything at all about!

In 1983, my mother's cousin, Richard Phend, compiled a large chart for the Phend reunion showing the descendants of their great-grandparents, Jacob and Louisa Fisher Phend. He also put together a 40 page pamphlet that contained 'all' of the information then known about the Phend family. There was a lot of 'hearsay' and tradition included but he couldn't tell me exactly where the information had come from. It was then that I decided to see what I could find out. By that time, I had moved to Fort Wayne and had taken a short course on genealogy at the Allen County Public Library, and the hunt was on!

In 1985, I met Lowell Yarian. This retired gentleman and his wife had an RV and traveled throughout the United States in search of anyone and everyone named Yarian, and any variation thereof. One entire side of their RV was covered with cabinets full of 3-ring binders full of family group sheets. I thought it was amazing, but also a bit overwhelming. He passed away a few years later and I have no idea what happened to all of his information.

As mentioned in another post, in April 1986, I quit my job in Fort Wayne and decided to write a book on the Phend family. My mother supported me in that decision by allowing me to move back home and she went with me on several research trips to Ohio and Pennsylvania. I wrote a lot of letters. It seemed that one contact led to another, and that on to another. Dale Ernest of Goshen, Indiana, who was a great grandson of Jacob and Louisa Phend, had some very important family papers, including a copy of the Passport issued in Switzerland in 1832 to five year old Jacob's father, Johannes B'hend (John Phend). These documents led to additional contacts. Helen Rhoades Peil and Mary Alice Phend Kontz provided copies of a short manuscript written by their uncle Clarence Phend in the early 1900's which in turn provided many more clues and leads.

On one of the trips to Pennsylvania in 1986 I discovered the research papers of Dr. Charles T. Zahn at the Historical Society of York County. He spent many, many years researching the Berlin family and had compiled a tremendous amount of information. Fortunately, it wasn't lost when he passed away. My mother constantly reminded me of Dr. Zahn, who had always planned on publishing his work, asking me when I was going to get the Phend History printed. (It got published in 1991)

Richard Kutz, George Joslin and Jane Boggess were instrumental in helping to make the connections to our common ancestors, Lysander and Lydia Robison Joslin. Getting to know them and their families has been a joy. Carl Bennett has been an inspiration in our quest for Yarian descendants. Carol Andris Dorward, has been a great long-distance Goodrich family research partner. My first cousin, Caroline Conrad Fawley, researched our Wiseman and Shuder lines. Turns out her husband is also a distant cousin on my mom's side. Before I got consumed with all this I thought it was funny that they spent their vacations in cemeteries and courthouses! Little did I know.

These are but a few of the people that have been an inspiration and provided support in the quest. There are so many more...

What Do You Put Into Your Family History Blog?

Check out Lorelle VanFossen's very informative post on “What Do You Put Into Your Family History Blog?” for some great tips and ideas about blogging your family history.

Her Family History blog provides a lot of tips and how-to articles for both blogging and genealogy. It's a great resource for beginners as well as "old-timers".

Sunday, January 28, 2007

IGS Conference at ACPL in April

One of the first genealogy events that will be held in the new Allen County Public Library will be the Annual Conference of the Indiana Genealogical Society on April 27th and 28th.

Amy Johnson Crow, CG will be the featured speaker. There will be a special induction ceremony for charter members of the Society of Civil War Families of Indiana (SCWFI), and the library will have extended hours for research on Friday, April 27 (6 pm to midnight) for conference attendees. Online registration is available now.

I'm very pleased to say that I will be one of the inductees of the SCWFI with two ancestors having served in the Civil War from Indiana (also have one from Ohio). I'll be posting their biographies soon.

More on the Allen County Public Library

Just wanted to add a few things I didn't mention yesterday. The ACPL now has an underground parking garage and two additional parking lots just across the street. Parking is free for those with an ACPL library card and $1.00 an hour with a $7.00 per day maximum for everyone else.

The rare books collection is housed in Lower Level 1, which is the same level as the parking garage. Items will be displayed in glass cases in a room with controlled levels of light, temperature and humidity. The room has its own heating, cooling and ventilation system. Obviously, with over 6,000 items in the collection not everything will be displayed at the same time.

The auditorium, which can seat 250, is located below the rare books collection in Lower Level 2. There are several meeting rooms that can accommodate from 6 to 500 people. A Gallery and television studios used by Access Fort Wayne are on the main level.

Oh, and the library now has free WiFi Wireless access. You can take your laptop, hook into their network and have use of the library resources, including Ancestry and HeritageQuest, without having to use their computers.

I'm sure there are some other things I've left out, but you get the idea. It's going to be an awesome resource. Can you tell I'm excited!

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Allen County Public Library Grand Opening

This afternoon I attended the ceremonies for the grand opening of the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne. It's impressive, to say the least. I spoke very briefly with Curt Witcher, the director of the Genealogy Center, and of course he was quite excited. He said there were a few minor things that still needed to be completed but they were about 99% ready for the opening. Below are some pictures I took this afternoon.

Some lucky folks got a sneak peak at the library last Sunday. You can read about that in an
article in the Fort Wayne News-Sentinel; they also have some pictures.

Opening Ceremony The opening ceremony. A few people were on hand.
ScannersThese scanners allow you to create a digital image of the microfilm, two of them can also scan microfiche. The image can be edited on site. If you load the film wrong and the image is backwards you don't have to reload, the scanner can be set to reverse the image. It can also rotate the image and switch it from a positive to a negative or vice versa. Way cool. Even more cool, you can print the images or write the images to a CD or save them to your thumbdrive (or any USB drive). The email feature is not yet working. I could see using that if you only had a few images. I forgot to ask if they sell the CDs. At this time there is no cost for scanning or printing but, according to the staff member that was giving the demonstration, that may change in the future.

Patron AreaThis was taken shortly after the opening ceremony. It is the largest of the patron work areas. It is in the same room with all of the family history books, a small portion of which can be seen on the far wall. The chairs are very comfortable. Two copy machines are available in this room.

ShelvesThis is a huge space. It is where all of the City Directories and oversized books are located. The shelving units move with the push of a button. If someone is in the row the unit won't move. Of course everyone had to see if they worked properly. There are three aisles of shelving units. Each unit is quite wide, probably 20 feet or so.

ComputersOne of the computer areas. This was about 15 minutes after the opening.

East EntranceThe east entrance from the south side. A city street used to be where the stairs and the ramp are now. The entire area in front of the library has been turned into a plaza. The entrance and the side to the left of it are new. That's where the cafe and bookstore are located. The inside of the building was completely gutted and remodeled. If you've been there before you won't recognize it as the same building, nothing is where it was.

East EntranceThe east entrance from the north side.
Aaargh. I got a little frustrated adding these pictures. They kept disappearing on me! Aside from that, it was a GREAT day!!

I wasn't tagged but now I have been!

David Bowles and Joe Beine tagged me after I'd posted my 5 things. To keep things going, maybe, here are five genea-bloggers I've invited to participate. I don't know any of them but found their blogs interesting.

Teri at Old Photos & Genealogy

Les at Family Genealogy

Debra (?) at All My Ancestors

Bobbie at Genealogy etc.

The Familyologist at More Familyolgy

Friday, January 26, 2007

I wasn’t tagged but here are 5 things about me

The game of “tag” has been going on in the genealogy blog-world for the past week or so and Randy Seaver at Genea-Musings has invited those of us that weren’t tagged to join in. For a list of those who have participated see http://randysmusings.blogspot.com/2007/01/theyve-been-tagged.html

Since I’m new at blogging (I've only been doing it for 2 weeks) no one knows anything about me and I don’t know if anyone is even reading this . . . so, anyway,

1. In November 1969 I enlisted in the US Navy and served for 9 1/2 years, through May 1979. The first year after boot camp was in the “Special Services” division at Norfolk, Virginia. Special Services was more or less the recreation department. I worked in the library for a while, then in an office. They sent me to Great Lakes Naval Station for two weeks of training to learn how to run a carbon-arc movie projector. Showed movies in the base theater for about 6 months. Learned how to pop popcorn too. Real exciting stuff. Then I finally got the school that I wanted – photography. The next eight years were spent in base photo labs in Maryland, Iceland, California and Japan.

2. Technically, I was the first female assigned to the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise. This was in 1976 while stationed at Point Mugu in California. It was a temporary two week assignment to take pictures for a missile handling training manual. Of course, the Enterprise was not out to sea and I was not allowed to stay onboard ship overnight. I also had to have an escort with me at all times while onboard. Not sure if it was me or the sailors they didn’t trust! It was an interesting experience.

3. When I got out of the Navy I attended Indiana State University in Terre Haute and graduated three years later with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, with an emphasis in photography. Returned to school in 1991 to learn computer programming. It took me about eight years to get my Associates degree taking 1 or 2 classes a semester while working full time.

4. I’ve photographed an active volcano in Iceland (1973) and climbed an extinct one, Mt Fuji in Japan (1978).

5. In 1986 I got fed up with my job and quit. I had been working 50-60 hours per week in the darkroom of a photolab, way too much time in the dark! Spent the following eight months traveling to ancestral homes in Ohio and Pennsylvania. Visited previously unknown relatives in Indiana, Iowa, Colorado, Kansas and Wyoming. This resulted in publication of “The Phend Family” in 1991. Money eventually got to be an issue so I had to go back to work. Have been with this company for 20 years in a variety of positions from working production to office clerk and for the past six years as a systems analyst. Planning to retire this year to spend more time transcribing records and traveling to New England, among other places, to discover more about my ancestors.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

You never know what you will find!

Columbia City Post, Whitley County, Indiana
Saturday ~ May 27, 1905
Pulled Gun on Physician. Henry Phend Whose Home is Quarantined for Scarlet Fever Made Dr. Souder Shiver Tuesday With An Empty Revolver.

Dr. C. L. Souder who is attending physician at the home of Henry Phend, who has been under quarantine since Tuesday May 16 on account of scarlet fever in the family, was confronted with a peculiar situation Tuesday afternoon.

He alleges that when he entered the house about 2 p.m. that Phend came forward with a revolver that looked like a cannon to him and told him to begin praying. The Dr. resorted to the use of some diplomacy and finally succeeded in getting the irate man to explain his warlike actions. Phend claimed that his case had not been properly reported to the health officer and that he was tired of being shut up. He later apologized to the physician for his behavior and showed that his gun was empty, but Dr. Souders avers that his heart missed several beats while Phend had him covered. The latter has six or seven children, but so far only one of them has had a light attack of the disease.

The best thing for the family to do when quarantined is to submit to the inevitable and avoid all disturbances. Officers must obey the law and physicians must do likewise. No officer will hold a family in quarantine for spite work or when it is unnecessary. They do it because the laws require it.

Henry Phend is my great-grandfather. He was a well known building contractor in Columbia City from 1900-1956. The oldest child at this time would have been my grandfather, Victor, who was not quite 12 years old. The other children were Cecil, age 10; Gladys, age 8; Bernice, age 6; Russell, age 4; Donald, age 2; and Virgil, just 6 months old. There was no follow-up article so I don't know if any charges were filed. By all accounts, Henry Phend was a mild-mannered gentleman. Being cooped up in a house with his wife and seven children must have driven him over the edge! My immediate reaction to this article was surprise and amusement, and then sympathy for both Henry and poor Dr. Souder!

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Wow! They did it!

The Colts WON!! They did it!!! The Colts and the Bears, can it get any better than that?

Portrait of a Photographer

I've been looking for a picture of myself to add to my profile page but don't have any recent digital pics. This drawing was made by a 2nd grade student when I was stationed at the base photo lab in Yokosuka, Japan in 1978. I was on assignment at the base elementary school and was only there about half an hour. Before I left the classroom a little girl came up to me and handed me her drawing. I've gotten a lot of enjoyment out of it over the years...

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Vic Phend Writes From France

Columbia City Post, Whitley County, Indiana
Thursday ~ January 16, 1919

Brest, France - Dec. 17, 1918
Hello Sis: Your letter came yesterday and it sure was welcome, it is the first one that I've had from home for a month and a half. You asked if I ever received those that "Mom" wrote, I've received one letter from her since being on leave. I suppose that they are still traveling trying to catch up with us.

We came to Brest about two weeks ago. It is a large place, with a population of about 90,000 or 100,000, and the new part of town is almost up to date. It is the best place that we have hit so far in our rambles around over the country. There are many interesting places and buildings in this burg, some of the buildings are very old. About three or four blocks from here are the barracks that Napoleon built; they are being used today by the U. S. as barracks for our troops. Then there is an old castle, or Chateau, that was begun in 59 B. C., with a little being built to it with each ruler that came along. It was used for a prison and the old cells and other things are still in it. I was all through the place.

Besides being an old town, the U. S. Army is using the place for one of its principle ports and lots of troops landed her during the war. We didn't land in this place though, when we crossed. We landing in Glasgow, Scotland, going to England by train, stopping in Winchester, then west to Southhampton and crossed the English channel, landing at La Havre. Since then we have been traveling to and fro, with no place in particular in sight, where we could call home.

We never got to the front, and from what I've seen and heard since being here, I ain't one bit sorry. We were billed for the front, and I think that we were about due, when the armistice was signed, part of our division went to the front and got into the scrap.

I never told you that I met one of my cousins at Sherman did I? Well, I did, he is in headquarters Co., 334th Infantry. I only saw him once, but he is over here and if I ever run across that outfit again I'll look him up.

We are working here on several different jobs. I am working on a large building just at the edge of old Brest, that is going to be used as an assembling plant for trucks and other motor cars.

I suppose that you wonder how the weather is. It isn't cold, but it rains all the time. I think that the sun has shone twice in the last month, but it didn't stay out long enough either time for a fellow to get a picture of it.

I think that I've done fine in writing this letter, so before I spoil it, I'll close.
With love, "Vic"
Rolland V. Phend - C Co., 309th Engineers
A. P. O. 716 - Amer. Exp. Forces. France.

Two Fellows Home From Camp Taylor

Columbia City Post, Whitley County, Indiana
Saturday ~ December 29, 1917
Vic Phend and Earl Bordner are both home for short furloughs from Camp Zachary Taylor, Louisville, Ky. The former came Thursday evening. He is in the engineers and likes his work very much. He has grown heavier, weighing about one hundred and eighty pounds and he looks every inch a man now. Earl Bordner is in the medical detachment of the engineers and he, too, has benefited by his training. He is a half inch taller and is also heaver. He will be here until Tuesday, visiting with his father, R. J. Bordner, and others.
Grandpa (Rolland Victor Phend) enlisted in the Army on September 19, 1917 and went as a 'substitute' for someone else. He was 24 years old at the time and about six feet tall. He often commented that he thought he had gotten 'special' treatment because he was an enlistee rather than a draftee. He attained the rank of Sergeant and served in England and France as a member of the 309th Engineers. Though he never said anything about being in combat he was gassed while on a patrol and suffered for many years as a result. At one point the doctors said he wouldn't last six months. He fooled them all by living until the day before his 98th birthday! Mom says she remembers, when she was little, that he often slept sitting up in a chair because he couldn't breathe if he laid down. He received a very small disability pension. At one point when he was in his 80's, the government decided that he was no longer disabled and took away his meager pension. He contacted one of our senators (I don't know which one) and after some delay, his pension was restored.

The Amazing Bloomin' Cactus

This Christmas Cactus was given to me six years ago when it was about 6 inches high. Now it is 24 inches across and the highest branch is 15 inches high; the pot is 7 inches high. The first half dozen flowers bloomed last weekend. I counted 20 full blooms, 6 more ready to bloom, 10 medium sized buds and more than 50 small buds just coming on. It is incredibly beautiful, the pictures in no way do it justice but I just had to share. The most blooms that have ever been on it at the same time has been six. Has anyone ever seen a Christmas Cactus with so many flowers?

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Genealogy Blog Finder

If you want to get an idea of some of the other genealogy blogs that are ‘out there’ check out the cool Genealogy Blog Finder that Chris Dunham has created. As of yesterday there were 500+ blogs listed in 23 categories. Once you click on a category, the blogs are listed in alphabetical order. A new feature he added allows you to sort the list by the date the blog was last updated. As Chris stated, "This will make it easier to figure out which bloggers are still active and which have joined that big blogroll in the sky." You can also search for specific blogs or search the posts for specific text.

Thanks to Chris for putting this list together and helping me to spend time reading blogs when I really should be doing something else a bit more productive! Really though, it’s not time wasted, as I’m getting some great ideas and it is fun seeing what others are doing with their genealogy and research logs.

Chris also has two blogs of his own: The Genealogue which I highly recommend and Genealogy Web Sites I Don’t Hate that highlights some of the web sites he has found.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Carnival of Genealogy - 16th edition

Jasia has posted the 16th edition of the Carnival of Genealogy. The topic for this edition is food and family recipes. Good stuff!

The next topic for Carnival of Genealogy will be "Acknowledging those who've helped us get where we are with our genealogy research. Who was that special individual who inspired you to begin your genealogy research? This is a chance to publicly acknowledge those who deserve our appreciation and gratitude." Register your blog post using the
Carnival submission form.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Brubaker-Phend Marriage

I'm in love with newspapers, one of my favorite resources. Countless hours have been spent viewing the microfilms of the Whitley County newspapers at the Peabody Public Library in Columbia City and the South Whitley-Cleveland Township Library in South Whitley. Many precious tidbits of information have been found that have added to the 'humanization' of my family tree and many more interesting items, unrelated to my family, have been contributed to Whitley County Roots, the quarterly publication of the Genealogy Society. The first of what, hopefully, will be many posts from these items now follows:

Columbia City Post, Whitley County, Indiana
Wednesday, October 19, 1921
"The marriage of Miss Hazelette Brubaker to Rolland Victor Phend occurred at the United Brethren parsonage Saturday evening at 8 o'clock Rev. Oscar B. Wells officiating. The young people were unattended. The bride has been employed for some time at the Goble & Garber Electrical shop and she is a young woman who has many warm friends, due to her universal cordiality to all. The bridegroom is local manager of the Jackson Coal Company and he is a young man who stands high in this community. During the late war he spent many months in France and while there he was gassed, but he has pretty fully recovered from the effects of it. Mr. and Mrs. Phend moved into an already furnished home on north Walnut street, which the bridegroom had provided and they will be at home to their friends there. Congratulations are extended to them."
Note: Grandma and Grandpa were married October 15, 1921, divorced in 1937 and married a second time on October 15, 1939. They divorced again about 1944. Grandma was married two more times, but Grandpa remained unmarried. They both attended our family gatherings but I don't recall them ever talking to each other. He sat at one end of the very long table and she at the other. In later years, when he spoke about her, at least to me, she was always 'my wife' - kind of sad in an odd sort of way. Grandma was 82 years old when she died on May 3, 1984. Grandpa died June 18, 1991 - the day before his 98th birthday.

GSWC and Family Websites

The Genealogical Society of Whitley County (Indiana) was founded in the summer of 1995 and many of it's members have completed several projects since then. You'll have to scroll through a list of links at the GSWC website to find it but their online data includes complete transcriptions of the county cemeteries, a listing of those who served in the military, index to naturalizations, an index to Federal Land Patents and much more.

In addition, others have contributed data to my web site at Kinexxions which includes indexes to Whitley County marriage records, death records, guardianships, and estate packets as well as some original marriage documents, the 1889 county Plat Map, and transcribed obituaries.

Kinexxions also features information on some of the Whitley County kin that I am researching: Brubaker, Dunfee, Foster, Goodrich, Helms, Jones, Joslin, Phend, Robison, Stem, and Wise. Surnames in Elkhart County being researched include Berlin, Phend and Yarian. There are transcriptions of letters found at the Nappanee Public Library dating from 1862-1871 as well as some family pictures. Oh, and my grandmother wrote what she called the beginning of her autobiography and that has been posted as well. My grandmother was really the catalyst that got me into family research. Well, that and the fact that from 1984-1986 I lived just a few blocks from the Allen County Public Library!

It's taken a lot of time and effort but it is so rewarding, especially when I make contact with an unknown cousin!

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Carnival of Genealogy - food!

The last of my ancestors to arrive in what is now the United States came here in 1832 from Switzerland so there is no ethnicity involved in the foods served and eaten by my family. If there is any influence it is most likely that of economics, at least it was when I was growing up in a family of four children in the 1950's and 60's. Buy what you can afford and make the best of it. Mac and Cheese, cheap cuts of meat slow cooked till they fell apart, mashed potatoes, vegetables from the garden. Our usual fare for Sunday dinner was fried chicken, mashed potatoes, cauliflower and cheese, and a lettuce salad with a homemade salad dressing. If we were eating chicken, it had to be Sunday!

Though there was really nothing special about the foods we ate, which were fairly bland, and usually seasoned with just salt and pepper, it was good stuff. My Grandmother (mom's mom) opened a restaurant in North Webster, Indiana when I was 12 years old - I worked there until I graduated from high school. There was a mid-day special that always sold out. Swiss steak, fried chicken, baked beef heart (never did learn to like that!), liver and onions, pork chops; pretty much the standard diner-type fare.

Her specialty though was pies. Boy, could she make pies. She'd get in to the restaurant at 4 a.m. every morning, two hours before opening, to get the day's special started and get the pies baked. The aroma was just heavenly. She actually made her living baking pies for a few years in the 1930's for her brother's restaurant in Elkhart, Indiana.

My Grandfather (mom's dad) worked as a baker and confectioner prior to his enlistment in World War I. It was in the 1950's and 60's that he became well-known for his candies, especially at Christmas time. He made all kinds but my favorites were the vanilla caramels and turtles. He made his last batch of candy in the fall of 1982 when he moved out of the house and into an apartment in Columbia City.

Grandpa was a pretty good all-around cook too. He always fixed the turkey and dressing (3 kinds - one with oysters, one without oysters, and another without oysters or onions) for the big family dinner at Thanksgiving. This was when us kids and the cousins were little. After the older kids got to be teenagers, there were too many of us to fit into the house at the same time.

No special recipes were passed down through the generations; it was just good plain food. Still is.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Here I Go!

Well, here I go. Something I've thought about doing for quite some time and am finally doing it! Hopefully someone will find this interesting. My focus will be genealogy and family history since that is my primary interest. I have a special fondness for Whitley County, Indiana where many of my grandmother's ancestors settled so I'll be including information on the history of that area as well.

The pursuit of Family History and Genealogy has been my hobby off and on since the mid-1980's. With the advent of the computer and the Internet there have been many changes in "technique" though the basic methodology remains the same: diligence, hard work, patience and persistence with a bit of luck thrown in for good measure!

Personally, in my younger days, I never cared much for History. It was simply another class to get through. The teachers did not make it very interesting. But now! Now that I've been possessed by this Genealogy Bug I have come to realize that others who lived before me are a part of me, part of my history and the history of this country. They helped colonize America; they moved from the 'overly populated' east to the frontiers of Pennsylvania and Ohio and into the Indiana Territory; they fought in every American war; they helped civilize an uncivilized nation; they settled the unsettled lands and opened the way for others. They and their neighbors that came with and followed them helped make America what it is today.

There are no rich or famous people in my Ancestry. They are just common "run-of-the-mill" type folks. Some of them still elude me. Some have been found but very little is known of them. Some are just a name. It is hoped that someone else is also researching some of my Ancestors and their families. Surely there is. So, if you find a connection, please contact me. I look forward to locating new relatives - dead or alive!