Saturday, August 30, 2008

Harry Hamilton Dunfee and His Unnamed Twin Brother

This is the third example of the results of using the "foil technique" for deciphering hard to read tombstones mentioned in a previous post. Here we're looking at the grave stone for the twin sons born to William and Catherine (Jones) Dunfee. The marker is in the Masonic Section of Greenhill Cemetery, Columbia City, Indiana.

The worn, nearly illegible grave marker for twin sons of William and Catherine Dunfee. It faces west and is in the shade most of the day.

The grave marker "wrapped" in aluminum foil and rubbed down. While still not quite totally legible, this technique brings out some of the details, including the two doves at the top of the marker. The inscription at the bottom (beneath the parents names) still is not legible and some of the numbers are hard to read.

According to his obituary, Harry Hamilton Dunfee died on August 26, 1871 reportedly four years, five months and ten days old. If that is correct, then Harry was born on March 16th 1867. His unnamed twin brother died on March 17th 1867, which means he lived for only one day.

However, an earlier transcription of the cemetery states that Harry was 4 years 5 months and 5 days old. And looking at the grave stone, the number of days does appear to be a 5 or maybe a 2. If a 5, that would put their birth date at March 21, 1867. Given that the infant twin died on March 17th 1867 I am inclined to believe the information in Harry's obituary, which was published in the Columbia City Post on Wednesday September 6, 1871.


Died, Harry Hamilton, son of William H. and Catharine Dunfee, at Columbia City, August 26th, aged four years, five months and ten days. Little Harry was a bright treasure in the family, and loved by all who knew him. His frail form giving evidence of his unfitness for earth caused father, mother, brother and sisters to lead him tenderly along the path of life, to him made so short, and upon him lavish all of the kindness which love and sympathy could command. Though so very young he seemed to feel the force and intent of his last illness and as if met by some kind angel at the river of death, said, "Mother, I want to go home." Those only who have been called upon to give back to him who gave such treasures can fully sympathize with this bereaved family. Could they but look across that mysterious river, they would find no cause for weeping from that side of the stream. We would say weep not for such, did we not know that the tear goes far toward sweetening that bitter cup.

Albert Eugene Dunfee

Here we have another example of the results of using the "foil technique" for easier reading of tombstones, as mentioned in a previous post.

Albert Eugene Dunfee was the fifth known child born to William H. Dunfee and Catherine Jones. They are all buried in the Masonic Section of Greenhill Cemetery in Columbia City, Indiana. Albert died on April 2nd 1865, just a little over a year old. Previous transcriptions of this section of the cemetery give the last numeral in his year of death as a 5. The numeral in the number of days has variously been identified as a 5, and a 3. His obituary gives the number of days as 16. But if the year is a 5, then I think the number of days is 15, though I could be wrong. Who is to say, at this late date, which is correct?

Somewhere I have a copy of his obituary from the microfilmed newspaper that I identified as the Columbia City Post published on Wednesday, April 5, 1865. That is also the date listed by Nellie Raber in her "Digest of Obituaries" mentioned in the post on Albert's sister Laura.


Died, the 2nd inst, Albert Eugene, infant son of William and Catharine Dunfee, of Lung fever, aged one year, one month and sixteen days.

Though but an infant, destined to but a short stay with his parents, yet he had reached that age so interesting in childhood, when the music of his innocent prattle gave him prominence in the family circle. But a few days since little Albert made glad the heart of fond parents, loving sisters and brother, but midst their hopes and joys, death quietly enters and lays claim to their little treasure, and
"From tender friends he was quickly torn,
Their loss they now in sadness mourn,
From all he is gone."

Little Albert's parents no doubt had often, when enjoying his infantile glee, built up for themselves in their glad anticipation many happy days with him here, patiently watching the opening bud,
"When came disease and open'd the door,
And from their arms their treasure tore,
But near, there watched an angel band
Who took their Bertie by the hand;
They showed his little feet the way
To realms of joy in endless day;
Now, with new songs high heaven rings,
For there their darling Bertie sings;
He lives in Heaven."

Laura Virginia Dunfee

As promised, here is an example of the results of using the "foil technique" for reading nearly illegible tombstones mentioned in a previous post. There will be several more examples, with even more dramatic results, posted soon. (As always, click on an image to view a larger version.)

Laura is buried in the Masonic Section of Greenhill cemetery in Columbia City, Indiana near her parents and several siblings. Both pictures were taken yesterday afternoon. The larger letters on the stone are mostly legible but the foil enhances them considerably. The very small letters towards the bottom of the stone still can't be read, even with enhancing the image. There just isn't enough left to get a legible rubbing.
Laura Virginia Dunfee was the first child born to my 3rd Great Grandparents, William Hamilton Dunfee and Catherine B. Jones. Of their seven children, four would die young and Laura was the first to pass to that other world.

There is some confusion on my part as to her date of death. According to the cemetery transcriptions done by the Genealogical Society of Whitley County in 2000, Laura died May 1, 1861 aged 12 years 3 months and 6 days. That information is confirmed by the photos above, and based on that information, Laura's date of birth would be January 25, 1849.

Many, many years ago Nellie Raber compiled the "Digest of Obituaries Published in Newspapers of Columbia City Whitley County, Indiana 1856-1910". A mouthful, for sure, but a very useful and valuable resource. Especially since many of the very early county newspapers didn't make it to microfilm and the originals are no longer extant. Why am I mentioning this, you ask?

Well, Nellie had an abstract of a death notice for Laura: "Died - At the residence of her father, Laura Virginia Dunfee, daughter of William and Catherine Dunfee, on the 4th inst. of scarlet fever, in the thirteenth year of her age." Nellie listed her source as "Whitley County News, May 28, 1860". And therein lies the confusion. How could an obituary be published a year prior to Laura's death? It could have been either a transcription error on the part of Nellie Raber or the person typing the final copy read her writing wrong.

Laura's parents, William and Catherine, were married on March 5, 1848. Based on the date of death and age inscribed on her grave marker, Laura would have been born 10 months and 20 days later. If you go by the date of the newspaper as provided by Nellie Raber and the fact that Laura was in her 13th year, then she would have been born 2 months before her parents were married.

My aunt Phyllis has a very old scrapbook full of newspaper clippings. Almost none are dated. Stamped on the back cover of the scrapbook is "PAT. MARCH 1876". Most of the clippings are obituaries of friends, neighbors, and family. We think that it was started by Catherine Dunfee, got passed down to her daughter Sophia who contributed many of the clippings , then to her daughter Maude Wise Brubaker. Then to my grandmother and on to Phyllis. I've only seen it twice as it is very fragile but a cousin made copies of it and gave a copy to my mother and her siblings. Making the copies probably didn't help its condition any but at least the information is available to me. The clippings are not in any kind of order. They were not pasted on the pages in chronological sequence. They aren't grouped by families.

Laura's obituary from "the scrapbook" with no date, no newspaper noted.

Laura, though young, had quite a circle of acquaintances to whom she had become endeared by her kind and gentle conduct. She was dutiful to her parents, kind and sisterly to her little brothers and sisters, social at school with her school mates, everywhere made and had friends. Her numerous acquaintances have lost in her death a dear little friend. It is truly sad to part with those we love whether old or young, but Providence so orders and we must and should meekly submit. She is gone and from our sight; but let this be our consolation, such as she compose the kingdom of heaven.

A branch has been torn from the family vine;
Unlooked was the storm that swept by,
And suddenly ceased the fond tendrills in their twine,
And slowly the tear drippings dry.
A star from the household's bright sky has gone down,
O'er Jordan's dark shore one has risen,
There sparkles o'er yonder another bright crown,
A voice swells the music in heaven.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Foiling 'Round in the Cemetery

Last Monday (Aug 25th), Ruth Stephens of Bluebonnet Country Genealogy left a comment on a post at the From Axer to Ziegler blog written by "Linda in Lancaster and lovin' it!" that may be the best thing since sliced bread. Well maybe not, but it was a good tip that I had not heard before, or at least I don't remember having heard before.

Linda had found a well-worn gravemarker that was difficult to read. Ruth's suggestion was "Take a large piece of thin paper and a pencil or crayon and CAREFULLY make a rubbing of the writing. Or you can use aluminum foil. I used the foil trick to be able to read some very old and run-down stones at an ancestor’s grave site. Worked very well!"

I had tried the rubbing technique with crayon and pencil before without much success. But aluminum foil? Earlier this week I wrote about my visit to a local cemetery and there are several family stones there that are hard to read. I have never been able to get good pictures of their inscriptions. They face west, are usually in the shade, and they are quite worn. So, I thought I'd give the aluminum foil trick a try. Ruth is right, it works very well indeed. Thanks, Ruth!

I used heavy duty aluminum foil in the wide roll. I pulled off a piece of foil large enough to cover the front and sides of the stone. Instead of using tape or string or a bungee cord to keep the foil on the stone I poured a little bit of water on the face and both sides. The water provided just enough "adhesive" to keep the foil in place. I used a small, hand-held, semi-stiff bristle scrubbing brush to rub over the surface of the foil. And that brought out the details... Because of the reflectiveness of the foil, this might not work so well in bright sun. However, if you are careful when removing the foil from the stone you'll have the impression to work with later. I'll be posting several examples in the next day or so.

=+= Updated August 30, 2008=+=
The posts below show the results of using the foil technique to aid in reading hard to read markers.

This one's for footnoteMaven...

The footnoteMaven has posted a very special edition of Friday From the Collectors. If you read closely, a heretofore well guarded secret is revealed. . .

In honor of her post I did a quick look through my scanned photos and found these "candid" pictures of several women in my family who wear glasses and who had their picture taken with them on.

My great-grandmother, Susie Yarian Phend, holding two of her grandchildren, Phyllis Phend and Josephine Phend (they are first cousins).

My grandfather (Rolland Victor Phend), his grandmother (Lovina Berlin Yarian) holding his daughter (Phyllis), and his mother (Susie Lula Yarian Phend). About 1923. Grandpa had glasses too but they were not always worn by him, as evidenced in the picture below.

Phyllis Phend, about 1924. Handwritten below the picture was "Dady's Specks"

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Wordless Wednesday - Hosta Leaves

Tri-Lakes, Indiana. July 2000.
Copyright © 2000 by Rebeckah R. Wiseman.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Larwill Girl Married In North Webster Church

Miss Virginia Phend, daughter of Victor Phend of Larwill and Mrs. Harold Dunn of Auburn, became the bride of Jack Wiseman of Warsaw, at 6:30 o'clock Thursday evening at the altar of the Methodist church in North Webster, the Rev. L. E. Leatherman officiating.

Mr. and Mrs. Walter Mitchell of Columbia City, brother-in-law and sister of the bride, attended the couple. Mrs. Leatherman, wife of the officiating minister, presided at the organ, playing a medley of wedding music during the single ring ceremony.

The bride chose for her wedding a frock of aqua colored linen with which she wore white accessories and a corsage of yellow roses. Mrs. Mitchell wore a beige colored frock with black accessories. Pink roses formed her corsage. The groom and his groomsman wore white carnation boutonnieres.

The bride is a 1946 graduate of Larwill high school. The groom was recently discharged from military service after extended service in the Pacific Theatre of Operations. He is now attending a Tool and Die Makers school in Warsaw.

Mr. and Mrs. Wiseman are at home with the bride's father in Larwill.

- - - Columbia City Post, Whitley County, Indiana, Saturday, May 11, 1946

Mom and Dad were married on Thursday, May 9th 1946. The pictures above were taken during the summer of 1946. Mom was the "free spirit" who often acted impulsively while for Dad everything always had to be done "just right". I don't know that he ever did anything "on the spur of the moment". Their marriage lasted 18 years; they were divorced in 1964.

Monday, August 25, 2008

I think that I shall never see...

This morning I had some errands to run in Columbia City. Afterwards, it being such a nice day, I didn't feel like going home - so I went to visit Grandma Jones as well as Grandma and Grandpa Dunfee. Elizabeth Helms Jones is my 4th great grandmother. She died in 1883 and is buried in the Masonic Section of Greenhill Cemetery in Columbia City. Not far from her grave is that of her daughter and son-in-law, Catherine and William H. Dunfee, my 3rd great grandparents. Catherine died in 1903 and William in 1888.

I love going to cemeteries, especially when no one else is around. They are among the most peaceful places on earth. Greenhill is a large cemetery and is usually busy with visitors. But today I was lucky, there wasn't another living soul around.

The graves of Catherine and William lie in the shadows of two large conifer trees. The trees are dying, but they are still magnificent. This first picture was taken in October 2001 and shows the convoluted branches of the larger tree. As you can see it was very much alive, still green. The rest of these pictures were taken today between 2 and 3 p.m. The larger tree no longer has any green needles left. The smaller, taller, straighter tree still has quite a bit of green showing. Please, click on the images to view a larger version. . .

And yes, I know this picture is weird, but I like it! Even if it does make me look bigger than I am. LOL.

Of course, I can't end this without including the poem "Trees" by Joyce Kilmer.

I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth's sweet flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in Summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.

From Toucan Radio I learned that Joyce Kilmer was born in 1886, and lived most of his short life in New Jersey. He was killed in 1918 in France, in the second battle of the Marne. Before he enlisted in the army, he was on staff at the New York Times, and as a Catholic convert, wrote religious inspired poetry. He wrote Trees in 1913.

Who Did What? The Closing Ceremonies!

Thomas has posted the Genea-Blogger Games: Closing Ceremonies with some interesting tidbits about the games as well as the flags of all medal winners along with their medal count.

Among other interesting facts regarding the games that Thomas provided is that 35 of the 38 people who entered the competition were able to complete one or more events as planned and earn at least one medal. A total of 120 medals were awarded, of which there were 40 Platinum, 33 Diamond, 24 Gold, 10 Silver and 13 Bronze. Be sure to read the rest of his post for more information and to see who did what. Great job, everyone! Are you ready for 2010?

So, how did I do? The details are here. . .

  • Cite Sources: Bronze
  • Back Up Data: Gold
  • Organize Research: Platinum

  • Write, Write, Write: Diamond
  • Genealogical Acts of Kindness: Platinum

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Tall and Short, Big and Small

The thing I miss most about not owning a house is not having a garden to play in. These pictures were taken in August 2001. The sunflowers were volunteers. We had planted seeds the previous year. They didn't do very well but provided some feed for the birds. Four stalks came up the next spring (2001) and produced a weird combination of flowers. One stalk had just the one flower but it was huge. The other three stalks gave us all those smaller flowers. About a week after I took these pictures a storm came through - high winds and lots of rain - and the stalks were blown over. Again, the birds enjoyed the seeds that winter. They are on a raised bed that is about a foot high. My guestimation is that the plants were at least ten feet tall. But then, at the bottom of the stalk, one little flower bloomed, all by itself. It was, maybe, 18" tall.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

The End is Here!

Well, not the end, as in the end of the world, but rather the end of the Genea-Bloggers Games! It has been a challenging two weeks but worth every broken fingernail and every sore muscle, as well as all of the sleepless nights. LOL. In my book, each and every participant is a winner! It was interesting to me to see how each individual approached their tasks and how they were accomplished. Along the way I picked up a few ideas that can be incorporated into my research and organizational plans. Thank you very much.

A special "Thank You" and "Congratulations" goes out to the organizing committee consisting of Miriam Midkiff, Kathryn M. Doyle, and Thomas MacEntee. In addition, footnoteMaven is also to be commended for providing the logo and for creating the "medals" that will be awarded during the Closing Ceremonies.

My original goals for the games did not list each specific task to be accomplished but my intent was to compete in each category. (Retirement is Great!) So, how did I do? Quite well, thank you!

1. Go Back and Cite Your Sources! Bronze Medal.
This category is the weakest link in my research. Back in the "early days" when I first started using a program to record family information there was no sourcing option, so all of my source information was put in notes. I know where (most of) the information came from, it just isn't in the proper format. As I migrated to more modern software I never took the time to add proper source citations. I haven't downloaded the new version of Legacy yet but I understand their source writer will make the job easier and help maintain consistency. Anyway, bottom line is that yesterday I entered 15 or so "proper" citations in my database earning a bronze medal.

2. Back Up Your Data! The committee will have to determine the medal count for this category as tasks A and C were in place prior to the beginning of the competition.
A. Prepare a comprehensive backup plan for your digital research files and a security plan for your hard copies and photos. [Third Update]
B. Secure your hard copies and photos in waterproof containers. - I purchased several plastic totes and have put the "most important" documents and photos in them. I don't know how "waterproof" these containers are - I'm sure that they would fill up with water if completely covered. But they are certainly better than the cardboard "bankers boxes" that I have been using. It simply isn't feasible to store "everything" (20+ years of research) in plastic containers.
C. Backup all your data using a flash drive, an external drive, CDs, DVDs, or an online resource. [Third Update]

3. Organize Your Research! Platinum Medal.
A. Organize at least 20 hard files or ancestral items. [Fifth Update]
B. Organize at least 20 digital files into folders, add metadata, etc. [Fourth Update]
C. Organize at least 20 photos into photo albums, protective holders, boxes, etc. [First Day]
D. Organize at least 20 digital photos into folders, add metadata, etc. [Fifth Update]
E. Create at least 20 data entries in your database, or scan 20 photos, or scan 20 documents. [Third Update]
F. Create a master list of your files and notify your family members of where it is stored. Not completed - added to my "to do" list.

4. Write, Write, Write! Diamond Medal.
A. Write a summary of what your blog is about and post it on your blog. [First Day - What's it all about?]
B. Participate in a genealogy or family history related blog carnival. [Third Update - Say What? submitted to COG 54]
C. Prepare several posts in draft mode and pre-publish. [Fourth Update]
E. Sign up to host a future carnival. I will be hosting the October edition of Smile for the Camera.

5. Reach Out & Perform Genealogical Acts of Kindness! Platinum Medal.
A. Comment on a new (to you) genea-blog. [Second Update]
B. Join another genea-blogger’s blog network on Facebook Blog Networks. [Second Update]
C. Invite other genealogists to join Facebook. [Fourth Update]
D. Assist another researcher with a research request or lookup. [Third Update]
E. Participate in an indexing project. [Second Update]
F. Join a genealogical, historical, heritage or lineage society. [Third Update]

A Symbol of My Heritage

Stay tuned for the Closing Ceremonies to be posted by Thomas on Monday, August 25th, at Destination: Austin Family.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Genea-Blogger Games: 5th Update

The last update on "The Games" provided my status for all categories, this post will discuss what has been done since then... in category 3. Organize Your Research!

Current Status: Items B, C and E were previously completed. With these two, I've now earned a Platinum medal in this category!!

A. Organize at least 20 hard files or ancestral items (books, fabrics, inherited items) into file folders, boxes, envelopes, containers, etc.; archival-quality where appropriate.
The process of going through my research files and pulling out the documents and notes that pertain to my ancestors has been started. (My existing filing system, which I'm not happy with, is described in the fifth paragraph of this post, just in case you're curious.) The remaining documents will be separated and eventually organized into family groups. For now, I'm concerned only with the ancestor documents and info, which will also be scanned at some point in the future. I've just started this process but have pulled out more than 20 ancestral documents, put them into sheet protectors, and filed in the appropriate ancestor folder.
D. Organize at least 20 digital photos into folders, label, add metadata, add descriptions, add tags, etc.
As I've been scanning the family photos, the image files have been put into folders based upon who has possession of the original (mom, me, my brother, etc.). When scanned, the file names were composed of the year and person (or group) in the picture with a sequential number, if there was a series of pictures taken in the same year. Once I've entered the location/owner of the original then the files will be re-organized by surname and individual or group.

Using Windows XP, I selected one of the folders, which contained about 30 photos, and added the author (location of original), a title, subject, and comments to each picture, one at a time. What this has done for me is confirm that I definitely need to find a program (inexpensive and that I like) that will allow me to enter the image information in batch mode since some of the data will be the same for a large number of pictures.
Okay, now I have a question. . . If I add the image information to the file then edit the image, when I save it or save-as another filename, the information is lost. Is this normal? This was using an old version of PhotoImpact (version 4.2, which has worked well for me for a few years) as well as Paint Shop Pro 7, which is also a couple years old.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Going Crazy With Scanning...

It has been a month since the last update on my scanning project, and I'm sure y'all are eagerly anticipating this update ;-) At that time I had completed scanning my personal photographs and had a good start on Mom's pictures, which netted a little over 3,800 image files in a three month time period.

The prep work for the most recent group of pictures has taken considerably longer than the actual scanning. I didn't keep track of the time, but it consumed a lot of hours. However, in the past week I've scanned another 845 family pictures! With that, the albums for my two brothers and myself are done! Done, I say! Yay! That's the good news. Bad news is that the pictures for my sister's family still need to be scanned - they are being sorted and organized by my niece. My guess is there is a couple hundred pictures yet to be scanned. Big Sigh. But the end is in sight! At least, for the pictures… genea documents are still waiting.

While sorting the family pictures I came across a bunch of photos from Phend Reunions. Those were pulled out and put with the Reunion albums. Then I organized the Phend Reunion papers from the 1960s through the present day and put them in the albums with their corresponding pictures. Scanning the papers and pictures resulted in 615 image files. (The Phend-Fisher Family Reunion Ledger which covers the early years had been scanned, transcribed, and posted to the blog in the latter part of 2007.)

Then, as I was rummaging through a box looking for something I came across my grandmother's genealogy "book" and realized that I had never scanned it in its entirety. Most of the pictures had been scanned at one time or another but not all of them, and not the family group sheets. The book has a "post-hole" type of binder that easily comes apart so it wasn't a problem to scan each page individually and then put it back in its proper place. The pages are just a little bit larger than legal size. Placement on the scanner was critical so that no data was lost. There were 90 pages with 116 pictures, ending up with 206 scans for that project. I went ahead and scanned all of the pictures again because I wasn't really happy with the previous scans from several years ago.

And, as reported in my 3rd update for the Genea-Blogger Games, I scanned 74 newspaper clippings on the Phend family that were in the Whitley County Historical Museum's "family clippings" files. I've since created a name index of the clippings for reference purposes.

Image files created from scanning in the past month: 1,611
  • 845 family pictures
  • 206 pages and pictures in Grandma's Genealogy Book
  • 486 Phend Reunion documents (sign-in sheets, announcements, flyers, etc.) and pictures
  • 74 Phend Family newspaper clippings
Total number of scanned image files created since mid-April: 5,434

Maude Wise Brubaker Yontz, aka "Mama" or "Grandma Bill", with her grandchildren. About 1933. From the Genealogy "Book" of my grandmother, Hazlette Brubaker Phend, which is now in my possession.

Wordless Wednesday - The Line Up

Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve.
Summer of 1979. Digitized 2008.
Copyright © 1979/2008 by Rebeckah R. Wiseman.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Organizing Stuff? Here's a Good Deal on Plastic Totes!

Not sure if this is just an individual store deal (Fort Wayne) or nationwide but I just got a really good deal on storage totes at Staples. They have them online at $16.49 each, however, I just purchased several of them today in-store for $7.99 each! And may purchase more when I go back to Fort Wayne on Friday. Hopefully they will still have them and at the sale price. Oddly enough, I think the "everyday" in-store price was $14.49 though I can't imagine why they would cost $2 more if purchased online.

It has slots inside, along all sides at the top, so it can hold hanging file folders. Because of the slots, the outside dimensions are a little bit bigger than the standard legal/letter cardboard "Banker's Box".

Staples Letter/Legal File Box
Snap-tight lid keeps contents secure. Space saving stackable design.
Made out of durable polypropylene. Holds both letter and legal files.
Clear with a clear lid. 10 7/8"H x 18 7/8"W x 18 1/4"D

Monday, August 18, 2008

What's that you say?

Donna has posted the Carnival of Genealogy, 54th Edition over at What's Past is Prologue. The topic this time around was "The Family Language". A wide variety of family sayings, words, phrases, expressions and unusual nicknames abound. Some light summer reading sure to bring a smile to your face if not an outright occasional guffaw.

And now, the call for submissions to the next COG!
With Labor Day and the end of summer right around the corner it’s time to think about going back to school. So, the topic for the next edition of the Carnival of Genealogy will be: Show and Tell! Remember that fun little exercise you used to do in your grade school days? Here’s your chance to do it again. Show us and tell us about an heirloom, a special photo, a valuable document, or a significant person that is a very special part of your family history. Don’t be shy now, show us what you’ve got! This is all about bragging rights so don’t hesitate to make the rest of us green with envy! This is your chance to brag, brag, brag, without seeming like a braggart (you can’t be a braggart when you’re merely following directions ;-)… so show and tell!

The deadline for submissions is September 1st. 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.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Genea-Blogger Games: 4th Update

Only a few things have been accomplished towards The Games in the last few days. We're at the halfway point of the "competition" and there is still a lot of work to be done! The pressure is mounting. Stress levels are rapidly increasing. The nice summer days are full of temptations and procrastination is worrisome, but hope is on the horizon and the end is in sight! Sources will be cited, data will be safeguarded, research will be organized, fingers will be worn out with writing, and other researchers will be helped!

1. Go Back and Cite Your Sources!
Current Status: Nothing completed in this category yet.

2. Back Up Your Data!
Current Status: Tasks A and C completed - Bronze, Gold ? A medal for each task completed?

3. Organize Your Research!
Task B is now done: The 74 newspaper clippings that were scanned earlier this week have been digitally filed. Added labels, metadata, descriptions, etc. via Windows Vista.
Current Status: B, C and E completed - Gold Medal

4. Write, Write, Write!
Task C complete: Have written several posts in draft mode and scheduled them for future publication.
Current Status: A, B, and C are complete - Gold Medal

5. Reach Out & Perform Genealogical Acts of Kindness!
Task C is done: Have recommended facebook to several genea-bloggers that are not there yet. Also mentioned facebook to several members of my local genealogy society. Thus far, none of those contacted have signed up.

Current Status: All tasks completed - Platinum Medal

Thursday, August 14, 2008

There is a lot to Smile about at the Carnival

footnoteMaven has posted the Fourth Edition of Smile for the Camera at Shades of the Departed. The prompt this time around was "My Favorite Photograph". This edition is a biggie, with lots of new participants. The contributions were, as fM said "Some amusing, some loving, some rare, and some heartbreaking for how important they were to you." My contribution to the festivities was favorite foto - really?

And, then there is a call for entries for the next edition. "The word prompt for the 5th Edition of Smile For The Camera is Crowning Glory. Show us those wonderful photographs of hairdos and maybe even a few don'ts. Don't limit yourself to just hair fashion through the ages, got a great photograph of a hat, helmet, bonnet, or some other interesting headgear? Share!" There's more information for contributing to the carnival at the bottom of the post. Image courtesy of fM.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Wordless Wednesday - Not the Yellow Brick Road

Wordless Wednesday - Not the Yellow Brick Road
Terre Haute, Indiana. Summer of 1980. Digitized 2008.
Copyright © 1980/2008 by Rebeckah R. Wiseman.

Henry Phend Celebrates 92nd Birthday

For quite some time, I've known that the Whitley County Historical Museum had several file cabinets full of newspaper clippings dealing with the families of the county but I just hadn't taken the time to check for my families. On Monday, we were working in the room where these file cabinets are located so I opened the "P" Surname drawer and there was a file for the Phend family. The clippings in that file ranged from the 1930s through the 1970s and covered topics such as birthdays, wedding anniversaries, and family reunions, among other tidbits. A date was hand-written on most of the clippings but the name of the newspaper was not. I know that there were other articles on the Phend family in the newspaper during this time period that aren't included in the clippings file. I don't know where the clippings came from or what the criteria was for whether something was included or not. There are other family surnames that I'll look for in the files in the near future.

This is just one of the 74 news articles that I scanned today, it is dated 11-9-57. Click on the image to view a larger version.

Henry Phend Is At Son's Home on 92nd Birthday

Henry Phend, who has been a patient at the Irvin Nursing home for nearly two years following a hip fracture, was pleasantly surprised on his 92nd birthday Thursday when Stuart Smith and Robert Erdmann called at the Nursing home and took Mr. Phend by ambulance to the home of his son and daughter-in-law, Mr. and Mrs. Gerald Phend, 412 South Elm street. While Mr. Phend was in the ambulance Mr. Smith and Mr. Erdmann graciously motored him around town so that he was able to see some of the changes that had taken place during the past two years.

When he arrived at the Gerald Phend home he found waiting for him a decorated birthday cake and supper, which Mrs. Phend had prepared. Pictures were taken while Mr. Phend was at his son's home, cards and letters he had received were read and members of his family and friends visited him.
Mr. Phend was born November 7, 1865 in Marshall county, seven miles east of Bremen. He was married to Susie Yarian in 1892. Mrs. Phend died on April 29, 1956.

Mr. Phend and his son's, Gerald (Dufty), Virgil and Donald, have built many homes and business places and have installed more than 30 store fronts in the city. His other sons are Victor, Larwill, who operates a typewriter repair shop in Fort Wayne; Cecil, operates an auto repair garage at Merriam; Russell, has a filling station at Tarpon Springs, Fla., and Paul, Antwerp, Ohio, who owns and operates a genera repair shop. His daughter, Bernice Turner, lives at Temple City, California.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Genea-Blogger Games: 3rd Update

This was a busy day of strenuous competition with tasks completed in four (or three?) different categories!

3. Organize Your Research!
This task puts me at the Silver Medal level in this category!
E. Create at least 20 data entries in your database, or scan 20 photos, or scan 20 documents.
Scanned 74 newspaper clippings that were in a Phend surname folder located at the Whitley County Historical Museum.
4. Write, Write, Write!
This gets me to the Silver Medal level thus far in this category!
B. Participate in a genealogy or family history related blog carnival.
Say What? was written for and submitted to COG 54, The Family Language.
5. Reach Out & Perform Genealogical Acts of Kindness!
Yesterday, I completed tasks A, B, and E. By finishing these tasks I've now earned a Platinum Medal, my first!

D. Assist another researcher with a research request or lookup.
Responded to a query that I received yesterday regarding a possible kinship with Henry Robison (abt 1794-1852) and his wife Ann(a). Not enough research has been done to provide enough evidence that Henry and Anna are the parents of Lydia Robison who married Lysander Joslin. Lydia is a sister of Henry Robison, Jr. My correspondent descends from James Robison and his wife Tabitha Scott. It is likely that James and Lydia are siblings but more research needs to be done. I sent her what little information I had on Henry and his wife. If the connections pan out then I've found a new cousin!

F. Join a genealogical, historical, heritage or lineage society.
Today I renewed my membership in the National Genealogical Society. I also belong to the New England Historical Genealogical Society, the Indiana Genealogical Society, and am an active member of the Genealogical Society of Whitley County (Indiana).
2. Back Up Your Data!

A. Prepare a comprehensive backup plan for your digital research files and a security plan for your hard copies and photos.
I'm not sure this qualifies for a medal since it is something I've already done but I thought I'd include it in the hopes that it might help someone. In October 2007 I wrote Are You Prepared? I'm Not which includes some links to information regarding disaster preparedness and recovery. A month later I followed up with My Plan to Prepare for Disaster. I'm still working on it so I'm "not there" yet. But I do have a plan ;-)

C. Backup all your data using a flash drive, an external drive, CDs, DVDs, or an online resource.
Again, this probably doesn't qualify for a medal since it is something that I've been doing for quite a while but I thought I'd share what I am doing as far as backing up data is concerned. I have two external hard drives that I rotate for full digital data backups. One drive is stored at my mother's place 30 miles away. Backups are done at night (while I'm sleeping) on an every-other-day basis and the drives swapped whenever I visit Mom, at least once a week. Also at least once a week, the full backup is replicated to my laptop. So I have at least three backups, in varying stages, of all digital files. All of my digital data is stored in various subfolders of the main folder with the exception of my Legacy database files and email, which gets buried by Windows deep in some obscure file structure. I use a simple replication program that is set up to copy the data in those three folders.

Both of my blogs are also backed up. Whenever I post an article I copy the final version, paste it into a word document, and save it using the date and post title as a file name. I tried simply printing the post directly to a pdf file but don't like the output. An excel spreadsheet was created as an index the posts with the date, title, and surnames that were included in the post. In addition to these local copies, a private blog was created on another blogging platform. Once a week I import the new posts from Blogger into this private blog.

If these two tasks don't comply with the requirements then this category is one in which I likely won't medal. I'm working on getting my paper files organized and scanned but there isn't any way that it can ALL be accomplished within the next two weeks.

Cool Stuff - Alltop and Kronomy

footnoteMaven has been instrumental in getting a Genealogy category created at a new online service called, which the developers bill as a “digital magazine rack” for the Internet. I am honored to be amongst those listed. The site was formally announced in March of this year by Guy Kawasaki. One comment he made in the announcement was to think of Alltop as "aggregation without the aggravation.” For those who don't understand RSS Feeds or don't want to be bothered with setting up a feed reader, this may be a good solution. Of course, for those on facebook, using the Blog Network and/or facebook's, still in Beta, feature the "News Wall" is a more personalized solution.

I checked out some of the other posts on Guy Kawasaki's blog, and noticed something that really caught my interest. Something that could be fun and useful for genealogists and family historians.

First read his post Make Your Life Flash Before Your Eyes. Cool isn't it. Think of the possibilities. Create a timeline of your life, one of your ancestors, or one of your family lines using photographs and digital images of documents. Not just timelines, it is also a social networking site. Just what we need right? But this one looks different. The Kronomy - Share your life website is still in Beta and open only by invitation though you can submit your email address to be notified when it goes public.

Thanks to footnoteMaven and her post All The Cool Kids (And Me) for the heads up on and to Kathryn Doyle for the link to Mr. Kawasaki's blog.

Say What?

That's not cute or funny!
A few years back, at a family party for my nephew's third birthday, he, being the center of attention, was acting up. On one occasion someone said "That's cute". A few minutes later he did something that made everyone laugh. Of course, since he had everyone's attention he kept it up. A short time later something happened and he started crying. In an effort to get him to stop crying we began to tease him repeatedly by saying "That's cute" or "That's funny." Then he got mad and blurted out "That's not cute or funny!" That became our family catch-phrase for a few years, signifying that you had "gone too far" when teasing someone. Oh, and that little three year old boy. He is now a 27 year old young man.

Do you have lights?
One cold winter night, several years ago when Mom and I lived on what we called "the farm" the power went out. Even though we lived out in the middle of nowhere, the electricity didn't fail us often. So I called our neighbor, a mile away, to see if their power was out too. In response to my question "Do you have lights?" our neighbor, a farmer, responded "Yep, we've had 'em for quite a long time." Since then, when someone in the family asks a ridiculous question, our response is "Do you have lights?" They know it means you better think about what you're asking!

Note: This was written for the 54th Edition of the Carnival of Genealogy whose topic is "The Family Language."

Monday, August 11, 2008

Genea-Blogger Games: Update 2

Reach Out & Perform Genealogical Acts of Kindness!
Completed the following three tasks to get to the Gold Medal Level, for now:

A. Comment on a new (to you) genea-blog.
Left a comment at Nana's Diggins, which is a new blog authored by Sue Tolbert. I found her blog by browsing the Blog Network at Facebook. She has three really neat photographs posted so far and has some wonderful stories to go along with them. fM in particular should enjoy This Is Lydia and She Is Dead. Sue is a (relatively new) member of the Genea-Bloggers Group.

B. Join another genea-blogger’s blog network on Facebook Blog Networks.
And then I joined Sue's Blog Network! Also confirmed her as the author (extra credit?). And I also joined the Blog Network for several other new Genea-Bloggers.

E. Participate in an indexing project.
Spent several hours this afternoon with six other members of the Genealogical Society of Whitley County. The group is creating an index for some old Clerk of Courts records. One person has indexed about a fourth of the 30+ boxes of packets since April 2007. This project has been made a priority and several more volunteers will be helping. Due to incompatibilities between computers and software I had to create a new spreadsheet for the new people who will be using Excel instead of Works. Once all of the packets have been indexed (hopefully within the next year) I'll merge the various files to create a master index and format it for the website and for hard-copy publication.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Genea-Blogger Games - First Day of Competition

The first day of "competition" for The Genea-Blogger Games has come and gone. So, what did I accomplish on that first day?

In the Write, Write, Write! category of The Games, the first challenge "Write a summary of what your blog is about and post it on your blog" has been completed! See What's it all about?

In the Organize Your Research! category, I've completed the third challenge "Organize at least 20 photos into photo albums, scrapbooks, collages, protective holders, boxes, etc." A marathon session was held yesterday on the photos of my older brother and his family. The pictures were removed from the "magnetic" album pages, sorted into chronological order, attached to acid-free paper, and labeled with identifying information. They will go into the protective pages after they are scanned within the next few days. I haven't counted how many pictures there were but it was way more than twenty.

Some of the pictures after they were removed from the old albums. Additional sorting was done on each stack of pictures to put them in chronological sequence.

The finished stack of 70+ pages is nearly an inch and a half high. Want to take a guess as to how long it will take to scan them all? By the way, I am beginning to see a little Light at the end of the tunnel.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

What's it all about?

Wow. I nearly missed a milestone! Well, actually, I did. This is post number 501 here at kinexxions! So in honor of that occasion, I thought I'd write a bit about the blog. Well, that and the fact that one of the "events" for the Genea-Bloggers Group Games in the "Write! Write! Write!" category is to write a summary of what your blog is about!

It was one year and seven months ago (January 12, 2007) that I finally gathered my nerve and started this blog. My original intent was to also include posts on the people and places of Whitley County (Indiana), but then I decided that kinexxions would focus primarily on my own family history and a little over a month later Whitley County Kinexxions was born. Posting there has been light to non-existent this summer due to my scanning project, but I intend to return to it again. Sometime. Soon. Really. Both blogs are companions to my website. I've written before about the joys and pitfalls of blogging, so I won't repeat those thoughts here. Suffice to say, if I didn't think it was worth doing, I wouldn't still be doing it!

What does the word kinexxions mean? It's not in any dictionary that I know of. Basically, it is a melding of "kin" and "connections", i.e. making connections with kinfolk. To me, that is what genealogy and family research are about. Why the double "x" you ask? I just liked the way it looked. Plus when I tried to register it spelt as "kinexions" or "kinnexions" I found those names were already in use.

Genealogy posts here on kinexxions range from biographies of ancestors and other relatives to personal history, family letters, reunion ledgers, mystery photos, and more. But kinexxions isn't just about genealogy and family history. You'll find some photography, memes, wordles and other fun stuff too.

The design of the blog (color and layout) is the same as it was in the beginning. I generally stick with something I like (and am sometimes reluctant or slow to change). But I have added a few things in the right sidebar. Most recently, a section for facebook links. I'll take this opportunity to invite you to join my blog network on facebook. And if you're not already a member, join the Genea-Bloggers group! And if you're from Indiana or have Hoosier ancestors, how about joining the Indiana Genealogy group?

Scroll down the page a bit and you'll see two sections in the sidebar for the families that I'm researching. That first section lists a couple databases and several websites out on the 'net. The second section includes links for the surnames that I've posted about here at kinexxions. These are what I call "index" posts that provide a list of all the posts for that family name. For example, the Phend Family and the Wiseman Family.

You'll find the listing for the blog archive at the bottom of the sidebar. In Looking Back - Kinexxions in 2007 I listed some of "top" posts for that first year. And in February 2008, the iGene Awards for kinexxions highlighted "the best" posts in several categories. The iGene Awards were the brainchild of Jasia, as was the Carnival of Genealogy. I'm proud to say that I've contributed to almost every COG since I started blogging. I even hosted the 27th edition back in July '07!

In addition to the COG, I've also participated in the "Smile for the Camera" carnival hosted by footnoteMaven at Shades of the Departed. In April, I was honored to be the first guest blogger at Shades in the "Friday From the Collectors" series with my post A Moment In Time.

Well, I think that will do it for now. Please take a look around the blog and hopefully you'll find something of interest. And feel free to visit anytime, the door is always open ;-)

Updated at 3:15 PM 08/09/2008 - - - I may have nearly missed a milestone but apparently I "jumped the gun" a bit by posting this prior to Noon PDT. Would it help to know that I had actually intended to "pre-publish" this post? But I forgot to change the time prior to clicking on "publish post". Sigh. I wasn't the only one who started early and Miriam has forgiven us, so all is well...

Friday, August 08, 2008

On your mark, get set, ready?

It's almost time for the Opening Ceremonies! The Genea-Blogger Group Games (henceforth known here as "The Games") officially begin on Saturday with genea-bloggers from around the world participating. Consisting of five categories with various tasks to be performed, The Games will certainly be a challenge. I'm looking forward to these games and "meeting" some of the new Genea-Bloggers. I'm also looking forward to those "other" games that will be going on at the same time!

The five categories of "The Games" (and my goals) are:

1. Go Back and Cite Your Sources!
One of my resolutions this year was to "clean-up" the sources in my databases. It's one of those items that hasn't been started yet. I'm planning to download Legacy 7.0 soon and am hoping their new sourcing templates will help make the job a bit easier.

2. Back Up Your Data!
I'm fairly confident that I'll be able to accomplish several of the tasks listed but the last two are way out of reach for me (too much stuff has been collected over the years).

3. Organize Your Research!
I've slowly been working on this but still have a long way to go. My major project this summer has been organizing and scanning family photographs. All those genealogy documents are still waiting for me so maybe "The Games" will kick-start the process.

4. Write, Write, Write!
I think I'll go for the gold on this one! Which three will it be?

5. Reach Out & Perform Genealogical Acts of Kindness!
Three should be doable here as well. I like gold. But Diamonds and Platinum would be nice too.

A special "Thank You" for all their work goes out to Miriam Midkiff, Kathryn M. Doyle, and Thomas MacEntee. They are responsible for organizing the Genea-Blogger Group Games and I'm sure they have expended considerable time and energy in doing so. In addition, footnoteMaven is also to be commended for providing the very fine logo being displayed by participants. fM has also created the "medals" that will be awarded during the Closing Ceremonies.


Updated 6:45 PM - Check out the Opening Ceremonies of the Summer 2008 Genea-Blogging Group Games: The Parade of Delegates for a listing of all participants and the flags that represent them!

Thursday, August 07, 2008

A Symbol of My Heritage

One of the prerequisites for participation in the Summer 2008 Genea-Blogger Group Games is to create a flag that represents your ancestry, heritage, or personal expression. These flags can be created at WeAreMulticolored.

This is my flag. Bold, simple, clean lines. It turned out rather nice, if I don't say so myself ;-0 (Can you tell, I kind of like it?)
  • The colors Red, White and Blue signify the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and the United States of America. The first two are the homelands of my earliest known ancestors. The latter is my homeland.
  • The Red and White colors also represent Switzerland, as does the small White Cross in the center of the flag. Switzerland is the homeland of my Phend and Wiseman ancestors.
  • The two large crosses symbolize my parents while the four stars stand for their four children.
  • The four blue sections represent my four grandparents and the ocean their ancestors had to cross to reach this country.
  • You'll notice that the four "arms" of the large white cross do not extend to the edges of the blue background. The eight "notches" created as a result, symbolize my eight great-grandparents whose paths crossed and merged at just the right moment in time.
  • The tips of the red cross, which extend to the edges of the blue background, represent bridges that symbolically span the ocean as well as connect the generations.
In addition to Swiss, Dutch and English, my heritage also includes a considerable number of "Pennsylvania Dutch" ancestors, one or two Scots-Irish, and probably some other (as yet unknown) nationalities.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Wordle Wednesday - Genea-Blogger Group Games

The Summer 2008 Genea-Blogger Group Games are scheduled to get underway Saturday with the Opening Ceremony on Friday. My contribution to the festivities is this Wordle which graphically summarizes the events (click on the image for a larger version). If you haven't already done so, you also should read about the events that were left out by the committee (thanks Donna).

Wordless Wednesday - Wall Flower

Somewhere in Indiana. Summer of 1981. Digitized 2008.
Copyright © 1981/2008 by Rebeckah R. Wiseman.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

COG 53 - It's a Doozey!

The Carnival of Genealogy, 53rd Edition has been posted by Jasia at Creative Gene. This was a carousel edition, which means it was open to any genealogy-related topic this time around, and it is a doozey! There were 39 articles contributed to the COG, many by first-time participants, on a wide variety of topics. Research tips, family stories, success stories, a little sadness, a bit of humor. Time well spent in reading them all.

Jasia also announced the topic for the next edition of the COG: The Family Language...Does your family use words and phrases that no one else knows or understands? Where did they come from? Did you ever try to explain your "family language" to outsiders? Tell a story about your family-coined words, phrases, or nicknames. This topic was chosen by Donna Pointkouski who will be hosting the next edition of the COG at What's Past is Prologue. The deadline for submissions is August 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.

Phend Reunion 2008 is now History

Yesterday was a beautiful day. Sun shining, blue skies, low humidity, a nice breeze. I couldn't have asked for a nicer day on which to hold a family reunion. A really nice change from the previous few days of heat and humidity!

Attendance at the Phend Family Reunion this year was the lowest it has ever been with 24 adults and 9 children. However, there is an advantage to having fewer people attending - I got a chance to visit with each one of them! I have to admit though, it is a bit disappointing that more people don't come. However, I understand that there are a lot of other activities competing with a family gathering and that some people are reluctant to attend because "they don't know anyone."

The fact remains, no matter how many people show up, the amount of preparation is the same as is the overall cost. Announcements have to be mailed, rental fees paid on the facility, basic supplies (paper plates, cups, napkins, etc.) still have to be bought. I pay for those things out of pocket as the expense occurs then get reimbursed. There are two ways funds are generated - through a "White Elephant" Auction and also from "passing the hat" for contributions.

Items for the White Elephant Auction this year included several vases, a couple of books, a jacket, a hand-crocheted baby blanket, old grass-clipping shears, three decorative baskets, several shelf-sitting dolls, a glass bank, six candle holders, and a few other knick-knacks. To be honest, I wasn't very hopeful that they would generate much excitement. Several items brought in more than a few dollars but most went for one or two dollars. A couple of things were even given away. But it is a fun way to generate funds and prevents people from leaving immediately after eating! Given the small number of people in attendance it was a pleasant surprise to learn that all costs were covered this year through the auction and other contributions.

When I got home from the reunion I unloaded the car, put away what needed to be put away, sat down in my comfy chair, turned on the television, and immediately dropped off to sleep! Several hours later I woke up with stiff joints and the mother of all headaches. It took a while ;-) but I was finally able to stand up. I made it to the bedroom and collapsed on the bed. Still a little stiff this morning but a hot shower loosened up the kinks and the headache is pretty much gone now. Guess I'm not used to being on my feet for nearly 8 hours straight. Plus the stress of making sure everything is ready, and wondering if anyone will show up!

It is doubtful that she will see this, but I want to acknowledge the help and support that my niece, Tami, provides before and during the reunion. She oversees the placement of food putting the hot stuff, salads, and deserts in their proper place. Keeps the lemonade pitcher filled up and the ice bucket full. She even helps with cleaning up afterwards! Thanks Tami.

Speaking of food, there was an awful lot of it considering there were only 33 people in attendance and a couple of them too young to eat anything. There were two kinds of meatloaf, three varieties of potato salad, two types of green bean casserole, a Reuben casserole, potatoes au gratin, fried chicken, several varieties of bean salad, cole slaw, apple salad, fruit salad. Deserts included lemon pie, brownies, zucchini-carrot cake, chocolate cake, pineapple upside-down cake, chocolate chip cookies. There was also a vegetable plate with dip and two cheese plates and crackers. No chips. That's a first! I didn't taste everything, but I what I did have was very good. I don't think anyone left hungry. If they did it was their own fault!

Each year I wonder if it is worth the effort it takes to have a reunion considering the time, energy and money expended. But as the people are leaving and they come up to me and thank me for doing this, then I know it is worth it. Two cousins travel every year from Cleveland, Ohio to be with us and to visit family and friends afterward. And two sisters, Julie and Marla, drove from Kalona, Iowa this year, just to attend the reunion. They left Iowa at 3:30 a.m. and arrived here about 11:30 a.m. Four and a half hours later, they were on their way back to Iowa! So, whenever I ask myself if it is worth it, the answer is a resounding Yes! Because I know that those who do attend, do appreciate it, and that certainly makes it worthwhile.