Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Adventures with Cordy, September 19, 1976

[Below is days 13 in a series of road trip diary installments. To get the full context, start with Adventures with Cordy: A Road Trip Diary and follow the trail from there. --Amy]

September 19, (Sunday)

Drove down the Pennsylvania Turnpike to Interchange No. 7, turned off for a tour of La Trobe, Pa., Arnold Palmer’s home town and saw his golf course. Had breakfast at the Mountain View Inn and it was so good each of the travelers must have gained 3 or 4 lbs. On to Gettysburg where our happy hours contributed to several more “Dead Soldiers” to Gettysburg records.

A "dead soldier" is slang for an empty liquor bottle, beer bottle or beer can.

Arnold Palmer has more than a golf course now. He also sells cars and has his own airport.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Getting to Know Me, Getting to Know We Tree

[Terry Thornton of Hill Country of Monroe County, Mississippi issued a "Getting to Know You" challenge to those who have genealogy-related blogs. He posed several questions and invited us to answer them. This post is the hat I've thrown in the ring. --Amy]

I'm Amy and I live in Texas with one husband, one son and two cats. We Tree is my genealogy blog. I started in July 2008 as a way to talk about genealogy and my family's history without driving everyone crazy with all my talk about genealogy and family history.

The purpose of this blog is to connect with others and preserve this history of those long gone. Maybe my family learns about their ancestors. Maybe my friends learn from my experiences. Maybe strangers are entertained by my stories. Maybe We Tree grows exponentially and becomes a household name (genealogically speaking). Only time will tell.

I've been asked to provide examples of the best, breeziest and most beautiful posts We Tree has to offer. Since this blog only has 60 posts so far, there isn't much of a pool from which to choose. Below are my choices to date, with the promise of much more to come:

Call Me Ahab is the brightest article I've written to date. In it, I conveyed the quest to find an original photo and the magic of making a huge genealogical discovery. At least that's what I was trying to describe.

I haven't yet had the time to be breezy or sassy, but And When They Met, It was MURDER!!! dances on the provocative side. The piece talks about a homicidal skeleton in my family closet. Murder is a tragedy, but the circumstances and tone of the newspaper account of this particular incident left me slightly (and inappropriately) amused at the demise of my great-great grandfather.

The Birthday Present is my choice for most beautiful piece. It explains how I spent the very last birthday money I received from my grandmother. Honestly, I don't think the piece is touching on a wide level, but it reached the people it was supposed to and that's what makes it special to me.

The way I write is exactly how I think. I have no brain-to-keyboard filter. There is no secret to getting to know me or the We Tree blog. Genealogy to me is like a big puzzle, and I love to solve puzzles. If you get enough pieces of information about someone, a picture starts to form. It doesn't matter how we are related or if we are at all. It's important to preserve the stories of those who are no longer around to tell them. If you understand that, then you understand my approach to genealogy and the purpose of the We Tree blog.

And When They Met, It was MURDER!!!

The 57th edition of the Carnival of Genealogy asks us to "share some aspect about your family history that you learned about in a newspaper." In all the items in my collection, there is one article that stands out far above the rest and is the perfect fit for this carnival.

Several months ago, I inquired about getting some obituary copies from a Lousisana historical society. Apparently, my branch of Thibodeaux ancestors was unfamiliar to the lady with whom I was corresponding. She was surprised, as she thought she knew all the Thibodeauxs in the Acadia/St. Landry parishes. I casually mentioned that my great-great grandfather died young and I knew nothing about him or how he passed. I received my obits for everyone but him in the mail, and I thought that was the end of it.

However, the lady's curiosity was piqued and she went hunting for more information on my Thibodeaux. She sent me a set of three small articles that explained just exactly how Mr. Thibodeaux died in St. Landry Parish, Lousiana on April 21, 1889. The following paragraph explains the situation:

There was a shooting and killing scrape at Chris Ruppert's saw mill Sunday morning, the 21st nlt. Noel Thibodeaux was shot and killed by Onezime Taylor. From all reports it seems to have been a justifiable act. Most men find it all they can do to support one wife but Thibodeaux wanted two, and so coveted and took his neighbor's and then not satisfied with that took his horse, and still not having enough wanted his life, and so lost his own life, as Taylor was not willing to give his life to a man who had taken all else from him.

Well, that answers my question on when and how my great-great grandfather died. The longer article explains the building tension between the two. Apparently, Thibodeaux tried to kill Taylor before, but was interrupted by others passing by. Finally, Taylor couldn't take whatever Thibodeaux was dishing out anymore, so one day he walked up, exchanged words and shot him dead. Taylor then turned himself in at the sheriff's office. Whether the Taylors were separated or not at the time was debated. However, Thibodeaux was still married so what was going on there?

The articles are written in a colorful, dramatic, slanted fashion as most were in that time. Clearly, the reporter and others were not fans of my great-great grandfather. The reporter mentions that there were two sides to this story, but doesn't include the words of anyone speaking on Thibodeaux's behalf. Taylor's $1000 bond was paid by friends and townsfolk. So many rushed to pay in support of Taylor that many had to be turned away.

The articles do not provide the final details of Taylor's fate, but they hint at acquittal. In time, I'd like to go to the parish and try to locate the records of these proceedings. Until then, I have a great genealogy conversation starter.

[The articles referred to in this piece are from the Crowley Signal. The dates were April 27, 1889 and May 5, 1889.]

Friday, September 26, 2008

Adventures with Cordy, September 18, 1976

[Jack and Lynn in the Football Hall of Fame,
Canton, Ohio, September 18, 1976]

[Below is days 12 in a series of road trip diary installments. To get the full context, start with Adventures with Cordy: A Road Trip Diary and follow the trail from there. --Amy]

September 18, (Saturday)

Left Parkersburg on Hi-way 77 to Dover, Ohio. Several hours were spent around Sugarcreek, Ohio which is the Amish Country of Ohio and a beautiful area. We then returned to Dover and toured the Warther Museum which contained many lovely hand carved pieces, mostly trains, railroad equipment, etc. Mr. Warther, who died about five years ago, was truly an artist and craftsman. The museum is being maintained by his children and grandchildren. It is a very impressive place. Lynn bought a set of kitchen knives made under the Warther formula. On to Canton, Ohio to see the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Lynn didn’t want to go but the others insisted and he was glad they did. The next several hours were spent on a detour trying to find a motel, a bridge across the Ohio or just about anything. When we finally found a motel the gas tank was empty and Lynn’s bladder was full (so what else is new?)

It’s good to see that the Warther Museum is going strong. Many of the places in this travel log are long gone.

Adventures with Cordy, September 16 and 17, 1976

[Below are days 10 and 11 in a series of road trip diary installments. To get the full context, start with Adventures with Cordy: A Road Trip Diary and follow the trail from there. --Amy]

September 16 & 17 (Thursday and Friday)

Arrived at Parkersburg, West Va. To visit with Imogene’s relatives, Ruth, Harvey, Ginger, Dale, Pharaby and Iuka. Had a nice visit and Jack, Dale and Lynn went up to see Dale’s sawmill operation and that afternoon Dale, Ginger, Doris, Jack and Lynn toured the area of Imogene’s early life. The old home places, church and other points of interest. Art and Jo Kelly drove down to visit from Bremen, Ohio. Art gave us points on things to do and see after we left Parkersburg.

Lynn really likes his run-on sentences. I wish he had described the area in more detail. It would be interesting to know more about the sawmill and family business. Based on some brief research, I'm pretty sure Pharaby, Iuka and possibly Ruth are Imogene's aunts. Her father came from a famiy of 12. Both of Imogene's parents appear to have passed away long before this trip.

Adventures with Cordy, September 15, 1976

[Doris, 1976. Lexington, Kentucky]

[Below is day 9 in a series of road trip diary installments. To get the full context, start with Adventures with Cordy: A Road Trip Diary and follow the trail from there. --Amy]

September 15 (Wednesday)

Left the Shakertown—Harrodsburg area for Lexington to see the Horse Farms with the White Fences. They had crossed us up and painted the fences with black creosote. Not nearly as pretty but more practical. We visited the original grave of “Man of War” the famous racehorse. They are presently in the process of moving his remains to a new Museum located in Lexington. His statue is a beautiful thing and we made some nice pictures. We were fortunate to visit the original site just before it was moved. Then, the trek continued northward with the main object being to find a restroom clean enough for Doris. This was close, but finally accomplished at Maysville, Kentucky where we also had a very nice lunch, at a restaurant located on the Ohio River. The drinks were so bad they gave us the glasses. Crossed the Ohio and finally reached our reserved suite at the Town and Country Lodge and Tea—room, at Pikesville, Ohio. The Tea—room was closed!, but very personal service was rendered including and individual ice-tray with lipstick frozen in the cubes. For dinner the Chicken Palace was chosen and it was fabulous, wasn’t it Jack?

** I get the feeling there are several inside jokes here as several of Lynn’s references left me in the dark. My guess is that everyone loved the Chicken Palace except for Jack. He probably gave them an earful about it, too.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Down, But Not Out

Thanks to the pesky hurricane, I still have no power. 11 days and counting. I drove to Austin just to post this and sleep in a cool room for a few days. I have to go back to the dark house tomorrow.

I don't know when this blog will be back up, and it's really bumming me out. :/

Stay tuned...

Friday, September 12, 2008

Hurricane Ike: Closing Up Shop

I have a date with Ike tonight, so I'm boarding up this blog.

I just posted today's "Adventures with Cordy" as well as those for the next two days. I am hoping we'll have power back on Sunday, but that may not happen.

My house is not in a surge area. We have a ton of supplies. The only uncertainty is how long I'll be without power.

When this blog is next updated, you'll know I'm back in business. :)

Adventures with Cordy, September 14, 1976

[Below is day 8 in a series of road trip diary installments. To get the full context, start with Adventures with Cordy: A Road Trip Diary and follow the trail from there. --Amy]

September 14, 1976 (Tuesday)

On to Bardstown, Kentucky where much BOOZE (Bourbon, they call it!) The town has been given the prize for creating more headaches, per square foot, than any other place in the world. Doris was able to acquire a wonderful piece of art showing Stephen Foster playing a Banjo. It was truly a steal for only $36.00, which also included five ounces of Bourbon. The purchase was made in a very fine and exclusive shop, Doris commented that this must be the finest of bourbon, the very distinguished clerk muttered in a gutteral voice, "Lady you ain't paying for booze youse is buying the bottle." We then continued to "My Old Kentucky Home" which was so very impressive. Needless to say we sang about the "Old Home" with heavy hearts because of poor Stephen and the many ladies that wept for him. Shakertown was the next stop. A settlement by the "Shakers", a religious group who didn't believe in marriage or what boys and girls liked to do so the group didn't last. Shakertown is strictly commerical now but we did have a very fine dinner at the hotel. Excellent! This was really one of the finer days of the trip.

Any family members remember this bourbon bottle? I don't. It's funny that Lynn was giving his little sister a hard time for buying 5 ounces of booze for $36.00. I never knew my grandmother was such a souvenir collector. You'll see in further installments that she buys a lot on this trip.

Adventures with Cordy, September 13, 1976

[Below is day 7 in a series of road trip diary installments. To get the full context, start with Adventures with Cordy: A Road Trip Diary and follow the trail from there. --Amy]

September 13, 1976 (Monday)

7:00 A.M. left Poplar Bluff, Mo. 8:30 A.M. crossed the Mississippi River into Illinois at Cairo, then the Ohio River into Kentucky. This is the merger point of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers and a beautiful sight it is. Had a bad breakfast at Paducah, which is a town consisting of mad surly people. We did not like this place and decided when Irvin S. Cobb and Alvin Barkley died all of the humor and wisdom went with them. We continued on to Evansville, Indiana for a pleasant visit with Ms. Joan Levie in a very fine jewelry store that Doris and Jack had ordered many of their fine porcelain "treasures" from. Doris purchased another beautiful piece and "ooh'd and ah'd" over many more. It was very apparent that Lynn was the most enthusiastic and interested member of the group. His interest in fine works of art was very evident, however he managed to restrain himself from making purchases. Doris, Jack and Imogene were amazed at this exhibit of self-control. We then continued to Owensboro, Kentucky where we had excelent suite accomodations at the "Big 6" Hotel and Lodge. Had Bar-B-Que'd Goat for dinner, "ugh".

Goat for dinner? Doesn't sound good. I wonder what about Paducah turned them off so much?

Adventures with Cordy, September 12, 1976

[Below is day 6 in a series of road trip diary installments. To get the full context, start with Adventures with Cordy: A Road Trip Diary and follow the trail from there. --Amy]

September 12, 1976 (Sunday)

As we packed the car this morning the other three travelers could see the wisdom of Lynn's decision to travel lightly. Drove through the beautiful Ozarks to a point called Petit Jean Mountain, which is a resort area. It also contained a beautiful museum of old cars which had been beautifully preserved. This museum was contributed by Governor Winthrop Rockefeller. Spent the night in Poplar Bluff, Missouri. In addition to the Museum, we enjoyed lunch at Mather Lodge, which was named for Mather who was known as the originator and "Father of State and Federal Parks."


[Jack and Lynn]

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Adventures with Cordy, September 11, 1976

[Below is day 5 in a series of road trip diary installments. To get the full context, start with Adventures with Cordy: A Road Trip Diary and follow the trail from there. --Amy]

When we last left the Fearsome Foursome, they were trying to pack 4 people's luggage in 1 car trunk with mediocre success. The following entry details the fifth day of the travel diary and first official day of the road trip:

September 11, 1976

Left Kingwood at 8:30 A.M. and the motel in Woodville, Texas had arranged for breakfast to be served at 11:00 A.M. Grits were served to those so desiring (Doris). Stopped in the city of Tenaka for cokes at an old-fashioned drug store. Continued to Jefferson for a visit of the Old River Port (A branch of the Red River in those days) and to see the many od homes (open to the public in June) and points of interest. Traveled on to Hot Springs, Arkansas.

I'm not sure what made them stop in Woodville, as it is off the US Highway 59 route they appeared to be taking to Arkansas. Must have been some good grits.

I'm also surprised that, though they stayed in Hot Springs, Arkansas, no other time was spent in the state. The father of both Lynn and Doris was from Arkansas. Wouldn't they want to see the town? Perhaps they didn't know anyone there or any details about that part of the family.

Meme: Family Heirlooms

The topic brought up at GenBlog is: what heirlooms would you take with you in the event you have to leave your house in an emergency?

What a fitting subject, as I sit here and wait for hurricane Ike to knock on my door. We're staying put, but I do have an answer to the question, "what would you take?"

I don't have many original family heirlooms. I have a lot of copies and images of important papers. Because most evacuations are hurried, there really isn't time to grab anything that isn't human or animal. I'd grab the obvious breathing beings, my laptop (for records), my photo albums and one more thing.

This heirloom isn't even mine. It is a 1918 drawing of a baseball game done by my husbabnd's grandfather. I picked it because I think it's valuable enough to deserve a seat on the last plane out.

Please excuse the crooked photo. I had a ton of obstacles including glare from all sides. The ink drawing currently hangs in my husband's home office.

In getting my MLIS degree, I had training in archives and records management. I am all about preparing for disaster. I back everything up, and intend on sending copies to my family in California. You can't make too may back ups.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Adventures with Cordy, September 10, 1976

[Below is day 4 in a series of road trip diary installments. To get the full context, start with Adventures with Cordy: A Road Trip Diary and follow the trail from there. --Amy]

When we last left Adventures with Cordy, my grandparents arrived in Texas from California. This next day was spent at the Houston-area house of my grandmother's brother, Lynn and his wife, Imogene. This was probably a rest and visit day for Jack and Doris before the big road trip began. Lynn explains the details of the day here:

September 10, 1976 (Friday)

A rather uneventful day, as preparations continued for the great trip. The Kingwood passengers were shown their packing space in the trunk, which caused Lynn to take only one can of deoderant rather than two as planned. In addition to this he had extra clothes as follows: one pair sox, one suit underwear, one shirt, one pair of pants, one jump suit, one coat and no ties. Imogene insisted on bringing eight dresses along with many other garments.

Lynn (the author of this road trip diary) was a very positive, polite man. I believe this entry was his way of saying the other three packed too dang much, even for a trunk the size of the one in a 1975 Chrysler Cordoba.

This scene reminds me of the "I Love Lucy" episode where Ricky, Lucy, Fred and Ethel took a road trip to California. When they got done packing (including tying items to the outside of the car) there was no room for passengers. Ethel ends up saying she could have packed the car better with a pitchfork.

Feline Hurdles in Records Management

I'm trying to finish up the paper records reorganization today, and there's a little space problem on the table:

This is Petey. He came over for a close-up...

...but now he's back to sleeping on the Colbert records.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Adventures with Cordy, September 9, 1976

In the first installment of Adventures with Cordy, half of the fearsome foursome were on their way to Texas to pick up a dynamic duo before taking off on a major road trip.

Below is the entry written thirty-two years ago today:

September 9, 1976 (Thursday)
The first leg of the trip was concluded as the travelers reached Kingwood about 5:30 P.M. In order to avoid heavy traffic of Houston, Jack elected to come by F.M. 1960. This appeared to be a back road used by farmers to transport their milk, eggs, and produce to market. Unfortunately this little back road has been discovered by others. At least ten thousand people were on hand to greet Doris and Jack on their arrival to the Houston Area, many of them eager to get home to their smiling wives, happy children and dry martinis, were not in the best of moods. This "back road" did not turn out so good, however Cordy pulled them through.

So this entry confirms that my grandparents made it safely from California to Texas. It's funny to read Lynn's light sarcasm about FM 1960. It seems that road has always had traffic. It probably did so even when it really was a "Farm-to-Market" road, as the FM indicates.

Adventures with Cordy: A Road Trip Diary

In 1976, my paternal grandparents, my grandmother's brother, and his wife took a road trip around the eastern portion of the United States. Luckily, their adventures were recorded and I have a copy of this little mini-diary of their trek.

The "Fearsome Foursome" as they were called, inlcuded the players Jack, Doris, Lynn and Imogene. All were in their 60's at the time of this folly--young enough to raise a little hell and old enough to not care. Their coach for this trip was a Chrysler Cordoba, nicknamed Cordy.

Lynn was the author of the road trip diary. I am grateful that he made the effort to do so because I was only 4 years old at the time. I don't remember much about 1976, but I do remember that Cordoba, complete with soft Corinthian leather.

The trip took place in September and October. I will post an entry each day, just as Cordy motored along 32 years ago.

However, I got this document today, but the trip started on September 7. Below are the entries for the past two days:

Diary and summary on the Great Trip to the North Eastern Part of the United States (and to a slight exposure of History) by the Fearsome Foursome, Doris, Imogene, Jack and Lynn.

September 7, 1976 (Tuesday)
The Senior Pilot (Jack) and the temporary navigator, Doris, left Riverside, California, for the beginning of a 9000 mile trip in their trusty Cordoba, hereinafter referred to as "Cordy." Cordy received a good indication of what was to come by making about 700 miles to Las Cruces, New Mexico, the first day. Doris was happy to be on the way and Jack said she led a continuous stream of conversation the entire day. Happy Hour and a fine dinner were enjoyed by each.

September 8, 1976 (Wednesday)
Cordy performed well and Doris continued to chatter as the first leg of the trip continued into the Great State.

[The Great State to which Lynn was referring is Texas. Jack and Doris left California and spent these two days making their way to Texas to pick up Lynn and Imogene.]

System Upgrade

I'm in the process of upgrading my system for organizing paper files. I have a bunch of binders and everything is in there, with the exception of some photocopied book pages.

My old system clustered records by last name, in a manner only understood by me. A surname with a lot of records would be paired with a smaller surname so I could get more names to fit in one notebook. As my tree grows, this system no longer works.

Now I'm going straight alphabetical. It's the only option. Woman are sorted by maiden name. People with the same last name are alphabetized by first name and divided by tabs.

Finally, I have a place for the Irven Coffey death certificate, the Christopher Fulton death certificate and all those other papers that didn't quite fit in the notebooks before this time.

This new system should make is easier to keep track of documents I've already scanned and those that still need to be done.

The whole process of moving documents should take about three afternoons. There are papers all over my kitchen table. It looks like a tornado, but it's for a good cause.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Hat Dude: Smile for the Camera, 5th Edition

The subject for the 5th edition of Smile for the Camera: A Carnival of Images is "Hair Do's and Dont's."

My choice isn't really a hair do, but more of a hat do:

This photo was part of my great-grandfather's papers. That's all I know. He was from Germany, so I'm guessing this is a relative back in the home country. My great-grandfather came to the United States in 1914.

I call this guy "Hat Dude." If anyone can shed some light on this uniform or its era, I'd really appreciate it. He seems very proud of his threads. I'd like to know more so I can share in that admiration.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Show and Tell: 55th Carnival of Genealogy

The 55th edition of the Carnival of Genealogy is posted and ready for its close-up. The topic is Show and Tell and each person shared something important from their family history: a story, a person, a photo, a document or something else.

My entry is here.

I encourage you to read the entries, as each one is unique. The experience is kind of like going to a museum. You'll learn something about history, guaranteed.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The Birthday Present

In 2004, my grandma Doris gave me $50 for my birthday. I don't remember exactly what she said, but in past events it was usually "buy a pretty" or an encouragement to go have some fun. I didn't spend it right away because I'm a saver.

My grandmother died a few months later. The $50 dollar bill sat in my nightstand for years. Over and over I'd forget about it, then find it again and vow to spend it. However, nothing seemed good enough to purchase with this last birthday money.

Fast forward to August, 2008, which was the month of my Arkansas road trip. There I visited the Shiloh-Williamson cemetery where dozens of my ancestors are buried.

Through a little research conducted by my dad, I learned that the cemetery care is in the hands of a distant cousin. She has her days and nights full, tending to an ill spouse as well.

I am not sure what will happen to Shiloh-Williamson cemetery in the future. It is not connected to a church. It is small and almost full. The city seems to be continuing on without concern.

This week, I finally spent my birthday money. I sent it to the lady who has taken on responsibility of the cemetery care along with everything else on her plate. I explained the meaning behind the donation and hoped that it would assist in the upkeep of the grounds that held our common ancestors, including my grandmother's own grandparents, great-grandparents and great-great grandparents.

So that's what I bought with my birthday money. I hope you like it, grandma.

Email Notification of Updates

I added a link to the right side of this blog that allows you to sign up and be notified when the blog is updated. If you don't want to sign up, but still want notification, email me and I'll personally let you know when the blog is updated.

Of course, you could check back here seven times a day if you want. It makes my visit stats look good.