Sunday, November 30, 2008

Early Christmas

The 61st edition of the Carnival of Genealogy invites attendees to discuss family holiday traditions. In these days of bigger/faster/better/always-on-the-move, traditions last about eight seconds and are forgotten unless mentioned in a Twitter feed.

My little family is no different. We are always on the go, and that includes Christmas. My COG entry is a confession to our busy calendar, our remedy to the situation, and the revelation that bore our unique tradition. Read on:

This is our Christmas tree. Yes, that's a Seahawks helmet at the top. It used to be a full-size tree that went to the ground, but the cat peed on that part. Now our festivities are reduced by 33%.

Though we live in Texas, December 25th is spent in California. This is sometimes tricky because big presents can't be transported. How do you give a boy a bicycle for Christmas if he lives in one state but celebrates the holiday in another?

We solved this problem by creating "early Christmas." Usually the night before we leave for California, my husband, son and I open the presents we got for each other. Radio holiday music provides the soundtrack. Stocking gifts are opened and it's always fun. The cats even get gifts (fancy food and catnip).

When the present part is over, we go out to dinner. It's never formal, just what we feel like at that time. Sometimes ice cream is involved for dessert.

After the meal, we drive around town (again with the holiday music on which my son insists) and look at the Christmas lights. We live in an area where professional lighting displays on houses are not uncommon, so we often get quite a show.

"Early Christmas" was supposed to be a temporary solution for a family who was always on the road during the holidays. It will never replace December 25th, of course. However, I look forward to the brief pause from the holiday madness every year. The low-key night with a family focus has become an annual event in our household and one of my favorite traditions.

Adventures with Cordy, October 12, 1976

[Below is days 36 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]

October 12, (Tuesday)

Day of departure for the California. TOO BAD, but we were all so thankful for a wonderful, fun, pleasant and safe trip that the good-bys were made easier. We thank you Doris and Jack for being such nice people and so good to us.


Imogene and Lynn

This concludes the 1976 travel diary titled,"Adventures with Cordy." The Fearsom Foursome, anchored by siblings Lynn and Doris, continued to visit each other regularly for many years.

[Photo: Jack, Doris, Lynn, Imogene. Texas, 1976]

In 1984, Lynn was stricken with Guillain-Barre Syndrome. His mobility was severely comprimised, as was his active lifestyle. He continued to maintain his positive attitude and joyful life spirit until his death in 1998.

Jack continued to work well after his Western Auto years. He always had opinions about business and customer service until the day he died in 2001.

Doris, all 4'11" of her, was fiercely proud of her family. Much of my motivation in regards to family history stems from this fact. She would be very pleased with what I've found thus far. She passed away in 2004.

Imogene continued to live in the same house and drive a big yellow Cadillac after Lynn's death. She was an extremely kind and generous person, and it was a pleasure to have known her. She passed away at 96 in 2007.

Thanks for following along in the Adventures with Cordy series. I know these entries were geared toward a small group of relatives who actually knew the players, but I decided to share this bit of my family with a wider audience. I hope you enjoyed it.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Adventures with Cordy, Addendum

The Adventures with Cordy series has been going on this blog for about two months. As I get ready to publish the final travel diary entry, my dad discovered some of the photos that went a long with the trip. That's the way life goes.

Today I went back and edited some posts, adding photos that related to Lynn's descriptions of events.

The following diary entries now include pictures:

September 12, 1976
September 15, 1976
September 18, 1976
September 20, 1976
September 22, 1976
September 23, 1976
September 24, 1976
September 27, 1976
September 29, 1976
October 8, 1976

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Eight Things About Meme

Linda (From Axer to Ziegler), Elizabeth (Little Bytes of Life) and Randy (GeneaMusings) have tagged me in a meme.

Here are the rules:

*Each player starts with eight random facts/habits about themselves.

*Write a blog post about these eight things and post these rules.

*At the end of the blog post, list eight people to get tagged.

*Leave a comment on their blogs telling them they have been tagged.

Normally, I try to give my answers a genealogy slant, but I don't have time for that right now. Instead, you get Amy 101:

1. I don't drink coffee in the morning. I drink Diet Dr Pepper instead. Multiple cans every morning until caffeine cut-off at noon.

2. My right ear is deformed to a point. Literally, it has a point on the side. There isn't a Spock joke I haven't heard, so save yer breath.

3. I thought my husband was a total jerk when I met him and for about two years after that. We've been married 12 years.

4. I am on the bone marrow donor registry. I expect to be called in my lifetime. One might say I feel it in my bones.

5. I don't like reading directions and generally do things my own way. This has caused trouble with my attempt to learn how to cite properly in FTM2009.

6. My favorite dinner involves roast beef, mashed potatoes and gravy. Nobody makes this meal like my dad does.

7. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.

8. Coke, not Pepsi. Salty snacks, not sweet. Toilet paper roll OVER, not under.

Here is where I'm supposed to tag eight people. Not gonna happen. See #5. It is impossible to determine who hasn't been tagged yet, so I tag 'em all.

Thanks for playing! :)

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Whole is Equal to the Sum of Its Parts: A Thanksgiving Meme

Julie over at GenBlog is hosting a Thanksgiving meme. The task is to write about two things for which we are thankful, then encourage others to do the same. I personally am thankful for about a million things. However, since WeTree is a genealogy blog, I shall limit my meme to two family-history topics.

First, I must say I am thankful for the history keepers: past, present, and future. Everything I have learned thus far about my family is due to the fact that someone took the time to save their stories, their photos, their records and evidence that they walked this planet. This group includes archivists, librarians, and amateur genealogists. It also includes fellow genea-bloggers who have a similar passion for history and share their own ancestors' experiences. I enjoy reading your blogs. Thank you for sharing them.

Second, I am thankful for my ancestors. Discovering their stories has shaped my life and put my own experiences in perspective. The whole is equal to the sum of its parts. In my case, the parts include:

Nancy Bourland (1846-1913) moved her eight children (and one on the way) to the family's new homestead in Indian Territory. Her husband passed away while stopped for supplies in Texas and never made it to the new home. Widowed Nancy went on to raise her children, complete with formal education, while running the ranch. She is my great-great-great grandmother. Her story puts my little complaints about life in perspective.

Emile Bourgaux (1866-1948) was born in Belgium but came to America at 19, likely for the same reasons as millions of other immigrants. He and his wife settled in Acadia Parish, Louisiana, where he ran a successful business until it was destroyed by fire. Bourgaux moved to another parish town and started again. He and his wife also had 13 children, at least 5 of whom died in infancy. Emile is my great-great grandfather, and I hope I have inherited some of his perseverance.

William Woodberry Williamson (1853-1942) is my easy study. He was born, lived and died in the same Arkansas county. His presence is noted in dozens of records. He was widowed three times, always with young children to raise. By all accounts, he led a straight-laced, good, Christian life. However, a single church record admonishing Williamson for playing cards for pleasure is what defines my great-great grandfather for me. Live your life in service to others, but don't forget to sneak in a little fun time for yourself.

Lastly, I have to mention the family Thibodeaux. Even in the vast ocean of Thibodeauxs out there, my little branch is unique. Though their conduct isn't always admirable, evidence of their presence on this Earth is always entertaining. If I had the time, I could probably write a book about my hell-raising great-great grandfather and the equally hell-raising son who never knew him. Perhaps I inherited a dash of mischief from this branch, but I choose to stay on this side of the law.

Each of my ancestors has a story. In time, I hope to tell them all. For now I will continue to gather informational pieces and shape the puzzles of their lives. When a picture forms, it helps me see where I've come from and prepares me for where I am going. I understand the importance of these stories and for that, I am truly thankful.

Adventures with Cordy, October 11, 1976

[Below is days 35 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]

October 11, (Monday)

Journeyed into Houston to get jack a new pair of "Goody Blue Shoes." His old ones turned gray! Then nice bar-b-que lunch and to Foley's to get Jack two new jump-suits. PRETTY. Lynn cooked steaks for dinner.

God bless those jumpsuits, which Jack continued to wear well into the 1990's, until they went extinct as a fashion choice.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Back to School: Progress Report

Chris and Julie have inquired about how I am doing in my NGS course, so I'm providing an update.

I just finished assignment 1, where I had to fill out a 4-generation chart.

Today, I'm working on assignment 2, which is a family group sheet and footnotes. I have to do it by hand, because I haven't figured out my new Family Tree Maker software enough to cite properly within the program.

I've never filled out a family group sheet before. I've just been too busy on the hunt because it's funner than compiling documentation.

The subjects for my family group sheet are my great-great grandparents William Woodberry Williamson, Sarah Brigance/Brigham and their four kids. I have a lot of documentation on them, so I will get a good lesson in citations.

When I am done, I have to send assignments 1 and 2 to NGS for grading and feedback. I also make a point to read all the suggested readings before I move on to the next lesson.

The biggest challenge has been scheduling time to do my work. It's not like college where someone tells you when an assignment is due. I have to make my own deadlines. I'd like to do one assignment every 2 weeks, but that timeline is flexible in case some tasks are harder than others.

So far, I am not lost in the subject matter. I don't recommend taking this course as an absolute beginner who has never opened a book because the introductory lesson isn't as detailed as uber first-timers might need. If you have a basic familiarity with genealogy, you'll do fine. Of course, I've only done one assignment so talk to me halfway through the course and see how I feel about it then.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Oh Baby! 7th Edition of Smile for the Camera

Back on November 9, I posted my Grandma's Boy entry in to the Smile for the Camera event.

The carnival is back and all other submissions have been posted for your enjoyment over at Shades of the Departed.

By the way, on my post there is a glowing comment about how cute the baby is in the photo. Several sharp folks including the carnival host were suspicious of the obvious bias of the commenter. I will elaborate per your request and confess that the baby and the commenter are one and the same. I've just outed my dad, aka"Grandpa George," as the damn cute baby.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Adventures with Cordy, October 10, 1976

[Below is days 34 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]

October 10, (Sunday)

The Motel delivered orange juice and coffee which gave us a pleasant start for our last day of a thirty day trip from Houston and back to Houston. It could have been rather a sad day really but since we considered what a pleasant month it had been some of the sadness evaporated. As everyone knows, good things can't last forever. We journeyed through Louisiana to Woodville, Texas where we had breakfast at the same restaurant, at the same table and almost exactly the same time, 11:00 A.M., as we did on the first day of the trip, thirty-one days ago. On to Kingwood. Our neighbors, Hazel and Bob kept a watchful eye on our home, plants, etc. even installed two windows on our garage. It was a lot of work and expense for them but clearly illustrates what wonderful people they are. We all went to the Log Cabin Restaurant for dinner (family style) and Jack discovered they made five legged chickens because he ate five drumsticks.

The Log Cabin Restaurant is no longer around, which is too bad because I'd love to eat a five-legged chicken.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Paging Mike Lenertz

Mike Lenertz left a comment on this blog, but no email address. Your Google profile is blocked and I have no way to contact you. Please email me at the yahoo address provided in the "Have a Question?" section on the right side of this blog. Thanks!

Back to School

When I was in library school, the requirements for degree completion were pretty clear: pass these classes, meet these requirements, get your diploma and put letters by your name. Easy steps to a goal.

Gaining experience in the genealogy world isn't so cut and dry. There are letters you can earn and put by your name, but no clear path to get there. You have to decide when you're ready and then apply for certification.

My information management background is on a whole different, more streamlined plane than genealogy, and I'm still trying to process the differences.

In order to try to scrape together something that resembles a formal genealogical education, I've enrolled in the "Home Study Course" of the National Genealogical Society. Though the class title sounds like something from an offshore diploma mill where you pay your pesos and get a PhD in astrophysics, the course apparently is well-respected and considered a valid step toward genealogical certification.

My family tree has served me well, but it doesn't provide the research challenges I want. This class is a step toward that advanced study.

I started the first lesson last night. I'll let you know how it goes.

Adventures with Cordy, October 9, 1976

[Below is days 33 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]

October 9, (Saturday)

Stopped at noon in Alexandria, La. to watch to watch the O.U., Texas football game, Had excellent lunch and dinner at the Plantation Manor. There were also two play-off baseball games so, all in all, it was a nice day.

The OU/Texas game is a big deal here in this part of the country. I can see why Lynn would want to halt the travels and watch it.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

State of the Tree: 100th Post

This post marks my 100th entry on the We Tree blog. I started this endeavor for several reasons, with many goals in mind. I am happy with the results so far.

We Tree is now firmly entrenched in the Google search engine. People are searching for my surnames, and my posts are coming to the top of the results page. Now if only those people searching my blog would contact me so we could exchange information.

Not everyone in my family is in to genealogy, which blows my mind because how could you not be interested in the history of your family? Anyway, some aren't, so this blog let's me talk about my family's history with those who want to hear about it.

I've received wonderful comments and encouragement about my writing from family, friends and complete strangers (who are really just friends I haven't met yet). Someday when my desire to write meets a magazine editor's interest in my work, it will be this support that gets me there. Right now, I am content with the brain-to-blog word dump.

At this 100th post, I'd say We Tree is progressing nicely. My average of visitors per day is gradually rising. The time spent on my site averages 2 minutes and 30 seconds. I have no idea if that's a good number, but it means people are reading it.

What's in store for the next 100 posts? I'll be delving into the Lenertz branch of the tree. I'm taking National Genealogical Society courses, so there will be talk about homework. There will also be the same smorgasbord of genealogical randomness on which this blog was built.

Guess that's it. To quote the great wine-cooler purveyors, Frank Bartles & Ed Jaymes, "thank you for your support."

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Modern Medicine

My cat bit my left hand on Sunday. It got very swollen and infected and I'm taking many medications to remedy it.

This is a pretty minor setback on the spectrum of health issues. However, I am amazed at how quickly the infection spread.

What does this have to do with family history? Well, imagine if this had happened 150 years ago. No driving myself to the doctor. No infusion of antobiotics. Would I have been able to overcome the infection? Or would this little cat bite have overcome me? I'm glad I don't have to find out.

That reminds me, it's time for another pill.

Adventures with Cordy, October 8, 1976

[Doris and Lynn with "supplies," Vicksburg, MS]

[Below is days 32 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]

October 8, (Friday)

Then, on to Vicksburg, Miss. The town looks pretty run-down due to recent floods and adverse economics. However, the Old Southern tea Room is as good as ever. Doris remembered the woman who was there our last trip and invited her to stop by to see them her next trip to California, but Doris forgot to give the address. Lynn took care of this, so she, her boyfriend and five children would certainly visit them next summer, maybe for a week.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Grandma's Boy

The 7th edition of Smile for the Camera is titled "Oh Baby!"

Below is my ticket for admission into the carnival:

The lady in the picture is my great-grandmother, Frankie Jones Williamson (1888-1951). The baby she's holding is my dad. You couldn't tell it then, but now it's easy to see how much these two resemble each other.

This picture was taken in 1944. Likely in the summer, in Los Angeles.

Adventures with Cordy, October 7, 1976

[Below is days 31 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]

October 7, (Thursday)

Drove through the Great Smoky Mountains and had a little fog trouble but a beautiful area. Nice lunch at Cartersville, Georgia. The restaurant was owned by a friendly lady who liked to visit. Spent night in Clanton, Alabama.

The road trip must be wearing on Lynn because his entries are getting shorter. There are no descriptions of what they ate, or Jack's "mads."

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Lenertz Record Shopping

Today I contacted the Blue Earth County Historical Society in Mankato, Minnesota. They have a copy of a will for Alexander Lenertz that was filed October 4, 1879. My ggg grandfather Alexander Lenertz died in August of 1879. I'm hoping this is his will.

I also ordered 6 death certificates from the Minnesota Historical Society. The web site is set up like Amazon: just put the records in your shopping cart and go. I wish all out-of-state repositories were this easy.

These death certificates are (hopefully) for six of Alexander Lenertz's 10 children. If I'm lucky, one or more of these records will give a hint to where the family came from in Luxembourg.

John Benjamin Lenertz was Alexander's third child and eldest son. He was my great-great grandfather. He's buried in Oklahoma, but the state can find no death certificate for him. John left Minnesota and raised two kids in Oklahoma. The family got smaller with the next generation and moved father away. Now there is no current connection to Minnesota and I've been trying to piece the Lenertz puzzle blindfolded. That's why I'm hanging my hopes on these coming Minnesota death certificates.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Carnival of Genealogy, 59th edition

Earlier this week, I posted my submission for the 59th Carnival of Genealogy. I talked about the political career of John Williamson.

All of the pieces have been collected and are featured at the Creative Gene blog.

There are some great sumissions here. Read up. It's a great cure for your election hangover.

Adventures with Cordy, October 6, 1976

[Below is days 30 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]

October 6, (Wednesday)

On through No. Carolina to Cherokee, home of the "Cherokee Indians." Doris, Imogene and Jack went to the Indian Festival, could only get three tickets so Lynn did not go. It was raining and they enjoyed tromping through the mud.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Adventures with Cordy, October 5, 1976

[Below is days 29 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]

October 5, (Tuesday)

Back to "Colonial" to get a pewter mug that Doris just could not live without. She used her "charm" on Jack in this little deal and when that kid turns on the charm on there is no defense. Then to Jamestown, the first settlement in America. The Federal Park department presents it so well we could almost see the Indians. We then went through "Carter Grove Plantation" a beautiful old mansion with a historical background. Then crossed the James River by ferry into North Carolina. The river is beautiful and it was easy to understand why the early settlers chose this area as an exit from the rough and stormy Atlantic to a peaceful and beautiful body of water with an almost Garden of Eden landing on either side. From that point on Cordy just headed south and west to his home in California. (Little did he know that his masters were going to trade him off, or he would have blown a gasket, or a bearing, or a wheel or something else that unhappy Cordobas do.) We had dinner at a place advertising "you have tried the rest, now eat the best." After Jack's experience with "Maines Finest Restaurant" (they didn't cook his hot dog right) he was a little dubious, but not for long, the steaks were great!

Carter Grove is really Carter's Grove. It is currently closed.

Anybody know what happened to this pewter mug Doris just had to have? Is it on your shelf?

Back on September 10, before Cordy even left Texas, Lynn commented on the lack of space in the trunk. Given all of Doris' purchases, I can't even imagine how they got that thing closed after each stop.