Showing posts with label family history. Show all posts
Showing posts with label family history. Show all posts

Friday, February 17, 2017

In the Event that Heidi may be Searching . . .






            When commercials come on, Roland will usually watch them and critique them.  Depending on the station, he will sometimes tire of them and start changing channels.  Recently during his channel hopping, he landed on a program focusing on individuals searching for  biological connection.  As the story unfolded, a connection was made due to a facebook post in which the biological mother wished her unknown daughter a happy birthday.  It matched the same birthday of the child who was seeking her mother.  It got me to wonder if the boys half sister on their mother's side might be looking for her biological past.



                About six months before Roland met his first wife, she had given birth to a part white/part Asian daughter.  She'd given her up for adoption and said that the adoptive family had named the baby Heidi.  Roland said he was willing to raise the baby as his own, but Deborah said that it was too late - which I find odd as almost every adoption I have known about has had a one year wait-to-see-if-the-biological-mom-may-change-her-mind requirement.





            I remember Tony having mentioned it first.  He was hoping to establish some kind of connection.  I don't know if that will ever happen in this lifetime.  Heidi would be about 33, I think.  Possibly turning 34 by the end of the year?  Roland does not have many details to go on, and I have even less, I'm sure.  I suppose if Heidi were to look for answers about her biological mother, she would have to ask Aunt Judy - as she seems to be the family matriarch, but I could be wrong.  She may have at least some clue to who the biological father might be.  Roland doesn't have any information.





            Clyde & Barbara Walden [not their real names] gave birth to eleven children. Five are now deceased along with mom and dad.  Judy is their eldest daughter.  I met her for the first time after Jenna had turned two.  We had missed Clyde's funeral by only three days and had been invited to the family barbeque (here) - which is when I met at least eight of  Deborah's siblings and their families.  Waldens are truly hospitable people.  If indeed, Heidi is looking, they will definitely embrace her.





Thursday, February 2, 2017

Keeping Accurate Records - or Trying to Find Them rather . . .



I have an ancestor named Robert Stuart Stirrat Purdie.  That's his name.  Both middle names are pronounced "Stew-ert".  My mom had told me that it was a custom (whether in the family or community is unknown) for the parents to name the child (in this case middle name) after the first visitor who calls after the baby was born.  Friends Stuart and Stirrat (whose last names are unknown to me at this time) arrived together to call upon the family - thus Robert was given two identical middle names, although different spellings.  Comes in handy when trying to piece together if various records do indeed belong with the ancestor you're trying to find.  I have not run into any juniors or seniors on either side of my family (well, not until the lines of royalty - which thus far are just names - the accuracy of their relation is also unknown.  They didn't actually use Junior and Senior but I, II, II, IV, etc.)  

My grandmother wanted to name her youngest son after his father, but my grandfather did not wish to have a "junior" in the family, thus they gave him a middle initial but not a middle name.  I have a daughter-in-law who has a rather common name.  Her father is a junior and his father is the senior, thus when ancestry presents hints, it is very important to pay attention to the dates as both names will come up as suggested matches for either.  It used to be if you deleted one name on the branch, it would wipe out the entire line.  That doesn't seem to be the case with this new format - which may be easier to understand, but one I am certainly not used to and don't find it at all convenient.  





I was given a great number of hints for those I believed were already in my system.  They were.  I discovered I had duplicates.  I don't know if I removed them all or not.  I have actually been finding names that don't seem to be connected to anyone in particular.  So why are they still in there?

Years ago we had learned that my brother-in-law bill is not only an uncle to my boys by marriage but also their sixth cousin once removed on their blood line.  We had his line and the boys line as two separate lines and thus had duplicate names and that bugged me.  In family search, you can connect the two rather than resubmit them as new people with duplicate names.  I like that much better.  I'm getting really tired of the duplications.




I notice that there are a lot of names that get used again and again honoring the grandparents - and it is nice when the names skip a generation, or when the names given are so unique that I don't recall ever having had heard it as a name before, like Thankful and Remembrance Fish.  When the name is so unique like Robert Stuart Stirrat or Priddy Meeks - it's gratifying.  Oh, yes.  That's got to be him.  Whereas Brigham Young, Joseph Smith, Jose Rivera, Roberto Martinez, Jennifer Anderson . . . say what? 

Family History can be very time consuming - and I think the most common names actually require the most attention.  I want to thank all of those from my tree who gave unique names to their children and putting distance between the more common names . . . well, many of you anyway.

Friday, March 4, 2016

A letter to Roland's eldest daughter

Dear Frances,

            I am posting this letter to my blog as we don't have a current address for you - not that we ever did.  Your mom didn't (and probably still doesn't) want us to have any contact with you - even when we were living in the same state and it was court ordered.

            Even if you should come across this blog and read this post, I don't know if you'll know that you are Frances - as that is not your actual name, but rather one I have assigned to you through this blog.  But I feel impressed to write this.

            The last time we saw you was just over eight years ago - just before Tony left on his mission.  Jenna was only four at the time.  Unfortunately she does not have many memories of you or your other sister.  I have several pictures that I have shared with her, and I have always tried to speak positively of you and Pamprin. 

            I've been thinking a lot about you - mainly because of Jenna.  Not only do you two share a physical appearance, but personality traits as well.  At least the person we did have opportunity knowing about you before you moved away. 

            Like you, Jenna likes art.  She prefers drawing to painting though.  She loves crafts.  Last year she received an easel for Christmas.  Dad had sketched a picture of her in blue crayon.  I was impressed enough to frame it and hang it on the wall.  Every time I see it, I see you.  Or I remember the girl that you were, rather.  I realize you're an adult now and may not look so youthful as does the sketch.  Actually, Jenna looks older than the face in the sketch.  And taller.  Tall like you were at that age - perhaps not as tall as you are currently.



            This morning I was watching a National Geographic series called, "Unlikely Animal Friends"  I remember how much you loved Animal Planet and how much you enjoyed learning.
              There was one story that focused on a dog named Sunshade and her guinea pig friends named Meatball, Sesame, Squeaky, Ketchup and Dumpling, and I remembered how you were always naming stuffed animals after food. 

            You created a bear that you named "Jelly Bean" and Jenna had a dog that you named "Graham Crackers" which she still has and still calls "Crackers".  Jenna has other stuffed dogs which she has named "Fudge" and "Brownie" and has given other food names to various stuffed animals.  And so you share that in common.

            I remember when Jenna was born, how excited you were to have a baby sister.  The first time you saw her you said, "She looks like me."

            "No she doesn't,"  I thought.  "She looks like me."

            I was wrong and you were right.  Both of you look a lot like your Dad's sister, Aunt Linda, who has passed.  We tried to give you a bit of family history (as you had asked for it) before you returned to the island.  I think dad has found more information on his side.  Not much on your mom's side.  I, personally, haven't been looking.

            I'd like to send you pictures, but again, I don't know where to send them.  But if you look at the photos that I've taken of Jenna, I'm certain that you will see the resemblance.  I wish she would like vegetables as much as you did.  She seems to have acquired the same sweet tooth that was always present whenever we saw Pamprin.

            A lot of family growth has taken place since we last saw you.  You know that Tony got married and had a daughter.  She (Ester) just turned four yesterday.  And so you share the same birth month.  And just in case you don't remember - you and Jenna are ten years apart with ten days between your birthdays.

            Your brothers Randy and Biff also got married.  And so you have three sisters-in-law and now three nieces.  Randy's daughter, Devin, will be 7 months old in less than two weeks.  And Biff's daughter, Ali , just turned six months.   They all live in different cities in Utah.  Dad, Jenna, and I, in the meantime, have moved to Oregon.

            Dad decided to move us here to improve my health - similar to your reasons to moving, I think.  I can certainly breathe a lot better here than in Salt Lake.  That's for sure.
            We'll be going on our ninth month since we moved.

            Besides leaving family, one of the drawbacks in moving to Oregon, has been with Jenna's education.  For the last five years we had her in a dual immersion program where she was learning Spanish.  She doesn't have that opportunity anymore, but is playing the clarinet and going to middle school currently.

            When you first moved, your mom told us that you were learning Japanese.  Is that true?  Can you and Pamprin communicate in Japanese?

            Your brothers, Tony and Randy could communicate in Portuguese - though different dialects.  You may remember that Tony went on his mission to Brazil, but I bet you didn't know that Randy served a mission in Portugal. 

            I remember you once expressing a desire to go on a mission.  I didn't know if you were serious, but have wondered if you actually did take that opportunity.  Or if your mother would have even allowed you to go. 

            I'd like to reconnect through Facebook if possible.  I am so grateful to have this form of social media.  Through it I am able to watch my grandchildren grow.  I think I would miss out on most of it otherwise.  Life gets busy.  People don't correspond with one another the way they used to.

            That's all I have for you right now.  I'm sorry for any misconduct which I may have displayed whenever you were around. I'm sorry that I hadn't allowed myself to deal better with the situation at hand.  I'm sorry that you didn't get all the correspondence (if any) that dad and I tried to send. We really did try.  We have not forgotten you.


             I hope things are going better for you.
         

                                             Sincerely,   LaTiesha

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

I Found Priddy Meaks Autobiography Through Google





        My first week at the Myrtle Creek Ward was on Father’s Day.  Several members introduced themselves to me and Roland.  During Relief Society I was sitting with a sister who thrives on family history. 

        A sign up list had been passed around for an activity that would take place in a three weeks time.  The sister asked if I had pioneer ancestry and would I be willing to share something from my history.  Sure, I guess.  I do have pioneer ancestors. 

        When a received a reminder call, I realized that I didn’t have any stories.  As mentioned on previous posts, family history is not my forte – and I don’t do all that well at Church history either.  There is definitely need for improvement.

        I do remember my mom telling us about an ancestor named Priddy Meaks – though I didn’t really have any details.  I have since added his name to my ancestral files and do have more information on him than probably mom did – but still not a story. I didn’t see any stories come up on ancestry and so decided to put his name into Google to see if anything would come up that way.  I didn’t expect an excerpt from a volume (or volumes) found here. 


Sarah Meaks was his wife at the time they crossed the plains
 
So this is certainly interesting.    But it presented a new problem. I was given three to five minutes in which to tell my story.  So what story should I tell.  I’d have to read it all first.  As I have also mentioned: No matter how interesting the material,   I am a rather slow reader.  I tried skimming through words and pages until I realized it just wasn’t connecting for me. 

Priddy had written this all down when he was 85 years old.  I wonder how long he was writing.  I decided I would have to pray about finding the appropriate selection that would help benefit the results of said activity. I was blessed to be called upon first and shared a brief piece of his history.  My night blindness caused me to leave before the last sisters were through sharing their stories (I think I was actually the only one who didn’t go over) – perhaps the one behind me as well.

I would have liked to stay and offer my assistance with clean up.  I guess next time I’ll just have Roland drive me so that I can take that opportunity.

It was a really nice activity, and very well attended.  I'm grateful to the pioneers and to those who took the time to translate Priddy's words into print that it could be shared on the Internet - otherwise I wouldn't have had it to share.  I'm so happy to be here in Myrtle Creek and for the ward that I currently attend.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Memorial Day Letter to Two Cousins


Dear Lucy and Heather,

         I am sending two gifts that were made by your Grandma Kim.  I am sorry that you were unable to know her in the flesh.  She would have been thrilled about having granddaughters.  You appear to be the first in a long line of men – with your Grandpa Lynn being the baby of five boys and Grandma Kim having had four boys and no girls of her own.

         Long before we celebrated Christmas in July, we used to go to Aunt Gertrude’s house each Christmas Eve to eat dinner and exchange gifts.  Aunt Gertrude told me that Aunt Lucy (who you may be named for?  - I know your middle name is after Aunt Gertrude) started the tradition several years before – though I do not remember having met Aunt Gertrude’s father or any of his sisters (Aunt Lucy being one of them)

         After your Grandpa Lynn had had joined the family, he encouraged your grandma to give out homemade gifts.  And really, those are the best kind. For me personally, they are the most memorable. I am certain that your dads will be able to provide memories of their own.

         I remember one gift, a mauve/pink tote bag with red trim and butterfly.  Unfortunately I wore that out and do not even have a picture to send.  But I do have a picture of Corey holding the lion that she made for him.  He would probably still have it except that Kayla and I threw it away when his room flooded.  But by then the lion had lost much of its fluff and stitching and was also in need of a bath (I would imagine) but the flooded with mildew just made it so much worse.  So this picture is the best I can do.



         I am sending the doll that Kayla had received.  It was played with by Ellen and Jenna as well.  And though Kayla has her own little girl who might also enjoy the doll, I thought it would be more meaningful to you to have something made by your grandma Kim.

This is not the actual doll.  I cannot believe I forgot to take a picture!

         I am also sending a tree that she had given me a different year. The colors matched the colors in my room (at that time) I call it “The Tree of Life”  as I am reminded of the story of Lehi’s dream whenever I look at it.



         Your Grandma Kim was very talented and always trying her hand at different crafts and art projects such as tole painting and scherenchinitte (which is cutting out silhouettes of paper - which I think is a lost art as there are now machines that will do it quicker) I think it’s great that your Grandpa Lynn had encouraged her to use her talents.  And I wanted to share at least two of those talents with you. 

tole painted lid from box

this example of scherenchinitte
was taken from the internet.









         I am also enclosing some pictures – one of your grandma with my dad and their parents at a cabin (which I'm assuming was taken by Uncle Ross), one of your grandma with her mother (my grandma; your great-grandma) at their house on Edgecomb Dr. in Salt Lake City.  


         I know that you are both too young for these right now, but may you one day appreciate what it is I’m trying to do.  Lucy, may you take pride in your tree and Heather (who is still waiting to be born) may you find joy in your doll.

         I hope these things are helpful to both of you and that you will treasure these things.  And perhaps one day you can pass them on to your granddaughters and they can then be considered heirlooms.

         Love, LaTiesha
                           (your first cousin, once removed)


          

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Time Traveling Through Family History




My mom was a teenager in the 50’s at a time when the cinemas offered either beach pictures or lame science fiction.  Some of those science fiction movies indicated the possibility of man one day traveling to the moon.  Of course that was never going to happen.  Mom didn’t believe that traveling to the moon would be possible.  Yet almost two decades later (1969) Neil Armstrong was the first man to step foot on the moon on the moon.  


The moon travel is just one of many realities that started out as science fiction.  The cast of Star Trek used cell phones long before they were introduced to planet earth.

Before mom got dementia, she believed that it was possible for time travel to be invented.  I did not agree with her reasoning, but now I wonder.

As mentioned before, I have been taking a family history class – more for Roland’s sake than my own.  We have been challenged to find a particular ancestor to find ancestors for.  We no longer have the four and five generation family tree pedigree chart, but rather a 7 - 9 generation fan chart.




I found several holes in my fan.  The most bare spots above my 2nd great grandmother, Augusta Emilie Larsen – provided that is even her correct name.

I now believe that time travel will exist.  A girl who could be named Courtney Wells or Stella Featherstone for example (we have idea what the name is on her birth certificate) will be born and travel back in time.  She will end up somewhere in Norway and will have a case of amnesia.  




 Others may show compassion toward her and give her a name.  They will call her Augustine and she may be living in a home of a family called Larsen and she will be raised there before she meets my great-great grandfather.  He will bring her to the United States and we will lose track of her again.  Perhaps she found her time machine and went forward to the future on September 19, 1920 in Cook, Illinois. 

The reason that I cannot find any parents for Augustine Emilie Larsen is because they haven’t been born yet.  That is my story and I am sticking with it.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Grandma’s Wrinkles Tell Stories – and I Love Each One


On Christmas Eve, I opened a gift presented by my granddaughter.  The name of the book is “Grandmothers Are Like Snowflakes . . . No Two Are Alike” by Janet Lanese (who I believe refers to herself as “Grandma Jan”) and had started reading it before I went to bed and continued after I got up and after we opened presents.   It’s got a bunch of great thoughts and little proverbs and I started reminiscing with many quotes that I read – starting with myself.


Some quotes come with full names.  Some are quotes taken from children in which first name and age of child are given.  One of my favorite quotes came from an eight year old named Tammy.  It says, I love my grandma’s wrinkles.  Every one tells a story – which is where I got the title of this post.    

I don’t feel much like a grandma.  I haven’t been with Ester much to make a connection in which we are both comfortable in our roles.  She’ll be three in March.  Ester is cute and smart and has an amazing vocabulary – pretty much like Jenna did at her age – though I think Ester is a lot more articulate.  Maybe not.  It’s hard to say as we do not see Ester daily or even weekly.  

  
Tony and Rochelle have been back from Texas for twelve months now, and I doubt that I have seen Ester more than ten times since they’ve been back.  I know Tony would like to spend more time with us than they do.  They spend more time with her family.

Randy and Carrie also announced that they’re expecting.  Even though I do see Randy more than the other two boys put together, I don’t see Carrie even half as often.  Right now they live about the same distance from us as Tony and Rochelle.  That could change before the baby comes.

I have a friend who had given me a book called “Grandma Time” which contains finger stories and activities. I’ve gone through the book and have used some of the verses – with my niece and nephew and even Jenna, but not with Ester.  As a grandmother, I feel distant about it still.

What children expect from grandparent is not to be understood but to be loved. - Grandma Jan

I remember my mom spending time with my brother’s three oldest.  She spent time with all of her grandchildren – but those three (particularly Ellen and Kimball) are the ones I remember her spending time with the most.  Probably because I, myself, was included – at least in the beginning.  I had lost track with Candy.  She was three when Roland and I got married.  I didn’t actually spend time with Patrick’s children after that.  But I always had updates on how they were doing.  They spent time with mom at least once a week.  She was quite the proud grandmother.  She was always looking out for their interests and spending time with them.  I can’t say for certain that she had a favorite, but as she got older, she would always express her love toward Brian.

                                                     Ellen with both of her grandmothers


I remember her playing with Jenna.  Simple games like finger plays and peek-a-boo to outings to wheeler farm and Disney on Ice.  She would take all of us to see Corey’s plays and spring for pizza and ice cream.  She had a very giving heart – not just as a grandma, but as a mother.  I don’t know that the “skipping children” part would apply.




                  The secret of a happy live is to skip having children and go directly to the grandchildren (this is quoted “Momma” from a cartoon character created by Mel Lazarus)

            My mom had taken Ellen to the hospital the day that Candy was born so that they could both watch the miracle of her sister’s birth.  Mom and Kayla were with me at the hospital when I had Jenna.  And even in her dementia state of mind, mom made it a priority to visit Kayla and Anna in the hospital and then Gary when it was time – though she was really slipping before he was born – telling me she could walk to the hospital to see him if she wanted to.  She no longer had the sanity to drive and we had taken away her keys.  But she knew that Garrett was her grandchild and she wanted that physical connection.

  
            I remember her playing on the floor with Anna – just like she used to do with Patrick’s children. I was happy that I got to see that before her mind got really bad.  Before we had to check her in to assisted living.

            Different minds.  Different grandmas.  Jenna doesn’t know her paternal grandmother as well as she started to know my mom.  She knows my mom well enough to miss her.  Well enough to miss who she was before her mind went.






Roland’s mom has scared her in the past – not intentionally. As mentioned in this post  Roland and I are from two very diverse backgrounds.  Being with Roland’s family is a cultural shock after being with mine.  Something Jenna was not used to.  My mom and Roland’s mom are definitely two different grandmas – which is not a bad thing.  Just goes to show we are two different snowflakes on two different environments.




            There’s an episode of “Everybody Loves Raymond” when Debra has her parents sharing the same table as the Barones.  Marie and Lois of course represent two entirely different backgrounds.  Lois is a lot more cultured and well traveled and seems so caught up in fine art and material things that she seems to overlook needs and wants of human kind – including her own children and grandchildren – not quite fitting the “grandmother” image.

            Though many find her meddlesome and don’t always agree with her ways, Marie definitely seems to fit the grandmotherly image.  She tells Debra that it is not her fault and labels Lois as “not Mother-ish)
Both of Jenna’s grandmothers give and love her.  Neither one of them are like either Lois or Marie.

            Then there’s my own grandmothers.  I have more childhood memories of my dad’s mom than I do of my mom’s mom.  Grandma Helen lived in Salt Lake and later moved to Murray (a sub-area of Salt Lake) and Grandma Mary lived in San Francisco.  Both grandmas enjoyed traveling – though Grandma Helen seemed to do a lot more when Grandpa Earl was alive and Grandma Mary seemed to do more after Grandpa Ralph passed away.

            I was too young to remember all the trips that Grandpa Earl and Grandma Helen took – many before I was even born.  I do remember seeing pictures taken when Grandpa had taken the entire family to Sun Valley.  I remember when Grandpa was sick before he died.  My mom noticed a huge change in Grandma’s personality after Grandpa passed.  Mom had said she’d become withdrawn and insecure and given up on life.  I was too young to remember what she was like before Grandpa died.

            I remember her smile and buying toys and spoiling us, it seemed.  I remember her laugh more than any sternness or insecurity.  I remember her giving.  I remember playing in her big house.  It is my understanding that she designed it.  She had treasures in her house and rooms to explore.  Every time we visited with grandma, there was adventure.  Grandma encouraged us to play and enjoy life.  At least that is the message I received.

            After Aunt Alice moved out, her children encouraged my grandma to move someplace smaller – and someplace closer to her boys – not that we lived that great of a distance from her to begin with.  But after she moved into the condo in Murray, I could ride my bike to her house.  I could come by myself if I wanted. 

            My cousin Michelle and I would often stay the night.  We would pretend that we were in a hotel.  I enjoyed my time with grandma.  I enjoyed being spoiled.  I enjoyed our friendship.  She had taken my cousins and brother and I on a trip to California to explore Disneyland and other adventures. 

            After high school Grandma Helen and I took a vacation to Hawaii.  We went with a tour.  She had been to Hawaii several times before and kept on comparing how wonderful it used to be compared to how it was at the time we went together.  I wish she hadn’t been so negative, but still made the best of it.  

            Since Grandma Mary lived in San Francisco, I didn’t see her near as often – though more often than Jenna sees her out-of-state grandmother.  We would visit once or twice a year.  Sometimes she and grandpa would come visit us or else we would go to San Francisco to visit them.

            I would write letters to Grandma and Grandpa.  Unfortunately I don’t remember grandma as much as grandpa until after grandpa passed away.  After that, I gained a more intimate relationship with Grandma Mary.  And I remember going to San Francisco at least once without my family. We took grandma Helen with us on a vacation once. After visiting attractions in Southern California, we went up north to see Grandma Mary.

            After Grandpa Ralph died, Grandma Mary would save her money and take trips each year.  I remember her sending home material from Scotland.  With the fabric, my mom made matching outfits for Kayla and me.  Grandma had also gone to Russia, China, and Alaska.  I don’t know how many cruises she had been on. 

            Both of my grandmas had gone to Yellowstone with my family just before my mission. And mom and I have taken trips with Grandma Mary to Alaska, Yellowstone and Grand Canyon.  

                                                Grandma Mary & Grandma Helen

                                       
                                             Kayla, my mom and her mom

            Grandma Helen passed away shortly after I returned home from my mission.  Grandma Mary passed away while visiting my mom.  Roland and I had been married only a short time and I introduced them while she was in the hospital.  When we returned for a second visit, her mind was elsewhere and she didn’t recognize me anymore. 

                                            me, my Grandma Mary, mom  - Alaskan Cruise

                                                me, Grandma Mary, mom - Juneau, Alaska
                                                            shooting the Mendenhall

                                                     Grandma Mary and I at Yellowstone park

            We have grandmothers who are not biologically related.  Jenna calls our former next door neighbor “grandma”  and I remember when Ellen and Kimball were little they befriended their next door neighbor as they would a “grandma” and thus she was invited to birthday parties and such along with the biologically related family members.

                                                        Jenna with neighbor grandma


            I love my book from Ester.  I enjoy the memories that it has triggered.  Those are just some.