Saturday, December 24, 2011

Friday, December 23, 2011

An Ornament a Day - Day 23

When it comes to ornaments, I like ...



... pretty color combinations. Blue and green is a favorite.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Genealogy Community: Where Everybody Knows Your Names

In this week’s Open Thread Thursday on Geneabloggers, Thomas MacEntee writes about “Defining the Genealogy Community” and cites some recent posts that have inspired a lot of discussion:

“The Genealogy Paradigm Shift: Are bloggers the new “experts”?” (Planting the Seeds)

“Are Bloggers Really the New Experts?” (Marian’s Roots and Rambles)

“Genea-Bodies: The New Somebodies” (Luxegen Genealogy and Family History)

I am no expert, though last week I did receive a lovely message from someone who had found one of my Public Member Trees on Ancestry, thanking me for the information I had provided on a particular family that she had despaired of getting the “911” on in time to get it to an elderly aunt for Christmas: “You must be a genealogist!”

You are so kind to think so and to say so, but I am not - not a professional or even an advanced amateur. Perhaps I am in the early intermediate phase, but for that I have to thank the people who write some excellent genealogy books, who run my local genealogy society, who put on the NGS and FGS conferences, who produce Webinars, who run the genealogy rooms at the libraries I visit, who write to me and provide me with information because they have seen my blog, my website, and my online queries, and my fellow genealogy bloggers, a number of whom I think of and refer to as friends.

I do think there is a recognizable genealogy community, and I include all of these people in it - even if they belong to subcommunities that are completely separate or have only the minutest of Venn diagram overlap with one another.

While the lofty leaders of the community - the top dogs/super-achievers/ professionals/trendsetters of genealogy - may not hang out with the lowest circles of the community - the proliferators of those dubious, deathless, endlessly duplicated online trees - they write the books that may help to turn a newbie or two from a tree copier into a real researcher.

Again, I am not an expert and I do not think that I am a trendsetter. I did not start blogging to become a trendsetter. Yes, I blog about my research. That was the original purpose of the blog and continues to be its main purpose: to further my research.

Should readers take my musings and comments as professional-level advice? Certainly not. I even wrote a post not too long ago entitled “Why I Want to Remain an Amateur.”

What I can offer to the genealogy community is the experience and the point of view of a dedicated amateur - and I think that there is a need for this in the genealogy community:

The companies need to hear what we amateurs like/do not like, can use/cannot use, and will pay for/will not pay for (and that even a very tech-savvy segment of the Genealogical Community will revolt when there is even a whiff of a “No Books” policy).

The professionals need to hear what we amateurs still very much need from the professionals: education, an example to emulate, and yes, services to avail ourselves of when we just cannot get any farther with a particular line of research or need someone to help us navigate the process for admission to a lineage society.

Our fellow amateurs need to hear our expressions of commiseration/ congratulation/empathy and our descriptions of our own research methods, experiences, sources, and much more. What I like most about the Genealogy Community, in its best embodiment, is that everyone can learn from everyone else, professional and amateur alike. An amateur may hold an important document, compile a set of graveyard transcriptions, write about a recent repository where procedures have changed, or share a particular memory that can advance a professional’s research. I wrote about some of these thoughts in two previous posts: “Toward a Genealogical Democracy” and “Sharing and Scholarship.”

What the genealogy blogging subcommunity has offered back to me and to others like me - thanks to some very perceptive, active, and involved people leading the way - has been the big surprise. Friendship, support, instruction, the courage and confidence to branch out and try things I never would have tried before, and especially the sense that I can have a voice and make even a small contribution to improvements in the area of genealogy services, records preservation and availability, and recognition of the educational value of genealogical research. While there are experts among us, I think the kind of influence we may wield as a group is more like that of an advocate, whether a consumer advocate or a public advocate, than that of an expert.

A final thought: Who are the members of the Genealogy Community? They are the people you can talk to about a subject of passionate interest to you - genealogy - and they will not yawn, laugh, or roll their eyes.

As far as I am concerned, everybody in the Genealogy Community is a Somebody.

(Even the Tree Copiers? - Well, take a look sometime at the most recent generations in those trees - occasionally there is a nice surprise or two there.)

An Ornament a Day - Day 22

When it comes to ornaments, I like ...



... silver starbursts.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Surname Saturday: Charles Robert Brinlee and Patty Avo Poindexter

Charles Robert Brinlee
b. 30 Oct 1877, Texas
d. 11 Nov 1959, Los Banos, Merced County, California
& Patty Avo Poindexter
b. 16 Aug 1881, Austin, Travis County, Texas
d. 26 Sep 1977, Merced County, California
|--Clyde Lester Brinlee
|----b. 27 Jan 1900, Oklahoma
|----d. 11 Apr 1960, Firebaugh, Fresno County, California
|---& Alma Belle Graybill
|----b. 11 Mar 1900, Fincastle, Botetourt County, Virginia
|----d. 8 Feb 1986, Firebaugh, Fresno County, California
|----m. 10 Jan 1921
|--Montie Mary Brinlee
|----b. 28 Apr 1901, Roff, Pontotoc County, Oklahoma
|----d. Feb 1996, Elk City, Beckham County, Oklahoma
|---& Perry Hollis Ivy
|----b. 2 Mar 1899, Texas
|----d. Feb 1985, Elk City, Beckham County, Oklahoma
|----m. 8 Feb 1921
|--Una Fay Brinlee
|----b. 18 Feb 1903, Roff, Pontotoc County, Oklahoma
|---& Brit E. Lippencott
|----b. 9 Oct 1892, Texas
|----d. 6 Jun 1977
|--Francis Brinlee
|----b. 5 Nov 1905, Roff, Pontotoc County, Oklahoma
|----d. 3 Nov 1909, Roff, Pontotoc County, Oklahoma
|--Ellen Brinlee
|----b. 3 Nov 1907, Roff, Pontotoc County, Oklahoma
|----d. 28 Mar 1910, Roff, Pontotoc County, Oklahoma
|--Vivian Verne Brinlee
|----b. 20 Dec 1910, Cheyenne, Roger Mills County, Oklahoma
|----d. 18 Feb 1977, Sacramento County, California
|---& Virena Lambert
|--Clarence Omer “Runt” Brinlee
|----b. 28 Jul 1912, Roger Mills County, Oklahoma
|----d. 26 Sep 1993, Merced County, California
|--Erma Lavada Brinlee*
|----b. 17 May 1915, Roger Mills County, Oklahoma
|----d. 15 Aug 1999, Fallon, Choctaw County, Oklahoma
|---& Dee Boswell
|----b. 21 Feb 1906, Rotan, Fisher County, Texas
|----d. 28 Jan 1962, Apache Junction, Maricopa County, Arizona
|--Erma Lavada Brinlee*
|----b. 17 May 1915, Roger Mills County, Oklahoma
|----d. 15 Aug 1999, Fallon, Choctaw County, Oklahoma
|---& Cyril James Howarth
|----b. 29 Aug 1908, Silkstone, Yorkshire, England
|----d. 17 Feb 1977, Palermo, Butte County, California
|--Charles Elmer “Tuffy” Brinlee
|----b. 31 Mar 1920, Streeter, Roger Mills County, Oklahoma
|----d. 30 May 1997, Los Banos, Merced County, California

Charles Robert Brinlee was the son of Richard Mason Brinlee and Sarah Ellen Petit.

I would love to share information with anyone related to/researching this family; you can contact me at my e-mail address, which can be found by going to my profile page (there is a link to that page in the About Me section to the left).

An ornament a Day - Day 17

When it comes to ornaments, I like ...




... old-fashioned glass ornaments.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Spinoff! Spinoff!

Definitely would like to see a spinoff series from tonight's CSI episode, "Genetic Disorder," with Pamela Reed as the genealogist-investigator who gets drawn into a different mystery from week to week through her genealogical research business. It's an idea whose time has come. And it has a built-in audience.

I enjoyed the episode tonight and especially the positive portrayal of genealogists and people who are interested in genealogy. It also included the "dark side" of research that many of us have encountered - digging up family secrets that many people would prefer to see left alone.

An Ornament a Day - Day 14

When it comes to ornaments, I like ...



... pictures of my kids. Especially if they made the ornaments.


Last year's Advent Calendar post.

Advent Calendar Day 14: Fruitcake

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Sunday, December 11, 2011

FootnoteMaven's Tradition of Blog Caroling: Heaven and Earth

Many thanks to Footnote Maven for hosting Blog Caroling!

Heaven and Earth (Nebo i Zemlya)

Heaven and earth, heaven and earth
Now welcome their Redeemer.
Angels and people, angels and people
Join in celebration.

Salvation is begun, born is the Virgin’s Son;
Angel’s voices ringing, Wise Men gifts are bringing;
Shepherds tell the story; star proclaims the glory;
Christ is born in Bethlehem.

In Bethlehem, in Bethlehem
God’s Word is given birth.
Born of a virgin, born of a virgin,
Master of heav’n and earth.

Salvation is begun, born is the Virgin’s Son;
Angel’s voices ringing, Wise Men gifts are bringing;
Shepherds tell the story; star proclaims the glory;
Christ is born in Bethlehem.

Nebo i zemlya, nebo i zemlya
Nyni torzhestvuyut.
Anhely i lyude, anhely i lyude
Veselo sprazdnujut.

Christos rodilsya, Boh voplotilsya,
Anhely spivayut, Tsariye vitayut.
Poklon otdayut, pastyriye hrajut,
Chudo, chudo povidayut.

Vo Vifleyemi, vo Vifleyemi
Vesela novina.
Chistaya D’iva, Chistaya D’iva
Porodila Syna.


Christos rodilsya, Boh voplotilsya,
Anhely spivayut, Tsariye vitayut.
Poklon otdayut, pastyriye hrajut,
Chudo, chudo povidayut.

Below the carol is sung by the St. Nicholas Church Choir of St. Nicholas Byzantine Catholic Church in Barberton, Ohio.


An Ornament a Day - Day 11

When it comes to ornaments, I like ...



... painted wooden dolls.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

An Ornament a Day - Day 10

When it comes to ornaments, I like ...



... Russian dolls.

Last year's Advent Calendar post:

Advent Calendar Day 10: Gifts

(As a P.S. to this post, I did get a new Kitchenaid.)

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

An Ornament a Day - Day 7

When it comes to ornaments, I like ...



... rabbits. Especially this very special rabbit, Mosby. He belonged to our daughters' second grade teacher, and this ornament was her Christmas gift to the students when our younger daughter was in second grade. Mosby was loved by all; the janitorial staff even built and painted the neatest rabbit house ever for him, with beautiful painted vines and windows on it.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A Blog with Baylor County, Texas Roots!

The other day I was very happy to find the blog Moments in Time, A Genealogy Blog by Diana Quinn. Of course, I am always thrilled to find blogs with roots in areas where I research, but that covers most of the South, a bit of New England, and, for my husband’s family, New York and New Jersey. But to find someone researching in Baylor County, the area where my mother was born and grew up (and which also has a few distant family branches from my father’s side) and a county which has never had more than a few thousand residents, is a real treat.

Diana’s family research extends well beyond Texas; recent posts connected with Irish research deal with the Irish Uprising.

An Ornament a Day - Day 6

When it comes to ornaments, I like ...


matryoshka-style Santas




marionette Santas (and a marionette Nutcracker Prince who snuck in somehow?)




standing Santas - any old Santa, Father Christmas, or Ded Moroz (Grandfather Frost) will do. Love 'em.


And I am a true believer in Santa - read about it in the 2008/2009 post, "Advent Calendar Day 6: I KNEW It! I KNEW Santa Was Real!"

Sunday, December 4, 2011

An Ornament a Day - Day 4

When it comes to ornaments, I like ...





...hobby horses and merry-go-round horses.


Last year's Advent Calendar post:

Advent Calendar Day 4: Christmas Cards

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Surname Saturday: James Raymond Jones and Sarah Alice Brinlee

James Raymond Jones
  b. 10 Mar 1876, Texas
  d. 31 Dec 1931, Okmulgee, Okmulgee County, Oklahoma
& Sarah Alice “Allie” Brinlee
  b. 20 Jul 1875, Erath County, Texas
  d. 14 May 1959, Whittier, Los Angeles County, California
|--Daisy Jones
|----b. 25 Feb 1896, Indian Territory
|----d. 25 Jul 1920, Oklahoma
|---& Earl Wilson
|----b. 1889, Indiana
|--Raymond Jones
|----b. 1905, Oklahoma
|---& Anna
|----b. 1909, Arkansas
|--Eliza Jones
|----b. 1910, Coalgate, Coal County, Oklahoma
James Raymond Jones was the son of John Franklin Jones and Sarah Elizabeth Hefley; two of his brothers married two of Sarah’s sisters.  Sarah was the daughter of Richard Mason Brinlee and Sarah Ellen Petit.
I would love to share information with anyone related to/researching this family; you can contact me at my e-mail address, which can be found by going to my profile page (there is a link to that page in the About Me section to the left).

An Ornament a Day - Day 3

When it comes to ornaments, I like ...




... cats.

Hey, what's that last guy doing there? Oh, yeah, he likes to "help." By standing right on top of the ornaments I'm trying to photograph.

The gold-colored cat on the right in the first picture was taken from a belt I bought at a thrift store. We call that "Redneck Recycling."

Last Year's Advent Calendar Post (appropriately):

Advent Calendar Day 3: Christmas Tree Ornaments

Friday, December 2, 2011

An Ornament a Day - Day 2

When it comes to ornaments, I like ...




... birds. All kinds and colors of birds, birds on the wing, perching berds. After all, what's a tree without birds?

Last year's Advent Calendar post:

Advent Calendar Day 2: Holiday Foods

Thursday, December 1, 2011

An Ornament a Day - Day 1

For the past two years I have participated in GeneaBloggers' Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories. This year, instead of repeating my posts, I have decided to feature a Christmas tree ornament each day from December 1 to December 25 and post a link to the original posts (I particularly recommend the December 6 post on Santa).

When it comes to ornaments, I like ...


... old-fashioned handmade ornaments. We bought this ornament (and two others similar to it in red and white) at a craft fair more than 25 years ago. These were so beautiful, I had to restrain myself from buying more than three - at $4 each, they seemed so expensive to me then....


Last year's Advent Calendar post:

Advent Calendar Day 1: The Christmas Tree

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Acknowledgments of Gratitude

My big Thanksgiving weekend activity has been to write the “Acknowledgments” page on my website, Greta’s Genealogy.

The reasoning and inspiration behind this page are explained at the top of the page (which I am including below).

Most if not all of us are aware of the importance of source citations, but how many of us also pay tribute to the people and things - documents, photographs, and other items passed on to us by these people - that initially led us to the sources?

In my genealogy program, on the “Notes” page for the family that starts off (genealogically, not chronologically) each new family line, I try to outline the people and previous research that laid the foundations for my own research. But right now I am the only person who sees these pages.

Family history books may contain an “Acknowledgments” section, but what if I never publish a book?

So I decided to do the next best thing - to publish such a page on my website. There are a lot of names on that page, and I know there should be a lot more. As I go through my e-mail and the “Correspondence” sections of my research binders and folders, more names will be added to this list. Here is what I have written so far:

Acknowledgements

When I started family research back in September 2005, I knew next to nothing - almost nothing about my ancestors beyond my grandparents, nothing about how to do genealogical research, and nothing about the vast amount of historical and genealogical resources that are available, both online as well as in repositories and a host of other places.

Very soon after I got started, however, I came into contact with people who were incredibly generous - with their information, expertise, photographs, and family stories and memories.  Not all of these people will show up in my source citations or photo attributions, so I would like to express my gratitude to them on this page.  There are so many of them that I may not remember them all right away, so like the rest of this website, this page will be a work in progress.

I would like to extend my heartfelt gratitude to the following people:

Eunice Sandling - the cousin who actually sparked off my passion for family history with her History of the Floyd Family.

Paul Moore - the cousin who set the example when he passed Eunice's research and his Moore family tree to me.

The Dodd family - Jim, Pat, and Paula - for their great Floyd family research and preservation of Floyd family heritage, and for sharing it all with their Floyd cousins.

Carolyn Chamberlain Loffler - the cousin who passed so many family stories to me (who had heedlessly failed to pay attention to these stories when I was growing up) and has provided so much encouragement to me.

Jo Ann Sizer - my third cousin in the Moore family line, the first Moore family researcher I found outside of the cousins I grew up with, who had done so much research on the William Spencer Moore family, shared it all with me, and set the example for me in how to do family research.

Kim Wilson - a researcher who was working on families in the Anderson County, South Carolina area - not related to my Moores - who generously shared her information and expertise with me.

Howard and Judith Koehl - for sharing family memories with me and going to extraordinary lengths to share family photographs with me.

John Hornady - for what may be the most generous sharing of family materials of all - not just scans and copies, but original materials inherited from a Lewis family hero who had no direct descendants, so John passed them to me.  For giving me a piece of history:  I cannot thank you enough.

My Brinlee cousins - Raymond Parker, George Brinlee, Edna Rae Spencer, and Gale Wallen - for being first-rate researchers and for so many great pictures, including the only pictures of my Grandfather Lawrence Brinlee that I have ever seen.

A. Gayle Hudgens - besides setting a great example as a researcher and knowing a ton of interesting stuff about the Lewises, Gayle is one of the most enjoyable people to correspond with and talk to I have ever known.  She makes the pursuit of finding one's family, both in the past and the present, a real pleasure.

Marianne Dillow - for sharing her wonderful Lewis family research with me.

Chuck Golden and Gary Brown - For sending me pictures, including the pictures which gave me my first glimpse of my great-great grandfather Joseph Madison Carroll Norman, and for sending me Inez Cline's History of the Norman Family.

Rebecca Cardwell Sibley - and her husband Danny and her mother Leota - for sharing a treasure trove of Norman research, for arranging to meet my husband and me on our way home from Charleston, South Carolina, and for being people that I'm honored to be related to.

To some wonderful Genea-Bloggers - Carol at Reflections from the Fence, Becky Jamison of Grace and Glory, and Cynthia Shenette of Heritage Zen - for being real Genea-Angels and doing some gigantic genea-favors for me - and at their own initiative.  This is what makes the genealogy blogging community great!

Mary Lou Benjamin - for being a fabulous Fichtelmann researcher and sharing her research, and for being the one who figured out who Christine Fichtelmann's father was, and sharing that.

Mary Newton - for having written that all-important message board post that connected the William Spencer Moore and Bud Mathis Moore families, for sending me the Bud Mathis Moore family materials, and for putting me in touch with other Bud Mathis Moore descendants.

George Moore - for sharing some critically important Moore family history that led to some new discoveries.

Randy and Rich Floyd - for making that all-important connection from their New York Floyd branch, descendants of Ransom Floyd, to our Texas Floyd branch, descendants of George Floyd and for reaching out and sharing precious letters written by my great-grandfather Charles Augustus Floyd to their ancestor and by my grandmother's sister Lannie Angelina, who died in childbirth.

Paula Moore - for connecting her Freeman Manson Moore line with our William Spencer Moore and Bud Mathis Moore lines, for reaching out, and, with her sister Carolyn, making my first research trip one of the most enjoyable experiences of my life, let alone one which resulted in a huge find of Moore, Lewis, and even Tarrant materials.

Richard Van Dyke - for sharing wonderful memories of Bun and Square Brinlee.

Maria Fazio - for sharing Terrana-Davi family lore and documents with me.

Surname Saturday: Raligh H. Jones and Minnie Brinlee

Raligh H. Jones
b. 15 Apr 1861, Illinois
d. bef 1930
& Minnie Brinlee
b. 20 Jul 1872, Erath County, Texas
d. 14 May 1959, Whittier, Los Angeles County, California
|--Nora Lee Jones
|----b. 13 Jul 1889, Texas
|----d. 20 Dec 1968
|---& Charles Alexander Whitaker
|----b. 1 Feb 1886, Marshall, Harrison County, Texas
|----d. 17 Oct 1966, Ada, Pontotoc County, Oklahoma
|----m. 14 Nov 1905, Roff, Indian Territory
|--Burl Mason Jones
|----b. 6 Oct 1891, Texas
|----d. 18 Sep 1967, Modesto, Stanislaus County, California
|---& Selma Sanders
|----b. 28 Apr 1897
|--Lena “Linnie” Jones
|----b. Dec 1894, Indian Territory
|----d. Oct 1995, Muskogee, Muskogee County, Oklahoma
|---& William Clyde Frazer
|----b. 28 Apr 1886, Kentucky
|--Earl Jones
|----b. 1903, Indian Territory
|--Lillie Jones
|----b. 1910, Oklahoma

Raligh Jones was the son of John Franklin Jones and Sarah Elizabeth Hefley. Minnie Brinlee was the daughter of Richard Mason Brinlee and Sarah Ellen Petit. Two of Raligh’s brothers married Married Minnie’s sisters: Herbert Shelton Jones married Elizabeth Ann Brinlee and James Raymond Jones married Sarah Alice “Allie” Brinlee.

I would love to share information with anyone related to/researching this family; you can contact me at my e-mail address, which can be found by going to my profile page (there is a link to that page in the About Me section to the left).

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Surname Saturday: John William Brinlee and Fetnah Ann Bull

John William Brinlee
b. 16 Sep 1869, Texas
d. 29 May 1960, Florence, Fremont County, Colorado
& Fetnah Ann Bull
b. 23 Jul 1869, Texas
d. 9 Sep 1940, Denver, Adams County, Colorado
|--Ethel Mary Brinlee*
|----b. 31 Oct 1893, Erath County, Texas
|----d. 7 Oct 1971, Englewood, Arapahoe County, Colorado
|---& Ernest Chester Rowe
|----b. 22 Nov 1894, Roff, Pontotoc County, Oklahoma
|----d. 13 Apr 1919
|--Ethel Mary Brinlee*
|----b. 31 Oct 1893, Erath County, Texas
|----d. 7 Oct 1971, Englewood, Arapahoe County, Colorado
|---& Walter Clarence Crites
|----b. 22 Nov 1893, Rye, Pueblo County, Colorado
|----d. 13 Jan 1957, Denver, Adams County, Colorado
|--Eley Russell Brinlee
|----b. 9 Sep 1895, Erath County, Texas
|----d. 26 Jun 1900, Roff, Pontotoc County, Oklahoma
|--Evard Mason Brinlee
|----b. 29 Mar 1897, Chickasha, Grady County, Oklahoma
|----d. 30 Jan 1960, Akron, Washington County, Colorado
|---& Nannie Pamelia Brewer
|----b. 4 Sep 1900, Vernon, Wilbargar County, Texas
|----m. 4 Sep 1919, Durham, Roger Mills County, California
|--Ervil Luther Brinlee
|----b. 31 Aug 1899, Coal County, Oklahoma
|----d. 12 Jun 1987, Covina, Los Angeles County, California
|---& Blanche Elizabeth Penny
|----b. 16 Feb 1906, Rockvale, Fremont County, Colorado
|----d. 19 Nov 1994, Orange County, California
|--Elsie Maude Brinlee*
|----b. 28 Sep 1901, Phillips, Coal County, Oklahoma
|----d. 19 Mar 1975, Long Beach, Los Angeles County, California
|---& Maynard E. Collins
|----b. 15 Dec 1896, Sanburn, Iowa
|----d. Jul 1986, Long Beach, Los Angeles County, California
|----m. 29 Apr 1961, Los Angeles, California
|--Elsie Maude Brinlee*
|----b. 28 Sep 1901, Phillips, Coal County, Oklahoma
|----d. 19 Mar 1975, Long Beach, Los Angeles County, California
|---& Mark Roberts
|----b. 1898, Missouri
|--Earl John Brinlee
|----b. 12 Nov 1903, Roger Mills County, Oklahoma
|----d. 7 Jan 1905, Oklahoma
|--Erwin Charles Brinlee
|----b. 18 Mar 1906, Roger Mills County, Oklahoma
|----d. 29 Jul 1952, Florence, Fremont County, Colorado
|---& Adeline F. Jones
|----b. 1906
|----d. 29 Nov 1997
|----m. 8 Jun 1943
|--Eltah Mae Brinlee
|----b. 31 Aug 1908, Roger Mills County, Oklahoma
|----d. 13 Mar 1988, Canon City, Fremont County, Colorado
|--Edith Maggie Brinlee
|----b. 13 Mar 1911, Roger Mills County, Oklahoma
|----d. 27 May 1995, Canon City, Fremont County, Colorado
|---& Roger Howard Nats
|----b. 7 Oct 1912, Fort Lupton, Weld County, Colorado
|----d. 16 Apr 1975, Williams, Coconino County, Arizona

This was a family who loved the letter “E.” John William Brinlee was the son of Richard Mason Brinlee and Sarah Ellen Pettit.

I would love to share information with anyone related to/researching this family; you can contact me at my e-mail address, which can be found by going to my profile page (there is a link to that page in the About Me section to the left).

Friday, November 18, 2011

Fun Stuff You Can Do with Weebly

Well, okay, you can almost certainly do this with other web hosting companies, too. But it’s really easy on Weebly, and that’s why I’m doing it.

I’ve been playing around with using Weebly to create a family tree/genealogy toolbox website - Greta’s Genealogy - about my ancestors and my husband’s ancestors. I am not using my genealogy program to do this, but am creating it page by page, link by link. This way, not only do I not have to wait until I can update my program to the latest version and learn how to use it to create web cards, I can tailor the pages the way I want to.

While it probably would have been enough just to put up the family lines, hanging out in the genealogy blogging community has had its effect: I knew I should somehow deal with the issue of sources.

But how? A number of genealogy programs that can be used to build a family tree website incorporate ways to include footnotes, where you can click on the footnote number and it will take you to the source citation.

I wanted something like that. I figured I would set up a source page, insert the footnote numbers on the family pages, and link them to the source page. But I decided I would like to add something more.

When I was creating family tree pages, I noticed that there are four different kinds of links that can be made:

1. Links to another website,
2. Links to another page on my website,
3. Links to a file on my website, and
4. Links to an e-mail address.

Number 3 was the one that interested me. You can, of course, insert images on the pages, but I don’t want to include too many images that will clutter up the pages; most of the images I will be using directly on the pages will probably be photographs.

So here’s how the links work:

Family page with footnotes (they are the small red things in this picture) (or you can link to this page here):



Clicking on the footnote number takes you to the source page (or you can link to the source page here):



The footnote is in turn linked to the image of the source (or you can see the source here):



So far I have just done one footnote, to see whether this works the way I want it to (it does). I can’t say that I’ll be adding every single footnote right away; I’m still doing a lot of experimentation, and I really do want to get the names out there as soon as possible. And that is working, too - I got my first Google Alert from the site the other day. As a matter of fact, it’s the first Google Alert I’ve received since I set up several earlier this year, so now I know that Google Alerts is working, too.

I am actually using my Reunion program for some of the items at Greta’s Genealogy. Right now I am using descendant reports for the pages of the siblings of my direct ancestors, and later I would like to have some cool charts to use, such as those Linda McCauley of Documenting the Details has put up on her family tree website, McCauley, Lanier, Hankins, Hopkins & Taylor Families. And she is not the only blogger I plan to steal ideas from emulate: Valerie Craft of the Begin with Craft blog has some neat features on her site, Begin with Craft - in particular I like the Google Maps there.

Sheesh, what a geek I am.

And that is my disclaimer: Weebly did not pay me anything to write this. They didn't have to; I just wanted to geek out. And to think - I probably wouldn't be doing any of this stuff if I hadn't started hanging out with the genealogy blogging crowd.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Blog Tweaks

As I get back into my genealogy research and blogging routine, I have been making a few tweaks to Greta’s Genealogy Bog:

- A “Lookups I Can Do” page. This page lists books that I have in which I can do lookups; these fall into two main categories: county books (Anderson County in South Carolina, Baylor County in Texas, Collin County in Texas, and Garland County in Arkansas) and land deed books by A. B. Pruitt for Pendleton District/Anderson County and Greenville County.

- A link to my Weebly website, “Greta’s Genealogy.” Right now it has half of my Genealogy Research Toolbox. Eventually the Research Toolbox on this page and the Weebly site will both have the complete Toolbox. You will notice that some headings have no entries for them right now; that is because I am still in the process of adding my bookmarked sites to these pages.

I have also started putting up my family lines on the “Greta’s Genealogy” website. My original plan was to learn how to use my genealogy program to create the web pages, but since it is so simple to create and link pages using Weebly, I have decided to simply create this part of the website page by page. That may sound like a very labor-intensive process, but it is surprisingly a lot of fun.

- Some old items have been removed from the sidebar. A few were links to sites that no longer exist, and others were research-related links that you can now find in my Toolbox. I will probably leave the South Carolina and Texas links on the main paige of the blog, however.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Surname Saturday: Herbert Shelton Jones and Elizabeth Ann Brinlee

Herbert Shelton “Dub” Jones
b. 22 Dec 1863, Hillsboro, Montgomery County, Illinois
d. 25 Oct 1957, Atoka, Atoka County, Oklahoma
& Elizabeth Ann Brinlee
b. 1867, Indiana
d. ca 1886, Hood County, Texas
|--Lela Sarah Jones*
|----b. 8 May 1884, Grandbury, Hood County, Texas
|----d. 8 Apr 1968, Coalgate, Coal County, Oklahoma
|---& Thomas Belase
|----b. 15 Apr 1880, Belton, Bell County, Oklahoma
|----d. 18 Aug 1964, Carnegie, Caddo County, Oklahoma
|----m. 11 Mar 1905
|--Lela Sarah Jones*
|----b. 8 May 1884, Grandbury, Hood County, Texas
|----d. 8 Apr 1968, Coalgate, Coal County, Oklahoma
|---& Joel Jasper Carlton
|----b. 6 May 1876, Boomer, North Carolina
|----d. 25 Aug 1918, Chicago, Cook County, Illinois
|----m. 24 Apr 1900

This is the family of Herbert Shelton Jones, son of John Franklin Jones and Sarah Elizabeth Hefley, and Elizabeth Ann Brinlee, daughter of Richard Mason Brinlee and Sarah Ellen Petit. Elizabeth Ann’s sisters Minnie and Sarah Alice also married members of the Jones family. The big question for this family is the actual date of death of Elizabeth Ann Brinlee; family reports say that she died when daughter Lela Sarah Jones was about 18 months old. After Elizabeth Ann’s death, “Dub” Jones married his brother’s widow.

I would love to share information with anyone related to/researching this family; you can contact me at my e-mail address, which can be found by going to my profile page (there is a link to that page in the About Me section to the left).

The Problem With Google Reader

I think I have figured out what my problem with Google Reader is. The last couple of days the post numbers were much closer to my usual 120-180 posts a day.

The problem is that it took at least two sessions to pile up these numbers, one in the morning and one in the evening. For the previous three days, however, only 100 to 108 posts were were in the reader when I opened it for a single reading session each evening.

It appears that Google Reader is dropping posts shortly after the number of posts reaches the 100 mark. I cannot just split up my reading, since during the workweek I have no time to do any reading before I leave for work. I’ll check again Monday to see whether the evening number is still near the 100 mark.

I checked my settings to see whether there was any limit on the number of unread posts, but I cannot find anything that seems to be relevant to my problem.

There may also be a backlog problem; see Amy Coffin’s comment to the post below.

Has anyone had a problem like this with Google Reader?

Monday, November 7, 2011

What Happened to All the Blogs I Was Following in Google Reader?

I follow a lot of blogs. Each day Google Reader usually brings me anywhere from 120-180 unread posts.

Yesterday and today that number dropped to the 60s.

Did I infect everyone with my cleaning frenzy so that you are all taking time off from blogging to clean house and organize your offices?

I didn't think so.

Not that I'm paranoid or anything. Well, yes, I am paranoid. And I hate change - there, I said it.

I hate Google Reader's new look and the nightmare that it has become to navigate. Those scroll bars? Much clunkier than the old arrows, and it seems almost impossible to navigate up and down my subscription list.

As I read my 63 unread items today, I checked to make sure that it wasn't just Blogger-platform blogs that are included. Wordpress and private sites are there. So which blogs aren't there? I can't figure it out.

Where is my tinfoil hat?

I miss my blogs!

Any suggestions on other readers?

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Why I Want to Remain an Amateur

Our genea-blogging community has an amazing range and combination of people from all demographic groups (even young people, thank God!), all walks of life, many different countries and just about every state of the United States, and, what is quite impressive and interesting, all parts of the professional-to-amateur spectrum as well as genealogy newbies and old hands that have been doing genealogy for 50 years.

As the genealogy blogging community has gelled, developed, and assumed an increasingly recognizable and well-defined identity, it has been joined by an increasing number of professionals, and, if I am not mistaken, the proportion of “semi-pros” (extensive background in research, solid skills, but not yet certified and/or only engaged in research for pay on a part-time basis) has always been fairly high. Add a good share of keenly interested and often very experienced amateurs to this mix, and the result is an eclectic group that in the aggregate covers almost every possible genealogy-related subject and possesses a huge fund of erudition and skills.

I note with interest that many of the “amateurs” are interested in pursuing some of the formal tracks of study such as ProGen study groups and genealogy institutes with the goal of eventually becoming professionals, and that many “semi-pros” are working toward certification. I haven’t really noticed any significant friction among the groups, although occasionally there does seem to be some concern about non-professionals feeling left out of discussions of topics of interest primarily to professionals such as certification and building a genealogy research business.

When I read posts or discussions on these subjects, I never feel left out or that I am being condescended to by the pros or the semis. But I have no intention of ever joining their ranks.

Don’t get me wrong: when I say that I want to remain an amateur, I certainly do not mean that I’m happy with just “amateurish” skills; like many other keen amateurs in our midst, I would definitely love to achieve professional-level skills and am doing whatever I can to learn as much as I can.

But, for a number of reasons, I have no desire to make a living at, or even earn money from, genealogy research. And while I love to help my fellow researchers - through translations, lookups, etc. - even if I could afford to, I do not want to be a full-time genealogy volunteer.

In no particular order, here are my reasons:

1. I already have a profession/vocation. I am good at it. I earn a living from it. I don’t want to give it up.

2. I like security. Some professional genealogists are able to earn a decent living, but getting to that point obviously takes a huge amount of sustained effort - in acquiring the skills, getting the certification, getting the experience, and getting the word out. Then comes the part where the professional must decide what kind of a professional/paying job or combination of jobs to pursue: his or her own business (and what areas that would cover), employee of one of a handful of genealogy-related companies or publications, archivist/librarian, educator/speaker, writer/editor/publisher, and so on. While any of these individually or in combination can be quite enjoyable and even somewhat remunerative, none of them really offers significant security. When the economy is poor, there is less money available to hire a professional researcher or pay for a genealogy class, and we all know that archives and libraries are some of the first items to go on the chopping block when budgets are cut.

3. I enjoy travel - but not all of the time. A professional genealogist does not necessarily have to do a lot of travel, but for many it seems to be a regular part of their job. I am a bit of a homebody and after a certain point, the hassles of constant travel would get to me.

4. I am not the greatest at marketing myself and would not be terribly skilled at or enthusiastic about the commercial/advertising aspects of being a professional genealogist.

5. I’m not sure I would be so good at handling poorly informed clients. “I want you to prove that I am related to Conrad Plinkelpoint.” “I can do the research that may prove you are or are not related to him.” “I want you to show that I am related to him.” “Can’t do.” You all know where this leads.

6. This one is something Sheri Fenley of The Educated Genealogist and others have addressed: When your client has contracted to pay for a certain number of hours and the research you have done has filled that number of hours, but you know that there is somewhere else you could search. In other words, the temptation to do extra work for no compensation - not a good business practice. In short, I am a good worker, but not a good businessman.

7. I want genealogy to be fun. That means no pressure. That means not having to put my own research on the back burner while I do research for clients. That means being able to keep my own work days to a manageable length (okay, workdays often get out of hand in my current job, but that’s another discussion) and to be a flibbertigibbet when I feel like it. When I discovered genealogy back in 2005, it met several real needs, mainly the need to learn about my family’s history and to do something that is incredibly enjoyable but enriching and educational at the same time. I was working very hard at my day job and at my rest-of-the-time job as a wife and mother, and genealogy sort of saved my sanity (no comments from the peanut gallery!).

It is still saving my sanity, and that’s what I want it to continue to do.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Surname Saturday: Benjamin Franklin Tinnin and Mary Frances “Mollie” Brinlee

Benjamin Franklin Tinnin
b. Mar 1856, Missouri
d. 10 Jun 1929, Vanoss, Pontotoc County, Oklahoma
& Mary Frances “Mollie” Brinlee
b. May 1861, Texas
d. 10 Jun 1938, Pontotoc, Oklahoma
m. 1 Feb 1877, Hood County, Texas
|--Emma Tinnin
|----b. Sep 1886, Missouri
|--William Beecher Tinnin
|----b. 7 Jul 1889, Texas
|--Lonnie Tinnin
|----b. Dec 1890, Texas
|--Robert Mason Tinnin
|----b. 6 Aug 1894, Texas
|----d. May 1974, Dorsey, Madison County, Illinois
|---& Viola
|----b. 24 Jan 1899, Oklahoma
|----d. Apr 1987, Bunker Hill, Macoupin County, Illinois
|--Leonard Alfred Tinnin
|----b. 4 Feb 1897, Indian Territory
|----d. Sep 1981, Stratford, Garvin County, Texas
|---& Florence Willie Hodges
|----b. 9 Mar 1901, Texas
|----d. 20 Jan 1928, Vanoss, Pontotoc County, Oklahoma
|--Roy Archie Tinnin
|----b. 10 Feb 1906, Oklahoma
|----d. 30 Sep 1972, Precinct 2, Nacogdoches, Nacogdoches County, Texas
|---& Nancy Julie Burton
|----b. 21 Jul 1911, Texas
|----d. 6 Aug 2001, Nacogdoches, Nacogdoches County, Texas

This is the family of Benjamin Franklin Tinnin and Mary Frances “Mollie” Brinlee, the daughter of Richard Mason Brinlee and Sarah Ellen Pettit. In her article on Richard Brinlee in Collin County, Texas, Families (Alice Ellison Pitts and Minnie Pitts Champ, editors, 1994), Bessie Sims Sheppard attributes daughter Mary to Ann Eliza Simmons, but the 1900 census gives May 1861 as the date of her birth and the 1870, 1910, and 1930 censuses back this up (I have not yet found her in the 1880 and 1920 censuses). A copy of Richard and Sarah’s marriage certificate indicates that they were married 15 April 1861, so I believe Mary is Sarah’s daughter.

I have quite a few gaps on this family and would love to share information with anyone related to/researching this family; you can contact me at my e-mail address, which can be found by going to my profile page (there is a link to that page in the About Me section to the left).

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Genea-Angeldom and Genea-Serendipity

The week since my return to genealogy has been a good one, especially in terms of connections.

The first connection was with a first cousin of my husband’s father. My in-laws met with her for lunch and learned that she was very interested in family history, so they put her in touch with me. We have been sharing information on the Terrana and Davi families.

The second connection was another Fichtelmann descendant. We know how all of the descendants of the Brooklyn Fichtelmanns are connected, but this man’s family settled in North Dakota. I told him what I knew and referred him to two Fichtelmann experts.

The third connection was Becky Jamison of Grace and Glory. Becky had previously met a descendant of Richard Brinlee, the brother of my great-grandfather Hiram Carroll Brinlee, Jr., and had put the two of us in touch. The other day I received a nice present from her: she had been taking pictures at a cemetery in Colorado and had found and taken pictures of some Brinlee tombstones. And Becky has learned that she is connected by marriage to the Brinlee family - the particular family that I have just been researching! Once again, Becky is a real Genea-Angel. Thank you, Becky!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Missing in Action No More

I hope.

Last week I did a bit of genealogy-related stuff and I spent most of this weekend doing genealogy stuff.

Yesterday I attended the Fairfax Genealogical Society’s Fall Fair on the subject of Military Records, with three presentations delivered by Craig Scott: “Researching Your Colonial and French and Indian War Ancestor,” “Researching Your War of 1812 Ancestor,” and “Reasons for Not Serving in the Civil War.” There were lots of places, dates, maps, resources, and funny stories. It was glorious.

Today I spent half a day researching the George Robert Brinlee family. It is great to be “back in the saddle.” I feel relaxed and relieved.

I’m not all done with chores. 3-4 people and 3 cats still manage to shed a lot of hair and fur and track in a lot of dirt. And two family members are still packrats. And we haven’t really finished our yard cleanup.

But I know where to find stuff now. And I’m putting documents away - in the right place - after I create or use them. It’s like being on a diet. Discipline must be maintained.

Yesterday I read a post on Jennifer’s Rainy Day Genealogy Readings: “Defining Research, Part 1.” A real case study in genealogical bad manners, if not outright plagiarism. Things like this are one of the reasons why I use my own template (different from Ancestry’s) for place names. That way I can see who is “clicking and claiming” my data. I don’t really mind that they do. But posting information someone has freely shared with you without crediting them, as described in this post, is shoddy and low-class.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

I Found You

I knew when I found my great-grandfather Harlston Perrin Moore.

It happened about five or six weeks after I first became intrigued about what I could find online on my ancestors. Until that point, I just barely knew the names of my grandparents; I knew nothing else about my ancestors except for a couple of comments and stories I had heard from my parents.

There was no death of a close relative to jar/inspire/scare me into considering family research. As a matter of fact, both of my parents and all but one of my aunts and uncles had already passed away. Not even that sad fact could force me to realize how important it was to learn about my family’s history. Though I do love the “detective experience” rush, it was the shock of the close personal connection I felt that cemented the deal. The “find” was a burst of fireworks, but the relationship was no less intense for being long-lasting. If you think that this sounds like falling in love, it was a little bit like that.

It wasn’t just putting cousin bait out there that prompted me to start blogging about genealogy; it was that I just had to share this incredible experience with others who understood, really understood, what it feels like to find a previously unknown ancestor. And when Lynn Palermo issued the challenge (“The Moment You Knew”) at The Armchair Genealogist to identify the moment when I knew that I had to research my family history, I had to respond (despite the fact that I have written about this before in “The Happy Dance: Getting Hooked on Genealogy”).

The odd thing was, the experience was more intense for some ancestors than others. Other genea-bloggers have written about this phenomenon. In my experience, it was not necessarily that I identified more with some ancestors than with others. It was that I felt a particular claim to an ancestor because I had “found” that ancestor - found in the sense that none of the relatives I knew while I was growing up knew this ancestor, and any distant cousins who did know of this ancestor’s existence did not know of his or her connection to my family. If I did find a known ancestor but learned new information, then I felt that much closer. And I feel close to my “dead-end branch” ancestors as well, because I intend to find their families.

From the brief flush of discovery to the more sustained feeling of connection, the experience continues to be the lure that will keep me looking for ancestors until my fingers are too arthritic to type, my eyes are to clouded to make out those old documents, and my mind is too mushy to put the genealogical evidence together.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Clean Your Way to a Better Life

The Scrappy Genealogist’s announcement on Friday that she will be featuring guest posts from different geneamommybloggers this week (“How She Does It - Secrets from the Geneamommybloggers”) has inspired me to share my recent experience in trying to organize my house and simplify my life to clear the way for the things I really want to do, especially family research and blogging about my research.

My daughters are young adults now (18 and 21), so I have survived the super-intense earlier phases of raising children. I now have a bit more time to do things like read, research, and write (when work isn’t so insane that my workdays run long and leave me too exhausted to do anything that takes a brain cell or two).

And yet even before work started to demand more and more of me, I noticed that my productivity in the area of family research was falling. I realized that the main culprit was the messy accumulation of clutter, compounded by a few other things that gobbled up a lot of time.

My solution involved about a dozen elements:

1. Throw out a lot of stuff.

2. Give a lot of stuff away.

3. Identify, locate, centralize, and organize your most precious heirlooms, family documents, and physical and electronic research documents and records.

4. Figure out a system for holding/storing anything you have a lot of (books, CDs, etc.). Buy whatever shelves, boxes, storage bins you need to accommodate them.

5. Throw out some more stuff.

6. Cut down on purchases, especially those that add unnecessary “stuff” to your household. This also means fewer birthday, Christmas, and special occasion gifts.

7. Figure out what items can be replaced by their electronic equivalents. My family and I are not terribly good at this, and my husband and I in particular are attached to the physical forms of many things (= books and CDs). However, my daughters are getting e-readers for Christmas and I am getting an iPad. We figure that most of our fiction reading and some of our nonfiction/research reading can be handled on these platforms. I would like to reduce the number of DVDs we buy, since so much can be viewed online. There is still some ethnic/esoteric music that I order in CD form, but these days there is a lot more of my “weird” music on iTunes than there used to be.

8. Give away some more stuff.

9. Identify and eliminate unnecessary and time-consuming chores. For me this year this will be writing the annual Christmas letter. As a genealogist, I know that Christmas letters can be goldmines of family information, but I am just tired of writing them. It started out as a way to save time, because I was individualizing each card for each recipient to the point that it was an exhausting undertaking. But you know what? Now I have a blog, use Facebook and Google Plus, and am always happy to correspond by e-mail. With a great deal of regret, I also discontinued my Follow Friday posts.

10. Clean house, clean out and organize your closets and junk drawers, and scrub and dust off those remote corners, high shelves, and other places you rarely visit to clean. It’s a pain, but it should take care of dust moozy/dust mite havens for another year or two. Clean out the fridge and clear the shelves of old food (you know you’ve got stuff that expired in 2008 in there).

11. If you have the time, energy, and money to do so, take care of any other matters that are a drag on your energy if you leave them undone: clean up your finances and financial records, get minor household repairs done, get the car fixed and cleaned, schedule medical appointments you have been putting off.

12. Clean up the yard, or at least take care of the worst eyesores: mow, pick up twigs and sticks, pick the worst weeds.


This is what I (and my husband and even occasionally my daughters) have been doing for the last two months. I am not listing all of these things to sound virtuous. If we had been more conscientious and better organized to begin with, things would not have reached such a critical state - to the point that I felt too paralyzed to effectively continue my research. I did not take a complete hiatus from blogging, but I definitely slowed down a bit.


Most important of all: Figure out what things are most important to you, and figure out how you can focus on them and include all of them. My priorities are:

Family life - spending home time with my family, going out to eat or see movies, and taking vacations together. This includes taking time to play and cuddle with our cats and actively participating in church. Keeping in touch with other family members, including cousins and “research cousins.”

Continuing to educate myself: in the area of languages (for my profession/vocation), in the area of genealogical research (for my hobby/avocation), and in the area of general knowledge (simply for personal development and enjoyment). Putting aside time to read and listen to music.

Family research. Getting my resources (including my bookmarks and Research Toolbox) in order. Continuing to get that cousin bait out there. Attending conferences. Taking research trips.

Gardening and feeding the birds in our yard.

That’s it. Pretty simple.

Now, after peeling off layer after layer of things accumulated after more than 20 years of being a family with children, I am just about ready to crawl out from under my rock and start some serious research.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Whatever Wednesday: 5 October 2011

Strolling down memory lane can be a risky undertaking. Of course, I did not know that I would be taking that stroll when I decided last weekend that it was finally time to quit procrastinating and tackle the attic. It was one of the biggest and most dreaded chapters in the Great Cleaning Frenzy book.

Going through my daughters’ baby clothes and old books was not too traumatic. I found a couple of dresses that I realized were not central to my memories of their childhood, and they went into the Good Will pile. I did not have to endure the agony of sorting out the schoolwork and artwork of their early years; that had already been taken care of in the Great Cleaning Frenzy of 1999, and every year thereafter we would sift out “the best of the best” at the end of the school year and haul it up into the attic for storage.

As a matter of fact, when I first went up into the attic, I was surprised at how neat and organized all the boxes looked. Sure, everything was pretty dusty, but all I had to do was open each box or bin, figure out whether the contents included anything that was no longer of practical use or a vessel of cherished memories, and sort out items to be given away or thrown out. Even old children’s books were an easy job, as I had resolved beforehand to use a light hand, only culling out books that stirred no smiles or memories.

By the time I had finished with the last box, there were sizable piles of trash and giveaways.

Only the little closet next to the chimney stack wall remained. There wasn’t much in it; other than half of a Nativity set and a barbed wire Christmas wreath (it’s a Texas thing), just some old mementos from some of our vacations and old Christmas cards, all dating to the last century.

I pulled out several bags, and found a bit of chewing damage from squirrels, who periodically invade our attic, get evicted by the exterminator, and several months or years later find a way to sneak back in. Only a couple of papers got chewed. Good. I started to sort through the ragged and dusty bags full of cards, brochures, maps, and schedules. Our honeymoon and major vacations each got separate piles, Christmas cards seemed to have been divided roughly by year, and miscellaneous small trips formed a final pile. Out of that pile I picked up a folded brochure for New York City:

“No matter who you are, you can be on top of the world at the World Trade Center.”

It must have been around 1991, when my husband and I took Daughter #1, then about 18 months old, into Manhattan to visit FAO Schwartz. On the way back we decided on the spur of the moment to go to the top of one of the WTC towers. We had forgotten our camera, so we picked up the brochure, which featured a classic New York skyline picture centered on the Twin Towers. Ten years later, the towers were gone. And ten years after that, I unexpectedly came across this painful reminder.

Another pile of mementos yielded a letter from a friend who has since left us, thanking us for providing moral support during a difficult time. Another bittersweet memory.

And more: Christmas cards from a beloved babysitter, a neighbor my husband grew up calling “Aunt Sarah,” dear aunts and uncles who supported me with love and faith - all gone now.

So much loss brought back so suddenly, jarringly, in just one short trip to the attic.

I placed each pile in a separate envelope and put the envelopes in a covered bin, passed down the bag of trash, climbed down the ladder from the attic, and took a shower to wash the dust off.


I am getting close to winding up the Great Cleaning Frenzy. Daughter #2 comes home tomorrow for a few days; there are some sorting chores for which I need her judgment and input. Soon after that, I hope, I will be back to research and (regular) blogging.

Other bits

Monday, while I was watching Part One of Ken Burns’ series Prohibition, I recognized some clips taken from the 1906 SF film “A Trip Down Market Street” that FootnoteMaven featured on Shades of the Departed.

One of my favorite recent blog posts: “Mistakes Are Made (but Using the Passive Isn’t One of them)” by Geoffrey Pullam on the blog Lingua Franca on The Chronicle of Higher Education website. There is a link within the post to his original article on the subject, “50 Years of Stupid Grammar Advice.” I still have copies of that article at work and at home.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Family Tree

The tree that best exemplifies my family research is the holly tree. No, make that THE holly tree. Not just any holly tree, but the holly tree in my front yard.

We have a much larger and more beautiful holly tree in the back yard. But it’s missing something.

No, that’s not right. The big holly tree is NOT missing anything. And that’s why it doesn’t bear much of a resemblance to my family tree as my research reveals it - because there are lots of gaps in my research.

So the poor holly tree out front is the more apt symbol. The winter before last, during Snowmageddon, the weight of the snow caused one of the three main branches to break off so that one side was left almost completely bare. It looks a bit better now, as though some of the twigs and small branches on the other two sides are trying to bend around and cover the bare branches out of modesty.

But it’s still a lopsided tree, and so is my family tree.




The Front Holly Tree, minus one branch which is flopped over and covered with snow, bottom right

The brick walls are awfully low in my family tree; there are a few really long branches, but for for many lines, “growth” stops with pretty recent ancestors. We’re not supposed to call them “brick walls,” so let’s call them “dead-end branches.”

My biggest dead-end branch is my great-grandmother Susan Elizabeth Smith Bonner Brinlee. I also have four great-great-grandparents who are dead-ends: Hiram Brinlee Senior, Emily Tarrant, George Floyd, and Jerusha Elizabeth Neely. And by the great-great-great-grandparent level, there are two more of those little stub thingies: Samuel Moore and John Finley.

This post turns out to be not just an excuse for milking the tree metaphor for all it’s worth. The listing of dead-end branches is basically an outline for where I want to focus my research. The only family missing in this list are the Lewises. I know my gggg-grandparents in this line - William Lewis and Mary John - but I am more interested in figuring out the list of children of my great-great-great grandparents Elisha Lewis and Rosannah Dalrymple Lewis, as well as the fates of the daughters of William and Mary Lewis: Rachel, Sarah, Mary, and Leah Lewis. You could say that this is a long but skinny branch.

Add a few intriguing gggg-grandparents into the mix, and that’s my research plan for the coming years. With names like Smith, Moore, and Lewis prominent in this list, this is not going to be a piece of cake. Or, to put it in more arboreal terms, it’s going to take one heck of a green thumb to get this tree to grow right. Ever tried to prune a holly tree or clean up the holly leaves that collect on the ground? Those pointy little leaves can be really nasty. But I won’t get discouraged. I want a tall, magnificent tree, covered with a thick mantle of dark green leaves. And lots of those little red berries would be nice, too.




The Lopsided Holly Tree as it appears today

Submitted for the 110th edition of the Carnival of Genealogy, sponsored by Jasia’s Creative Gene.