Back in the dark misty times...

Back in the dark misty times...
Genealogy, joyfully discovered ~

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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Genealogical Web IMAGES

As the end of the week approaches, I scan the last few days in my memory and list all the research web sites I have fallen across and shake my head. With many family blood lines cruising around in files on my desk, my main focus is still on the Spanish lineage as I check any site that sounds plausible. How many times have I seen the Google words tacked across the left part of the brower home page? Web - Images - Videos - Maps - Shopping - GMail - And more....

On a long shot, I clicked on Images, a site I'd been told about but never used in my genealogy research. I typed in S.S. ORTERIC, the name of the steam ship that brought my Spanish ancestors from northern Spain to Hawaii in 48 days. When the images popped up, I stared at them....not just a little stupified. I'd looked for a picture of the ship for a couple of years and found a very fuzzy one on the Hawaiian newspaper's historical paper site. Never such a one that stared at me today. I saw S. S. Orteric printed across the bottom as though its name was swimming in the water beneath its length. What an incredible machine this computer is! The site also included the Weir Shipping Company's Flag (see above). But the ship's photo has been ordered and it will be added to the pages of my book. It is progressing nicely and within a month, I will know WHEN my airline ticket to Spain will be dated!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Boomers and War Ration Books

I am a Baby Boomer..... So, imagine my curiosity when, during my recent research into family history, I found a photo of a "War Ration Book Two" with a stamp in the right hand corner with the words, Office of Price Adm. printed beneath the stamp. It actually belonged to a man from Rubicon, Wisconsin and he was 49 years old. With photo in hand, I accessed and found his name and date of birth, learning (with my limited math ability) the card was issued in 1942. Before my time, but not much. So, my research bug went off in another direction and curiosity led the way... In 1942, my husband tells me (he was 7 years old) that he remembers his mother and father having such a war ration book. His father was an auto mechanic and parts and rubber were both at a premium, if not impossible to find. J.D. said only a few automobiles were made in 1942 and during the next war years, no new automobiles were built at all. The machinery and rubber required were, instead, used for war vehicles and other necessities. It wasn't until 1946 that new automobile manufacturing began again. He remembers sugar, rubber, nylon and other staples were part of that war ration book and without the stamps/coupons, you went without the types of staples that required rationing. I googled War Ration Books and was stunned to read their importance! The book instructed that it was the property of the U.S. Government. It could not be traded, sold or used by others. If someone died or found a lost book, it must be returned to the War Price and Rationing Board. Persons who violated the rationing board regulations would be fined $1000, imprisoned or both! OMG, they meant business! The stamps inside the booklet could only be torn out at point of purchase and the rationed items could not be purchased without a stamp. And don't toss the book away when stamps were gone because you might need to show the empty book to get another one! Rationing is a vital part of the country's war effort is printed on the back of the booklet. It was the governments guarantee of your getting your fair share of goods made scarce by war. Any attempt to violate the rules would be treated like treason... as it helps the enemy (?). Be guided by the rule, "If you don't need it, Don't Buy It!" As a Baby Boomer even thought born in the last month of 1946, this information was stunning. My parents and grandparents lived through such a difficult time in their lives! Now I understand why my mother drew lines down the back of her legs = faux seams as if she was wearing nylon stockings. And now I know why it was such an act of love for my grandmother to stand in line for hours just to get nylon stockings for my mother as a gift. The real gift was standing in those long lines. We take so much for granted. I am sure I will think of those ration books the next time I pull a package of sugar off the shelf or put new tires on our car. Never again will I forget what their lives must have been like in my blind quest to better my own.

Friday, March 25, 2011

The aura of Alexandria, Washington DC and beyond

Papers and photos clutter my desk. Clear memories of my recent trip to Washington DC fill my mind with chatter along with visions of marble, brick and the White House. I now have a picture ID Reader card as my key into the Library of Congress for future use into their research archives and reader room stacked book shelves. My legs ache from walking from the U.S. Capitol Building to the White House on Pennsylvania Avenue and I smile when I remember tossing orange peels along the White House cement wall to feed the birds that lingered in their bushes. What a wonderful trip and it was so easy with just a $33 Amtrak ticket to the beautiful Union Station. Then, my childhood friend, Sophia, braved the traffic from Rhode Island to Washington to pick me up so we could share in the Washington escape for a terrific visit.

And La Tasca, a Spanish Tapas Restaurant and Bar on King Street in Alexandria was muy excellente! We ordered Sangria laced with fruit pieces and wine. And then there were the Tapas ~ Calimari (her choice) and Tortilla Espanola (mine). The Sangria disappeared too quickly, the shared Tapas unique and tasty. The Tortilla Espanola is a traditional Spanish potato, onion and egg omelet about 2-3" thick sitting in a spicy sauce.....Sophia liked it with her Calimari better than her garlic mayonnaise condiment; shared dishes were a fun experience.

Now that I've scoped out the area for future visits to research family from all corners of both my family and my husbands, I feel much more confident knowing where to go, what items to take with me and how long I will need to study the archival information. I am nearly ready to apply to the DAR with the main intent of being able to access their data base for the family's quest for historical information.

With the help of and my cousin's (Tess) long and diligent research into our family history, I have learned so much. Also, a great help is another cousin's (Vicki) gift of a genealogical research book titled, The HANDYBOOK for Genealogists. This book is segmented by state and country to list archival repositories with contact information and lists steps for researching genealogy. Life can be quite amazing when one lets it and propelling yourself through life with optimism is the only way to combat any sadness, loss, frustrations or disappointments along the way.

Monday, March 14, 2011

A Glimpse into the STEELE family

How can I possibly move in more directions that I'm already pondering with this family history addiction, I ask myself (and so does my husband). His family is deeply entrenched in North Carolina and Virginia, true southerners and quite a colorful lot. Over the past ten years, I have dabbled in his family history in bits and pieces but now I'm ready for the big time. J. D. was born and raised in Williamsburg, Virginia. His father, his grandfather, uncles, aunts, cousins and mother all began their lives in North Carolina and spread northward for various reasons. The most fascinating oldster was his Grandpa Steele. He was a bootlegger and spent time in the federal penitentiary in Georgia in the early 1900s..... as proud of his 'stay' as if he'd gone to college. He never tired of telling the stories to his many children and grandchildren. I hope to gather the facts and put some semblance of order and truth to the lives he left behind and especially on that bootlegger and the past.

There is a family bible that one of J.D.'s cousins inherited that is said to hold many obituary news clippings that Grandma Steele diligently cut and placed within its thin pages. Now that cousin is gone and his widow must have the bible.... but alas. She doesn't appear to want any part of the Steele family now. How I can unearth that precious book or any of those clippings escapes me. Today, my file is filled with pictures, documents, stories and family tree charts. Maybe tomorrow, I'll get my hands on the bible...

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Genealogical Addiction

An addiction is something that takes over your mind and body and is usually extremely difficult to overcome. That's if you want to overcome the addiction. When I first became interested in digging into family ancestral history, it was 1972 and I'd just moved to Ohio. The Italian family I'd married into knew a few names but no dates or places of origin other than murky stories and vague data. At the time, I was busy raising children and when I hit a brick wall, I quit.

In the fall of 2008, all of that changed. When the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia offered a Family History course, I jumped in with both feet and haven't become unglued yet. It becomes overwhelming, exciting, curious, enthralling, sometimes disappointing.... but always thrilling once answers start filtering through time.

In the past month, I have found connections to cousins and shirt-tail descendants, all as excited as I to connect! My Aunt Audrie's (Hubbard) granddaughter has offered to help me quantify eligibility into the DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution) through the Hubbard line. I'm dumbfounded that we can do this. Then, there was those shirt-tail relatives I mentioned. (1) Judith is connected through my 3rd g-grandfather's third wife, (2) Jody is connected through Hannah Amy Griggs, the second wife of the same great great grandfather and mother to my great great aunt Clara Myrtle (need to find her descendants...), (3) Nancy is connected through her husband's family tree back to my 4th great grandfather, Glode Dugar Chubb. Now this man and his wife ran the Underground Railroad in Michigan all those years ago and there is a cemetery named after the Chubb family in Nankin, Wayne, Michigan. (4) Joni is connected through Gardner Wood and Fannie Cook in the Hubbard family, the parents of my Elizabeth Wood, wife to Isaac Jabez Hubbard, my 3rd great grandfather .

When it rains it pours.... and I have absolutely no intention of putting up an umbrella... Let the family keep coming. In the mix of all these wonderful people reaching out through the site, I was given a web site for the Wisconsin Historical Society and I sit here amazed and emotional that a couple took the time to traipse through some of Ashippun, Wisconsin's cemeteries to snap photographs of gravestones and post them on the internet. I couldn't believe my eyes when I found Delinda O. (Greene) Hubbard's stone along with the Wood/Cook stone. And here we go, another question surfaced. The Hubbard stone listed Amenzo Hubbard with birth year 1849 - (blank) above his wife's name, Delinda. But Amenzo was buried in Idaho so he didn't get back to join his wife in spiritual slumber. Today, I hold in my hands his Certificate of Death confirming his 1925 death; laid to rest in the Morris Hill Cemetery in Boise, Idaho. One more step toward joining the DAR....

AND one of these shirt-tail relatives has a Spanish daughter in law from Cadiz. I am hoping this is a connection I can utilize when my time for Spain and the Silvan and Ruiz stories heat up so I can work some more on my book, Manuela's Petals. Yes, I do eat and sleep sometimes :)

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Washington DC ~ Here I come.

The bad news is my beloved oak is history. My mother even sent me a sympathy card... :) The good news is I have an Amtrak ticket to Washington DC and a hotel reservation made to share with my childhood friend, Sophia. After studying every aspect of the Library of Congress web site, I believe I am ready to climb those marble steps and walk into history. And of course, I am happy. I will only have time to scope out the place and see what is available.... I found out there is a 90 minute orientation to use the repository and stacked shelves of information and it is a week after my visit but next time.......

With my cousin's (April) help and her involvement in the DAR, I have slipped into a web site that showed me photographs of relative's gravestones in Wisconsin. I am amazed at the opportunities just waiting on the internet and constantly surprised and excited. It is like being high on caffeine all the time! And of course, it opened up another question as I see happen time and again when I find answers, they generate more questions.

My great grandfather Amenzo Jabez Hubbard died in Boise, Idaho as far as our family records have shown. However, today, I found him listed in a cemetery in Wisconsin beside his wife, Delinda O Greene Hubbard. Then, when I found the photograph of the gravestone, I saw they shared the gravestone but his etching was name and date of birth - no date of death. So the questions are "Is he buried in Boise after all?" "Did he order the stone when his wife died and prepare its future etching for his own demise and then died in Boise, so he was buried there?" I have asked my cousin (Tess) about this as she is the Hubbard family historian and hopefully, we can find the answers... Until then, we are happily moving along and I have ordered pages from a history book of Ashippun, Dodge County, WI and found a picture of the town as it was then....

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

My Independence vs. Practicality in Washington DC

Today I will be forced to watch lumberjacks hack down my favorite Oak tree outside my office window. It has housed birds, squirrels, acorns, leafy shade and one lovely, long limb has stretched outward to frame the sunporch. When spring asserts itself, the leaves bud, grow, dangle and whisper in the light breeze. In winter, the breeze strengthens and whips off bits and pieces of the limbs above. It is a tree in distress. My husband has wanted to remove it for several years but he saw my face and postponed its death for me. Today, it will die completely as it is hacked down, its stump ground to smithereens. And my husband's beloved green grass will be sown over the ground and the Oak's soul will give energy to grass and a grassy knoll as flat as the back of my hand. However, thinking trembling smiles, I recently marched outside and snapped several pictures of our house with the tree's branches hovering above and I will paste it to my desk wall in loving memory.

Memories. Isn't it a strange and wonderful part of us? With all the family history I have unearthed over the past few years that has knocked my socks off, pages are filled with where they were born, where they lived, who their children were, what they did to earn a living...but memories? Do they die with us? I suppose so. That's why the family stories I hear are so precious to me as I write my book or family notes for my own descendants. Those stories almost...almost touch us with their thoughts, decisions, moves and family drama. If only genealogy was as important in older days as it is to many of us today.

Washington DC., home of the National Archives, the Library of Congress and the Daughters of the American Revolution are among just a few repositories that hold secrets thicker than fog await my arrival. After postponing my trip to the capitol city in January, it has been postponed again so I decided to take Amtrak alone, arriving by 10 a.m. and leaving by 7 p.m. But, it was not to be. Independent though I am, the thought of finding a hotel to spend the night was not a choice I would make... Amtrak only runs at 2:30 p.m. daily to bring me home no evening trains could be found. Sigh. I had to choose practicality over independence so I will march along looking for an alternative.... striving to find a companion who shares my burning desire to search the archives without fearing Washington at night and forging ahead as a duo vs. a single nut in the big city. Yes, I am disappointed but as fate would have it, there will be another day and when it arrives, I will be packed and idling at the gate.

Thursday, March 3, 2011


It must be nearing spring because last night, our tree grew a new leaf! Out of the internet miracles, a man googled the SILVAN surname and my Spanish Pearls blog popped up for him. He looked it over, knew it was his family and called me. We had a wonderful conversation and we will connect all the dots. He, like many of us, had heard conflicting stories and he is anxious to finally see documentation through stories, pictures and documents.

He is my grandmother Manuela's nephew, Celestino Robert (Cel). His father was Manuela's brother, Celestino. We pieced together the family line and will be collaborating with an exchange of pictures and I (again) love feeling my family grow around me! My heart warmed up quickly when I realized it was his mother whom I fell for like a ton of bricks with just one conversation and then felt crushed when she died within six weeks after our one and only conversation - She was Uncle Celestino's wife, Mary Louise.

The past few weeks I have been filling in the family tree for many of our family lines ~ Mainly because I have papers, documents and loose pictures all over the place and the random files and information have given me a feeling of utter clutter... So, I have been able to attach pictures to so I can put the folders away and hope to FIND supporting information in Washington, D.C. in two weeks time. The enormity of such dizzying possibilities of finding more details of our family makes me wish time away. But then I get up Monday morning each week and drink my first cup of coffee and before I know it, it's already Thursday. Time is too precious to rush through but this genealogy is so addictive. I love sharing it with any and all family members who are just beginning or who have hit the proverbial brick wall. I have managed to jump over several but there are so many more waiting and some are VERY high walls!!