31 December 2012

Matrilineal Monday - Emma Miller Eckman

Emma Miller was born in August of 1858 to Coradis and Elizabteh Winters Eckman. The Millers lived in Smithville, Lancaster County, PA. Sadly, her parents have me stumped ... for the moment!

She married Aldus John Eckman in 1875 and bore him 10 children. One of whom - Mabel Florence - is the grandmother of my husband. The Eckmans lived in Providence Township, Lancaster County, PA. Their children are:
  1. Charles Miller (1875-1876)
  2. Jenny Elizabeth (1877-)
  3. Anna Mae (1879-)
  4. Laura Daisy (1881-)
  5. Jesse Hall (1882-1974)
  6. Joseph Winters (1887-1960)
  7. Mabel Florence (1888-1975) <-- hubby's grandmother
  8. Russell Conklin (1890-)
  9. Pearl Louisa (1895-1988)
  10. Olive Viola (1902-1986)
Aldus passed on 16 April 1934. Emma did not join him in death until 24 September 1942. They are buried together at the Clearfield United Methodist Church in Smithville.

Emma's obituary was published in the Lancaster Daily Intelligencer Journal. It simply reads: Emma Eckman, eighty three of Providence Township, widow of Aldus J. Eckman died at 4:45 p.m. Thursday at her home. The daughter of the late Coradis and Elizabeth Winters Miller, she is survived by the following children: William, of Buffalo, New York; Mrs. Charles Martin, of Conestoga Cener; Mae Eckman, of Reading; Mrs. B.C. Eckman, of Philadelphia; Jessie Eckman and Joseph Eckman of Christiana; Mrs. John C Eckman, of Philadelphia; Roscoe, ofHarrisburg; Mr. Paul Silverthorne, of Reading; and Mrs. Walter Lawrence of New Providence. Twenty grandchildren and ten great-grandchildren also survive.

Unlike most of the females in the family, Emma left behind quite an extensive paper trail at the Lancaster County Courthouse. She wrote her will out just a little over a month after Aldus passed. It was dated 22 May 1934. She left her daughter Anna May Eckman her player piano. She bequethed $25 to the Clearfield Cemetery Association. She then instructed her executor - Abram Reese - to convert everything else to cash. After all bills were paid and the estate settled, she requested the remainder to be divided evenly among her nine children. She then named her nine children: Laura Hill, Anna May Eckman, Pearl Louisa Silverthorn, Olive Viola Eckman, Mabel F. Eckman, Joseph W. Eckman, Roscoe C. Eckman, Jessie H. Eckman, and Jennie Martin.

Her estate was inventoried and filed in the Orphans Court of Lancaster County in November 1942. Her inventory reveals a certificate of deposit (CD) at the Farmers National Bank in Quarryville in the amount of $205. The inventory then lists items by room. The house contained a cold cellar, a basement kitchen, a first floor kitchen, a living room, and a first floor bedroom. It also included the unspecified contents of the barn. Her entire inventory was valued at $329.07.

The inventory was included - along with her two tracts of land - in the Resident Inheritance Tax Assessment. The first tract was 25 acres more or less with a two story frame dwelling house and a small frame barn. It was located "on a road leading from New Providence to Smithville." The land adjoined that of Walter H. Lawrence, Joseph Funk, Richard Bowers and John Wade. It was valued at $1,100. Her second tract of land, which adjoined the first and that of John Wade, was a one acre wooded lot valued at $20. Her estate then was valued at $1,449.07.

A schedule of her debts included a $98 doctor bill to Dr. John D. Helm. The funeral bill of $285 was listed for Carl Reynolds of Quarryville.
  •  Carl Reylnolds - I have to sidetrack a moment - ran the Reynolds Funeral Home in Quarryville which is still in operation today. Carl's father - Fred Reynolds - founded the funeral home in 1895. According to his 2002 obituary in the Intelligencer Journal, Carl Reynolds Sr., died of natural causes at age 101. He owned and operated the funeral home from 1919 until his 1965 retirement. He had graduated from Quarryville High School and Eckels College of Mortuary Science in Philadelphia. He was a member of St. Paul's Church in Quarryville.
The schedule of debts also included: $5 for cutting the death date on her tombstone by I. Diller Miller Sons; $3.34 to Mabel M. Wiggins for fire insurance; $200 administration costs; and $1,281.60 for a judgement held by the PA Department of Public Assistance which was originally $2000 and had been entered earlier that year.

In January 1943, Abram W. Reese petition the court to sell Emma's land to pay her debts. It was granted and, on 1 April 1943, the winning bid went to Naomi C. Schnieder. She bought both tracts of land as a whole for $600.

The Deed of Indenture from Emma's estate to Naomi Schneider also lent some insight as to when and from whom Aldus originally bought the land. In April 1922 he received the 26 acre tract from Emma L. Groff, a single woman. The one acre wooded lot had been conveyed to Emma herself in April 1898. The previous owners had been John and Mary Gerhardt.

30 December 2012

Sunday's Obituary

I could not decide on any one obituary to feature today so instead I Googled "OBITUARY HRUSZCZAK" and this is what I got ...

Frederick Hruszczak was born on May 14, 1959 and passed away on Saturday, September 12, 2009.
Fredrick was a resident of Oxford, New Jersey.

It led me to Ancestry.com where I found:
Frederick "Fred" Hruszczak, 50, died Saturday, Sept. 12, 2009. He was born May 14, 1959. A memorial service will be held on Thursday, Sept. 24, 2009, at 2 p.m. at the Flemington Baptist Church. Fred's parents predeceased him as did his sister, Katherine Finnegan. He is survived by two brothers, four sisters and many nieces and nephews. Published in Star-Ledger on September 22, 2009.
That led me to his sister's obituary:
FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP -- Katherine Finnigan, 50, died Sunday (April 30, 2006) at her home in Franklin Township, Hunterdon County. Born Oct. 30, 1955 in Elizabeth, daughter of the late Wasyl Hruszczak and Rosalia Sapira Hruszczak, she resided in Franklin Township for the past 17 years and previous to that, she lived in Flemington. Mrs. Finnigan was a computer specialist and a job-placement recruiter for Independent Software Enhancement Specialist (ISES) in Whitehouse Station. She attended Centenary College in Hackettstown. Katherine enjoyed her many trips to Atlantic City casinos.
Surviving are her husband of 17 years, Thomas Finnigan of Franklin Township; four sisters, Anna Coffey of Oxford, Luba Nestorowycz of Rochester, N.Y., Mary Cheshaek of Arizona and Christine Smith of New Jersey; her brothers, George, Walter and Frederick Hruszczak of Jackson; her uncle and aunt, Sam and Ann Sapira of Burlington, Mass.; and many nieces and nephews.
A Catholic blessing will be offered 10 a.m. Friday at Martin Funeral Home, 1761 Route 31, Clinton. Interment will be private at the convenience of the family. Visitation will be from 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday at the funeral home. For online condolences or for more information, visit www.martinfh.com. In lieu of flowers, make donations to Hunterdon Hospice or Hunterdon Regional Cancer Center, 2100 Wescott Drive, Flemington, NJ 08822.
That led me to a Rosalia Hruszczak's obituary:
JACKSON -- Rosalia Hruszczak died Sept. 9, 2004 at the Jackson Care Center. She was 71. She was born in Donbas, Ukraine, the daughter of Peter and Melania Kraus Sapira. She immigrated to the United States in 1950, living in Elizabeth, Delaware Township and Washington before moving to Jackson in 2000. Until her retirement, she was employed by the Modern Album Co. in Raritan Township.
Her husband, Wasyl Hruszczak, died in 2000. A brother, Walter Sapira, died in 1996. She is survived by three sons, George, Frederick, and Walter, all of Jackson; five daughters, Anna Coffey of Oxford, Luba Nestorowycz of Rochester, N.Y., Katherine Finnigan of Annandale, Mary Cheshack of Arizona and Christine Smith of West Creek; a brother, Sam Sapira of Burlington, Mass.; nine grandchildren; and one great-granddaughter.
Funeral services were held Tuesday at the Robert L. Ford Funeral Home in Flemington. To send an online condolence, visit fordfuneralhome.com.

Going back to my original search, I also found small mention of Wasyl Hruszczak. Wasyl was born on January 14, 1927 and passed away on Sunday, January 16, 2000. Wasyl was a resident of Jackson, New Jersey.

While I am not able to connect any of these directly to my Hruszczak line, it is still interesting to note. Incidently my great grandmother Bessie Matys had immigrated to the US and lived with her brother Frank and his wife Helen. They were in New Jersey (I forget the city right off - Hamilton Township maybe) before they all moved to Coatesville, Chester County, PA where she met my great grandfather Panko Hruszczak.

29 December 2012

Sorting Saturday

Sorting Saturday is a day when Geneabloggers ... go figure ... sort ... piled up information, olf files, texts, whatever we have been storing up and putting aside. Today I sat down and tried but my head was just not in the game. I need a sorting day for all the little compartments in my head.

It snowed here today and I still had 8 baskets to deliver for my Hospitality Basket. I'm scared to drive in the snow. I had a really bad car accident back on 27 December 1996 and by all rights I should have died that day. I used up all my guardian angels that morning. Today my husband actually left he house and drove me because he knew I was stressing out about the impending weather. It started out good but the snow continued and within only an hour and a half we were slipping and sliding. I sat there and prayed as he drove and he pointed out where others had driven off the road. Not a fun morning. I deliver 50 baskets every month and every month I run til the end and sometimes even over my deadline of the 28th. This month - I tell myself - Christmas got in the way. Wow what an understatement. Christmas got in the way.

I hate American Christmas. I always feel like I'm not good enough for my girls. God love them they do not complain. They loved what I was able to get. Some fun things and some serious things. I know sometimes they feel bad too because they don't have jobs so for them to get me something they almost have to have me choose it and get it and then say "here you got this for me". Not too much fun in that. It's not just the materialsm ... well maybe it is. I just feel like the whole thing is so fake. So much stress. I cannot wait until we celebrate Nativity.

Nativity. As I get older I find myself wishing I would have been more open as a child/teen to my dad's family. I think perhaps mom may be to blame on that one. Daddy worked all sorts of hours at the Mill (Lukens Steel Mill) and mom would take us over to visit her parents but we did not go to Baba and Gigi's unless Daddy was with us or it was a holiday. I remember spending a week there though during the summer when I was in elementary school and maybe middle school. I remember Baba used to take me around - Gigi was still working at the Mill at the time - to all the aunts. Many - actually all but one - have passed now and I feel so bad that I did not pay attention and that I do not remember much.

As I sit here, staring out my bedroom window - where I feel sequestered and all alone - I mentally sort through my goals for the upcoming new year.  I sorted through ways to shake off my apathy towards pretty much everything at the moment. My goals involve writing, and my work with Hospitality Basket, and my kids, and health related issues and of course finances.

My goals for 2013 include (but are not limited to!):
  • Write more! Ideally make a living writing again. Concentrate on the following subjects: diabetes, preparedness, genealogy and Orthodoxy.
  • Obtain - and then maintain - 50 total paid businesses in my Hospitality Baskets for Manheim Township. If YOU own a business that could service new residents of Manheim Township, please contact me!
  • Loose weight. I'd be pleased with 25 but ideally I need to loose 75 pounds.
  • Keep in better touch with family and friends. Warning -- expect letters, postcards and simple hellos, y'all!
  • Cross the pond! Genealogically speaking of course. I know where my Hruszczak, Matys, and Kurenda families came from but I am still working on mom's side and Daddy's Skrabalek line.
  • Write a family history of the Eckman line. I have the outline pretty much done (I keep finding more people!) but I want to write what I have.
  • Publish above family history book. I would love to find a publisher instead of self publishing but I am open to all ideas.
  • Research what it was like when Daddy's family immigrated and what Prusy, Austria and Sambor was like in the 1904 - 1913 range.
  • Start walking again on a regular basis. My girls like to run but I am not up for that ... yet. I have to save something for 2014, right?
  • Walk a 5K by mid year.
  • Jog a 5K by the end of the year.
  • Learn to count carbs.
  • Eat better - I am such a picky picky eater. Being diabetic that is probably one of my biggest hurdles!
  • Get my BG under control.
  • Obtain health insurance ... somehow.
  • Research what it takes to be a CDE and see if it is feasible for me.
  • Study my faith more.
  • Take my girls on a short trip - a couple day trips would actually be ideal.
  • Write more travel related or local history articles, maybe even a book.
  • Catch up on our bills.
  • Better financial control in our lives.
  • and the list goes on ...
And of course as the list goes on ... I feel more and mroe inadequate and useless ...


25 December 2012

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas - from my family to yours!
Above: Our daughters (L-R) Mary, Zorina and Anna and my hubby Glenn.
Below: Even my little kitty Alice got in the Chirstmas spirit ... although she was not entirely thrilled with her new hat!

14 December 2012

Irena Sendler

I came across a post today on FaceBook about Irena Sendler and did a little searching to verify that it was a trues story and since it is and since I was moved when I read it, I thought I would share some information about this extraordinary woman.

First off the post read: (I did take out the breaks and put in paragraph form to save some space)

Look at this lady - Let us never forget!
The world hasn't just become wicked...it's always been wicked.
The prize doesn't always go to the most deserving.

Irena Sendler
Died 12 May 2008 (aged 98)
Warsaw, Poland

During WWII, Irena, got permission to work in the Warsaw ghetto, as a plumbing/sewer specialist.
She had an 'ulterior motive'. She KNEW what the Nazi's plans were for the Jews (being German).
Irena smuggled infants out in the bottom of the tool box she carried and she carried in the back of her truck a burlap sack, (for larger kids). She also had a dog in the back that she trained to bark when the Nazi soldiers let her in and out of the ghetto.  The soldiers of course wanted nothing to do with the dog and the barking covered the kids/infants noises.  
During her time of doing this, she managed to smuggle out and save 2500 kids/infants. She was caught, and the Nazi's broke both her legs, arms and beat her severely.  Irena kept a record of the names of all the kids she smuggled out and kept them in a glass jar, buried under a tree in her back yard. After the war, she tried to locate any parents that may have survived it and reunited the family.   Most had been gassed. Those kids she helped got placed into foster family homes or adopted.

Last year Irena was up for the Nobel Peace Prize.  She was not selected
Can you imagine what strength of will it took this woman to do this? Often we read stoies like this and simply say "wow" and move on with our life because we simply cannot grasp the magnitude of the situation. We cannot grasp what exactly our ancestors lived through (no she is no know relation although I do have people from Poland).
According to her obituary in the NY Times, she was the head of the children’s bureau of Zegota. Her job as a social worker allowed her access to the children and allowed her to smuggle children out of the Warsaw Ghetto after Poland fell to the Nazis in 1939. The Nazi's finally came to her and took her to Pawiak prison where she was tortured for not giving up the names of the people helping her. She managed to escape moments before her execution was scheduled to be held after her friends has bribed a guard. Even after that, Irena continued her work.
PHOTOS are from http://www.auschwitz.dk/sendler.htm a great reference site for anyone (my middle school child just did a report using this site) studying this time period.
Other suggested sites:
Irena Sendler In the Name of Their Mothers (PBS) @ http://www.pbs.org/programs/irena-sendler/
Life in a Jar: The Irena Sendler Project @ http://www.irenasendler.com/
The New York Times - when she passed in 2008 @ http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/13/world/europe/13sendler.html?_r=0

12 December 2012

ACCM Prompt: Charity or Volunteer Work

Today's ACCM prompt is charity or volunteer work. GeneaBloggers ask: Did your family ever volunteer with a charity such as a soup kitchen, homeless or battered women’s shelter during the holidays? Or perhaps were your ancestors involved with church groups that assisted others during the holiday?
My first instinct was to say no we never did soup kitchens (weren't any around to be honest) or homeless shelters (again none near us) growing up. However we did do little things helping out here and there at church. My mom and my sister wused to do stuff through their Girl Scout troop but I was never in scouts growing up. They were no tropps that met in our area and by the time there was, well I could have cared less.
So I am sad and embarrased almost to say no we never did anything holiday oriented or out of the ordinary over the holiday seasons.

11 December 2012

ACCM Prompt: Other Traditions -- Boh Predvichnyi

Today's ACCM prompt is "Other Traditions." GeneaBloggers ask: Did your family or friends also celebrate other traditions during the holidays such as Hanukkah or Kwanzaa? Did your immigrant ancestors have holiday traditions from their native country which they retained or perhaps abandoned?
I have been waiting for this prompt! One of my favorite Christmas time memories is the carolers at my Baba and Gigi's! The choir from the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Coatesville - years before I joined since mom was Catholic we grew up in the Catholic faith. It was not til 1997 when Gigi passed that I converted. - anyway the choir used to go to the parish member's house and sing carols. Years ago the choir also sang in town too, according to an old news clipping I have.
They would sing in Slavonic and I remember it was so beautiful and wished I could sing like that. Now we only hear those songs at church. One of the songs - which I just love - is Boh Predvichnyi. It means God Eternal.
Boh Predvichnyi
Boh Predvichnyi narodyvsia.
Pryishov dnes' iz nebes,
Shchob spasty liud svii vves',
I utishyvsia.
U Vyfleiemi narodyvsia,
Mesiia, Khrystos nash
I Spas nash, dlia vsikh nas
Nam nardoyvsia.
Slava Bohu zaspivaimo
Chest' Synu Bozhomu,
Hospodevi nashomu,
Poklin viddaimo.
I think one reason the carolers stand out is because it was something special. We never went out and caroled. On occassion we sang in Latin but hello I was raised Irish Catholic - who doesn't know some Latin! The carols and what one would normally refer to as hymns are also special because it connects me to my Baba and Gigi and their parents.
Baba's parents passed well before I was born so I never knew them. Gigi's father - Panko Hruszczak - passed two months before I was born. His mother - Bessie Matys Hruszczak - lived til 1972. I have a photo I love with her holding me as obviously a baby and Baba, Gigi and my dad standing over us. Sad to say though I cannot recall anything of her. (I was born in '69 ... shhh I'm only 29!)
The English of Boh Predvichnyi is below:
God Eternal
God Eternal is born today,
He came to us from heaven.
Saving people now as then,
Bringing comfort.
In Bethlehem He was born
Messiah - Our Christ,
And our Lord granting us might.
For us He was born.
Glory to God, we all sing,
Only-Begotten Son of God
And our Lord, we all laud,
Truly adoring.


10 December 2012

Matrilineal Monday: Mary Schermerhorn

Mary Schermerhorn was born in New York in 1794. She was the daughter of Jacob T (1764 - 1845) and Sarah (1775 - 1846) Shutts Schermerhorn.

On 2 April 1820 she married John W Deyoe. To him she has nine children: James, Lucinda, John Walker, Sarah, Christopher E., Hannah, Polly L., and Daniel G.

The 1850 Census lists her name as Sarah born 1796. John is head of house in 1850. Living with them at home is Hannah aged 18, Polly aged 15, Daniel ages 12, and Christopher age 10. At the time they were living in Middletown, Delaware County, New York.

The 1860 Census has her and John living with their daughter Hannah and her husband Walter George. They were in Lexington, Greene County, New York. She went by Sarah then too. The 1870 and 1880 census though list her as Mary. Both of those census also still have her living with daughter Hannah. The 1880 census however does list her as a widow.

She passed on 15 June 1881. She is buried in the Deyoe Family Cemetery.

Sadly, all I known of Mary Schermerhorn Deyoe ... so far ... is the aboove statistical and vital information. Her son Daniel married Louisa Sharp. Their son Morgan moved to Philadelphia and married Julia Coursault. They had a daughter Dorothy who married Frank Raymond Eckman. They had four children. One of whom is my husband. Hence, Mary Schermerhorn Deyoe is my great great grandmorther - in law.

ACCM Prompt: Christmas Gifts

Today's ACCM prompt is Christmas Gifts. GeneaBloggers asks: What were your favorite gifts, both to receive and to give? Are there specific gift-giving traditions among your family or ancestors?
I do not honestly recall any one gift being more or less special than any other gift growing up. There were some that stood out more than others.
One year my parents got us a small plastic toy of a Disney figure. My sister and I opened them and she was all excited. I think she got Donald Duck and I got one of the mice - Mickey I think. I sat there trying to be polite because obviously my parents were excited about this gift. Finally my sister - who is seven years younger than me - screams "Don't you get it? We're going to Disney World!" Oh!
Another year I recall getting one of those old big boombox style radios for Christmas. The only real reason I recall that particular gift is because that was the year our pipes burst on Christmas Day while we were at the grandparents. I remember us coming back and going downstairs to a squishy rug. I got the radio up on a desk down there and sat on the desk while Daddy wet vac'ed the basement and fixed up the dehumidifier.
There were no specific gift giving traditions among the family that I can recall. We always had a real tree and stockings at home.
At Baba & Gigi's (my paternal grandparents) we exchanged presents on American Christmas. I remember the two of them would simply address their presents "To my honey from your honey". Both of them wrote the same thing every year! Every year my dad and my uncle would get a box of alcohol from my Gigi as well.
At my maternal grandparents I simply recall all of us exchanging presents but nothing stands out. There were the four of us, my grandparents of course and my uncle, aunt and four cousins.

It amazes me how perspective changes over the years. The gifts really were not that important. The memories though are very important - especially with my grandparents gone and my parents ailing.

08 December 2012

Sorting Saturday

Last week I cleaned a portion - a small portion - of my desk where some files and paperwork had piled up. This week I took a different angle to Sorting Saturday. I organized and cleaned up my labels here on Genealogical Gems.

The picture at right is not the greatest but it shows some of the changed labels okay. Cemeteries are now listed as "Cemetery: Name of Cemetery" instead of the individual cemeteries spread all over the labels.

I did the same for the surnames (see left). I had realized how many surnames I have been tracing or come across over the years. I am glad I spent Sorting Saturday doing this task ... instead of waiting a few more years! Could you imagine?

I am debating if I want to do something similar with townships and cities before I acquire too many more! On the bright side - soon I will have everything sorted and organized and then I can move on to ... another Saturday topic!


ACCM Prompt: Christmas Cookies

Today's ACCM prompt from GeneaBloggers is Cookies. Growing up mom always made the cookies while we were in school or later when I was working. On rare occassion she would let me help with the decorations. I was allowed to put the Hershey Kisses in the center of some plain cookie. I was allowed to press the fork in a criss cross pattern of the peanut butter cookie. I was not allowed anywhere near the kitchen when she made the chocolate chip cookies ... probably because I would eat the batter as fast as she made it. Normally cookie making ended in her telling me to get out of her kitchen and let her do it.

My mom never liked anyone in her kitchen ... okay she didn't like ME in her kitchen. I can remember coming home from college during breaks or on the weekends and my sister was always allowed to bake or cook or whatever. Not me. On the rare occasions when I did try something I would mess it up without fail and of course we still all have to endure THOSE stories every so often.

My cooking and baking experiences at home left me not only domestically challenged but not really caring about either very much. My girls on the other hand are incredible in the kitchen. For the past few years the girls have baked cookies for our extended family as their gifts. I stayed out of their way. I shopped and I laid out the cookie trays.

07 December 2012

ACCM Prompt: Holiday Party

Today's ACCM prompt from GeneaBloggers is Holiday Parties. GeneaBloggers ask: Did your family throw a holiday party each year? Do you remember attending any holiday parties?

Short one today, folks! I do not ever remember my parents taking us to a holiday party. I do not ever remember fancy new dresses or mixers or anything. The closest would be family visits but there was nothing festive about them. I hated them. Mom would not let us take our gifts out from under the tree until her brother and his family would come visit. Then we had to show everyone what we got. I always felt like it was showing off. I was so glad when - in high school - I could use the job excuse!

Don’t Buy More ‘Stuff’: Family History Preservation Company Houstory Launches Holiday Campaign

Family history preservation company Houstory has kick-started a new marketing campaign, just in time for the holidays. Its name: “No More Stuff/Preserve. Conserve.” The company hopes the campaign will help people rethink their relationship with the things they buy and own.

“I’m sure you know a person (probably more than one) who genuinely appears to have everything they need,” said Mike Hiestand, Houstory founder. “Both sets of my pre-Boomer parents fall into this category. Often, when you ask what they need from Santa, they honestly, sincerely and kindly tell you ‘nothing.’ Because the truth is, we all reach a point — some much sooner than others — where we really don’t need more stuff. But do we listen? No.”

Instead, he said, we buy them something they really don’t need, or even want.

“Buying gifts is simply one of the ways our culture seeks to express love and other feelings during the holiday season,” Hiestand said. “So, rather than fight that natural desire, we think we have a perfect, outside-the-box — and brand new — gift idea for 2012 that balances the two sides perfectly. Rather than buying them more ‘stuff,’ give them something that will help them honor the things they already have.”

The Heirloom Registry acts something like a permanent license plate for your stuff, Hiestand said. Anyone with access to an item’s unique “license” ¬— its Heirloom Registry number — can simply go The Heirloom Registry Web site, enter the number and pull up any information about the item that a previous owner wanted to share.

The registration number is affixed to an item using custom-made durable stickers, brass and metal plates or other methods sold through the company’s Web site.

Hiestand continued: “Show you care by helping your parents or other relatives identify and share the stories of the things already in their lives that are genuinely meaningful to them (and probably to you as well), such as a family quilt; the dining room table that has been the center of family gatherings for generations; the cheap, funny looking lamp that your dad loves and your mom hates; family photos; a toy train; Bibles and scrapbooks — basically anything that might fall into the general category of a “family heirloom,” whose background and story make it more than just regular old stuff.”

By preserving these stories, he said, owners are also conserving the natural resources that went into making the items because they are identified as valuable belongings not to be tossed into the trash. For more on the campaign and to get involved, visit the Houstory Hearth Blog at http://blog.houstory.com, or follow Houstory's Facebook page.

NOTE: This article was taken from a press release by Houstory.

06 December 2012

ACCM Prompt: Santa Claus

Today's ACCM prompt from GeneaBloggers is Santa Claus. Did you ever send a letter to Santa? Did you ever visit Santa and “make a list?” Do you still believe in Santa Claus?

I do not personally recall writing Santa but I know we did. Mom thought it was great penmanship practice and it also provided her a way to know what we wanted that year. One year - mom loves to tell this story much to my sister embarassment - my sister wrote him a letter and put it in a sealed envelope and mailed it without letting mom "proof" it first.  When my parents asked her about it, she simply responded that if Santa were real then he would get it and that was all that mattered. Needless to say, she ended up being disappointed a little that year.

Coatesville used to have a Santa's Hut there on the main street (Lincoln Highway). I can remember going and waiting in line. I do not recall actually talking with him, although I'm sure I did if we stood there and waited.

05 December 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Walter G Deyoe

Walter G son of
Daniel and Louise
Deyoe died March 30
1874 Age 3 years

ACCM Prompt: Outdoor Decorations

Today's ACCM topic is Outdoor decorations. GeneaBloggers ask: Did people in your neighborhood decorate with lights? Did some people really go “all out” when decorating? Any stories involving your ancestors and decorations?

We never did outdoor decorations. Not too many indor either thinking about it. Mom was very simple. The tree always had to be a simple white ornaments with blue lights. Even the angel up top was blue and white. It was beautiful and looking back I see and appreciate the simplicity. Then though it was boring.

My favorite tradition involving outdoor decorations was our trip to Christmas Tree Lane at Longwood Gardens. (Photo at right is from Longwood Gardens).

When I was growing up, my maternal grandfather worked at Longwoods so we were always there and it was always special! They Christmas tree lane used to be outside the Gardens and used to be free. Somewhere along the years, they moved the decorations and lights inside the Gardens and so of course now they fall under the admissions.

We usually went with my cousins but there were some years I recall it being just mom, dad and my sister. At some point we stopped going but I do not recall why we drifted away from doing that.


04 December 2012

ACCM Prompt: Christmas Cards

How ironic today's prompt is Christmas Cards and I spent my dya working on mine! Growing up I remember cards coming from people I only ever heard from at Christmas. Today I found myself writing out the names of people I only send something to at Christmas.

Why? What happened to simple communication? One of my goals for the upcoming year is to be more communicative with friends and family.

As a genealogist, I love reading old family letters and gaining an insight to family I never met. What is the next generation - or the generation after that - what are they going to have or know of us? We Facebook and Tweet and stay LinkedIn with each other but letter writing ... letter writing is a skill many have lost.

So yes, I prepared 60 Christmas cards today. Each one got a family letter with updates and info about our past year. Each one I signed individually. Many I wrote a special note inside too. I had the extra pleasure of my girls helping stuff envelopes. As I mentioned a name, I would tell them how that person was related. For some I would add a short story about them. Many of the people sadly my girls do not know. They offered up the relation and a story on the ones they did know!

02 December 2012

ACCM Prompt: Holiday Foods

Today's ACCM Prompt is Holiday Foods. GeneaBloggers ask: Did your family or ancestors serve traditional dishes for the holidays? Was there one dish that was unusual?

Christmas - that is American Christmas - started off at our place with presents and stockings and mom's homemade chocolate chip coffee cake. Everything with mom was homemade when it came to baking and cooking.

Then we would go to Daddy's parents - my Baba and Gigi (Ruczhak). Baba and Gigi had two sons: my dad and my Uncle John. Both of whom have two children. So the 10 of us would open presents and spend some time together. They might be some breakfast like treat there. The real meal there would be served in January at Nativity (Ukrainian Orthodox follow the old calendar and as such our Christmas is 7 January).

We would then travel from Coatesville to Kennett Square to mom's parents. Lunch would be there. I have to admit I do not really recall what my grandmother served. It was a full house there! The four of us joined mom's brother - Uncle Tom - and his family of six there. So with just us all and of course my grandparents that would be 12. Throughout the years though other family members lived with my grandparents: my great grandfather Pierson George Still, my grandfather's brother Jim Still, my grandmother's brother Leo Welsh, their brother Gerald and a few others as well. My gransmother's most memorable holiday treat though came at St Patrick's Day. She was 100% Irish Catholic and went all out for it. It was the one time of the year all of us kids were encouraged by her to have a drink. She would make Grasshoppers for everyone ... because they were green! (Interesting side note - my grandfather was part Irish too except his side was Protestant!).

As I've gotten older the food mattered less. I do regret sometimes not always appreciating the "traditional" Christmas meal at Daddy's parents and I would love to be able to do one here for my kids one day. Guess I need to learn to cook first! Growing up tho everyone told the greatest warmest stories of Christmas dinner and Christmas Eve dinner. Come January I will write of our traditional dinner there. For now, this blog has made me hungry so I am off to find some breakfast!

National Genealogical Society to hold Family History Conference

The 2013 Family History Conference of the National Genealogical Society (NGS) will be held 8-11 May at the Las Vegas Hotel and Casino.  The Conference includes topics of interest for all levels of research. Sessions will feature DNA, migration, methodology, ethnic research, women, and the West, to name a few.  

The lecture schedule is available on the NGS website in a searchable format at: http://members.ngsgenealogy.org/Conferences/Program2013.cfm.
Over 100 exhibitors will be there Wednesday through Saturday featuring  the latest in genealogical software, online research providers, and DNA testing services.
Registration is now open for the Conference. NGS members will receive a discounted registration fee. For additional information and to register online, go to http://www.ngsgenealogy.org/cs/attendee_registration.


01 December 2012

Sorting Saturday ...

Last month - yes I do mean November, can you believe it is December already! - we rearranged our apartment when our oldest daughter moved back in. My things literally got moved in piles and boxes so I have been looking forward to today's Sorting Saturday!

First on my stack are the twins' first marking period report cards. Both did really well. I found a flyer from their 6th grade choral concert. I only found one though and they were both in it. I also found a relatively recent immunization record for my oldest daughter. Off they go to their own respective files.

I came across a list of four churches in Shenandoah. These are Roman Catholic churches, one of which I am hoping to find information on my Walsh and Keating ancestors. My Keating s - specifically Anna Keating - lived in Ringtown just down the road. At some point the Keatings moved to Shendaoah where she met and married Michael Walsh. We went up to Shendoah last summer and spoke with people  at the Greater Shendoah Area Historical Society who gave us a cemetery plot and some suggessions. Only one of the churches - Annunciation - would have been around in the 1870s. For now the list will go in Michael's folder.

What do I do with general helpful tips that cover several families? The first such paper is "How to Begin your Irish Family Research" from the Irish Genealogical Society (IGS). The mailing address for the IGS is: PO Box 16585, St. Paul, MN 55116-0585. It is dated August 1992. Most of the suggestion are pretty obvious after having done this for over 20 years. This I can actually round file. The next paper - also from the IGS - is "Sixreen Suggestions for Finding Maiden Names." Again these tips are pretty obvious for me but I think I may hold on to this momentarily so I can use it for a resource for a future article.

My goal for next year is write more genealogy related articles. That is another reason I was excited for today's Sorting Saturday. I have a notepad next to me with running article ideas!

I came across a letter from the Joseph H. Brown Lodge No. 751 dated 11 April 2009. My husband was a Master Mason there at that time but unfortunately things got tight financially and we were not able to renew his dues and his membership was suspended. I know he would like to be active again so since there is an email address on the letter, I will email them before filing in the hubby's folder.

I found some scraps of paper with notes on it about Stills. We had gone to the Chester County Archives one day awhile back and these were some extra notes that I just could not fit anywhere at that time. The first scrap is of Tavern Petitions. Henry Still is listed for 1820 through 1827 with the sole exception of 1821. His petition was in Compass in Uwchland Township, Chester County, PA. The other one is Jacob Still who petitioned a tavern in Uwchland in 1819 and again in 1821. The 1819 was noted to have been "latley in possession of John Mitchell." I also wrote down the Stills mentioned on the 1814 Tax Index: Charles in Uwchland, Charles in Vincent, and Henry in Uwchland. Henry was also noted as being a freeman. Charles is also mentioned in Uwchalnd in 1799 and another Charles in Vincent in 1785. I believe these to be two different people. Another scrap has some crime related notes. An Aaron Still had been accused of rape in August 1797. A Henry Still had been accused of having a disorderly house in May and July of 1821. Jacob Still had been accused of the same in August 1819. A disorderly house charge may have had to deal with their tavern. I believe I have connected the Henry and Jacob to my Still line. Another scrap lists an Aaron Still entered the poor house in 1829 at age 64. A Sabella Still, age 27 from Sadsbury Township, was also admitted to the poor house on 2 August 1845. It notes she was pregnant at the time. Since I do not have everyone connected, I will include these scraps in my "Other Stills" folder.

I also unearthed several magazines. I think I may solve sorting them though for another Sorting Saturday! Sadly, I did not get as far as I wanted to today but my self imposed two hour limit is over. More next Saturday!

ACCM: The Christmas Tree

This year has just simply blown through so fast! Today - 1 December - begins the Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories for Genealogy Bloggers. Today's ACCM prompt is "Christmas Tree".

Growing up we always had real trees. My uncle (mom's brother) had a Christmas tree farm in Unionville. Mom would select a tree - soft to the touch and one that did not loose its needles as fast. Daddy would walk behind and agree with whatever Mom would pick out. Occassionally he would point out that the tree was too big for our living room but normally what mom wanted, mom got!

We would always get our trees ball and wrapped so Daddy could plant them. I think the idea was to begin a privacy fence of sorts. Unfortunately we lived on a unprotected hill and the wind was fierce there. So every year Daddy would go plant our Christmas tree when the time was right, and every year the tree would turn brown and die. It got to be a bit of a joke around the development.

One year one of our neighbors - a retired older gentleman who was a sweetheart - came over one night while Daddy was at work (Daddy works swing shift at Lukens Steel Mill in Coatesville). Daddy was working 4-12 that week so he was not home. Mr Jackson - the neighbor - spraypainted the dying brown tree into this fabulous green!

Of course when Daddy came home it was dark and he was tired so he never noticed ... till it was time to go to work the next day! Mr & Mrs Jackson came over for some coffee and chat that afternoon and were still there when it was time for Daddy to go to work. He got his stuff and walked out. We heard the car door slam shut and then slam again. He came running back in all excited because he thought his tree had miraculously been saved.

Now Mr Jackson had not told anyone what he had done so everyone was astonished and admitedly very disbelieving. We all went out to see thei "miracle" and Mr Jackson just could not stop giggling. Soon he was laughing so hard that tears were rolling down his cheeks. I remember we all kind of looked at him strangely and then he took Daddy around the backside of the tree and Daddy .... got really really red. I think had it been anyone else he might have exploded but as Mr Jackson pointed out the beautiful green tree facing his car had a horrible dying brown side facing the road ... he started laughing. The two of them laughed so hard.

That was one of only two years our Christmas tree survived!