Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Writing Family Books

Hi Everyone,
Sorry to be gone so long.  Medical stuff came up and I went down!
Anyway, I am working on the Jeffery Family Book.  So far it is in chapters concerning each family per generation [I have so much info it is hard to figure out how to arrange the stories and information -ah, such travails...]  So I decided to go cronologicaly from the far back past to the current day.  Id start with John and Mary Bishop Jeffery coming from Ireland.  Then have a small blerb about each of their kids.  Then write more about the kids I know of.  Then go to the next generation and follow William and Mary Ferguson [and then Sarah Burney] Jeffery and their adventures.  And do a small bit about their kids and so on until I get to the more recent generations. 
I'm going to include pictures and illustrations.  This should be pretty nice.
The other idea I had was to invite family members to read the info and add their two cents.  There's others who know family stories or have letters and such that I don't have. So I thought it would be nice to get those bits of info in there if possible.
Then, there was finding out about the places where the Jeffery's lived at the time they lived there.  Ohio, when it was first being settled was apparently a tree covered expanse.  Old growth forest that blocked out the sun.  People who visited upper Ohio in the early to mid 1800's said it was a dark gloomy region where the only place to see some sun was where the settlers had felled many of the trees and tried to clear the land.  This is what the Jeffrey's had to do when they got to Congress, Wayne County, Ohio.

It's really fun to write about your ancestors and their lives and times.  I don't want to just collect a bunch of info to put in my family tree.  I want to know what happened to these people that were here before me.  So collecting any stories and publishing them for the next generations is where I'm at!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Family History Writing Award!

The Southern California Genealogical Society has sent an anouncment to me.  I have won top billing in their GENEii writers competition!
My narrative of Nellie Cowdrey's life during the Dust Bowl years will be published in "The Searcher."  This is the Society's research and family history journal.
The SCGS is a well organized, very helpful organization.  They have interesting information on their site for all family history researcher's, even those who do not live in Southern California.

Here is the listing of winners.  Entries come from around the world.

"Now with a drum roll and no further ado, here are the winners of the 2010 GENEii contest:

> 1st Place - Carla Garner: Farm Wife
> 2nd Place - Janet Aird: Indian Princess
> 3rd Place - Ceferino Aheuro-Baca: Fur Trader
> Honorable Mention: Barbara Randall: Meet my Great Grandpa Arthur
> Finalists - Emily Cary: Perverse Roots; Lynda Barlow: Pistol Packin' Grandma

Category 2:
> 1st Place - Joyce Roberson: Reprise
> 2nd Place - Judith Cole: Jersey Shore
> 3rd Place - Marsha Worth: Math Teacher
> Honorable Mention - Carla Garner: Eva
> Finalist - Carla Garner: Community"

Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Family History Researchers Lament

The Family History Researchers Lament
by C.Garner

Those family books where in boxes, under tables, and in files with papers flopping about.
They sat on the kitchen table and covered all the counters, forcing me to eat out.
There's census copies in my car and little note books here and there.
There's even papers I have to move,
when I want to sit in a chair.
I've got files and folders and folios,
and I've gone and filled them too.
And there's still so many relatives out there,
What's a researcher to do?
Why, make friends at the local copy shop!
Get an office supply discount card.
And buy a big ol' bookshelf.
Because quitting's awful hard.


Thursday, January 20, 2011

Family History and Cooking

Ever wonder what your ancestors ate?
I have been curious about my way-back-family's lifestyles since I first started searching for them.
Lately I've discovered the world of food historians and their research work into the world's repositories.  They have been looking for recipes made by early American's, Native and Colonizers, people from other lands and cooking as recent as the 1970's!

For some of the early Colonists on the east coast of America, learning how to plant and prepare maize [corn] from the instructions of Native Peoples, was the only thing that kept them from starving.  And did you know that Native folks in the 17th Century used controlled forest fires to prepare farm land the way we do today?
This was done "to clear their fields, drive game, and reduce insects" (Zanger, 2003).  A side effect of this was to produce habitat favorable to berries.  And they made something called "Strawberry Bread" with corn meal and sliced strawberries.
Use fine ground white corn meal, hull and dice strawberries into small pieces [don't puree].  Add one coup of cornmeal to one cup of small diced strawberries. Make a soft dough.  Add more cornmeal to get a slightly firmer dough.  Make into patties and place on wooden plank or soapstone griddle greased with bear fat [we can use a greased baking sheet in a 350 degree oven].  Cook 30 minutes, turning once around 15 minutes.
From the book, "The American History Cookbook" by Mark H. Zanger

This book is great!  It covers our food traditions here in America from the First Nations folks in the 1200's all to way to the 1970's.

The Smithsonian has had an interesting foodways book out for a while now.  The "Smithsonian Folklife Cookbook" Katherine S. and Thomas M. Kirlin 1991.
This tome follow American foodways from the early Native foods to New England, Mid-Atlantic, Southern, Upper Great Lakes, Great Plains, the West and Southwest and all the way out to The Islands.
The book explains the food history of a region and how it was affected by the influx of new immigrants over the centuries. So you can cook from recipes made by your Upper Great Lakes Cornish, Finn, German, African, Arab or Cambodian ancestors.
How about Muskrat with Corn or Spatzle or Qtayf or even Squeaky Cheeze!  In here I found Swedish recipes I remember making when I was a kid. Maybe things your grandparents cooked are in here too!

The fun cookbook to look through was "Grandma's Wartime Kitchen" by Joanne Lamb Hayes.  In this book are recipes that I remember watching my mother prepare and that I eventually started cooking for myself.  May of these WWII standards are still made in the home today.  Mac and Cheese, Baked Bean with Salt Pork and Molasses, and of course Fried Chicken.  Chicken and game meat were easier to obtain during the rationing years.  So was oleo because butter was being shipped overseas. So the home cook had to come up with new recipes to "make do" when something was rationed or there was a shortage.  They came up with many ingenious ways to cope with a lack of sugar, good cuts of meat or other foods we consider essential today.

Do you still make tuna casserole?  Canned fish was easier to get than cuts of beef back then.  How about all those jello deserts?  I still cringe when I think of that orange jello with the green beans in it.  I think everyone put everything in jello, didn't they.  Ever had Corned Beef Hash?  That was a leftover from the war years.  Sunday night folks prepared nice big meals if they had enough ration coupons.  Then Monday the family knew they could expect a meal made from meat leftovers that had been "hashed" or chopped up fine and mixed with diced potatoes.  We had to use everything because food was just hard to come by.  With today's food prices, I bet people are going to have to start thinking of clever ways to use up leftovers from meals.
What kinds of foods did your ancestors eat?  Do you have any family recipes that can be passed down to descendants?  How about cooking stories to leave behind with your family history?

Doing it a Little Different - Family History Research

I know, I haven't been here a while.  Life has a way of interfering with our fun, eh?  Finding jobs, finding places to live, getting the daily necessities.   Kinda' like what our ancestors faced on a daily basis.
Still, even when vast amounts of things are being thrown my way, I still try and cram in a little research for a few minutes a day.  Especially rewarding is finding out special info on how my way back family members lived and dealt with the problems of their daily lives.
And I've made a few interesting discoveries about the ancestors on my mother's side.

They weren't very obedient souls and didn't feel it necessary to to do everything the way everyone else does.
Kinda' like me!  Not for me is the collecting of names and dates only.  I am looking for information about the people and the way they lived.  Why did they decide to do the things they did?  What was it like to live when and where they did?  Out there on the world wide web are repositories and blogs with photos and notes that put my people and their places in context.  And it's easy to find.  Just Google your ancestor's name and maybe a date but be sure to write "genealogy" in with your other search information. You can come up with all kinds of family history goodies!

  Fortunately, many other family history researchers have posted their notes online.  From my Google searches I've been able to find a book referring to my ancestors on Google Books or Internet Archive.  Internet Archive is great because the books and other scanned objects are past their copyright and can be downloaded in their complete form.
Then there are the blogs and web pages where others have posted photos when they have traveled to historic places, like Cogswell's Grant.  This is land in Essex, Mass “Granted to Mr. John Cogswell 300 acres of land at the further Chebokoe…” Chebokoe was an early name for the Essex River.
Here is a photo of the Essex River from Cogswell's Grant posted by Sue on her blog "Life Looms Large."
I may not get to go out to visit Cogswell's Grant for a while, so it's nice to be able to see pics and info about the places my ancestors lived.

Then there's the things they did, like being fined for falling asleep in church!  My many times great grandfather Samuel Bennett "...were presented in court for being 'Common sleepers in church' and fined each two shillings and a sixpence."  This happened in 1644 in Essex Mass and you can read more about Samuel Bennett and family on the Phillip Roach Heritage page on Family Tree Maker's Home Pages.
Phillip Roach did a great job with his family tree notes and was kind enough to post them for the rest of us to read. All I did to find this was write "Samuel Bennett Rhode Island" in Google search and I learned something interesting about an ancestor.
Here we have "The Bennett Family: 1628 - 1910" from the Internet Archive.  This is a down loadable book.  The nice thing about this is the family genealogist can download and read later or print out the pertinent pages they might find.
Go to Internet Archive, and in their search window select "American Texts" and write in the family name you are looking for.

And then there was Robert Wheaton...
“Robert was a very strong Baptist, and it was because he would not or did not agree with the Puritan way that he was considered a rebel. He had landed in Salem,  where ‘his independence of thought and speech made him enemies who finally drove him from  the town as a ‘pestilential fellow.’”  
Robert Wheaton moved on until he eventually became one of the founders of Rehoboth, Bristol County, Mass.
These and many more goodies are listed in the pages of "Descendants of Robert WHEATON"

 I've used this search method to fill out my family history and learn more about my ancestors then I thought possible at the beginning of my family search twenty-five years ago.
So, I know that doing things differently than the normal route can lead to new thinking and new discoveries.  So try a new search today!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Eva Jeffery homesteads in South Dakota!

Made a discovery while I was searching for Dad's Jeffery relatives [we're looking in Ohio, Wisconsin and Nebraska].  His great-great-grandfather John Jeffery had a couple of half sisters that decided to homestead in south Dakota late in the 1800's!
Turns out that Eva's sister Mary Ann married Francis DeVoe and that may have been the reason Eva went up to Dakota Territory.  Because her sister and brother-in-law went.  Turns out that Francis DeVoe's brother George homesteaded land right next door to Francis and Mary Ann.  Eva was just a little bit aways in the same section.
So, how did I find all this out?
Well, a great aunt left her genealogy notes from when they where searching out family facts in the 1960's.  And one of these notes mentioned that the Jeffery girls came out to Nebraska and then went to South Dakota to homestead near Yankton.  That was all it said though!
Here these two women went off and did something women wern't supposed to be capable of doing.  Survived on a claim up in the Dakota Territory.  That would mean living ruder than folks down in the States.  The weather up there could be harsh.  Droughts, freezing winters, blizzards - all kinds of fun stuff!  And Eva went up and stayed on her own claim, no man around [she never did marry].
So, it was time to hit the Dakota Territory census and the BLM GLO records.
the BLM patent search has a new setup now, with a few more fun tools.  And even though Eva Jeffery's homestead patent hasn't been indexed yet [therefore no image of the paperwork available yet], it does have this neat interface to look on a map and find just where our ancesters homestead was!
So, there's all the BLM info for Eva's homestead and a little map of the section and where it sits in today's world.  From this info a person can write to the National Archives to get the land patent info or to the local historical / genealogical society to find out more about and ancestor that made such a brave move [I chose the latter - I hope to get a little more info about Eva's life on the homestead, and if I'm lucky, they might be able to lead me to some photos!]

From the 1880 Yankton Dakota Territory census, it looks like Eva [called Rachel in some census] supported herself as a school teacher and lived with her sister's family until she could get her own claim [which is about right because the BLM records say she filed on her claim in October of 1882].
So there's more to look for.
In this same census we can see that their mother, Sarah Jeffery was living with the family also. It seems from the records that Eva Jeffery and her sister's family stayed in South Dakota for about twenty years and then moved to Deer Park, Washington.  Well, what was in Washington that brought on such a change in living places?
Sarah Burney Jeffery is buried next to her husband William Jeffery in the Rose Hill Cemetery in Waverly, Lancaster County, Neb.  I surmise that she died in Yankton and that not long after, her girls moved to Washington State.
Now to find out what was out west!

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Family History Researchers Lament

The Family History Researchers Lament
by C.Garner
Those family books where in boxes, under tables, and in files with papers flopping about.
They sat on the kitchen table and covered all the counters, forcing me to eat out.
There's census copies in my car and little note books here and there.
There's even papers I have to move,
when I want to sit in a chair.
I've got files and folders and folios,
and I've gone and filled them too.
And there's still so many relatives out there,
What's a researcher to do?
Why, make friends at the local copy shop!
Get an office supply discount card.
And buy a big ol' bookshelf.
Because quitting's awful hard.