01 December 2010

I love my new iPhone

So my husband and I recently bought new cell phones and we decided on getting the iPhone 3GS (because it is $100 cheaper than the new iPhone 4). I really wanted it because of the apps, especially the ones that could be used for genealogy. 

The first app I added (after Facebook) was the Ancestry.com Tree to Go. You can take pictures from your phone and add them directly to the tree. The photos that you've already added to your tree via the internet come out very clear on the phone as well. It shows events and research notes as well. My main use for this will be for reference if I'm out and about and the opportunity to do some research presents itself. It's also good for research trips so that I don't have to lug around my laptop. The downside is that you are not able to review your sources, such as census records. Ancestry.com does not have regular iPhone app either so that you can do searches on your phone. You can always go through the internet browser (Safari) though. I don't see myself doing a whole lot of research on it because it is a small screen. It is more for convenience sake and it's pretty neat since the app is free.

The other genealogy specific app I installed was the Families by TelGen Limited. It is specifically set up for a family tree from the Legacy Genealogy Software. I had to download a sync program to my computer, but once I did that it was very quickly added to my phone. My entire family tree at my fingertips! The photos looked great, but the most exciting thing was that all my sources, including images, were available! I was able to look directly at the birth certificates and other records added to my tree right on my cell phone! You can edit and make changes to the tree on your phone, including adding media, and it will sync back with the tree on your PC. Love it! This one was not free. It was $14.99 + tax, but it was worth every penny!

Two other apps I added that can be used for genealogy purposes were Evernote and an app called CamScanner. Both of these are free so that is a bonus. The CamScanner has a full version that you can buy, but right now I have only started using the "light" version. It basically turns your phone into a scanner. You take a picture of something (i.e. a document or a photo). It scans the image and you can either email it to yourself or upload it to Dropbox.com, Google Docs, or even Evernote. It has a couple of other options to upload to as well and the full version may have more. This is perfect for those family members who won't let you leave with photos. It would also be great for scanning documents in a library. I tested it on a photocopy I took of a book in a library. It came out great! 

I'm all set with all these tools to make researching easier... now I just need some extra time to do some research! Where's the app for that?

Wordless Wednesday

Arlene Rienerth, ca 1970's
This is a photo of my grandmother, Arlene. She passed away before I was born and I love this photo because it gives me a glimpse into her sense of humor.

Advent Calendar - The Christmas Tree

Oh, the Christmas tree... what a great place to start since setting up the tree and decorating it is what officially begins the Christmas season!

When I was growing up, we always had a real tree, though I don't remember how I felt about  the experience of having a real tree. I don't remember picking one out that we thought was perfect, driving it home, smelling the pine (a scent that I don't care for), and happily decorating it with ornaments. What I remember most about having a real tree were the pine needles... they pricked me as I was decorating, walking by, or if I just looked at the tree wrong. The tree shed its needles like a dog sheds fur. They were all over the floor, the furniture, me. It seemed to have a never ending supply of needles to drop on the floor.

I was responsible for cleaning them, which could explain my very fixed memory. I'm sure I didn't have to do so when I was younger, but I don't remember those times. I vacuumed after the tree was set up. I vacuumed every couple of days when the tree shed more needles... and then again... and then again... whenever a newly wrapped present was added... whenever the tree was watered...

After Christmas came the epitome of pine needles... when the tree was dried up and pretty much dead. It seemed as though the tree was attempting to get rid of every last needle before we could get rid of it! And there I was... vacuuming away.

Needless to say, as an adult, I do not buy real trees. It is all fake for me! I'm so happy pulling it out of its box and putting it up and I'm happy breaking it down and putting it back in its box after New Years. I am forgiving  when the wire branches sometimes poke me and when I still have to vacuum up relatively few "pine needles"!! I'm just grateful to have a non-shedding, scentless, never drying up and turning yellow tree. The cons of a fake tree are nothing compared to the magnitude of a childhood memory.

My beautiful well-loved fake Christmas tree in all its glory!
~ Just one little memory of Christmas trees... it had a bumpy start, but I love happy endings! ;)

08 March 2010

Fearless Females - Women's History Month Prompt #8

March 8 — Did one of your female ancestors leave a diary, journal, or collection of letters? Share an entry or excerpt.

Unfortunately, there are no diaries or letters in my family that I personally am aware of. I'm not sure if they just weren't written or if they weren't saved.
My mother kept these "Country Diaries" for a few years. They are those diaries that you could order through the mail and there is a small box for each day of the month. She would just write little excerpts, mainly about us kids. I have all of them, even the ones that she only wrote a couple of entries in.
Here is one entry on March 6, 1984:
"Monica says she now has 8 boyfriends. What is she going to do with all those boys? She wants to marry Chris H. Daddy is still working too many hours. Chris still lives in never-never land. Mommy found another job, more interesting. ... Monica's feet are in my face!"
That's hilarious... most of the entries are random little tidbits like this one, but they are fun to look back on! As the years progressed, I started adding little entries in. I tried to do these books again a couple of years ago, but I don't have the discipline to enter something in every day. Looking at them makes me want to try again though!

Fearless Females - Women's History Month Prompt #7

March 7 — Share a favorite recipe from your mother or grandmother’s kitchen. Why is this dish your favorite? If you don’t have one that’s been passed down, describe a favorite holiday or other meal you shared with your family.

In all honesty, I am unable to think of a favorite recipe passed down. It does not appear that we had "family recipes" that were passed down through the generations, which is unfortunate. My maternal grandmother was Portuguese so I'm sure she learned some of those dishes as a child. She had a couple of dishes that she said were Portuguese: Portuguese beans and Portuguese tear bread. I could not confirm the authenticity of them though.
I do know that everyone in my family loved these "Portuguese beans"... except me. I believe they were just cooked beans (I can't remember the kind) and were served in a pile with broken up cornbread. And ketchup. Doesn't sound very authentic! ;) I never liked them though. I recently borrowed a Portuguese cookbook from the library and made a kale soup. It was good, but I'm not a huge soup fan and my son was a little wary of the green soup.
One thing that we all love though on that side of the family is linguica, a Portuguese sausage. I am always trying to find it in the stores and add it to recipes. We cook it up for breakfast, put it in our spaghetti, and have added it to other pasta dishes. My children love it and I can't seem to get enough of it!
There aren't any German/Dutch (paternal) recipes passed down that I'm aware of. My dad is a creative cook and makes up a lot combinations of things to put together. The two that I have continued doing myself are Velveeta and onion sandwiches and a peanut butter sandwich with hot cauliflower. Just writing those two sandwiches down make me want to have one of each!
Personally, I have perfected recipes for both homemade refried beans and homemade salsa (after many, many batches of each of them!). I will definitely be passing these recipes down to my own children.

Fearless Females - Women's History Month Prompt #6

March 6 — Describe an heirloom you may have inherited from a female ancestor (wedding ring or other jewelry, china, clothing, etc.) If you don’t have any, then write about a specific object you remember from your mother or grandmother, or aunt (a scarf, a hat, cooking utensil, furniture, etc.)

I'm lucky enough to have received several items from my female ancestors!
I inherited a quilt made by my paternal grandmother, Arlene. My parents had possession of it and it was passed nonceremoniously down to me when my parents divorced. It is a pink and white quilt and I'm not sure the reason why it was made.
I also received a pitcher that my aunt made. It is blue and white and beautiful. It was made for my parents and was given to me by my mother.
One other thing I received was a Bride Doll from my mother. It was her favorite doll that she received when she was 5 years old. She gave it to me when I was 5 years old. I loved it so much then and would just stare at it. It sits in a box in my closet now and the dress needs some repair, but maybe I will pass it down to my daughter when she is 5!
The last item I'm sharing is a painting done by my maternal grandmother, Helen. She used to love the Joy of Painting guy. She never had any formal lessons, but decided one day to try out painting. She was actually pretty amazing! When my step-grandfather passed away recently, we found a bunch of her paintings. Luckily there were enough for all of us to have one, including my son who has one hanging in his room.

Fearless Females - Women's History Blogging Prompt #5

March 5 — How did they meet? You’ve documented marriages, now, go back a bit. Do you know the story of how your parents met? Your grandparents?

My parents met through my mom's sister and her husband. My dad was her husband's best friend. They fell in love and were married three months later. Unfortunately, their marriage only lasted another 17 years before they were divorced.
My paternal grandparents met in a similar way (we think). They met on a double date with one of his relatives. That's all I know about them.
I have no idea how my maternal grandparents met! She was 15 and still in high school and he was 23 and I'm not sure how he was even connected to the area (California). She dropped out after only completing 10th grade to marry him (1948-1949) and had her first child by the time she was 16. Unfortunately, the same goes for my maternal great-grandparents. I need to find out more information!

Fearless Females - Women's History Daily Blogging Prompts #4

March 4 — Do you have marriage records for your grandparents or great-grandparents? Write a post about where they were married and when. Any family stories about the wedding day? Post a photo too if you have one.

Herman and Arlene Rienerth, ca 1946
I have marriage records for my paternal grandparents and for my paternal great-grandparents. Unfortunately, I don't know any stories behind them. That would be something for me to investigate, I guess. My grandparents, Herman Rienerth and Arlene Hetrick, were married on December 21, 1946 in Mahoning County, Ohio. It is difficult to tell whether they were married in a church and had a traditional wedding. The certificate is signed by a Rev. Donald F. Alber. Their license was granted on the same day so I'm not sure if this is an indication of anything. I do not have any wedding photos, but this picture was taken around that time.

Norman Hetrick and Florence Brickman, were married on July 3, 1919 in Mahoning County, Ohio. They were married by J.H. Graf, Pastor. The record does not indicate whether they were married in a church, but the application was dated the same day as their marriage. Their first child was born on 01 Jan 1920, so she was about 3 months pregnant at the time of this marriage. They were divorced some time after their 2nd child was born in 1922 as they were both living with their parents by the 1930 US Federal Census with their marital status marked as Divorced.

04 March 2010

Fearless Females - Women's History Month Daily Blogging Prompts - March 3

March 3 — Do you share a first name with one of your female ancestors? Perhaps you were named for your great-grandmother, or your name follows a particular naming pattern. If not, then list the most unique or unusual female first name you’ve come across in your family tree.

I have yet to find any ancestors with my name, Monica. I know that I was not named after anyone. My mother just liked the name.
My side of the family tree was not very creative in the naming of their girls. A lot of common names. My favorite one though is of my maternal great-grandmother, Lena. I know this was not an unusual name at the time, but I had never heard of it before. Of course now, it jumps out at me whenever I am perusing through names. I just think it's so pretty. It was not a nickname either as far as I know. Although she did name two of her girls Helen (first was an infant that died; the second was my grandmother born later), which could possibly be a variation of her full name. I have yet to find anything that actually states that though.
There was also a Tryphena in there on my paternal side. That's a name I hadn't heard before and I don't hear nowadays.
My husband's family tree has a couple of different names: Alois and Evadne. Also, my step-grandfather's family line has Lulu and Rilla. These are all unusual to me.

Fearless Females - Women's History Month Daily Blogging Prompts - March 2

March 2 — Post a photo of one of your female ancestors. Who is in the photo? When was it taken? Why did you select this photo?

This is a picture of my grandmother, Helen. I'm not sure when this photo was taken, but I believe it was taken while she was still living in California because the background doesn't look like it belongs in Tucson. If so, the picture would be dated before 1957 as that was when she moved to Tucson.

I chose this photo because it fascinates me what my ancestors were like when they were younger and before I knew them. I love to study the details not only of the focus person, but also what is going on in the background. Who is taking this picture? Had she already met my step-grandfather? She looks like she is dressed for work and I know she was a waitress. I also know that is how they met. I love her 50's hair and the bows in it. I also love her little purse (or maybe lunchbox?). She looks a tad tired in this picture and has her arm around her belly in what seems like a protective way. There seems to be a slight bulge, so I wonder if she is pregnant in this picture. And if she is, which of her 5 children is she pregnant with? My guess would be that it would be her 5th child and that would date this picture around early 1957. I am guessing it is her 5th because she looks older in this picture than she does in previous pictures with her other children. However, it is only a guess. :)

Fearless Females - Women's History Month Daily Blogging Prompts - March 1

I decided to participate in these blogging prompts, but I'm a little behind, so I'm going to try to catch up. :)

March 1 — Do you have a favorite female ancestor? One you are drawn to or want to learn more about? Write down some key facts you have already learned or what you would like to learn and outline your goals and potential sources you plan to check.

Honestly, I don't know enough about my female ancestors to really have a favorite at this time. The two I am currently most curious about though are both my maternal and paternal grandmothers. Both of them are no longer living. My paternal grandmother died before I was born and my maternal grandmother in 2003. While I am interested in aspects of my maternal grandmother's life, such as the reason behind the things she's done, I am more curious about my paternal grandmother, Arlene.

She was born in North Lima, Ohio in 1922. She was the second girl born in her family and her parents divorced sometime in the next 8 years after she was born. She lived with her grandparents and aunt for an unknown time period. Her mother remarried, but I have not obtained that information as of yet. It is unknown if she had any other half-siblings. I don't know much about her. What I do know is that she attended school, but it is unknown if she graduated. She enlisted in the Navy during World War II, but I am unsure as to what job she did. Through a relative, I was able to discover that she was very proud of serving in the military. She befriended a woman there and through mutual friends, met her husband. They both married late in life for that time period, her being 24 and my grandfather being 35 years old. She was a Lutheran, but it is unknown whether this was her religion before she met my grandfather or if she converted. I have heard that she laughed a lot and was a very nice person. She had two boys, both born in Youngstown, Ohio.

In 1961, she moved with her little family to Tucson, Arizona. Shortly after that, she appeared in a newspaper article asking whether she would be purchasing a new Easter outfit that year. She answered that she would not as she only buys when she needs things. She also mentions that she does not spend her husband's money unless she has to and she felt sorry for other husbands (Tucson Daily Citizen, March 30, 1963). This shows she was frugal, something we have in common!

She died in 1976 from cancer. Unfortunately, my grandfather threw out a lot of pictures of her in his grief. I had only seen one picture of her shortly before she died until recently. A relative on my dad's side that I found on Ancestry.com sent me photos of her when she was younger. I was surprised to see a picture of a young woman that resembles me! It's amazing how emotional I get over that. I grew up knowing very little about my dad's side of the family because it was just never talked about... and I was too young to ask, I guess. Finding a whole new line of people and families that belong to me is what started my passion for genealogy in the first place! So I'm most curious about this woman who looks like me that I've never met. 


I have lots to learn about this woman and that whole line. I've only recently decided to focus on this line, so I have lots of work to do. I want to know more about her life in Ohio, her schooling, and her military career. I'm hoping that my dad will open up about her so I can try to get to know her personality. I will attempt to locate church records and school records. I'm hoping to find a yearbook(s) for the time period she was in school. I will be focusing on completing the "skeleton" of her life by using a timeline and completing the collection of the vital records. Then I will attempt to add the meat! 

My dad managed to find some photographs that weren't destroyed. He also gave me a copy of a home video of when he was a boy! There is no audio, but I will take it! I would love to eventually visit the place she grew up and where her family is from (mainly Mahoning County, Ohio). Ultimately, my plan is to make a family history album/scrapbook with records, stories, and photographs. She will be one of my first stories.

01 March 2010

52 Weeks to Better Genealogy - Week #9

Geneabloggers and Amy Coffin of We Tree are hosting a weekly contribution to our genealogy blogs. I am receiving the notifications via Facebook and every week I look at them and think about how I'd like to participate... and then I click "Not attending." In an effort to get back into my own genealogy, I am going to attempt to participate a little more!

I have been subscribing to the genealogy lessons that are emailed to me free of charge from USA Family Tree. To be quite honest, I'm only reading them sporadically. I happened to read the one emailed to me most recently and it suggests picking a line and focusing on that; quality, not quantity. I know this is obvious, but I obviously needed a reminder of that since most of the time I feel like I'm all over the place. I've decided that I'm going to focus on my paternal line and specifically the paternal line in Ohio, since there seems to be a lot of potential information there and it is the line that is most interesting to me at this time. I feel excited again!

This week's challenge is to find 5 blog sites that you don't already read and read them for 5 days. I've decided to go the route of finding blog pages that may help me in my own interests: Ohio and continuing education in the subject of genealogy. I've chosen the following:

1. Exploring Almost Forgotten Gravesites in Ohio ~ I chose this one because of locality, but also because cemeteries fascinate me for some reason.

2. Ohio's Yesterdays ~ This one looks like it will have some interesting stories about the people and places in Ohio.

3. The Educated Genealogist ~ This one I picked mainly for the title. :)

4. Arlene Eakle's Genealogy Blog ~ Hoping to learn some things from this one.

5. Geneapprentice ~ I chose this one because the author is pursuing a career in genealogy and is taking classes. Thought it might be interesting.