30 May 2011

Military Monday - Happy Memorial Day

Today is a time to remember all the soldiers who fought and died for our freedom as well as their families who worried, prayed for, and sometimes lost them.

Here is my own little tribute to the soldiers in my life...

My Dad ~ Vietnam War
Herman Rienerth ~ World War II ~ US Army
Arlene Hetrick Rienerth ~ World War II ~ MAM3 US Navy

Richard L Throp ~ US Army
Gary O. Palmer ~ US Navy
Joseph G. Lucas ~ World War I & II ~ US Army
Richard Perry (left) ~ US Navy
Ed Perry ~ US Army
Al Perry ~ US Navy
Karl Rienerth ~ World War II ~ POW ~ US Army
Roy E. Brickman ~ World War I Casualty ~ US Army
John Barrows ~ US Air Force
Thank you to my family mentioned here and to all the other soldiers out there who have served our country and  protected the safety of my family!

25 May 2011

Wordless Wednesday -

Herman Rienerth
 This is my grandfather, Herman Rienerth, born 1911 in Youngstown, Ohio. I am unsure of the date or location, however, am guessing that it is sometime in the 1940s, most likely after he was discharged from World War II. This photo amuses me because of the way he's standing. He always seemed so serious when I was growing up, so this pose almost looks comical to me. It could be because he makes me think of Indiana Jones with his hat and jacket.

© copyright Monica Palmer, 2011

24 May 2011

Tombstone Tuesday - Antoinette Frantel (1877-1956)

Antoinette P. Frantel grave marker
Antoinette P.
Antonia (tombstone lists her as Antoinette) Prochazka Capek Frantel was born 1877 (according to her grave marker) in Bohemia. She immigrated to America when she was 17 and married Joseph Capek, also from Bohemia. She had two daughters with him and then lost him in 1908 to influenza. Five years later, she lost her youngest daughter, Antonia, as well. She remarried Leo Frantel and moved to Elmira, New York where she spent the rest of her days. She now rests in Woodlawn Cemetery in Elmira, NY.

Source: Antoinette P. Frantel tombstone, Section BB, Woodlawn Cemetery, Elmira (Chemung County), New York; read and photographed by the writer, 26 Jun 2010. 
© copyright Monica Palmer, 2011

20 May 2011

Family Recipe Friday - The Old Cookbook

When my step-grandfather passed away, all the items in his and my predeceased grandmother's house had to be taken care of. There was a sense of urgency surrounding the event because not all of us lived there to take care of things at our leisure. A huge pile was made at the front of the house of things that would be donated. I'm not sure who decided what was worth keeping and what was worth getting rid of; I'm sure it was a collaboration of efforts. It was one of those times where I wish I had the money to rent a storage locker and just put everything in there so that I could go through it more slowly.

1935 Better Homes & Gardens Cookbook
I managed to go through the donation pile a little before it was all taken away and I thank goodness that I did. While I admit that most of it was probably not worth keeping, I did find two Better Homes and Gardens Cookbooks (I think all of us have our own copy of this cookbook). One was published in 1935 and the other in the 1950's. I kept the one from 1935 and my cousin's 12 year old daughter kept the other one because she loves to cook.

The 1935 version is too old to have been purchased new by my grandmother (she was born in 1933), so I like to think that it was her mother's and she kept it as her own when she started her own family. On the other hand, it could have been purchased by her years later at a yard sale for she was an avid "yard-saler." The sentimental side of me likes to think it's the former. Regardless, there are handwritten recipes included in this 1935 version that I believe are hers (I compared the handwriting to some samples I have of hers).
The first page of the cookbook. Notice the handwritten recipes on the side.

Unfortunately, I do not know if she made these recipes up or if she copied them from somewhere  else, but I will be posting them here.

I will start with a short recipe that was found on the Table of Contents card at the front of the book (see above picture). I will transcribe the handwriting to the best of my ability.

Rolls ~ 3 pans
2 qt Milk, scalded and cooled
1/2 lb yeast
1 cup sugar
2 hands full salt
1 cup shortening
Unfortunately, there are no cooking instructions to go along with this, just ingredients. I'm sure she knew how long to cook it and probably didn't feel the need to write it down for herself. She probably would have thought me silly for posting her recipes on the internet anyway.

© copyright Monica Palmer, 2011

17 May 2011

The Elusive Second Marriage

[Note: I am not including any names in this post to protect the privacy of living individuals.]

My grandmother married an unknown man between my biological grandfather and my step-grandfather. The marriage was short, according to the children, lasting only about six months. None of the children seem to remember his name, however, there is a sense of mystery and gloom surrounding this person.

In my search to find a marriage record for my grandmother and biological grandfather, I had come up empty on the online sources for California. On FamilySearch.org I tried the database California, County Marriages, 1850-1952. I had no luck, so I moved on to Ancestry.com's "California Marriages, 1850-1960." This database indicated that it was not inclusive of all the counties and even though the source information cited the time period as 1850-1960, the title of the database was "California Marriages, 1850-1877." I did a search anyway, but wasn't surprised when I had no results.

Knowing that my grandmother was under 18 when she got married, I thought that maybe they ventured over to Reno or Las Vegas and decided to check the Ancestry.com "Nevada Marriage Index, 1956-2005." To be honest, I didn't even look at the dates on the database and I'm glad that I didn't! If I had, I would have disregarded the database altogether because my grandmother married my grandfather sometime in the mid to late 1940s.

I decided to search through the index manually instead of entering in his last name so that way I could get a look at all of the people with the same last name. As I was scanning through them, I found, to my surprise, an entry with my grandmother's full married name (first husband). Could this be the elusive second husband?? The index was difficult to read, but if the indexed date was correct, the timing would be perfect as it fit neatly between her first and third marriage, which spanned between two years!

I quickly went to the Clark County (NV) Recorder's Office website and found the same record on their marriage search website. It took a bit of adjusting some of the settings, but it finally came up. You can order the certificate right online, but alas, I have to wait until the next payday to order mine. Then I will have to wait until the order is processed! Even though I hate waiting, it will be exciting to check the mail every day! I will write more about this when the record is received. This certificate could be the answer to some of the questions my family has about this mysterious second marriage. 
© copyright Monica Palmer, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday - Mary/Maria S Perry (1899-1990)

Mary S. Perry 1899-1990 
 Mary S. (Pintor) Perry (listed as Maria in the cemetery's records) was the second wife of my great-grandfather William J. Perry. After his first wife, Lena, died in childbirth, she married William and helped him raise his seven children. It is unknown at this time whether they had any more children together, however, based on the information I do have, it is unlikely. She rests next to William in Lompoc Evergreen Cemetery.

Lompoc Evergreen Cemetery (Lompoc, Santa Barbara, California), Mary S. Perry marker, Catholic Cemetery, Lot 257, Grave 11; personally read and photographed, 15 Sep 2008. 
© copyright Monica Palmer, 2011

15 May 2011

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History - Fame

My big brush with fame came early on in life. I, of course, don't remember any of it. Apparently, I was the "Youngest Runner in the 1983 Canyon Ranch Fitness Marathon." I was five years old. My mom was always a big jogger and probably convinced me that it would be fun. I really was not an athletic child and I didn't like physical activities, so I either didn't understand what I was getting myself into or someone helped me make my decision. It appears that the whole family participated in it though from the few pictures I have of the event, so maybe I just didn't want to be left out.
#535 about to make some history!

There was a segment on the local news about the event that included a bit on the youngest runner and the oldest runner. I was the youngest. I can't remember who won the prize for the oldest. My mom taped the news show, but unfortunately it has gone MIA somewhere along the way. I do remember watching it in my later childhood years because I remember being embarrassed by how stupid I was (I must have been in middle school because who else would think a 5 year old is stupid, but a preteen). My mom also embarrassed me (another sign of a preteen) by saying on television (gasp!) about how I "stopped to look at every bug and rock along the way. Hahahahah!" I think that's pretty funny now too, but not when I was watching it.

I sure do wish we still had the video of that news segment as it would be fun to show the kids now how their mom was a big celebrity at the age of five. The only real proof I have that it ever happened is the two photos of before and after and also because my mommy said so right here in my School Days Memory Book!

© copyright Monica Palmer, 2011

13 May 2011

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History - Bedroom

Week 19. Bedroom. Describe your childhood bedroom. What furniture did it contain? Were there curtains, wallpaper or paint? Was it messy or clean? Did you share a room with your siblings?

My childhood bedroom was the old master bedroom in the house that I grew up in. My dad built a new master bedroom onto the house and my brother and I drew straws over who got to have the old master bedroom. The room itself wasn't that much bigger, but it had a large bathroom with double sinks, a standing shower, and a separate bathtub. It was pretty nice for a kids' bathroom.

When I was in elementary school, my bed was a white, almost resin-like four poster bed with gold trim. I had the matching dresser. I loved it. My mom made me a comforter and a canopy for the bed. I felt so fancy sleeping in it! I had shelves on the wall full of dolls and stuffed animals. I had the old-school boombox for listening to the radio and tapes. And books. Books were always part of the picture! I don't remember that many of them actually belonging to me. I was that person that checked out the limit of 60 books at a time.

I was such a packrat! I had old letters sent from friends during class. Every. Single. One. Even if it just said "Hi." I kept gifts given to me, even little trinkets that really shouldn't have been saved. I had such a hard time getting rid of anything because I was and am a sentimental person. (Side Note: Luckily I am able to let go of things more easily now, but it wasn't until a few years ago that I finally donated all those stuffed animals. I had them stored in my grandpa's shed the entire time! Yikes! I kept one duck from when I was a baby and let my son pick one out; the rest of them went to Goodwill.)

Every weekend I had to do chores, which included cleaning my room. I was not a clean child. I had many, many, MANY stuffed animals that I couldn't bear to part with that never seemed to stay on the shelf, every My Little Pony there ever was (should have kept that collection!), cassette tapes all over the place, clothes never put away, and miscellaneous odds and ends all shoved into my closet. Most of the time my idea of cleaning was shoving it... into the closet, into drawers, under my bed.  I would spend all day in my room "doing my chores." It consisted of me reading until about 30 minutes before I was supposed to have it done and then frantically running around shoving things into places.

My parents like to tell a story about how one year they were cleaning out my closet (each one tells the story as if they were the only person in there slaving away at my awful closet) right before school was about to start and they found an sandwich in my closet... from the previous school year. I would go on to say that they were just exaggerating, but it was probably true! :)

© copyright Monica Palmer, 2011

Are All Genealogists Perfectionists... Or Is It Just Me?

Why is that every time I make some headway on my data entry, I find some new and improved way to do it? In my efforts to do my family tree "right," I've restarted my family tree file three times!

My first effort, I will admit, was plagued with errors. I was using Family Tree Maker 2008, then 2009, and I was just throwing information on my tree at an almost feverish pace. At the same time, I was reading books about how to do genealogy and realized that I wasn't carefully sourcing everything I was putting on my tree. It was right about this time that I went to my first Family History Expo and realized there are a bunch of genealogy software programs to choose from! I switched over to Legacy and have not regretted that decision since.

Having said that, I didn't know how to use my software to its full potential. Even though I read the manual, I didn't really know what I was doing. I must admit that I love entering information in all the little fields; there is something so satisfying to me to fill in a blank. However,  I can definitely get carried away. I had information all over the place with no citations and I knew that wasn't right. So I threw the whole file out and decided to start over.

This time I went through and started slowly adding everyone in with citations, etc. I was on a different paper filing system then and it was frustrating me how quickly I was going through index tabs (numbering system). I was so (overly, I think) meticulous in the beginning, but then slowly that changed. I have a hard time with difficult records to source. I have multiple obituaries that I scanned from my mother-in-law that have no dates or newspaper information on them. I don't know how those would be sourced. Do I go to the library and try to find it? Or do I put the information in as is and cite it as being her collection? These little questions would irritate me, so I put it off (procrastination is a symptom of perfectionism).

I started reading DearMYRTLE's organization series this year and I decided I like her filing system better than mine. So I went through and changed my hard copy filing system as well as my digital filing system to match. This caused disconnections to every record that I digitally attached to my family tree. For some reason, the thought of going back through and correcting all the errors made me want to put aside my genealogy fun for about a week. I couldn't move forward and cringed at moving back.

This brings me to the other night. I watched Geoff Rasmussen's (pretty amazing and very informative) webinar on archive called "Watch Geoff Live: Adding a Death Certificate" and loved his method of adding a record into his family tree. I got a glimpse of how neat and organized his sources looked and wanted mine to be that pretty too! He wouldn't even click on the "save" button for an event in his family tree without first adding the source! I am guilty of doing this more times than I want to admit. I figure I will add the source later. Most of the time I do, but sometimes I don't and I look at a piece of information and wonder where it came from.

So I played with the idea (AGAIN!) of starting a whole new one, but this time only adding in information based on records that I had in my hand. If I didn't have a piece of evidence, I didn't put it in my tree and the source must be added at that moment! Then I would get to make my master sources all neat and easier to navigate through. I would also get to see where I got too far ahead of myself (guilty) and make sure I had evidence that I needed to take me to the next generation. I tried to talk myself out of it. I thought I would just go back through my current tree and fix all the disconnected images and clean it up, but me being me... I found a way to do what I subconsciously wanted to do anyway.

I told myself I would just enter a couple of people with this new approach to see how it felt. So I tried. I entered vital records for myself and my immediate family... felt good. So I kept going. Next thing I know, I'm all excited because I have this new pretty tree and I'm cruising along. I'm already seeing records that I need to obtain to prove parentage, etc and thinking of other corresponding projects (migration maps on Google Earth) that I can do as I go along. I'm all atwitter with my new tree!!

So does this mean I am doomed to keep starting or restarting how I record my research?? In true perfectionist form, will the euphoria wear off and I will be faced again with an imperfect (to me) tree and start itching to create a new one? Or am I just finding my way as a beginning genealogist until I find the system that works best for me? I'm praying that it is the latter... and that my non-genealogist husband doesn't find out how many times I've redone my tree since he doesn't really understand why I want to do all this "work" anyway.

Okay, end of rant. Feel better already. :)

© copyright Monica Palmer, 2011

10 May 2011

Tombstone Tuesday - Joseph G. Lucas (1899-1991)

Joseph G Lucas
My great-granduncle Joseph G. Lucas is buried in Lompoc Evergreen Cemetery.

Source: Lompoc Evergreen Cemetery (Lompoc, Santa Barbara, California), Joseph G. Lucas marker, Catholic Cemetery, Lot 314, Grave 8; Personally read and photographed, 15 Sep 2008. 

© copyright Monica Palmer, 2011

03 May 2011

Book Review: Social Networking for Genealogists by Drew Smith

Social Networking for GenealogistsSocial Networking for Genealogists by Drew Smith

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a 129 page reference book that covers the different aspects of using the social media available to broaden your genealogical horizons, such as mailing lists, blogs, and social networking sites. It is a simple read with screen prints showing you steps in each chapter, although it doesn't go into too much depth on any one category. At the end of each chapter, it gives suggestions to get you started in the area that chapter covered. It was written in an interesting and easy to understand way, and even though I was already familiar with most of the social media topics covered, I was able to find a couple of new ones and some that I hadn't even considered using for genealogy. It is an excellent resource for beginners in the social media realm and worth flipping through for the more experienced.

© copyright Monica Palmer, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday - Frank & Emelia (Wages) Lucas

Frank & Emelia Lucas
Frank & Emelia Lucas are my 2nd great-grandparents. Her maiden name is allegedly Wages, however, I have not been able to find documentation of that to date. As far as I know, they lived in Southern California for their entire marriage. She was born in San Luis Obispo, California and he was born in the Azores Islands, Portugal.

Source: Lompoc Evergreen Cemetery (Lompoc, Santa Barbara, California), Frank & Emelia Lucas marker, Catholic Cemetery, Lot 272, Graves 15 & 16; personally read and photographed, 15 Sep 2008.

© copyright Monica Palmer, 2011

01 May 2011

Sunday's Obituary - George Rienerth Dies; Was Brick Mason

This obituary was laminated and handed out to family members. The newspaper is unknown at this time. It was obtained from a cousin.
© copyright Monica Palmer, 2011