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Thursday, April 30, 2015

Quick Mid-Week Peek

April is just about gone with May coming tomorrow. Unfortunately the song "April Showers" doesn't apply to us here in Northern California . . . we may have had one or two showers this month . . .

This was though an evening view of the western sky from our back deck. The red sky at night, sailor's delight was accurate in that we had no stormy weather the next day.

Private Dining

A nice quiet lunch for Gail & Silvia last week. Dino looked for "crumbs".

The tulips were beautiful and they did last about a week before curling over the vase . . .

We plan to use the arbor setting for other quiet lunches this summer.

Search This Week

I've been in many branches this week, but the obituary shown to the left is one for my Great Aunt, Martha Ann Bumgardner.

She was the sister of my Great Grandfather, Charles Stuart Bumgardner.

The Find-a-Grave memorial gives some of the detail of her life -- she married William L Butler and had many children.

My Mother always would say that there were a lot of Butler, Rankin & Rider families connected to the Bumgardners -- this is just one of them.

My next trip to Iowa, I plan to visit some of the many other cemeteries that I have found to contain relatives.

And an addition to the Nightstand . . .

Imagine our delight when we added a newly purchased book,
shown to the right, to our current reading.

What makes it special is that someone from our "tree" wrote and published this book.

Dina Fregoso Artlip, sister-in-law to my nephew wrote and illustrated this very nice book.

It is suitable especially for families with young siblings that have a young girl with a slightly older brother.

We recognized both Jacob & Madelyn as the stars of this story and look forward to the promised future books as well.

This book is available at both Amazon & Createspace, the links are:

Little Princess or Little Princess

Well worth having and sharing! Way to go Dina!

That's a peek at our week, so far.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

♫ Saturday, In The Back ♪

We thought it was the 4th of July odd that it was so nice out . . . so early in the season. Mid April and it could have been mid-summer in other locales. If it were not for the drought it would be so nice.

We've taken to hand watering most of the above and so far it seems to be working. We have found it enjoyable to sit in the back now . . .

So, Now What is on our Nightstand?

We have finished our most recent biography type book -- Al Michaels -- we enjoyed that with all the stories of big-time broadcasting and all, but we have opted to stray from our usual format and have chosen a "novel" for the first time.

Fannie Flagg of "Fried Green Tomatoes" fame has released a book that sounded interesting.

The cover evoked a by-gone era of auto service and down-home lore. In actuality, it fits our interest too in that it deals a lot with genealogy as well.

The story starts out with "Sookie", and her husband Earle. They are almost empty-nesters having just married off their daughters and have a son to go.

The twist begins when Sookie is told that after all these years she is really adopted and not who she thinks she is . . .

We look forward to finding out how  this all plays out.

Webinar Stuff in April

April has been a very active month -- so far -- for webinars at Legacy.

There have been already nine webinars that I have listened to/watched this month.

And as usual I have learned from each one. Even when the topic doesn't seem to fit my needs, something is revealed that will assist me in the search.

And, there is one more April webinar coming up this month.

The webinars help to define my day and even though I can always view them in their recorded format -- I enjoy the live performances best.

Besides, the door prizes are awarded to those at the live shows.

A Peek into the Searching . . .

Last post I resounded with joy at finding a "Griswold" family in our tree and the hopes that it would lead to the famous "Griswold Family Reunion" . . .

This week I uncovered another "Griswold" only this one was a "given-name" Griswold, Griswold Gillett. Who knew.

Griswold Gillett is a distant relative and you can see the connection off to the right -- I am hard pressed to follow it all . . .

I have spent a ton of time on the Gilletts and it still baffles me how some have the Gillett name without the ending "e" and those that have the ending "e" even when they did not start out with it . . .

But Griswold Gillett served in the War of 1812 and while born in Massachusettes ended up in Tomah, Wisconsin. (been there).

His picture, above, was taken in 1862, according to Anne Gillette who originally displayed the photo.

There is a lot more to the Gillett(e) story.

Currently, Our Other Entertainment

We love watching sports on TV -- mostly NFL games, but since those are over for the season and thankfully so, it is back to MLB games.

We enjoy watching the development of the San Francisco Giant's squad each year. This year there are so many changes -- most noticeably Pablo Sandoval who fled to the Red Sox and players like Morse that I am not sure where he went.

But -- even though SF Giants are the reigning World Series Champs and the images of the individual players celebrating that victory are present in my mind -- it seems to me that some of the players have not bathed since that time of celebration -- they know who they are . . . except for Tim Lincecum.

Lincecum at the beginning of this season looked as though he was a member of the no-groom group until this last week:

Tim, shown on the right after getting a new "do" AND he easily won the next game that he pitched. Is there a connection. It seems that several players could again look like  role models and maybe perform better on the field as well.

The box scores above certainly indicate that the Giants are in the bottom. Hopefully that will change and give us fans something to enjoy as we watch each game. And it would be nice not to have to see unkempt and what appears to be unwashed hair straggling out beneath the caps . . .

That is a bit of our week, see you all in a few!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

A New Look

I'll probably be late next week as well . . . for a variety of reasons this post is being written later than usual. I think I'll attempt to shake things up and write and post more often with shorter posts.

This is what spring looked like to us on Saturday . . . a very pleasant day. And the pleasantness of the day inspired thoughts of dinner and then "Don't Cook Tonight, Call Chicken Delight" . . .

Growing up in Illinois in the 1950s -- we could call "Chicken Delight" but not here, today. So we did the next best thing -- we drove several miles to the closest KFC and got a bucket along with some cole slaw.

We then watched the San Francisco Giants game against the San Diego Padres. The game was a rout. The Padres won 10-2. It's early . . . but the chicken was sooo tasty!

Some Research this Week

Earlier this week I was fully engaged in researching in the Gillett branch. I started because I wanted to see if I could find a picture of Emily Adeline Gillett -- my Great Grandmother married to John Hiles. But I did not find a picture of either -- but I am sure some exist somewhere.

But, as usual, my original search turned into one of endless connections and the discovery of surnames that I had no-idea were in my tree.

Names e.g. "Pratt", "Phelps", "Clink", "Boyce",
"Sparks", "Call", "Smith", "Boardway" and many others.

These additional surnames come about due to marriages and there were plenty of those.

Somehow I ended up discovering a new 2nd cousin, Edna I Sleeper.

So "Sleeper" was yet another surname that I had heretofore not known about.

So the week was going well, I was lost inside of research and making no real progress but enjoying every bit of it.

But the real discovery came a few minutes later when I found out the name of the person that Edna married.

The surname that I uncovered caused me to "pause" a bit and reflect on the possibilities.

It would mean taking the research into a totally different direction . . .

So -- Edna married a GRISWOLD, Joseph Gillman Griswold Jr.

I haven't proven it yet -- by Clark W Griswold is the Grandson of Joseph.

So there you have it -- the making of a huge "Griswold Family Reunion" that would include the Hiles branch . . .


Earlier this week we watched and enjoyed this week's featured person -- Tony Goldwyn.

While we watched Tony traveled to various places in the country -- we at one point felt a connection.

Tony's 3rd Great Grandfather, Nathaniel Coe was appointed the Post Office Official in Oregon by none other than Gail's 2nd Cousin, Millard Fillmore.

The ties that are uncovered in history are fun to see unfold as stories like Tony's are shown.

And that was a bit of our week . . . see you all in a few!

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Spring Blooms Spring Moon

A varied and eventful week! Again we had a visitor from the NW and a nice visit too getting caught up about friends and family. Last night, between 3 am and 4am I snuck a peek at the total moon eclipse and could see it from our back window.

And the blooms are everywhere! We are going to actually plant even more blooms in the coming weeks. We are planning to convert the former vegetable garden to a flower garden.

The moon was interesting last night and almost looked "striped" at one point. We are lucky in that we have nice views of the sky here in this house -- our previous home was surrounded with huge oak trees which were beautiful but their umbrella-like coverage only let in small pieces of the sky.

And going back to the previous home in San Francisco, due to fog, very little of the actual sky came through visibly.

Speaking of Vision

At our time of life, vision can be an issue. Especially if your hobby taxes your ability to see tiny pieces of your work,

Gail needle points a lot and has many many examples of her work around the house. Lately she had taken to using two magnifiers and a bright light to aid in working on the intricate details.

But now, two days ago she received her Craft Optics lenses that she wears just like her glasses and is able to "see" her work comfortably.

These telescopic lenses look similar to the glasses that I've seen surgeons wear. They do take getting used to but so far they are doing what they should do.

The glasses come with a new pair of prescription lenses made from Gail's most recent prescription and the telescopes are positioned in front of them.

The high intensity light is an extra but we think a must-have. Very slick set and for her hobby work very much appreciated -- unfortunately the needlepoint that she just started is a "large" scale version that really does not require as much magnification. But she has plenty small scale pieces coming up.

And the Herb Gardening

About every three days we have to "harvest" our indoor herbs. It is amazing that they grow and continue to grow so much.

We now have our drier positioned next to them and as we harvest -- we dry.

I can see why herbs are so expensive in the store because after you dry these herbs, they shrink down next to nothing . . .

We have a nice set of herb jars labelled and ready for production -- it will take some doing to fill them. But we enjoy the farming . . . whether we ever enjoy the produce, that's another story.

Thanks Cousin(s)!

This week, in GENi I saw that Melissa Guensler found out how she was related to both our first president and to our latest president.

Well, since Melissa is my (our) second cousin then that means I too must be related to those same presidents.

Melissa Shumaker Guensler is the granddaughter of Harold & Nettie Hiles and her mother is Iris Hiles. Any one can check in GENi  to see how they might be related as well.

So, I did check:

Above, you can follow the paths to see how I am related to George Washington and how I am related to Barack Obama (per GENi).

Melissa and I are related to these presidents in the same way which is not surprising. Any of the rest of you are probably related in the same way depending on how you are related to me (or Melissa).

Thanks to another Cousin!

Thank goodness for Cousins.  Because I receive some really good ideas and tips from many of them.
As a matter of fact, cousins are really the only relatives of mine that I receive much feed back from.
And the interesting thing is that before working on this blog or on genealogy, I did not even know most of them (the ones that I hear from).

Last post, I had mentioned that I was looking for the connection of our family to the presidential Harrisons. At that time I only found one Harrison in our tree but it came in a branch that I was not expecting -- my paternal side (Hiles) as opposed to my maternal side (Bumgardner).

I identified Louisa Harrison as marrying Jeremiah Hiles and so I was going to climb that Harrison branch in hopes of finding the link.

But things have changed:

Thanks to another cousin (you know who you are) I was sent the above marriage information for Jeremiah & Louisa HARRISON  Johnson -- of course it still has to be verified as a birth name Johnson or a married name Johnson, but so far this is the only evidence that I have.

So now I have my work cut out for me -- I have not found any supporting evidence as to the family and I have had to "unconnect" some of the Harrisons that I connected to last week . . . oh well, that is not unusual.

And Lastly

A major challenge this year and a task that kept me away from doing "fun" things has been taken care of, at least for now.

Taxes are due in about ten days April 15, I managed to beat the deadline and have electronically filed as of April 1.

Both the IRS and the Franchise Tax Board (CA)
have accepted our return -- that doesn't mean that they agree with it -- only that they have accepted it.

We'll see about agreement in the coming months . . .

That was a bit of our week. Have a great Easter and we'll see you all "in a few"!

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Le Sacre du Printemps

It is springtime and it is in evidence all around us. I think back to my "Music Appreciation" class in college and remember very well learning about "Le Sacre du Printemps" performed by Igor Stravinsky -- I still enjoy that piece and am thankful for being exposed to that.

In the above collage are some photos taken this week as we get into the full bloom of spring. Of course, there are the flowers and the blossoms but then again there are those who are visiting on spring break and then too there is Dino . . .

The temperatures reached into the 80s this week and today are moderate but sunny & bright. The drought though is another matter. We did have a very little sprinkling one day this week just enough to moisten the ground.

So -- How Did I Spend My Time This Week?

After last week's great discovery -- of finally determining that there WAS a connection between Gail's family and Millard Fillmore's family (he is a second cousin to Gail), this week I started the process of maybe finding a presidential connection in my branch.

There has been a rumor about a presidential connection to the Harrison family. This was shared to me by my brother and it would be nice to determine if that has any credence.

Of course, there have been two Harrison presidents -- pictured to the left -- and the
whole Harrison family has been one of influence and wealth and upper class folks.

Looking into my tree, I only found one "Harrison" listed (the same way when I started looking for Fillmores) last week.

As you can see above, Louisa Harrison married into the HILES family by marrying my 3rd Great Uncle -- Jeremiah Hiles. This is the only connection -- so far -- to any Harrison that I know about.

It is NOT where I was thinking that I would start. According to my brother, our Grandfather, Dayton Bumgardner had claimed that somewhere the Bumgardner family was related to the Harrison family.
And that may ultimately be where we find a connection.

For now I am climbing the Harrison tree starting with Louisa. Her father is a "William" Harrison and
that is just one of the many "William Harrisons" that I am seeing. All the Harrison branches use many of the same given names throughout their branches making it very confusing.

I have started to accumulate a "ton" of Harrison info, but because I was sidetracked this week doing "other things" I will have to resume the Harrison search in the coming weeks.

What Sidetracked Me

In a nutshell, it is the items shown to the right:

And these are just some of the forms that I was working with this week.

There were also numerous telephone calls seeking information and advice regarding various topics relating to things "taxing".

The major hassle is not so much filling in the forms, it is finding the various numbers that are
to be put into the forms. These numbers are hidden in a variety of places. Some are actually paper documents that are "filed" in our home office. Many others are documents waiting to be retrieved from the Internet.

This week then has been a nose-bleed session -- but hopefully one that will result in a better approach next year and for a decent effort this year.

What I'd Much Rather be Doing

It isn't hard to guess what the answer for me would be . . . I enjoy filling in and discovering the names and families that populate these forms.

And as soon as I can feel assured that the "other" forms are satisfactorily filled-in, I will resume my research with vigor.

I do take a few minutes away from taxes to check a few names and/or fix a photo, but

I have not been able to put my full attention to that just yet. So it is the old principle of "delayed gratification".

Here is one example of taking a few minutes away from taxes:

Using the program "Charting Companion" I created a fan chart for part of Gail's branch. It starts with Isaac Pine Calhoun (in the center) and expands out to show the descendants.

It is quite colorful and interesting to examine. This is so much more fun than filling in a 1040 . . .


My working day is pretty much like when I actually did have to leave the house each day to spend time in my career job -- that is usually daytime hours -- the evening hours are for personal time.

Though, some of my personal time relates to my "work" efforts:

I find it interesting to watch genealogy related TV shows -- which of course relates to my "work".

WDYTYA is on each week on Sunday evenings. Last week featured Angie Harmon and this coming Sunday night will feature Sean Hayes.

I find it amazing the things that they can uncover each week no matter who is featured. They are almost half way through season 5 so far and I'll just be looking for the next genealogy show to start.

That was a glimpse into our week -- it is Saturday and we'll have something "fun" for dinner!

See you all in a few!

Saturday, March 21, 2015


This has been a full week -- so what does that mean -- all weeks are full to some extent. But I mean that my week has been filled with a variety of things. And a lot seems to be happening. It actually has finally reached springtime:

First of all the dogwood tree(s) in our yard are happening. One of the three is filled with blossoms that it seems overnight have popped open.

And then there is the moon. We watched the overcast skies yesterday and remarked about the strange color emanating from the skies. It all apparently had to do with the eclipse, the one that we did not see, but it happened.

Here we are in the second day of spring and the weather is cooler than earlier this year -- but of course not as cool as we see on the news from some of the back east cities.

There were a lot of "other" things happening this week as well.

To Bracket or not Bracket

I have to say that each year during "March Madness" I intend to participate from the start of the action by filling in the brackets as they are called . . . but somehow that goes by the wayside and I become an observer more -- of the brackets filled out by others including the POTUS.

When I view the blank March Madness Chart it reminds me so much of the "Bow-Tie Pedigree Chart" and then my mind wanders back to my genealogical endeavors.

This week has been filled to the brim with genealogical endeavors. I was able to fill in a bit of the chart for a cousin in my line of HILES':

On the bottom left my newly met "4th cousin once removed" is represented, with parents and my 3rd cousin and his wife are on the chart.

To view a more detailed chart, please visit this chart at HILES WEBSITE  where I have been very busy this week.

It is exciting to meet a new cousin and I look forward to "getting to know them more" in the coming months.

Some Break in the Action

Unfortunately, some of my "research" time this week was taken up by working a bit on the tax return. It would be nice to know if we owe or are getting some sort of refund . . .

I say working a bit because I promised myself that nest week I would commit most of my time to wrapping up this very pesky bit of every year life.

I also took a break by attending a webinar and watching WDYTYA. Both are related to genealogy so that was not a total break -- it did encourage me to get back to researching though.

The Focus of my Research This Week

Thinking back to the most recent weeks, it seems that a great deal of my time has been spent on the Rufus Calhoun family.

He is a very interesting person from one of the branches in Gail's tree.

Then for some reason I began thinking about some of the names in that branch -- e.g. some of the first names . . .

Gail's father's name was Millard, Millard Calhoun Bouldron. For whatever reason, he chose to be called "Jim". I can understand that -- Millard Calhoun Bouldron would be pretty heavy duty to deal with at school and other places.

Then there are a ton of "Fillmore" first names in the branch as well. And so I began to think about once and for all getting to the "bottom" of the naming convention.

For years there has been the rumor that the family was related to "Millard Fillmore" the 13th President of the U.S.  But I could not see any connection.

But I was intrigued because of the many first names of Millard and Fillmore that populated the tree. I realize that many families name their children after well-known and well-loved presidents, but Millard Fillmore, at least to me was not well-known, I don't know yet about well-loved.

So -- off I went "on the mission" to uncover any link to Millard Fillmore the president to Gail's family.

And I feel as though now I am watching a segment of WDYTYA or the Genealogy Roadshow except that I am doing the research.

And guess what -- I accomplished my goal!

Gail and her family ARE related to Millard Fillmore and by clicking on the above chart, you can see how.

When I started the research last week, I only had one Fillmore in my tree -- Sarah Ann Fillmore, the wife of Rufus Calhoun. I now have hundreds of Fillmore's after this week's work.

In the chart above, start with Sarah Ann Fillmore and go up the chart. At the top, the two men named John Fillmore are actually the same person -- that John married more than once. Sarah (and Gail) descend from one of those marriages and Millard Fillmore descends from a second marriage -- hence the half-cousin relationship.

This week's work was very satisfying. Now I have another "possible presidential rumor" to work on -- this one in my branch.

That was a bit of our week -- next week looks to be exciting, except for the "tax" part . . .

It is Saturday and that may mean "burger & fries".  See you all in a few!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

PI in the Sky

The days this week have been mostly warm & sunny. Today is a little cloudy but that is okay for a change. It did rain ever-so-slightly the other day and it feels a little humid now as well.

The week has been a mixture of scrambling for tax-related documents so that we can "run the numbers" and file on time -- a real challenge this year for whatever reasons and basic researching.

So today is a special "number" day. I prefer to think of the other pie and specifically lemon meringue.

That just might be on the list of things to do today. Earlier this week we did go to the plaza to visit and to just relax:

We enjoyed the plaza, the dress shop and the park benches. There was a ton of activity as there was a wine-tasting event going as well. We met some very nice folks -- thanks to Dino.

What About Research

The research absorbed my time a great deal though I don't have a lot to exhibit. Mostly I tried to stay involved in the genealogical detective work so that I did not have to do the tax related detective work.

I did uncover a 1st cousin of Gail's:

Looking at the chart you can see that she
is the daughter of Jessie Calhoun and Mitchel
Llewellyn Drake.
I was lucky enough to find an Olympic High
School photo of her from the year 1929.
So their most recent common relative is Isaac Pine Calhoun.
I do not believe that Gail and Lexie ever met.

Then, I tried using the new "Charting Companion" software and came up with several possible chart views.

The one on the left shows Gail's Grandparents, Parents and her siblings and those
of us married to them.

There are many possibilities with this new program and I look forward to making more charts that I can share with folks from the tree.

You can click on the chart to make it a bit easier to see.

There are at least two more generations of descendants that we can show.

I'll be updating these as time goes on.

I also began editing a lot of the pictures that I had already included in the tree.
This will hopefully give photos that are a bit clearer and more uniform.

The chart on the right is an example of the updated photos.

Each one pretty much fills the space and features can be seen better.

Part of the problem of course is that I am missing a lot of pictures -- I may have the photos though and not know it because people are not always identified.

Photos and photo management take up a tremendous amount of time.

A Surprise Visit

Yesterday afternoon we had a surprise visit from Susan who had called the day before and mentioned that she was driving down from Seattle to ultimately visit with her brother in La Quinta, California.

We actually did sit down and visit for a couple of hours. We enjoyed hearing news from Seattle and of folks -- relatives and friends.

She was "on a mission" to keep driving so she continued on her way and stayed in the Mill Valley area until Saturday morning when she again resumed her drive.

She may stop by again on her return trip and she plans to be gone for a month or so. We'll get the pool-house ready just-in-case.

TV Genealogy

Last Sunday the new season of WDYTYA began on TLC.

The show featured Julie Chen and it was very interesting because of the Chinese research.

Julie found out things about her relatives that she had no idea previously.

It was an exciting result for her and her family.

Tomorrow night Josh Groban will be featured and it will be interesting to see what is uncovered in his family.

I would love to have the resources to do research the way Ancestry does these shows -- they must spare no expense.

So What is on our Nightstand ?

We just finished the memoirs of Carl Reiner and found that book to be so well written and enjoyable to read.

We learned a lot about many of the entertainers involved in TV during our younger years and ones that we enjoyed watching.

Last night we began reading Al Michaels' book (on the right).

We enjoy the broadcasting of Michaels on Sunday Night Football and other events that we have seen him do.

His story so far is fascinating as he describes his growing up days and just how he came to get into the business.

We will finish the book probably just before the start of pre-season football which will come fast.

Baseball spring training is upon us now and that seemed to sneak up
on us a bit.

So, that is a bit of our week. It is Saturday and dinner has not been decided on yet -- but we do plan to do some grocery shopping later today -- so maybe that lemon meringue pie is still a possibility or maybe even a lemon tart . . .

See you all in a few!