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Saturday, August 19, 2017

But Who Is Counting -- Anyway

If we are talking "family trees" we are counting . . . lately, as I work on the tree the numbers have been going up & down. Up, because I add new people that belong in the tree and down because I find duplicates that somehow got inserted.

It is always interesting as I get "to know" the family units as they go through their lives and I see them via censuses and other documents including newspaper articles.

And we seem to be always counting forward to how many days until Christmas for example or til when school starts (which is right about now around here) or to when our next vacation is coming (which for us is right about now . . .).

And currently, I look ahead 6 days to the 25th and know that a special occasion is nearing.

It was just 9,131 days ago that Gail and I stood under a small grape arbor in the town of Columbia, Calaveras County, California and repeated our wedding vows.

This was the first stage of an elaborate "sting" that Gail had planned to pull on friends and family.  The wedding was attended by two people -- the man who married us (my brother) and his wife, Nancy.

There were no announcements made as friends and family were invited to a surprise birthday party for me where Gail would "pop the question" and we would be joined together in matrimony at that moment . . .

It all went well -- except for a few disappointed folks who wanted to see my reaction to the "popping of the question". Instead,
it was Gail and me who got to see the reaction of those in attendance who discovered that they had been "had".

So, here we are 25 years later. I've actually been married for a little over 50 years and Gail for a little over 38 years -- figure that one out . . . Happy Anniversary Gail! You've made these past 10,000 days great!

And of course, we are counting the minutes until the big event -- that is the solar eclipse due on Monday.

We have not purchased the special glasses for the eclipse so we will have to be content to watch it on TV.

Now, if we lived in Makanda, Illinois, where the event is to last the longest (a little over two minutes) we would have definitely purchased the glasses.

It is interesting to note the huge crowds driving to witness this, in most areas, less than two minutes. We have seen entire families camping out ready to view all -- we can only hope that for those folks the weather cooperates.

In the "I remember" segment for this week, I do
remember this scene very much.

It is my father carefully detailing our 1956 Buick Special. Like all the cars we owned over the years -- he kept them spotless.

I haven't seen whitewalls that looked like that for years -- if they even make whitewalls anymore.

This picture was taken in the driveway of our house in Golfview Hills (Hinsdale) Illinois. Just parked behind the Buick I recognize the 1952 Pontiac that my mother mostly drove and at one point became  a car that I drove a lot.

In the foreground, the handlebars of a bicycle can be seen. It was either my bicycle or my younger brother's bike -- I'm not sure except that if this was the late 50's or even the early 60s, I would have been driving and that would not have been my bike.

Speaking of anniversaries . . . this week marks forty years after Elvis passed away at 42 years of age.

I do remember that day upon hearing that news -- I was just finishing a sales call at a Southern California Drug store.

Elvis played a big role in our growing up years and was a "secret" idol of my mother -- who took me to see a few of his movies.

And of course, my younger brother had a one line speaking role in an Elvis movie that was shot on his Navy ship in the 60s.

But, recently I just happened on Elvis' early growing up pictures and noticed how my own brother -- Marv -- who was born about the same time as Elvis, resembled him.

In the above collage, Marv's pics are the bottom three with early Elvis pics on top . . . even though he has never admitted it, I think that there was an influence in the way he appeared. Right now he is about double the age of Elvis and is going strong.

Last but not least is one more example of the incompetence of the USPS:

Last week I had finished up scanning a pile of documents from Sam Sigg regarding his family history. As I had promised to get them back to him promptly, I packaged them up in a heavy duty envelope and took them to the local Post Office on the 11th.

I asked for the safest and most secure way to send these documents and was told that "Certified Mail" was the best way. I was told that the recipient would have to sign for them.

I was also given the 14th as the most likely delivery date. On the 17th I received an email from the USPS stating that delivery was delayed . . . Finally on the 18th delivery was made in the condition shown above.

The envelope was wet, torn open and stuffed/dumped into Sam's mailbox and NO signature was requested . . .

Thank goodness we think everything was included -- but what horrible service. And even the follow up email from the USPS stated they had given the package to an individual (that did not happen).

Given the choice in the future -- I will avoid the USPS at every opportunity. I also will be following up at the Post Office, good luck with that . . .

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

Saturday, August 12, 2017

♪ And The Heat Goes On . . . ♫

And on and on, but not as bad as a couple of weeks ago. One day this week we were again fooled into thinking that the a/c was not needed and so we suffered through that day -- but we are determined to not let that happen again.

The backyard this morning offered a ton of things to look at and enjoy. There are beautiful apples all over the tree. We used to make applesauce and/or dry slices, but these days we will bag them and haul them to the local food bank to let others enjoy.

There are the first few Meyer lemons appearing and a beautiful vine or two of grapes. And of course, the many wild flowers that have been blooming for years now.

Dino too is basking in the sun by the edge of the pool. He loves it for a while and then comes inside and plops down in front of the air vent to cool off.

The back is quiet these days as youth baseball seems to be over for the season. There are sporadic exercises and informal events but this season has flown by and the school behind us is gearing up to reopen in just a few weeks.

These are just some of the many charts and graphs that I have worked on this week. It is always fun to use the information that has been collecting on a family or branch and display that info in an interesting and meaningful way.

I have several programs that offer a variety of ways to display. Each genealogical software program that I use has a variety to choose from and then there is "Charting Companion" which offers unique printable displays.

The caveat is that the info that I have collected in the programs needs to be up-to-date and correct as much as possible.

That can be a nightmare when I have to stop creating a chart in order to complete the information on individuals and then re-do the chart. Or finding out that I don't have everyone's photo available at the moment and have to go searching, sometimes through thousands of pics . . . it does keep me busy.

Then just this week I read about "GedTree" in Dick Eastman's Blog -- he always has the latest and greatest. This is a product or service that will professionally display your genealogical data (from a GEDCOM that you send in) which would be suitable for framing if you'd like.

Above you can see some of the variety available to make an attractive display of all the many hours of data input over years of work.  After cleaning up my data and fixing any and all errors I most likely will order a couple of the displays -- and have them framed.

I remember . . . it is almost as if I never was there . . . and I'm not in this photo. So maybe I took the photo, I'm not sure.

This was the last house that I lived in with our family. It was in the "Gulf View Hills" area of Hinsdale, Illinois.

Because these were prefab homes, the area became known as "Cardboard Heights". Today though, many of the prefabs have been replaced by really substantial homes -- including ours.

The last time that I made the trip to reminisce and view "524" it had magically changed to a large brick structure . . .

I remember the first few years living there and the building was still going on in sections. The earthmovers were flying around moving and shaping mounds of dirt. There was an abundance of kids my age in the neighborhood with whom I could share time and fun.

I have to think that it must have been about 1959 when the above photo was taken. Almost hidden is the ever present "Minx" who is in his favorite mode of begging with Jon encouraging him. It looks like it might have been a Sunday -- not sure though.

When I think about that house, I can't imagine living today in one that small, even with just the two of us. I'm not sure of the square footage, but my guess would be about 1200 -- 1400 sq ft. My father made it a bit larger by enclosing the carport and making a "jalousie windows" porch -- which we used extensively, but only in the warmer months. In the winter cold, the room was sealed off and unusable.

My father added a very nice two car garage including a work shop area (where I think he went to smoke once in a while), not sure about that though. When my father retired, he and mom sold or gave away everything and moved to Leisure World, Seal Beach, California.

This one photo triggered a lot. And for that reason, it is a shame that the house is not available to view. I believe all the other houses that I lived in growing up are still there and being lived-in.

I've been a subscriber to Audible for many years.

Now -- this week they are enhancing it to include DOGS -- wow . . .

Dino is already very very mellow, so what will Audible do for him?

We already have DogTV (channel 354 in our system) and he ignores that mostly. We use it for background music and mellowing out when we just want to "relax".

So, we'll have to consider the possibility of Audible for Dino . . . or maybe for us to relax by . . .

And lastly, before I forget:

 Since we have been retired for years (18 or so) we have not paid much attention to "senior" things.

We are coming to realize that there are features and benefits that could be enjoyed and useful to us and so we are starting to see "what is available" for us.

A problem is that sometimes hard choices have to be made -- like giving up "stuff". We have already downsized so-to-speak when we moved into our current home some six years ago.

It would be tough is some ways to downsize again in terms of creature comforts and privacy and the freedom that we enjoy today -- so we will try to carefully make the right choice and we plan to take our time doing that . . .

That is a bit of our week. See you all "in a few"!

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Dog Days of Summer -- Just Saying . . .

No other way to describe the last week or so here in Healdsburg as to the weather . . . dog days. Currently, it has been hot and muggy. Muggy is not something we have a lot and it is reminiscent of the August days in the Midwest.

But the lavender is out in abundance and along with that the ever industrious bee population, which we love to see. I suppose we could harvest some and use some throughout the year, but we don't ever seem to get around to doing that.

 Speaking of the "Dog Days" here are a few photos of our parents holding their dogs of the day:

I seem to remember Beau-Beau (3rd pic) and maybe the pup my mother is holding, but the names of the dogs that Gail's folks are holding -- I'll have to check with her to see if she recalls them . . . it seems to me I have heard "Scrubby & Doc" but I am not sure.

I Remember . . . growing up, school usually got out around 3:20 or so and I would walk home in a hurry to maybe catch the last few innings of the "Cubs" game on Channel 9 (WGN) in Chicago.                                                                                                                   The Cubs in those days only played day games due to the fact that Wrigley Field had no lights. My mother usually had the game on and might have been ironing or preparing dinner. But we would watch the last inning or so and enjoy the game -- and if I was lucky the game would go into extra innings.

The Cubs are coming to San Francisco next week -- who should I root for ...? Not a hard choice -- I'll root for the team that plays the best and/or the team that still has a chance of getting into the playoffs.

If you are out and about (in the Ozarks area . . .) you can check out "bargains galore64" started by Linda & Frank Hiles -- not known if they are relatives -- but who doesn't love bargains.

So, it is next Thursday through Sunday along miles and miles of route 64. I can't imagine a "store" that big.  Leave it to those Hiles to create the world's almost longest shop.

And the big news in the genealogical world is that My Heritage purchased Legacy Family Tree this week. Legacy is the site that produces the many webinars that I watch almost every week.

Supposedly there will be enhanced features available for upcoming webinars and a host of other new things made available with the deeper pockets of My Heritage -- we'll look forward to that.

They did offer a promotion of "half-off" the yearly subscription price during this weekend -- so I did take advantage of that . . .


While watching "Jeopardy" the other night we heard a contestant mention that she was a volunteer for an organization that asks genealogists to aid in searching for the next of kin for folks that pass away with no known relatives.

Since I really enjoy the "search" part of genealogy I checked out the group and I chose to volunteer as well -- I'm just getting my feet wet with the process but hopefully, it will be a mutually beneficial endeavor -- I'll report about that in a future post.

And lastly, I have continued the search this week on a variety of branches from the tree and have made headway into cleaning up the files in both Family Tree Maker (2017) and in RootsMagic 7.

And we are happy that it is a "never ending search" . . .

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

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Nostalgic -- Deja Vu

It must be all the searching back in time that is giving me this really strange feeling of nostalgia the last few days. And it seems to be a nostalgic feeling for something(s) that I may have not experienced which is really strange.

I can't explain it rationally, and I'm not feeling sad necessarily, but rather maybe escaping to a place that only appears in a mind's eye if that makes any sense at all. The word "prestalgia" just might be appropriate I don't know, I think I'll take a couple of Excedrin and see if that helps . . .

Even the flowers in the back yard bring about the same feeling -- but the bees are working the beds good . . .

Speaking of nostalgia and nostalgic photos:

That happens to be my younger brother, Jon, and our dog at the time, "Lady". This was about 1950 in La Grange, Illinois. My mom was always a bit upset when "Lady" would drink out of the kitchen sink while she was working there.

The dogs in our lives have made very memorable pictures and mostly positive images that bring back to mind the spirit of those times.

Most of this week, in my spare time I have worked on "cleaning up" the results of syncing the tree from to the tree at Family Tree Maker 2017.

These two companies used to be owned by the same firm -- but now Ancestry has sold Family Tree Maker and things have been really shaken up in terms of keeping up with saving facts to the tree.

A great feature of Ancestry's tree was that you could work at that site and add and delete folks and then when you were done you could push a button and have all the changes put into the FTM tree saving one from having to do duplicate work.

After several months of being promised by the new FTM program that they would continue the syncing process, we finally are getting to that point.

But. when I asked for the tree in Ancestry to be downloaded to a Family Tree Maker tree, after a few tries it worked -- however, there were several (a couple thousand maybe) duplicate entries that need to be dealt with and so that is what I have been doing.

At first, I thought it was a terrible dilemma but I have accepted the situation and it has allowed me to look at folks that I had forgotten about for several years -- and maybe, just maybe contributes to the nostalgia.

Again being nostalgic to some degree, baseball for our home team (SF Giants) has not been good this year -- we still watch the games, but just shake our heads in disbelief as the team keeps losing game after game when just a few years ago they were the world champs.

Now, in less than two weeks, pre-season football begins again. And looking to our home team (San Francisco 49ers)  we hope for major changes to bring a renewed respectability to their playing.
Last year for them was disastrous and for us the non-viewing fans was tiresome.

We can only hope that the political nonsense that preceded last year's games will have been replaced by returning to have football be a way to forget the world of politics and other ominous activities for the three hours of a game. Plus, maybe see some home team wins as well.

And if we did not have enough to be concerned about there is the fact that there are only so many more days 'til Christmas.

In a way, it is like having the income tax season upon us again. Besides the gift purchasing, wrapping and mailing there is the Christmas Card list that needs to be updated and attended to.

The rocking chairs that we do have on our front porch do beckon us, not so much in the heat that we are experiencing though.

When we do sit in those chairs we marvel over the fact that for some reason there are very few people that come down the street and very few folks make eye contact -- not like the days that I (nostalgically) recall sitting on my grandparents front porch when folks always seemed (in my mind anyway) to greet one another and exchange pleasantries.

Oh well, that is a bit of our week.

By the next post, it will already be August . . . See you all "in a few"!

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Day Dreaming

For whatever reasons this week, my mind has given in to slipping into daydreaming at various times. My desktop photo I think triggers that and takes me into a totally different world. I've told the story many times in earlier posts about the fact that it was my father's dream to own a farm. And we came "that" close to having a farm.

 The farm as I remember seeing it looked similar to the one pictured above. The house was off to the right and was decent. The corn right now would be about "knee-high" -- just saying . . .

But, then I get back to not day dreaming and back to working and searching the family tree - sort of being a farmer - no corn though, well maybe lots of "corn" . . . who doesn't love corn?

It is again approaching the century mark on the thermometer here today. I have to say that I would really welcome a good rainy day, but that is not in the forecast.

So, what did I spend my time on this week? A lot of it in scanning, I scanned about 300 items, photos, and documents from the family history box from Eleanor Sigg.

I have been inserting some of the photos into the tree, a few at a time.

I have already heard from some of the related folks in that branch thanking me for adding them.

Granted, none of these folks are my direct relatives, well maybe a few are, but I knew a lot of them for many years.

I only wish that I could have shared the info earlier so that all of them could see their branch better. The same way I wish my own parents could see the folks and facts that have been put into their branches.

As usual, there are a lot of unidentified photos and that is always frustrating. I have been able to i.d. some, but there are many that will probably not be identified.

Never-the-less, it has been fun and interesting.

And now if you are looking for something to do the rest of this weekend AND you love mushrooms then you might be interested in:

The article in "The Forest Republican" details the events for mushroom enthusiasts in HILES, Wisconsin. This weekend, July 21-23, folks are descending on HILES, Wisconsin for mushrooming and a record turnout is expected.

Even though many apparently turned up as early as Wednesday, there is still about a day and a half left in the event. I like mushrooms . . .

Going back to the search and the endless numbers of ancestors and relatives are exemplified in the "Pickles" comic:

I haven't done the math, but assuming that it is correct, Nelson has over a million ancestors in just a few hundred years. Now that is the reason that this hobby just keeps going and going.

And every week it is true with me as I add new folks. Those new folks have folks and so on and so on. At some point, we draw the line at where we stop adding people, but that is difficult to do.

Every once in a while I hit a "jackpot" so to speak and it is so fascinating to learn about more branches of the tree that I never knew existed. Just this week as I was entering a person into the tree I saw that she was married -- married to a George Patton and this George Patton was stationed at a military fort in the 1940 Census.

I got excited with the prospect that she was married to THE George Patton, but the middle initials were different and so it was just a plain George Patton -- maybe the next person will be the one that has some amazing connection . . .

Lastly, this week we learned that my son, Chris, is out of the ICU from having brain surgery.

Information is sketchy, but hopefully, he will continue to be on the mend.

Thank you all who called and wrote about him and sent best wishes.

It is hard to be so far away and not be in the know as much as we'd like to be. As of two days ago, he was still in Swedish Hospital, Cherry Hill Loc., Seattle, RM536.

That is a bit of our week. See you all "in a few"!

Saturday, July 15, 2017

End of Week #28 . . . Still Hot

That's right -- twenty-eight weeks of the 52 for this year have gone by so far in 2017. It's day 196 so about 53.7% of the year has passed. And it is hot again (still). Today and tomorrow are projected to be over 100° and in the next two weeks the coolest day is somewhere around 90° . . .

We keep our fingers crossed for the a/c system and the ice maker (we've had to replace that twice already in five years).

The above flowers love the heat and four out of the five are found in our yard along with several others. The center flower is the Edelweiss and just the name alone brings emotional tugs.

I saw the Edelweiss when I visited my son in Germany many years ago. And of course the song in "The Sound of Music" is a keeper.

We continue to read every night before slumber strikes and this week we just finished "Driving Miss Norma" which is a book that we found very interesting to read.

Miss Norma was a 90-year-old woman who when given a terminal diagnosis had the option of traveling the country with her son and daughter-in-law in their RV or be hospitalized and go through chemotherapy and other measures.

She chose to go driving and she had wonderful adventures that are well documented throughout the book.

Now we started reading "Finding Gobi" and it relates the true story of a long distance runner who meets and befriends a little dog while running a mega marathon in the Gobi Desert.

We have only just begun the story and are finding it intriguing. Of course, we love dogs -- not so much fans of running marathons that are well over 100 miles in length (under 100 just fine) of course we are . . . we look forward to living the adventure along with "Gobi".

Unfortunately this week my son, Chris is at this moment in the ICU unit at Swedish Hospital (Cherry Hill Location) in Seattle.

He had brain surgery two days ago and has made it through this first stage and may face an additional surgery next week.

We are distraught over these developments and are so anxious to hear that he is mending.

Of course, I have not been able to talk with him and I  just get the briefest of updates as to his condition.

The next few days are critical as to keep him free of any infection or other things hampering his recovery. It is difficult to not be able to do things that might help him. Our hopes are in the hands of his doctors.

I did send the above flower arrangement to him for possibly a bright visual way of encouragement when he "comes to" from the surgery -- however, the ICU would not accept the floral gift.

We will keep a positive outlook for him in the coming days and weeks. Unfortunately, Seattle might as well be on the other side of the world as far as visiting. We have our own difficulties as to be free to travel . . .

I have managed to do some genealogy work this week, but only a little. As I have mentioned before genealogy is one way that I can escape any unfavorable aspects of daily life for a little while.

This week I have been struggling to deal with the above two programs, both of which have introduced new versions that offer new features. The main feature for me is the ability to "sync" the trees in each program with the tree that I maintain on

There is a learning curve for both programs and I have used FTM as my main program for years with RootsMagic as a good backup.

What I do generally is to work in and then sync the tree in FTM and in RootsMagic.
Those actions take incredible skills on the part of the programming to make it happen.

I just need to spend more time getting the kinks worked out -- but once that is done -- what a great feature. But wait, there is more . . .

We still have been watching baseball and the Giants struggle this year.

What a difference to see the Giants almost lose every other game that they play.

Today, the Giants play the Padres. And MadBum (Madison Bumgarner) is slated to be the starting pitcher.

This will be his first game this year -- in the preseason he foolishly rode a dirt bike and fell off injuring his shoulder.

He has been in rehab ever since -- some think it may have finished his career -- but we will get an indication today when he steps onto the mound. The "snot-rocket" king will have a chance to prove that he is still "in-the-game".  We hope so.

Lastly, I know that I am not alone when I mention that working on family genealogy is a "lonely" hobby, but it comes with a ton of personal satisfaction for me. And so that keeps me working on the trees.

I happened to notice this question somewhere in my searching recently and I have to agree that almost never do I hear from family regarding any aspect of my searching.

I recall when I first started working on family history and I told my father about that and he replied: "Why would anyone want to do that?"  and that is another reason that I keep at it . . .

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

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Gladiolas . . . Hot

In our local paper, it said that Healdsburg had a temperature of 110° yesterday. the second time in a couple of weeks. Granted, it is not like Needles, California nor like Palm Springs, both around 120°, but anything over 100° to us is hot.

And it stayed hot late into the night. We kept the a/c on past midnight and even then it felt warm outside. I am beginning to think that rainy weather would be preferable.

The gladiolas though seem to like the heat as do other plants like the lavender. We just have to water more often -- and we do now that the drought is somewhat gone.

The yellow in the gladiola is brilliant in the morning sun. And the bees are working the lavender extensively. If you click to enlarge you can see many of the bees at work. I wonder where they disappear when their work is done.

The neighborhood seems extra quiet these last couple of days. School is out and some folks have left on vacations probably to cooler locales. We actually start the day feeling cool inside and by late evening the sun has done its work and we are feeling the heat.

I've mentioned it many times before, but we lately have had a jigsaw puzzle up in a constant state of being worked on . . . we enjoy being able to leave the puzzle out and then we can work on it whenever we are inclined.  Often we are listening to the TV with a ballgame on and the Giants losing another one. Recently though the Giants have won several of their games and that is more to our liking.

Off to the right is the puzzle that we have been working on this past week.

It is a puzzling puzzle in that we finished it yesterday and there are four pieces left and four openings left -- but, the pieces do not fit exactly into those four places.

The pieces fit on some sides and not on the others and leave a gap -- we can see that they almost fit, but not quite.

We have not had this happen before. We have had missing pieces, but not pieces that do not fit . . .
I will send a note to the company and hopefully, they can advise us as to what has happened and also replace the non-fitting pieces with fitting pieces, that's all we ask.

Speaking of puzzles, a great segue way to genealogy, because genealogy is always potentially puzzling. As I mentioned a few posts ago, I have been exploring the Bumgardner branch a bit.

And I have mentioned that spelling is always an issue. As a result of the many ways that surnames are constantly being spelled in different ways, I often ignore the different spellings and look at the people and guess at why their name is spelled differently than I think it should be spelled.

It's "BUM" vs "BAUM"

With the Bumgardners, I usually stick with searching and looking at folks only using the "Bumgardner" way of spelling.

To the left, the two unnamed pictures on the bottom represent two folks that I started communicating with this past week.

Their comments and questions had to do with the parents shown above them.

I did not list a maiden name for the mother and they shared with me what that name was. They also passed over the spelling of their last name and attributed it to careless census takers and others.

I was beginning to think that I might not be related to these folks because of the Baumgardner spelling.

So, I started doing some investigation. I added a third generation -- the grandparents.

George Harry Baumgardner and his wife, Pauline. I looked up George's WWI draft card and VOILA -- it said, Bumgardner.

I then looked up his WWII draft card and guess what -- it said, Baumgardner -- with his signature as such.

Upon questioning the contacts, we were able to conclude that George had a real distaste for sometimes being called "Bummie" which was a common nickname for a Bumgardner. So some time in between WWI and WWII he changed the spelling of his birth surname to Baumgardner.

That spelling change meant that his descendants too would be Baumgardners, not Bumgardners.

Now, George Harry Baumgardner was the son of Marion Bumgardner, my 1st Cousin. Marion had several offspring and two changed their names to Baumgardner, the rest I believe kept Bumgardner.

Now, I realize that in Muscatine, Iowa and other locations, there are a lot of Baumgardners that are in fact cousins and for a strange reason they have a surname that is spelled differently -- not the result of careless record keepers -- though that does happen as well. And so it goes with the puzzle.

And lastly, the unfortunate marker for Will:

That was a bit of our week, we're trying to keep cool, see you all "in a few"!