Search This Blog


Saturday, November 22, 2014

Fence Puzzle

It poured rain most of the week. There was some sporadic sunshine early in the week and then today as well -- but the other days were downpours. It has always been our experience that for contractors and rain the two do not mix well.

But the fence shown above was installed almost completely in the rain. On Tuesday at around 7:30 A.M. a large crew of men came and began dismantling the old fence and carting off the rotting wood.

Shortly after that new holes were dug and all new lumber brought in to begin the new fence. To us it was amazing to watch 8-12 men in full rain gear go about their task with expertise and purpose. Before the day was over the the main fence was in and the yard completely enclosed.

Redwood Residential Fencing did the work and beautiful work it was. The fragrance of "new" wood filled the air and the quality job spoke for itself. For us and the four other neighbors, we are pleased with the results.

Dates from the Tree

The holidays are upon us and many birthdays and anniversaries fall on Thanksgiving this year:

Best wishes to all!

Where the Search Took Me this Week

I was all over the tree this week looking for connections and tidbits. But mostly I found myself working on Gail's side of the tree and was able to uncover some interesting people and facts.

One of the families that I found was that of the Bob Shaffer family.

Growing up Gail mentioned that their family was close to the Bob & Aggie Shaffer family and in fact even stayed with them part of the time when Gail's father was hospitalized.

Gail has fond memories of their daughter Arlene who is pictured along with her father to the right.

Arlene and Gail are 2nd cousins and the connection can be seen in the chart as well.

There is a huge amount of material to be uncovered on the many Shaffers that populate her tree, not to forget a huge amount of Calhouns that find themselves there as well.

Speaking of the Calhouns, Gail's Gr Gr Grandfather, Rufus Calhoun had many siblings.

One that I just found a picture of this week is that of Thomas Watts Calhoun seen to the right along with his wife, Mary.

Thomas & Mary are the Gr Gr Gr Uncle and Aunt of Gail.

So far, most of the Calhoun men from Rufus' and Thomas' generation have full beards.

Rufus was a Sea Captain and we have visited his home in Port Townsend, Washington.

It appears that Thomas was a farmer according to the 1880 Federal Census that I saw. He lived to be 92 and appeared with his 87 year old wife in the 1930 Federal Census living in Seattle.

It will be interesting to uncover more about the family of Rufus and his siblings -- there were at least eight of them -- a sea captain, a Doctor and a farmer so far.

Retirement Activity

One of the things that is very important when one is retired is to find meaningful and fun activities in which to engage. I could spend most of my time doing genealogy and be perfectly happy even eating some of my meals in front of the computer doing research.

Gail on the other hand does not share the same passion about family history, but she does engage in several activities that keep her engaged during the day, She does great needlepoint work and we have those exhibited throughout the house.

One very challenging activity can be seen on the left. This is a current project that is very daunting when first viewed.

Several years ago we started purchasing Liberty Puzzles and have loved them ever since.

The Garden scene is beautiful and the almost 700 precision laser-cut wooden pieces are fun to work with.

The real challenge to this puzzle is that the frame is part of the puzzle and does not necessarily have straight pieces as in normal borders. So every little bit I hear an exclamation that "I found another piece!"

This puzzle will take quite a while to complete but Gail can leave it set up and work on it when she feels inclined to . . .

Online Shopping

It is the holiday period, the time to be serious about doing our shopping. We will spend very little time in the "brick & mortar" stores opting to do our shopping at several favorite online sites and then watching UPS and Fedex trucks rushing throughout the neighborhood.

We use Amazon it seems almost daily for so many of the things we used to run to department or discount stores to buy. Amazon in our area seems to be using the postal service more than they ever used to -- which has worked out to our benefit in one way -- the mailman can not fit packages into our street-side mailbox, so he brings everything "to the door" and we like that.

But, coming up this next week, besides all the family birthdays and anniversaries is one of our favorite holidays -- Thanksgiving.  Where will you be spending Thanksgiving and what will you be eating for that dinner.

We will be having maybe the second turkey of the year along with all the fixins that go with it and watching football -- maybe visiting with friends and family -- so all in all a pleasant time.

We hope all of you enjoy this great holiday as well!

But, tonight it is Saturday Night and that means burgers pork chops (for a change),

See you all in a few!  (After Black Friday)

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Beatin' The Polar Vortex Impact !

We (in California) are one of a few states that are escaping the icy cold from the polar vortex. On the other hand the house across the street is just covered with icicles hanging along the roof line -- put up yesterday . . .

It was a busy week for Gail who had two visitors for lunch this week and had two wonderful visits and is feeling warm & fuzzy after the reminiscing and catching up with current events.

The above collage captures some of the moments without being too intrusive, but wanting to document the events. And I get to enjoy some of the leftovers . . .

Dates For Next Week

Quite a few birthdays and several wedding anniversaries for folks from the tree:

Best Wishes to All!

A Bumgardner Cousin

This week I did wind up spending a lot of time in my maternal side of the tree -- specifically with the BUMGARDNER branch. I found several new cousins and a lot of interesting tidbits about some of them.

The information above pertains to a cousin that I never knew of before this past week. Her name is Anna Belle Bumgardner and if you click on the image you can see her lineage.

She is a 2nd cousin, daughter of Edward T & Grace Bumgardner and she married Wiley M Perkins and had, it looks like seven children. I never knew that I had Perkins as cousins. But they lived in -- where else -- Muscatine, Iowa.

And another interesting fact is seen from the 1936 Muscatine City Directory (above) that shows that Wiley makes his living as a "button cutter". A few posts ago we talked about Muscatine and the button cutting industry that so many of the population was involved with.

What will I find out next . . .

Flash from the Past (Gail's i.e.)

One of the benefits of Gail meeting with an old friend that she has almost known longer than any other friend is that they exchanged items that had meaning to each.

For Gail she received some photos from her past that she had not seen in a while AND some of the letters that she had written from way back when.

It is fun to share these types of things and it makes you wonder about "where all the time went"?

We will try to make it a point to schedule some possible other connections in the coming weeks with an eye to exchanging . . .

What's On Our Nightstand

Last night we finished the Carol Burnett book -- "This Time Together" and found it to be very entertaining, informative and quite emotional at points.

We both thoroughly enjoyed the read and purposely read smaller segments each night so as to keep the book going.

Tonight we will start a logical follow up to Carol's book with one by Tim Conway -- "What's So Funny?" Tim Conway was always and is always a very humorous person to say the least.

When Tim was on the Carol Burnett show along with Harvey Korman and the three of them did skits -- it was always side-splitting.

We are looking forward to this book and will probably mention it in future posts.

And Lastly

In a few days (10 or so) it will be Thanksgiving. We are just getting around to putting the left-over Halloween candy in a safe spot and now we are having to defrost the turkey for the big dinner.

About eight weeks ago we contracted to have the fence around our yard (and 5 of our neighbors as well) replaced -- of course the work will progress given that there is NO rain which is an uncertainty
at this point as it rained hard a couple of times this week and polar vortex or not it may rain next week as well . . .

So big deal -- fence or partial fence -- one fact remains:

So we can do the count-down and worry about getting our Christmas shopping done . . .

Saturday night -- the menu is "up in the air" surprisingly enough. See you all in a few!

Saturday, November 8, 2014


We adjusted just fine to the first week going back to "standard" time. Part of the reason is that the weather these past several days has been probably the finest of the year -- clear, crisp not too hot, not too cold. AND the full moon added so much this week.

A collage of some photos "outback" depicts the climate. The full moon hung high in the sky early in the morning at sunrise.  Later in the morning Dino sunned himself by the pool and Gail thought she was hidden by the turning leaves . . . and the Meyer lemons began turning their bright color.

The only real adjustment was getting Dino to wait that extra hour for dinner . . . but as usual he has adjusted as well. We hear that next week there could be some rain . . . and that is a good thing.

We are out of interesting sporting events for the time-being. Football for us in the Bay Area is just not up to the last couple of years and of course across the bay, well that is a story in itself.

Dates from Our Tree

This week of course several birthdays being celebrated and also a few wedding anniversaries:

I've starred some of the closer related to me ones, but best wishes to all!

A Newly Found Cousin

And yet again this week finds me in the "Gillett" branches as I search for relatives.

There are so many Gillett families that it may keep
me busy for a long long time.

This week Keith Curtis Gillett "jumped" out at me for some reason and while I did not find his photo, I did find a photo of his wife, Betty Jane Quigley.

To the left you can see how Keith & Betty are related to me -- 3rd cousins.

Keith comes from a line of Gilletts that are from Minnesota. But Keith & Betty wound up in Texas.

Keith joined the military in 1941 at the beginning of WWII.

Keith rose to be a Major in the U.S. Army. Both he and Betty are buried at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas, Keith in 1977 and Betty in 2009.

To the right are just some of the new photos that I have added to the HILES website at

All are Gillett related and can be checked out at the site.

What I find so fortunate is that so many folks are now more than ever willing to share their photos -- and again I know that someone out there has some of the missing HILES family members that I seek.

One of the frustrating aspects of the Gillett search is that even on one genealogical record the name may be spelled differently throughout.

I simply have to ignore all the (e's) that are added to a Gillett that I know started without one. Apparently some individuals have allowed their Gillett names to have the "e" added and do not make the effort to correct it.

I have seen many Gillett families with their children listed with an "e" and then
again without the "e". It does get confusing at times.

Now -- GILLETT (no E) , Wisconsin

We have talked about the two HILES Wisconsin towns in earlier posts so it is about time to mention GILLETT (no E) Wisconsin.

Above you can see some tidbits about the town -- and just like the two HILES, Wisconsin towns, I have not (yet) drawn the relationship from them to our branch.

Rodney Stephen Gillett apparently founded the town of GILLETT (no E), Wisconsin back in the times when Wisconsin was barely a state and when the area was mostly populated by Indians.

I do not believe that I have ever been in the town, but if I get back to Wisconsin I would like to visit it. It is about 37 miles NE of Green Bay and has a population of around 2000 folks.

Above are a few facts and pics of the town gotten from Wikipedia and other sites on the web. You can click on the collage for better details.

And Lastly -- What's On Our Nightstand

Well, we finally finished the around 700 page, very detailed book about John (Duke) Wayne much to the relief of Gail and we have started the much shorter, lighter and actually more entertaining stories presented by Carol Burnett.

The book is filled with short stories of Carol's experiences in her TV life.
Since her show was one that we always watched and remember, the book is quite refreshing.

And as usual we are learning bits and pieces of the lives of many other celebrities throughout the pages. It won't take us long to finish this book, so we tend to stop short (so-to-speak) so as to not finish it too fast . . .

That is a bit of our week -- it is Saturday and it may mean burgers . . . see you all in a few!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

What a Week . . .

Of course we were on "pins & needles" after the Giant's game on Tuesday, but it makes for a very satisfying finish if you are a Giants fan . . . on Wednesday, the 7th and final game:

The above shows the outcome but does not tell the whole story. The Royals were one itsy bitsy swing of the bat away from a "walk-off" win. There was a man on third base in the last of the Royals 9th inning just waiting to come  home. Of course that did not happen.

San Francisco celebrated big-time from Wednesday til now, as well they (we) should . . .

Of course the other big event this week was Halloween and in sympathy with teachers everywhere it fell on a Friday:

We saw the weather forecast early in the day calling for rain throughout various times of the day including the evening hours -- only part of that happened. It rained early in the day and was crystal clear the rest of the day AND evening.

Gail was worried that we would run out of goodies, but I knew we had back-up if it came to that. Last year we only had a few visitors and I didn't see how that would change much.

The merchants in town now offer a much safer and easier way for the goblins to gather goodies. So from 6:00 p.m. til 8:00 p.m. we had exactly 34 actual trick or treaters -- so we could be a little bit liberal when handing out the sweet stuff.

And we have learned that another part of town is where the action winds up due to the closeness of the houses both to each other and to the street -- developers should keep that in mind.

From the Tree

It always amazes me to see how many celebrations that we have among our tree dwellers:

Lots of birthdays but a lot of wedding anniversaries as well for next week. Best wishes to all!

While Noodling Around in the Tree

I like looking for pictures of folks from our tree. This week while seeking some pictures I stumbled across a photo that someone put in their tree for a person that I knew we were related to, but I did not know any of the details of her life.

The picture was all wrinkled and bent and torn -- and so it jumped right out as a challenge to see if I could clean it up a bit and offer it back for all of us.

After about an hour of working on the photo, using Picasa, I came up with what I felt was a good presentable picture of a very cute little girl.  The picture on the left I'm sure was the only toddler picture probably available.

I hoped that her closer relatives would approve which lead me to delve into her story more so that I would know how she was related to me.

It turns out that the "Gillett Family" again came into the picture. Clicking on the chart on the left you can see the path down the Gillett side and the Hiles side.

At the bottom you can see that Georgia Clock is actually a 3rd Cousin -- same generation too.

It should be noted that I have Georgia's line all with pictures and on my line I do not have a picture for Emily Adeline Gillett or her husband
John Hiles, my Great Grandfather.

I kept searching for more facts about Georgia and I ran across several sites/trees that contained her story -- I found it unbelievably sad and needed to be shared with as many of us relatives as possible.

One of the trees that I came across was actually from her daughter Kim. Georgia and her husband actually had seven children. Following is a piece of what Kim wrote about in her tree:

Click on the above to read what she has to share about her Mother and her experience of their last contact.

In summary, our Cousins have gone through a most tragic event that took their Mother from them.
And I happened on the story really because of that torn and wrinkled photo that I saw in an tree . . .

An Update from Marv's 80th

My brother held his 80th birthday celebration in style. The folks were great, the food was great and most of all Marv enjoyed the party along with the rest of us:

Above is a collage of some of the photos for the event -- unfortunately I did not realize it but the flash on my new camera did not always materialize when needed, so some photos were yellowed a bit.

And Lastly this Week

It is hard to believe but it is that "time" again -- the task of changing all the clocks -- we do it in stages. Some even require the ladder . . .

It is though Saturday and that does mean -- burger & fries tonight!  See you all in a few!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Some SERIOUS Raining . . .

The rains came in the night AND in the midday, how serious they are I'm not sure -- but I do know that the Series is serious . . .

Between the downpours there was a chance to shoot some of the remaining "color" in the backyard.

The purple flowers are brilliant and the red plant is stunning (we just do not know what it is).

The rest is self-explanatory, but the weather today is definitely -- weird . . .

The World Series though is another thing altogether and I'll mention that later in the post.

Dates from our Tree

The birthdays continue while the anniversaries somewhat are dwindling -- for the time being.

There are over thirty birthdays to celebrate next week with only five wedding anniversaries. We wish the best to all!    

Eighty years ago yesterday our family welcomed
the first born into our midst -- Marv!

He was the first-born of parents who were also first born -- and
we all know about the first born children in a marriage . . .

I am also married to a first-born so I am surrounded with examples.

I have had the privilege of knowing him for approximately 7/8s of his life.

Several of us here in town are about to attend his birthday celebration later today -- which of course will replace our traditional Saturday night burgers.

Above is a small sample (in collage form) of the many pictures that I have accumulated over the years. I was around for all of the pictures except his infant pictures -- I hope to put together another collage in future posts.

Each photo conjures up stories and explanations -- which are so illuminating. I'll report next post on the events of the celebration this evening and maybe even have some more photos.

There is always the "brick-wall" to consider when working on the family tree and the HILES brick wall is no exception -- it is the reason that I branch out and look for cousins in any spot on the tree that I can find them.

New Cousins This Week

Again my week found me all over the tree -- and I did find a couple of cousins that I was not aware of before this week:

 The first that I am showing here is for Wretha Lillie Bumgardner (from my maternal branch). The first thing I thought was that "Wretha" was a misspelled name. But apparently it is for real -- I just never had encountered it before.

I found a picture of Wretha from her High School and one from her College which is really fun. From what I have found so far it looks as though she never married ( a spinster teacher). I will be looking to find additional information about her -- she is a second cousin (one generation apart).

The second cousin that I found this week is Rodney Lee Mohler, from my paternal side, in fact he is descended from Jackson Hiles (my 3rd Great Uncle) making Rodney a 3rd cousin (one generation apart).

I luckily found Rodney's picture and information in "The Young American Patriot" book from WWII.

Eventually I will stumble across the leads that will take me over the brick wall.

On the right is a snap from the HILES website that shows as of yesterday
some recent photos that I have added there.

There are several hundred photos on the site along with stories, documents and other trivia all relating to the families that make up our tree.

To access the site:   HILES WEBSITE  apply for a log in "id" and then
you can explore -- I would be happy to assist if you'd like.

And Lastly . . .

What about those Giants -- at this point down two games to one . . . we need to win today for sure or
even tomorrow for really sure . . .

Above you can see Dino looking through the glass door and the Giants Banner waving in the wind.

I'm glad too that the Giants colors match those of Halloween . . .

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


Saturday, October 18, 2014


What a week -- besides the diversity of weather (heavy rains one day, heavy sunshine the next) the sports world dominated a lot of our time this week:

And as a result, the San Francisco Forty-Niner banner joins "Old Glory" as the display in front of our home.

What happened? The Niners dug deep and pulled out another pennant winning series of games which puts them into a contest with the ALCS winner, the Kansas City Royals.

If you click on the chart you'll see how they got there and that there is one more blank line to fill in -- the World Series winner line . . .

Dates From the Tree

A lot of birthdays, including both of my brothers who celebrate next week. One his 80th and the other his 67th -- so that means at this moment we three boys are in our 60s, 70s and 80s . . . I wish both the happiest of days!

And there are seven couples celebrating wedding anniversaries.

An Amazing Story

I probably am the last to know about this, but I first read about this in Eastman's online blog, at, and decided to check into it . . .

To me this is one of the most interesting quirks of a genealogical nature.

If you click the article on the left you'll see what I mean.

John Tyler, our tenth president who was born in 1790 -- that is 224 years ago, STILL has two living grandsons today.

Apparently Tyler had 15 kids and at least one of them very late in life in fact 1853.

And that son, Lyle Gardiner Tyler had at least two sons late in his life -- 1924 & 1928.

These are the two Grandsons that are still living,

Above are pictures of both the Grandsons -- Lyle Jr and Harrison. I found both boys college photos, they both went to "The College of William & Mary", and then some more recent photos of each.

For the fun of it, I have started a "Tyler" tree in and when I need a break I update that along with the several other trees that I have there.

But thinking about the spread of years -- both of my grandfathers were born in the 1880s, and neither had children that late in life. I have to wonder how many other stories like this exist.

Another Amazing Story

At least to me (and to Gail)! I am jealous of Gail's paternal line in that we know that it came from England -- and we have all kinds of proof for that.

Thomas Bouldron, Gail's GGGrandfather was born in 1820 in Lartington, Yorkshire, England.

We have known his mother's name but until this week we did not know Thomas' father's name.

From we can see the proof of not only Thomas's birth date but ALSO the name of his father per the attached record.

Clicking on the document to the right you can see in the hand written section at the bottom, the facts regarding the birth -- January 30, 1820, previously we only knew the year 1820.

And we can see the date of Baptism (Catholic) as the 31st of January 1820 along with his father's name -- William Bouldron and his mother's name Elizabeth Jatten.   

Clicking on the left you will see the linage from William to Gail and the folks in between. 

Little by little we fill in the missing pieces. And when you watch shows like "Finding Your Roots" you see amazing discoveries all the time.

As more and more records are digitized we can expect to find more and more facts, that is why checking back in with for example can mean a new discovery possibly.

I was encouraged by finding the name of William Bouldron and for getting a definite birth date for his son Thomas.

What will be next?

Well this was a week that seemingly was spent on Gail's side of the family tree more than mine -- mostly because I kept finding interesting people and facts.

Who knew? That "my Gilletts" were not the only
Gillette's in the tree.

It turns out that Gail's side has Gillettes as well, though her side has the added "e" at the end, more like the cosmetic company . . .

Clicking on the right you can see that coming down the Isaac Pine Calhoun line, one of the many Shaffer boys married a Gillette, Margaret to be specific.

Thanks to and their school year
book photos, I was also able to put a picture to
Margaret's name as well. It's all magical.

Thinking About the World Series

If you are maybe thinking about attending maybe one or more of the games next week -- clicking on the left shows the schedule as it is so far.

I have been to games in Kansas City (years ago when I traveled to that city) and to games in San Francisco (though not to AT&T Park) but looking at the examples of the ticket prices on the bottom left -- FOX TV is just fine.

Actually as a matter of fact these days I prefer TV games. The ticket prices to the left are game tickets only -- not travel, not parking nor refreshments . . .

We are saving a bundle and a second mortgage and we'll be getting appropriate commentary along with our choice of  refreshments and decorum.

We look forward to the World Series games -- who played last year . . .

It is Saturday -- and that means -- Fish-Fry Friday Saturday . . . See you all in a few!


Saturday, October 11, 2014

It's The Beginning of "That" Season . . .

Fall, almost winter but always "that" season comes to mind now even though it is only October. And of course the inevitable rush:

It is hard to imagine that as I write this there are less than 75 days before Christmas. The weather here is still in the 80s or so each day and the kids are still playing baseball in the fields behind our house.

I realize that there has been snow reported in different areas of the country, but for the most part the weather seems still summer/fall-like . . .

We are gearing up for the holidays so-to-speak. The discussion comes up as to whether this year our tree will be on top of a table or not . . . we're still working on that one. And then there is the dilemma of just how many decorations we will bring out of storage.

More on all of that as the weeks progress . . .

Dates from the Tree

Not that tree, the family tree:

Still a sizable amount of birthdays and there are
also eight couples celebrating wedding anniversaries.

Cousin Community

Growing up in the Chicago suburbs I do not really recall our family talking very much about our ancestors or other relatives all that much. I have mentioned this fact many times in previous posts and I realize that our family was not "all" that different from many others in that respect.

In watching shows like "Finding Your Roots" I see that almost every featured person on that show shares that same sentiment -- that parts of their family were never really talked about and thus the history has been hidden -- both the good and the not-so-good.

To the left is a map showing one route from the Hinsdale area to the Rockford, Illinois area. It is about an hour and a half drive -- probably longer in the 1940s and 1950s, but not that long.

This week while noodling around the net I uncovered the fact that we did in fact have a "cousin community" in Rockford. Who knew?

I have only been to Rockford a couple of times -- maybe -- and that was just passing through. But if I had known how many cousins lived there I might have stopped to visit a bit.

And, surprise surprise, it is the Gillett family again that shows up. Thomas Reuben Gillett, my Great Great Uncle (check out on the right) and his wife Sarah had seven children some of whom went north from Wisconsin and some of whom went south from Wisconsin and some stayed in Wisconsin.

Pretty much like families of today. But the children who went south wound up in Rockford, Illinois.

There are many many Gillett offspring still in the Rockford area -- and the historical and current newspapers have all kinds of stories and pictures of these Gillett families.

In future posts I'll share some of what I find in the papers -- but for now I have added some of these folks to the  website.

From the Photo Bin

It would be so nice if there were names on all the photos that I have accumulated, but that is far from the facts of life:

In the above photo collage there are two pictures of my mother, Ruth Bumgardner and two pictures of her brother Stewart Bumgardner each one with people that are not identified and are very likely relatives.

If anyone can identify them -- that would be terrific. The odds of that happening, well that is something else again.

And Lastly

The post-season Major League Baseball games continue to entertain -- as long as the team one is rooting for wins I suppose.

But the San Francisco Giants have scrambled once again to now be playing in the seven game National League Championship Series (best of 7 games) and they start today.

Click on the above and you can see how each team got to this level. The ALCS started yesterday with the Royals ahead in that series 1-0.

The National league starts today in St Louis with the SF Giants and the Cards. In most of these post season games there is a higher level of intensity and the viewing pleasure is "that" much greater.

And so that is a bit of our week. It is Saturday and that means burgers sloppy joe's for a change . . .

See you all in a few!