Search This Blog


Sunday, July 24, 2016

Twenty Winks, And Then Some . . .

It's been that kind of week -- hot, air-conditioned and more of the same. Even the nights required some cooling. But each day this week was interesting from the standpoint of what the TV brought. We programmed several channels to the events in Cleveland and while we eventually did exhaust watching (some of us before others) we look forward to the next several days . . .

I remember my Grandmother (Mamie) saying on the occasions that I was visiting, that mid-afternoon she was going to take her "twenty-winks" . . .  I don't remember if I did as well, but I do remember that it usually was more than twenty that she took.

These days I recognize the value of "twenty-winks" and practice achieving that frequently. I actually like to wink long enough to actually get to sleep and then wake up refreshed and have it be only about twenty-winks, but sometimes it might be forty or more . . .

The search this week still is emanating from the chance meeting of our cousin from Norway who introduced me to the Madsen/Matson branch.

Brother-in-law of second great aunt (the sister of Samuel Martin). It turns out that Jacob and his wife, Louise must have had an interesting life at least from the standpoint that they appeared to move a lot.

They were both born in Norway and then arrived in the U.S. living in Chicago, Illinois, living in Wisconsin and ultimately, Eastern Washington (State).

In 1890, Jacob Matson owned and operated the store to the right. It was located at 518 Division Street in Chicago. (the picture and facts are courtesy of S R Colbert)

The store looks so reminiscent of some that I know I shopped in near my Grandparents home in Chicago -- though this one probably was not there in the 1940s or 50s.

At any rate I can envision the inside of the store and have a sense of nostalgia.

Later Jacob and family wound up as farmers in the Tri-Cities area of Washington State, Yakima specifically.  They were involved in fruit growing which that area was known for and probably still is.

It is amazing the stories that appear from searching -- I look forward to what else that I uncover.

So, guess what book is finally coming off our nightstand . . .

The book to the left is nearly 900 pages and we read all of them over the last three months.

I actually did not think that I would be able to hold the book to read it at night -- but managed to do so.

And I did not think that someone could write enough interesting things about Sinatra that would keep our interest -- but they did.

Since Sinatra basically lived during the life-span of our parents we could relate to the events going on during that period of time.

There were numerous insights into the political personalities of the folks during that period along with just plain observations of life in those days.

We now have the choice of picking our next read -- and we have several to choose from, that decision will come later today so that we can begin anew with our evening read -- but we know whichever book we choose it will not be 900 pages . . .

So, napping, watching the Giants games (they won their first game after losing 6, just yesterday) attending genealogy webinars, and of course the 2nd half of the political conventions.

Philadelphia is the site of the Democratic National Convention.  We will program the TV to record several iterations of that event and then choose which ones we want to watch.

I still find the process very interesting and am usually amazed at what people will do. I remember watching the conventions in the 50s while growing up and some of those images are still vivid in my memory.

At any rate, in a few months all will be determined and between now and then the news will be filled with any and all observations. We can't wait . . .

I guess that I am really out-of-luck because I did purchase a couple of tickets for the recent huge winning pots from the Powerball and the MegaLotteries to no avail.

Of course that would be my main reason for wanting to win -- i.e. finding all those "lost" relatives -- NOT.

It would be nice though to think that there is another value other than just economics in winning the lottery. . .

That is a peek into our week, see you all "in a few"!

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Made in the Shade . . . 10° of Separation

Okay, so it was hot -- what else is new for Healdsburg in July? A lot I suppose, but we did have two or three days of 100° weather and NOW for the last two days it has been at least 10° cooler. Actually as I write this post and sit by the opened window there is a very refreshing, cooling breeze.

Unfortunately while the weather climate is more agreeable other climates like tension around the globe is not cooling off and then there is the political climate -- more on that later.

Made in the shade . . .

The above floral group is found in the shade out back. We venture out only a couple of times in the day choosing the indoors for comfort.

About 54% of this year has passed. We are one day shy of 200 out of 366 for 2016.

But we have only 113 days to go until the Presidential Election on Tuesday, November 8th -- and that time will fly by.

For these first 200 days this year we have seen and heard tons of new approaches to campaigning.

We can only imagine what these next days will bring.

So what will we do next week -- like my Mother used to say:  "You get three guesses, and the first two don't count" :

So, who doesn't like balloons. Actually I have always pretty much enjoyed watching the convention activities. There will be no shortage of TV coverage. One could spend 24/7 listening in on the goings on.

What surprises will there be and how will the crowds be behaving both indoor and outside the Cleveland Arena.

So next week is fairly decided as to what to watch, but there will be many options as to which point of view you want to hear about and see.

Years ago I used to always check the comics for "Dennis" and a couple of others -- just like today I read three different comics and skip the rest.

I have to agree with the question that Dennis poses and I make it a practice to spend a large amount of my disposable genealogical search time just climbing the tree.

Some times when I am in the tree, just as in an actual physical tree, I feel as though I am so far out on a limb that there is potential for some sort of trouble.

I sometimes take a break from climbing "our" tree and seek out other trees to climb or I watch someone else climb their tree.

I almost feel that climbing the tree gives me a special insight into the "leaves" or people found there . . .

Following are some examples of this week's tree climb:

On the left is an example of climbing in Gail's tree. I started with George Calhoun, who is one of the brothers of Captain Rufus Calhoun. George is Gail's 3x Great Uncle. He, like his brothers, had a full beard and it is nice that I could find his photo.

I did not find a photo of George's son, but I did find a photo of his grandson, Grant Glen Calhoun who is Gail's 2nd cousin and I identified his son to be Scott Calhoun a 3rd cousin.

The 3rd cousin actually died in Santa Rosa in 2000 -- close to home for us. Maybe I can find out more about Scott and possible offspring that may still live in the area.

Next -- in the middle section -- I took a break and went climbing in the tree of my brother's wife, Nancy.

I know some basics about Nancy's family, but I stumbled across a photo of her Great Grandfather,
Philip Sheridan Francis who was born one year after the Civil War in 1866.

Obviously his parents gave him his name in honor of Philip Henry Sheridan the Civil War General.
General Sheridan was a career Union Army officer and played a large role in the war and in subsequent activities.

It is rare to find photos of our relatives from that generation. I have found only a handful of folks from that time period, but I know that they probably exist somewhere.

And lastly, I'm still climbing around the Madsen/Matson branches though the "low-hanging fruit" has been picked, so-to-speak. I'm getting close to getting a handle on some of the living folks that maybe I can communicate with -- we'll see.

And I can't stress this sentiment enough -- we are
for all intents and purposes --

A Nice, Normal Family . . .

And after climbing the branches for awhile and seeing the diverse number of families, it is very much the fact -- we are within the norm.

So we keep at it, at least for another week, in- between convention coverage, crisis and other horrific reporting, the climb.

It is Sunday and it is beautiful outside, probably chicken for dinner.

See you all "in a few"!

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Dealing With A/C or Not . . .

It's almost embarrassing that amidst the heat of the week, we actually used the heat from the furnace a few times this week -- in the early morning hours that is.

For some reason the weather was so strange this week that we went from one extreme to another sometimes all in the same day. And for two straight days we used no a/c at all, just good old fashioned ventilation -- which is preferable to us.

 In the above you can see the thermometer almost reaching the century mark on one day. The other pics are of some of the current blossoms in the yard. In the middle picture you can see a hard-working bee doing whatever they do. It is nice to see a lot of bees and humming birds working on the flowers.

I was again lucky this past week in that there were two excellent webinars presented  by Legacy Family Tree Webinars:

The first one was on working through the process of naturalization. This is a subject that I want to explore more in that it is really fascinating to learn of the details of immigrants and what they went though to move to our country.

The second webinar was another one about what I feel is one of the most confusing areas to deal with and that is DNA. This time it was a peek into the process that Geoff Rasmussen used as he dealt with the test results from Ancestry DNA.

It is going to take several more sessions and lots of work for me to feel comfortable with this but over time I should "get there". In the meantime, I keep receiving more and more news of matches from all three testing sites . . . now I just have to make the connections.

In the last couple of posts I have made reference to communicating with a new found cousin from Norway.

The information that he shared got me started digging into more of the details about the branches stemming from the Thorbjornsen connection.

In the above graph -- click on it to enlarge --  you can see my Great Grandparents, Samuel and Elise Martin and then their family.  But the attention in this graphic is on Samuel's sister, Ann, who married a man named Mads Madsen.

Ann is my 2nd Great Aunt and her children then are 1st Cousins and in this chart her son, Ingebrigt Madsen is a 1st Cousin. He married Hulda Emma Hansen and their children are my 2nd Cousins -- and there is a lot of them -- 10 or so. And if you notice they have changed the spelling of their surname from "Madsen" to "Matson", more Americanized.

So, while Henry is a 2nd Cousin, his children are my 3rd Cousins.

And you can see his five children pictured in the chart to the right.

Thank for their Yearbook Database as I found each of the children with pictures from Carl Schurz High School in Chicago.

I also found a couple of college photos for two of them -- one from North College and one from Wheaton College.

I believe that three of the five children are still living, so it would be nice to maybe communicate with them as I -- before this last week did not know of their existence.

There are 10 2nd Cousins and so I have a lot of material to search and find.

I am working on another story having to do with Marvin Matson.

It will be interesting to learn about his family.

All work and no play would not be fun . . .

The play here is actually the Major League Baseball standings so far this season.

Clicking on the chart you can see that the San Francisco Giants currently have the best record in all of baseball.

We have watched every game -- admittedly we have fast-forwarded through some innings . . .

We especially like the games that are played in the Eastern time zone or Central because the games start earlier in the day and we can record and watch them in the late afternoon or early evening.

AND, coming up this Tuesday is the All Star game.

This year it is being played in San Diego so even though it is in our time zone, the game is scheduled early enough for us to record it and enjoy -- which we hope to do.

I can only imagine what it was like to create a family tree in the "good old days".

But the image to the right is amazing and all of it done without a computer or the internet.

The women folk were smart to not participate in this family tree -- at least photographically.

And so, that is a peek into our week.

See you all "in a few".

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Fourth & 10 . . .

After 70 some "4ths" this is pretty much a favorite holiday -- ranks up there with Thanksgiving in that as Jimmy Kimmel put it " I don't have to wrap anything".  I agree. It is just a day to reflect and enjoy.
Usually we enjoy BBQ'd eats and a terrific fireworks display.

We can see some of the local fireworks without leaving our yard. We see some of the very high-in-the-sky ones -- and we mostly hear and feel the reverberations and concussions as they happen.

One plus is that while Dino hears them, he does not require medication or comforting while the show goes on. We are happy about that. And we don't miss attending the live show with the throngs of folks and the half-block long line up of porta-potties . . .

There has been about 240 4th of July celebrations since the original in 1776. I can claim about 30%.
If you get right down to it -- a lot of them are blurred and mixed in with each other.

We went "all-out" again with our decorating adding some new bunting on the front porch to the array including the authentic "13 Colonies" flag and some other banners. Growing up, I remember our father always displaying the old flag on this and other holidays. Our family did have the old flag from Samuel Martin's (Thorbjornsen) ship -- I wonder what happened to that flag . . .

While this week is "not-so-quiet" next week will surely be "a quite week". Why so -- the final edition of "A Prairie Home Companion" played last evening.

After 42 years, Garrison Keillor is wrapping up the weekly radio broadcast of APHC.

Over the years he has brought us so much enjoyment. I am a few months different in age as Garrison and I grew up in roughly the same geographical environment AND I am familiar with a lot of what he refers to as being "Lutheran" -- even though we were not Lutheran.

Parts of our family were Lutheran and even my younger brother attended a Lutheran school, so much of what Garrison described -- I recognized.

What will he do next. I doubt that he will just stop entertaining. I'm sure that he has "something up his sleeve". And we sure hope so!

Send Greetings to Garrison

The above link is to the PHC website where you can send a message to Garrison ( I already have).
When I write this weekly blog it so hard NOT to start it with "It's been a quiet week" . . .

I did manage to "squeeze-in" a webinar this week. One from Legacy Family Tree Webinars:

It of course was on DNA and that subject is still so confusing to me.

But, each time I attend a class or webinar about DNA it becomes a little bit easier to digest.

The speaker to the left, Diahan Southard is really enthusiastic and knowledgeable about DNA.

She made a very professional presentation and used really eye-catching slides which made the subject matter so much more understandable.

As I have mentioned before, I have tested with the three majors of DNA test companies -- Family Tree DNA, Ancestry DNA and 23 & Me DNA.  Each one has provided many connections and every day as more and more folks get tested -- more results.

Ancestry DNA for me now is providing the easiest way to see how each connection is related to me via folks in trees.

One of the most important messages from this and other DNA presentations is that -- do it now and start with the oldest folks in your branches for obvious reasons. The testing process is certainly simple enough -- who doesn't love "spitting" anyway -- in a tube that is.

As I wrote about last post -- I am spending a lot of tree-time in the "Thorbjornsen" branches:

Above is just the "tip" of the Thorbjornsen tourbillion -- tourbillion being a new word discovered just today on "Word of the Day".  It refers to a meteoric rise in the number of Thorbjornsens that I have been adding to the tree.

I actually have been able to add two photos of Samuel Martin's brothers -- I wish that I could find a good photo of Samuel -- hopefully that will happen.

But in the chart above, the arrows underneath the lowest folks indicate that I have already added many folks "to the line".  Eventually I will get to the "living descendants" and hopefully be able to communicate with them -- like I did last week with Alf Christophersen, who supplied some very detailed data on the family.

Now, with only 127 days until our Presidential election, who will be the running mates of the candidates.  Here are some of the folks on the lists:

It is going to be interesting in the coming days.

I never thought about the last person shown on Hillary's list -- I guess it could happen . . .

Some sites have said that Trump has already selected his running mate and so you have to ask why it is reported also that he is going through a "vetting" process this weekend . . .

And lastly, while this is not true for us at our house, I'm sure it is true for some:

That is a bit of our week -- enjoy the rest of the Holiday Weekend -- we'll see you all "in a few".

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Diamond Jubilee -- Redaction Reaction

A Diamond Jubilee was celebrated in our home this week! A "quiet, down-home" celebration unlike some of the ones that we have seen publicly. We're into that time when simpler events are meaningful and rewarding. And that is just what we had for Gail:

What is one thing Gail has in common with Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, Ann Margaret, Bernie Sanders, Neil Diamond, Martha Stewart, Dick Cheney, Pete Rose, Jesse Jackson, Faye Dunaway, Nick Nolte, Paul Anka, Paul Simon, Leslie Stahl, Ryan O'Neal, Helen Reddy, Ann Rice, Chubby Checker and many many others -- all turn 75 this year, and Gail did on Friday! Congrats to her!

Even "The Donald" sent a card -- how does he find the time especially with all that is going on . . .

And speaking of "all that is going on" the flags to the right, European Union and Great Britain are certainly filling all news theses days.

Great Britain did vote to sever their ties with the European Union and everyone is wondering what that means to them.

What is really surprising is that it appears people in Britain are also wondering what that means as Google reported that in Britain the number one search item is "BREXIT".  It makes you think that maybe some British folk were also caught unawares.

I had to brush up on my awareness of the EU and what all it meant and continues to mean. It will be most interesting to see what is in-store for the UK.

Another country that is NOT in the European Union is Norway.

Apparently they have voted twice -- some time ago -- to stay out of the EU.

Their reasoning had to do mostly with protecting their fishing industry which is second only to their oil industry.

I have heard on the news that Britain is being advised to study what Norway has done and is doing regarding interaction with all the other EU countries.

But, closer to home for me is that this week I have just received communication from a cousin in Norway. He is related to, of course, the Thorbjornsen family, which is our Samuel Martin family, my Great Grandfather.

Alf Christophersen is descended from Samuel Martin's older brother and he and I have exchanged emails throughout this week. And, his hobby is -- guess what -- "slektsgransking" otherwise in English, genealogy.

Above is a picture he included with one of his emails and it is of Neils Theodor Thorbjornsen. also a brother of Samuel Martin. All very exciting and he also sent a ton of genealogical info on the family over there.

So I look forward to getting a better handle on the Thorbjornsen (Martin) branch and to maybe understanding more how to deal with "patronymic" surnames.

Much closer to home -- Healdsburg -- what is going on in our town?

Above is a picture taken yesterday of the five-way intersection at the entrance to our town from the south. The intersection is always a nuisance to encounter and is especially so at "rush-hour". For a town of just over 10,000 you can imagine the grid-lock . . .

So, the solution -- a roundabout has been proposed AND is in phase one starting this week. It has been a source of controversy but we like the idea a lot and know that it will be a huge positive addition to the town.

Healdsburg has a website -- if you are interested -- to follow the progress:

Healdsburg Roundabout

It will be fun to watch the progress (we're old . . .) via the internet and the webcam set up strategically at the intersection.

And finally, another very hot topic these days is of course gun control . . .

The scenario to the right has to be part of the equation.

We can certainly justify a lot of purchases, but this one has to be scrutinized.

I actually think the fellow considering the purchase looks familiar.

I'm sure that we've seen him "in town". . .

And so went our week. We are in the middle of a
heat wave with triple digits coming again this week.

See you all "in a few"!

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Last Day of Spring -- Paternal Recognition

It is that day that -- before the addition of cell phones -- amounted to the largest day of collect calls across the U.S.  Some may not remember collect calling, but while Mother's Day generated one of the largest calling days of the year, Father's Day generated the largest collect calling day. And maybe that still is the case if the cell phone is under a family type plan . . .

Above are just a few of the fathers from our tree and we wish them each a "Happy Father's Day"!

Growing up, I don't remember Father's Day that much, we just did not make a big deal of it. The day itself started to be recognized around the turn of the century (1900 that is). And by the time of WWII it began to be seriously taken as a holiday.

In the 60s LBJ declared that the third Sunday in June would be the day for recognition of fathers. And then the Republicans, not to be outdone, RMN in the 70s made the day a national holiday. So there you have it.

It also happens to be the very last day of Spring 2016. So that means tomorrow of course would be the first day of Summer -- it seems to us that we have already had that though. We are facing in the 90s temperatures for the next several days.

And the lower regions of California are experiencing huge wildfires along with even warmer temps as are other western regions.

The fun part of today for me is that I have a few additions to my library.

Muhammad Ali, of course will be a timely read and I'm sure a fun one as well.

Drew has always been a fascinating actress and this will be fun to read -- probably more for me than for Gail . . .

And lastly, Bill O'Reilly has produced a new history series that I have started watching on TV -- "Legends & Lies" so the book will be great to follow along with that.

And then my own copy of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. I really had not peeked at them since school-days.

What's on the menu then for this double celebration day:

While researching this week I stumbled upon the menu to the left.

It is not the menu that we will have on this holiday. It happens to be a menu given for Governor James Norris Gillett, our cousin.

I'm not sure what the occasion was but it was put on by a Senator Perkins for the Governor one hundred and eight years ago on March 2, 1908.

About the only item I recognize are the "Phillip Morris Cigarettes" . . .

I can only imagine what a dinner like this would be like. It certainly is not the "rubber chicken" variety.

Instead, we are having the very simple items to the right.

We love ribs and they fit today just perfectly.

We'll have a fresh salad and a roll or two and we will dispense with all of the items described in French above . . .

Maybe a simple chocolate chip cookie for dessert

So that's it for our week -- Happy Father's Day to all -- and see you all "in a few"!

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Grads -- Circumstances & Pomp

"Our town" had another high school graduation a couple of nights ago. We are fortunate to be the beneficiaries of some of the pomp but not a great deal of the circumstances. The pomp comes in the form of the sounds carried over the speaker system that we can hear quite loudly for the duration of the ceremony.

We actually have attended two of the Healdsburg High graduation ceremonies in the last several years. This year, judging from the sounds,was most likely similar to those two ceremonies.

I can only imagine the feeling of exhilaration as the caps are tossed.

I must admit -- I have graduated from several different schools and never once did I throw the cap . . .

The main reason is that I chose to not attend the ceremonies.

I graduated from Elementary School, Junior High, Senior High, Junior College and Senior College  -- no ceremonial memories . . .

I did get the diplomas though and I'm sure that
I could find them -- maybe.

I have never been asked to produce a copy of any diploma which in a way surprises me,

My college diploma was signed by Ronald Reagan (personally I'm sure) as he was Governor
of California at the time I graduated.

Now the issue of producing the certificate brings me to part of this week's activities.

The fact that I never was asked to produce any diploma is similar in nature to the fact that I have never been asked to produce a marriage certificate -- until this week -- can you imagine.

How many times have you been asked to see your diploma or your marriage certificate.

Well this week, I received a letter from the folks who provide "some" of my medical benefits and some benefits are extended to other family members as well.

After regaining composure, I thought how hard could that be . . . I'm sure that I have that marriage certificate in one of my genealogical computer files -- but just which one.  I remember once years ago viewing our marriage certificate but then it was filed somewhere and out of mind.

All our important documents would be in the safe deposit box, so a trip to the bank was in order. After opening the box, sure enough we found a large postal type envelope which on the outside listed the contents and much to our glee, "marriage certificate" was one of the items listed.

The unhappy news was that there was NO marriage certificate in the envelope . . . and we came to the conclusion that we needed to reevaluate the contents of the box -- it is on our "list".

Fortunately for us, in the back of my mind I guessed that in the crack physical filing system that I maintained at home, I would find the certificate. And I did! How fortunate I felt that I would not have to order a replacement copy from the county of record.

I'm still shaking my head though to have to produce this document after all these years . . .

In the morning usually as I sit in the family room working on my iPad (on genealogy of course) I often listen to a genealogy podcast as well.

To the right are four of the shows that I enjoy the most. Each podcast usually is about 45 minutes to an hour and it plays in the background as I work on

Sometimes, though I have to pause the podcast so that I can concentrate better on the search at hand.
I have learned a lot from these podcasts and each one has its own features and benefits. This last week I heard a speaker on "The Genealogy Professional" that I knew mostly from her blog -- "Clue Wagon" by Kerry Scott.

Kerry has written a new book -- that I have purchased and am reading -- "How to Use Evernote for Genealogy". Since I enjoyed her blog, I felt that I would enjoy her book as well and I do.

I actually started using Evernote many years ago but somehow set it aside for the last few years -- until -- I listened to Kerry's talk and now reading her book.

I am revisiting the usefulness of Evernote and with the help of Kerry's book, beginning to bring it back to everyday usefulness in genealogy AND everyday living as well.

Thank you Kerry and Evernote. I am hoping to be more disciplined about maintaining daily usage -- so far so good.

Sad to admit, but I have to say that I am guilty of this.

I don't get that many opportunities any more to talk with "outside" folks in person, but when I do I am aware that I do work towards "genalogifying" the conversation.

And why not, because usually it is a positive though sometimes it apparently is not. I usually get a sense of whether to genealogify of not to . . . but I love it!

So, that is a bit of our week. It is Sunday, probably taco salad for dinner after playing some Quiddler and while watching the Giants/Dodgers game.

See you all "in a few"!