Search This Blog

Loading...

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 Ancestry.com.

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"!


Sunday, June 5, 2016

School Is Out . . . Now What?

Sure, it is easy for some, but even though it has been 50 ? some years since school has been out for some of us, that question still lingers in the memory base -- "what to do during summer vacation?"

Our house borders with an elementary school and all week there has been "celebrations" going on in the open spaces behind our house. Some sounds are "okay" but some, like the very loud recorded music, get old in a hurry. I don't recall this kind of activity when I was in elementary school. Mostly it was the sounds of sighing on the part of the teachers . . .


Never-the-less, we expect more quiet during the week -- except for the bell system that is automatic for recess, lunch and the start of classes. However, the weekend sounds will increase and the late day sounds will increase with the playing of baseball.

We enjoy most of the sounds and sometimes play Quiddler at the high table under the arbor out back. When the temperature gets too high we retreat to the a/c inside . . .

Again, what to do?  We might attend events such as the one pictured below. The picture found among ones from my Mother's collection -- but without any description.


It appears to be an event in the 1920s and probably in the Chicago area. There seems to be a building, possibly a dedication ceremony. The folks attending appear to be well-dressed and attentive.

But, like many many of the shoe-box type photos, it is unlikely to ever resolve "what it's all about".

Trying to answer the "what to do question" can be found in the following:


Just in the nick of time, Ancestry Academy is offering some new classes and I believe that I will attend. The first one, about tracing the ancestry of a particular house, is one that I have been intending to do for some time. I have several homes that I would like to trace, some from my childhood and some more recent houses. We'll see how that all goes.

The second class has to do with researching railroad workers. We have a ton of "railroad workers" in our tree so this is appealing as well. Recently, I found that my younger brother was listed as an employee of a well known RR. I was surprised as I did not recall him ever working there . . .

The third class and the importance of it is pretty self-evident. Eventually I'd like to write a story . . .

And lastly, the fourth new class is all about DNA -- and who doesn't want to know more about DNA.
Actually, I find the subject of DNA and those results very confusing at best. But I do have to say that recently Ancestry has made some real advancements as it has to do with DNA results and identifying the folks in our tree.


Above is one of the latest updates from Ancestry DNA to me. Of course it shows (in the pie chart) my ethnicity estimate -- which is not surprising to see that I'm, 41% Western European, 27% Scandinavian and 23% Great British, with the remaining spread through several regions.

The nice thing too is that Ancestry DNA indicates that so far they have found 188 4th cousins or closer for me and if those folks have trees on Ancestry I can search for additional clues as to how they connect -- and in some cases, Ancestry points those connections out for me.

I believe that in the coming months that DNA results will get even more defined and more available as others get tested.



On Thursday of this week, before we had watched the 2nd and 3rd installment of Roots that we had recorded -- our DVR went out. It was not functioning correctly and was not recording correctly and more importantly was not letting us view shows that indicated that they had recorded.

We called DirecTV and after discussing the non-performance they promised to overnight a new DVR.  Which they in fact did do. The problem was that we lost all the recorded shows that we had in our "library" including Roots.

After connecting the new DVR -- which surprisingly took relatively little trouble, we were pleased that the new DVR worked well and we found other showings of Roots which we recorded.

And so we have now watched through three of the episodes and will probably watch the fourth tonight. We could do without some of the gore that was presented and actually we "looked away" for several scenes. It is hard to imagine that humanity slipped to such a low level during that horrible period in history.

I still have to be thankful to Alex Haley and "Roots" for getting me started in working on genealogy.


And lastly, coming up this week in California, besides baseball and basketball, is the California Presidential Primary on Tuesday, June 7:

This Presidential Primary in California just may "mean something" for a change as the races have not been totally defined.  It'll be interesting to say the least -- and unfortunately I have to say we may have to practice "looking away" for this event as well . . . it is hard to imagine that we have slipped to this level at this period in history as well . . .

That is a slice of our week, it is Sunday and it'll be "dogs" for lunch and a slow cooked pork roast for dinner . . .  See you all "in a few" !




Sunday, May 29, 2016

Decoration Day Weekend

Growing up we always celebrated "Decoration Day" on May 30 (my brother reminded me). It wasn't so  much that I had forgotten that, but hadn't really thought of it.  But I always thought that the day was celebrated due to WWI -- but I am wrong -- it was shortly after the Civil War that this day was set aside to honor the war dead and has continued to today to honor all war dead.


Above is the flag waving in front of the house along with some of the yard "decorations" for this day and all others as well. The Irises (far right) are particularly beautiful as they pick and choose when they will simultaneously appear around the yard.

The weather is cooperating the last few days with temperatures in the high 80s and a warm streak forecast along with at least one day next week over the 100 degree mark . . .



So, what to do on this weekend -- all the local down-home celebrating is pretty much finalized with the FFA exhibits and attractions along with the food booths taken down for this season.

But the 500 mile race is on as I write this post and since we record it, we'll probably watch at least some of it while lunching.

It is the 100th anniversary of the "running" of the race this year taking into account the years that there was no race, so 1911 -- 2011 was the other anniversary.

As I have mentioned before, the 500 mile race was always a big attraction for us in the Midwest. And for at least one cousin of ours (Bruce Hiles) remembering living in Indianapolis.



 Going from the "Brickyard" to the brickwall is how my week went.

It seems that this is the time for running into that proverbial wall. Almost every branch that I ventured into brought me head first into the wall.

However I did have one success this week and that had to do with making a connection to a family that I knew very little about.

I'll share more details of that connection when I firm up all the sources but suffice it to say that after investigating numerous individuals I eventually found a marriage that seems to have linked our family with a previously unknown family. It was rewarding to find that "needle in the haystack".

While all the above was going on, Dino, our yellow Labrador retriever was caught pondering his reflection in the pool.

A pool that in almost five years he has never been in . . . he looks at it like in the picture, but declines all invitations to "jump in".

So, not all labs are water dogs, but then again neither are we at times.


For me, all the searching and addiction to family history came about because of a certain eight day TV event back in the 1970s -- and of course I am referring to the "Roots Mini-Series". That show had my family riveted in front of the TV for eight straight nights. And when it was over I came to the decision that I could trace our "roots" . . .

That show changed my life and guess what, there is to be a new "Roots Mini-Series" starting tomorrow night on the History Channel:



The new series is scheduled to be on four nights starting tomorrow night for a total of eight hours.
I plan not to miss it. But unlike 40 years ago, this series I can record and watch at my leisure. Maybe this series will also have a life-changing impact as well.


And lastly, no explanation required, just something that is "the sign of the times".


And that is a bit of our week. Sunday dinner is to be a surprise . . . see you all "in a few".

Happy Decoration/Memorial Day!

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Memorial Day Weekend -- Comin' Up

Even though Memorial Day is not until a week from Monday, our town combines the celebration with the Future Farmers Parade and a down-home Country Fair. To keep the celebration more for the local folks, the parade is a twilight Thursday evening event (26th) ssshhh . . .


Growing up, Memorial day was always associated with "Poppies", not so much anymore, though there are plenty of us around who do remember that association

This week again was a strange weather one -- hot, cold, rain, sun, a mixture of everything. And inside, A/C, heat, fans, windows open, windows closed . . . we just roll with it.

Back to the parade and fair:



The parade itself is no "little deal", it usually goes for over two hours and features as much agricultural and farming equipment as possible AND numerous live bands with a focus too on the various military units and equipment from the area.

We have sat and watched the parade, rode on a float (as shown in the upper right, Gail) and walked the entire parade route -- dog on leash . . .

If the weather is right and the inclination suits us, we will attend this year's event. Everything winds up about two blocks from our house, so we will wander over to view the festivities there as well. It
continues for a couple of days.

Genealogy -- well, it seems that I have hit a slow-spell for right now. I did do a lot of searching, but it was random and all over the tree. I participated in a couple of Webinars and they were great.

I watched the first show of the returning "Genealogy Roadshow" and that was fun. There were many folks who found out facts about their families that they had no idea of prior to the show.

I also watched "Long Lost Family" which is another really well-done show about usually the story of finding an adopted baby or finding the parents of someone who is adopted. They feature two such stories each episode and they are excellent to watch.

Some sites like Ancestry, RootsMagic, Findmypast, and many others, search for ancestors for us even when we are not on the site. And Geni is another site that does that as well:


And so, surprise, surprise. Jimmy Stewart is a cousin. It would have been nice to know that earlier but it's still fun to know now.

It is interesting to follow the path to the connection. As so often is the case with my branch, it is through the Gillett side of the tree that the connection opens up to the world . . .

Anyone related to me then is related to Jimmy Stewart -- check it out.

And lastly this week -- a peek at what it might be like over at the HFFCF again this year:


Where's the blanket?  Actually, ironically it was bacon for breakfast, hot dogs for lunch, and ham steak for dinner . . .  what more can I say.    

That's a bit of our week. See you all "in a few".


Sunday, May 15, 2016

Outfront Color -- No Birds . . .

What does it mean that we have observed NO birds in our yard this year. Every year prior to this we have had so many birds that it seemed that we were making special trips for bird seed and hummingbird liquid.

This year the seed level has not decreased in the feeder nor has the liquid gone down one bit. We have seen some crow type birds a couple of times picking at things in the street but none of the usual birds like Jays or Sparrows or Robins. What is going on?


The above collage shows some of the color in the front yard with some appropriate bee action, not too much but some. The thought crossed my mind to maybe add some bee hives out back for fun -- until the report from yesterday's news about killer bees taking over hobby hives . . .



Speaking of numbers and busy-as-bees, the election candidates continue
their activities like crazy.

California, for the first time in many elections may play a role in the Primary. We just sent our mail-in ballots for the June 7th voting day here in our state.

All the news-persons are commenting on how different this election has been so-far -- it may get even more-so in the General Election.

What surprised us on the ballots here were the amazing number of people listed that we have no idea of "who they were" . . . for Presidential candidates.  Then, not to be outdone there were ten times that many of "who are they" folks running for the Senate . . .


For me, I try to escape the issues of the day by doing genealogical searching and it usually starts with working on my iPad using the mobile app for Ancestry.com. I eventually get to the desk-top app and continue my searching -- below is an example of how Ancestry displays part of our tree:


This is just a tiny snippet of the tree which as of this morning had 12,983 folks in it. I guess it would take quite a bit to display that. But if any of you would like to view this tree in Ancestry.com please let me know and I'll send you an "invite".


This is how Family Tree Maker displays the snippet of the tree.

And, since I now synchronize the two trees through that feature, the FTM tree at this moment has 12,938 folks in it as well.

I can work on the iPad, and the Ancestry.com website and in Family Tree Maker and have the trees be synchronized.

That is a big time-saver, though there is some lag time when the sync process is taking place.

One of the really great features is that in both Ancestry and in Family Tree Maker, hints are offered and I can't keep up with the number of them.

I also use RootsMagic and they offer hints as well -- that is nice that while I'm working on something else, these programs are digging around for clues and documents substantiating the folks in the tree.


Lastly, is a picture of how my own website, www.danhiles.com displays some of the tree.

The big difference here is that there is no syncing up with this tree, though I could utilize a gedcom created from FTM and upload it to the site.

On this site there are just under 5,000 folks in the tree AND it does not offer hints as it does not search like the other sites do.

But there are so many other benefits to having your own site -- it all takes greenback $'s  time . . .

Earl, from "Pickles" has a good way of illustrating the dilemma of the numbers in the tree:



And so it goes. Coming up this week is the return of another favorite genealogy TV program:



It returns on Tuesday night on your local PBS stations. It is loosely a format like "Antiques Roadshow" but the preparations are done in advance and are very thorough and often very revealing.

That is bit of our week, it is Sunday and that means another roast for dinner, this time a beef pot roast along with rice and broccoli.  See you all "in a few"!