Search This Blog


Sunday, April 12, 2015

A New Look

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

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

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

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

Some Research this Week

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Spring Blooms Spring Moon

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

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

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

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

Speaking of Vision

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

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

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

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

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

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

And the Herb Gardening

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

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

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

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

Thanks Cousin(s)!

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

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

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

So, I did check:

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

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

Thanks to another Cousin!

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

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

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

But things have changed:

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

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

And Lastly

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Le Sacre du Printemps

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What Sidetracked Me

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

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

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

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

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

What I'd Much Rather be Doing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

See you all in a few!

Saturday, March 21, 2015


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

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

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

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

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

To Bracket or not Bracket

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

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

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

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

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

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

Some Break in the Action

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

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

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

The Focus of my Research This Week

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And guess what -- I accomplished my goal!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, March 14, 2015

PI in the Sky

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

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

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

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

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

What About Research

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I'll be updating these as time goes on.

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

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

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

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

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

A Surprise Visit

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

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

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

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

TV Genealogy

Last Sunday the new season of WDYTYA began on TLC.

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

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

It was an exciting result for her and her family.

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

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

So What is on our Nightstand ?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

See you all in a few!

Saturday, March 7, 2015


Okay so the sounds of the day today would depend on what part of the country you are in . . . as I write this post I can hear the sounds of aluminum striking a solid round object (baseball) while I can only imagine the sounds of aluminum striking solid or frozen snow . . .

And soon (tomorrow) both those sounds will have more daylight to help the activity. I grew up in snowy conditions in the winter months but have enjoyed the warmer climates for many years now.

Project Done -- Project Begun

For many months -- or parts of many months, maybe even a couple of years, Gail has worked off and on a current needlepoint work. She often needle points while watching sports on TV -- either football or baseball.

She put the finishing touches on the above left canvass just yesterday and as you can imagine after such a long time it will be refreshing to begin a new canvass. She had the difficult task of going through her inventory of needlepoints-to-do and deciding which one that she will work on.

Above, on the right is her decision, though there is also a handheld one that she make work on to break up some of the tedious times. We have her framed work in every room in the house -- nice!

Meanwhile -- My Projects

Last post I shared the find I had gotten regarding the "will" of Rufus Calhoun, Gail's Great Great Grandfather. The will seemed somewhat unusual in some respects and I thought it would be fun to see if we could find more insight into Rufus.

And we did:

Shortly after the death of Captain Rufus Calhoun, an article was written in the Evening Bulletin in Honolulu that did illustrate some more about Rufus. Click on the above and you will be able to read the story -- I sure hope that we can find other stories like the above as well.

So, needless to say, my week was filled searching around the Rufus Calhoun branch. Specifically I found myself investigating the family of his son Isaac Pine Calhoun.

Isaac married Lexie Leath Firth and they had 11 children, 5 boys (3 lived to adulthood) and 6 girls who all lived to adulthood. Gail descends from this branch.

Above is a descendant "fan" showing some of the generations of descendants of Rufus & Sarah. Below the fan are some of the individual branches spawned from the 11 children.

Gail's immediate family is on the right. There are many more folks that I have to attach pictures to and it all just takes time . . .

But each of Isaac Pine Calhoun's six daughters married and all had children, except for Lexie. The other five daughters helped start 5 other surnames -- from Calhoun to Shaffer, to Drake, to Bouldron, to Jorgensen and to Kean.

There are tons of stories generated from the above and hopefully we'll get to a lot of them.

At the same time, while searching for Calhoun stories I did manage to find some insight into one of the relatives from my side -- Paul Clifton:

Paul was the husband of my favorite aunt Muriel, my father's sister. Growing up we did get a few chances to be around Uncle Paul & Aunt Muriel and they were great!

So, finding the articles about Paul was a fun thing and it gave insight into who he was. I always enjoyed being around him (and especially Muriel). They lived in Texas and as a family we never made the trip to visit them -- though my sister did when she was a young teenager.

I remember at least two visits that Paul, Muriel, Helen, Doris & Ruth made to our family in the late forties and early fifties. Pleasant memories.

While the Research & Needlepoint Work . . .

was going on, the indoor garden kept progressing
every day. To the right is what it looks like after
three weeks.

We better get the pruning shears ready and the dehydrator . . .


It hardly seems possible that there are less than 300 days left to this year and that winter is almost over -- well at least for some of us.

Remember if you want to watch WDYTYA the new season starts tomorrow night. There are eight celebrities being featured this year.

I have sooo much work to do (not to mention income taxes) and it is Saturday  and it looks like a chicken in every pot -- or at least our pot for tonight.

A timely reminder above AND we'll see you all "in a few"!

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Indoor/Outdoor Sun

It has been a nondescript weather week here. We see on the news that weather in the Midwest, East, and Southern areas of the country has been anything but.

After two full weeks the indoor plants are thriving. All 7 have visible growth though some are much faster growers than others.

To keep up we'll have to make sure what the next steps are to cultivate and use these herbs. The unit comes on automatically and stays on for 17 hours. It got a little thrown off when we had an hour and a half power outage.

Oscar Power

As is our custom we watched the Oscars again this year. We know that we have not seen any of the current films up for awards AND we don't think that we have seen any of last year's either.  We are so "out of it" . . .

But for us this year one of the more memorable presentations was that of Lady Gaga -- which was a total surprise to us.

We had no idea that she could deliver such an engaging tribute to "The Sound of Music". We thoroughly enjoyed her singing -- which for us was surprising. We have seen her recently performing with Tony Bennett and have enjoyed that as well.

Who will be next to change our opinions?

The Newspaper Search Continues

I have again been into some old newspapers and find myself enveloped by the page after page of possible "golden" tidbits.

I have written before about Gail's Great Great Grandfather, Rufus Calhoun, the Sea Captain whose house we visited up in Port Townsend, Washington.

Click on the image to the left to see the Family Group Sheet for Rufus and Sarah (Fillmore).

There were eight children in the family and there have been several articles in the HHH about some of them.

We were excited to visit Port Townsend a few years ago and visit places that were familiar to Rufus.

He was born in Canada, died in San Francisco and had seven siblings.

He and his brothers were engaged in shipbuilding in Port Townsend. One of the ships that they built and Rufus captained for awhile was the "Alaska":

Click on the above image to read some of the facts about the "Alaska". Rufus was 39 years old when he and his brothers built the ship. Just two short years later when Rufus was 41 and Captain of that ship -- it was wrecked while carrying a load of lumber bound for Hawaii.

The ship was later salvaged and repaired and went on to working in the Bering Sea in the Cod industry. The ship was lost in the Bering Sea about 1885.

Now this week while nosing around the old newspapers and in the "Port Townsend Leader" specifically the January 2, 1904 edition, I spotted the following regarding Rufus who had less than a month earlier, died:

Neither Gail nor I had seen this before and were surprised at finding it. There were specific instructions and bequeaths to be sure. The "Will" certainly begs for "follow-up".

Genealogy Related TV -- This Week & Next

This week we saw another edition of "The Genealogy Roadshow" on PBS. The shows are fascinating and usually highlights several stories surrounding regular folks and their family histories.

The show is in it's second season and is about through for this year -- but their is a casting call for season three:

If you have a unique question regarding family history go to the above URL and fill out the form and send it in -- you never know . . . maybe we'll be watching your story next year.

Then a week from this Sunday, the new season of WDYTYA begins on TLC:

We have watched and enjoyed every episode of this show -- too bad that it is not on PBS where there would not be commercials so that more genealogical content would be shown . . .

Never-the-less we'll be watching (recording) the shows and looking forward to the celebrities who are featured.

What Else is New (to me anyway)

I read Dick Eastman's blog every day and always learn new things about what is going on in the world of genealogy. This week Dick had a blurb on a podcast that has been around a couple of years that I had not heard of before.

I listened to one show and found it to be really professional and very interesting.

I hope that I can go back and listen to the shows that I missed.

I appreciate Dick Eastman sharing and highlighting this show.

You can check it out by going to the URl at the left.

It appears that there is something for all who are interested in genealogy to listen to and enjoy.

Available on iHeartRadio.

And an immediate "thank you" to Fisher of "Extreme Gens" for the family plaque to the right.

I have to agree that "our family" too certainly fits into the realm of "normal", it does doesn't it?

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