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Saturday, July 25, 2009

Hello Again . . .

This month has brought again a variety of "happenings" most appropriately birthdays are at the forefront. Gail in late June, and Olivia in mid July. Both were celebrated with their own distinct flavors. Gail preferred a quiet event while Olivia's had more participants and a larger variety of food . . . but both were memorable with many happy returns.

Old newpapers have continued to supply me with an abundant look into the daily lives of many of our relatives in many geographical locations. I am amazed that some of the most mundane events were published along with some very revealing events -- for an example of a published story that answered questions regarding the father of one of my mother's favorite cousins (Keith) visit my other website -- -- and look at Woodie B. Here was a relative that I never recalled hearing about in my growing up years. Keith whose first name really was Charles led a very interesting life all of which I learned about via family history search.

I always wondered what happened to Keith's parents and why it was that he lived with Aunts and Uncles in his growing up years -- at least via an article in a small town paper I have discovered what happened to Keith's father -- I have yet to uncover the details of his mother . . . but I still am searching.

Now about one of those "many happy returns" for Gail. Our old hanging bird feeder had seen better days -- thanks to the squirrels. The lid had been torn off by the squirrels and never found and the feeder just became an attraction and swing for the pesty critters and kept most birds from getting to the seeds. But now, a new feeder has been hung and the squirrels have been almost thwarted enough at least so that the birds are so plentiful that we are going through several pounds of seed a week . . .

Between the Hummingbird feeder and the new seed feeder we are seeing a nonstop array of a variety of flying things -- we are continually amazed at what we see. Besides the semi squirrel proof feeder we have purchased a bag of favorite squirrel food which we put in and around the tree stumps nearby . . . this has helped and given us interesting moments . . . we're old . . .

So as July comes to a close for 2009 we think about just a year ago we were making plans to visit Stanley, Idaho. That was such an enjoyable trip and the stay at Redfish Lake Lodge was top notch.
And the meandering to points NW -- Seattle was great as well. We just might be driving up the road again in a few weeks to the NW . . .

Today, two of the family here in town are leaving on a venture to find suitable sites of higher learning and to experience maybe a father/son fishing experience or two along with testing the fine points of the new auto that recently came into their lives . . .

We are about to enter the "warm" days . . . and it only is about three weeks until school around these parts starts anew . . .

Monday, June 15, 2009

Somewhere in Time . . . Mid June Actually

Certainly we never know exactly what a week or a month is going to bring. So far in this month of June we have experienced a huge variety of events, emotions and just plain every day things.
Mondays have a special sense about them -- as I was walking the dog this morning it was very apparent that it was "Monday". Somehow the days of the week are "trued" up on Monday and this day was no different with that in mind.

Looking back over the last two weeks the "main" event focused around a graduation taking place in our family . . . there actually were more than one family graduation but the local one is the one that got attended by us. There were guests from many places in attendance and the very special flavor brought to the forefront was a "reunion" of sorts too. And that is where genealogy comes into play for me. Even though this was from a branch related to me by marriage (or unmarriage) as the case goes, I have been very active in following up on those leads. The leads have added many branches to my "tree" and how I wish all these leads were for my direct line -- but -- there is satisfaction and learning that comes from the effort.

Through this process I have renewed some acquaintances and made several new ones. I am happy to report that "the smell of brimstone" never materialized. I am continuing to uncover leaves for this branch and loving it.

While in attendance at the graduation ceremony I suppose it is a natural thing to recall one's own graduation and that is what I did -- as best as I could since it was so long ago. Another event that we attended had to do with "close friend" status and that event also evoked many emotions and how to deal with good-bye.

Now looking at the farther away relatives -- it seems to be very quiet in all directions. It is vacation time but no plans have been made to do much in the way of travel. The weather here continues to be unseasonable in that it has been a lot cooler lately than what we would expect. That is okay with us.

Our hope now is that we have had our fill of "reality checks" for this month and the months to come. We wish to continue our games of Quiddler (on the deck) and most recently Dominoes (double twelves, on the deck) with wild abandon shortly before we "do" dinner and begin our evening's entertainment cycle . . . and we will squeeze in a little league game or two.

Monday, June 1, 2009

New Week, New Month, Maybe New Branch

This day starts June of 2009 -- it is a quiet day here and overcast which is just fine with me. There are scattered clouds which makes it appear as though it may rain . . . playing and staying indoors is the answer. Last month brought a variety of days -- the highlight though would have to be the down home Memorial Day parade and the accompanying fair.
June begs the sounds of graduations and birthdays and other things to celebrate along with BBQs and just relaxing on the deck . . .

Meanwhile, I have been climbing around the far out branches of my several genealogical trees. I seem to find that it is truly rewarding to "play it forward" that is, reaching out to find the living "leaves" that I was unaware of just a short time ago. So instead of only going to the fallen leaves of long ago I have stretched out to the "new growth". And it has been rewarding. New cousins have appeared along with possible discoveries of even more.

Today though, I am doing a little of both -- I am putting my arms around the most stable part of the tree and then with baby reaches stretching to see if I can find the new growth . . .

On the "folksy" side of things -- a fun time was had by all who attended the 17th birthday party of one of our "Daytons" and a long distance sharing of the celebration for Chris who had his 39th -- and Carolyn in his family who had her 10th . . . a nice variety. And Auggie turned 10 too!

We were visited the other day by one of Gail's former secretaries along with her daughter & husband and six month old daughter and spent a very pleasant afternoon -- the weather even cooperated -- not too hot, not too cold, just right.

We are looking foward to the events of this month -- Olivia graduates from eighth grade -- nice -- it only seems like she already did that. For that occasion it looks as though there will be out-of-towners arriving soon. Dina and family from Wisconsin and then mystery guests from Pennsylvania that will be fun to meet and greet -- I think they were the ones I mentioned in an earlier blog . . .

Gail and others too (Audrey) will be celebrating special days this month. So all will be fun. I'm collecting recipes for an upcoming BBQ yet to be announced -- but I'm thinking "pulled" pork sounds nice and maybe some smoked meats along with slaw and "Hiles Homeade Ice Cream" . . . we'll see. Gail and Silvia also will taxiing down the roadway to an event scheduled by Jennifer as yet not totally disclosed.

So, so goes the start of June -- so far really good! For me it is back to Ancestry, Geni, Footnote, GenealogyBank and several others always on the prowl. And when that is maxed out -- on to the deck for another round of Quiddler -- before dinner . . .

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Chili Pot Genealogy / Birthday

Even though the temperature is around 90 I found the need to "do" a pot of chili. Nothing really helps me to focus more than creating a large pot of my favorite fixin's. And each time it is a little different and each time I think it will take less than the two hours of the previous times -- but it never does.

While chopping and stirring and choosing ingredients my mind wanders to the current searches that I am involved with on different genealogy sites. The two activities thus become interrelated in a weird way. In both activities I lose myself while actively heading toward my goal at hand.

Along the way I continually taste and am rewarded with what I'm looking for . . . with each pot I'm fairly certain that it is the best ever and with each find in the "tree" that find is the current "best ever" and encourages me to keep at it.

Recently my goal in genealogy is to seek out and find "tidbits" relating to the lives of my family. Just like the pot of chili, there are so many combinations possible. This week for example, my brother sent me a piece of information regarding insight into the life of my Great Grandfather, Captain Samuel Martin of Racine, Wisconsin. He was a captain on Lake Michigan and the article detailed the events surrounding the many ships under his command -- most were catastrophic and sheds light on how hard his life must have been.

Throwing that into the pot I stirred it along with discoveries of some daily activities of a cousin of mine who happened to be Governor of California 100 years ago -- James Norris Gillett, of Viroqua, Wisconsin. And so it goes stirring the pot each time with slightly different ingredients hopefully arriving at a satisfactory result -- so far so good -- but there is a long way to go and hopefully many more "pots" to stir.

From the greener leaves: the travelers to Portland have returned home along with stories of "whooping cough" not good . . . birthday celebrations this week include Chris (today) who turns the magical 39 and continues to enjoy the great Northwest (Seattle area), Dayton here in town who turned 17 a couple of days ago and even the Auggster turns 10 -- can you believe it?

What's for lunch, dinner, maybe a bowl or two of red . . .

Monday, May 11, 2009

A New Week . . .

Even though being retired the feeling of "Monday" is still there. The sense of the start of another set of days. Sometimes though there is the "Groundhog" sensation to deal with -- it is amazing how I see that movie in my mind as I find myself getting ready to walk the dog each and every morning and when I fill my pot of freshly brewed "Estima" each day. I do though have certain mugs I use depending on the day of the week. That helps differentiate days I suppose -- I have my "Sunday" mug and my "Saturday" mug and then two or three different mugs that I rotate during the week days.
These mugs each hold a special memory for me -- usually of a trip to a specific location. Each of the mugs are oversized and many were purchased from different Starbucks located in different visited cities. Since these are large mugs I fill them usually half way and let the coffee adjust to a lesser than hot temperature and then sip as I read or write or search on the web.
Today is laundry day -- and the once a week event seems to come sooo fast
just like the "trash" day event.
I have about 2 or 3 more half cups to go before finishing my daily ration. I am taking a break from Ancestry's 1940 Census substitute data base to write this blog. I found a lot of city directory listings for various relatives in just the hour or so of looking -- I look forward to 2012 when the real 1940 census is released.
And now to update the green leaves activities: Gail continues to needlepoint her way to recovering from the back "injury" of last week. We heard from Silvia that she and Olivia loved the trip to D.C. but are glad to be home. Gail heard from both her kids on Mother's Day plus from one of mine, and that is nice. I noticed that Marv even though on holiday to Portland has checked into the Geni site to "see what's happening" . . . ain't web based sites grand . . .
I have been thinking a lot about Amzaon's Kindle lately. We read a lot and then over the years have accumulated a large library of books that last year we started giving away. We donated several boxes of books to the library and gave others to relatives and friends -- but with the Kindle maybe that would be a sort of compromise -- except for being able to share books when done reading. We already forward most magazines to others -- except for my genealogy ones.
Break is over, I can hear the washer/dryer cycle is over too meaning there are items begging to be folded and distributed after which it will be back to the web for hopefully more discoveries . . .

Saturday, May 9, 2009

From the Greener Branches

Summer seems to be here . . .80's yesterday, probably the same today, nice.

While the town celebrates 150 years we celebrate today's happenings.

This week finds Marv & Nancy making their way to Portland to visit Kris & Ian and families . . . they will be there for about a week.

Today Silvia and Olivia return from the school trip to D.C. they were there for a week and I'm sure they will have lots to share . . .

Gail recuperates after doing "something" to her back while energetically pursuing "spring" cleaning . . . but there are benefits, especially with respect to finishing "that needlework project" and catching up on the weekly golf tournament starring Tiger and others.

Because the weather is the way that it is, there is an endless parade of walkers and joggers crossing my field of vision as I work on the trees.
I expect soon to be creating those smells of summer -- from the BBQ smoker on the deck. We have started looking at possible replacement units to accomplish our favorite dishes. I suspect it is really a way to keep me motivated to continue preparing some meals that would otherwise be prepared by someone else . . .

From the branches farther out: Chris and family in Seattle are sooo busy, Chris with everyday work (and that is a good thing) while Tiffany continues her eBay efforts and takes care of the four kids. Lisa is busy and working very diligently at her job and along with Bob is enjoying the Northwest.

It is the time for proms -- and recently two of our own -- Dayton, here and Jessica up in Wisconsin have attended proms . . . speaking of Wisconsin, Jeremy continues on his new job but is toying with a variety of options as well. And we see the results of fishing with he and Lizzie bringing in the catch.

And coming up here there will be a graduation -- Olivia has sent out invitations already for that June event and according to her father maybe even a GrandUncle from the East will be attending (I can smell the brimstone already . . .)

We have even heard in a second hand way that another of the clan will be graduating (from High School) it looks good for Marth's Bobby as he will be wearing the cap and gown over there in Reno in a few weeks.

And so from the green I return to looking at the fallen leaves -- it's back to Ancestry, Geni, Footnote, Facebook, Twitter and the numerous other sites that help me "rake" . . .

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Good Rain . . .

It rained most of the afternoon and into the evening yesterday which was really nice for the new plants just put in . . .

Most of yesterday was spent backing up facts regarding a more distant cousin of mine whose obituary I culled from "historical" news clippings.
It is interesting how many of my HILES relatives I never knew about before my delving into genealogy.

For example, 100 years ago the Governor of California was a cousin of mine that I never knew about until recent rooting around in the trees. I did hear mentioned a few times that we did have a relative that was Governor of California but since we lived in Illinois growing up and not much was really ever said about family history I kept that thought in the recesses of my mind.

James Norris Gillett was my cousin. My great grandfather John Hiles married Emily Adeline Gillett. Adeline was the name I think she mostly used, but her Dad's brother Cyrus Gillett (her Uncle) was the father of James Norris Gillett. James was born in Viroqua, Wisconsin and eventually studied law and became a lawyer. He found his way to Eureka, California and into California politics and eventually just after the turn of the century he ran and was elected Governor -- 1907 thru 1911, the 22nd Governor of California. He served one term and chose not to run a second time.

Growing up I wish I had known these details -- it would have been a lot more fun in some of my history classes . . . and now that I have lived in California longer than any place else it is nice knowing that other Hiles relatives left the Midwest to come to the Golden State before me.

It is also ironic that I have a nephew and family living in Viroqua, Wisconsin who did not know about the many relatives who lived (and died ) in Viroqua until this genealogy came out. The local cemetery in Viroqua has a lot of our relatives buried there as do many other Wisconsin cemeteries.

So, it is back "into" the trees that I immerse myself on a rainy day -- so nice to hear the rain -- and view the moisture as it continues to blur the view from my office window. Later we might even venture out for errands.

Friday, May 1, 2009

So it's May . . .

We are getting new flowers today, the gardening people are digging them in as I write, lots of topsoil and the sounds of shovels and all . . . it should be done before the promised rain comes. The rain was supposed to be so April but we'll take it whenever.

This week has been fruitful in genealogy as well. I have spent a lot of time searching for related news clippings that will illuminate some of our ancestors lives -- and I have been successful. Once I find an article off I go in the direction that it takes me.

This approach is fascinating because I at random find myself in many branches of the tree. Once on a particular branch I try to go deeper and find proof sources for each person. Once I find something of interest I put it on my website and other sites that I subscribe to.

All of my work is usually accompanied by the sounds of XM channels 77 or 78 and sometimes 51, 23 or 5 or 6 and once in a while 28 . . . those of you who subscribe to XM know . . . the other sounds that I look forward to are the sounds of UPS bringing something to the door.

Being retired and being able to engage my time doing the things I really enjoy -- genealogy, photography, cooking and sometimes baking bread, doing limited projects around the house, shopping at my favorite stores (we need a Costco fix every so often) and playing cards with my wife out on the deck -- these activities sometimes bring a small feeling of guilt, guilt that I should be doing something more worthwhile . . . but then I get over that and engage myself in another search on Ancestry or GenealogyBank or Footnote or another of my favorite websites.

So, for today in May as I listen to Mozart, I will search for tidbits about the family and when I find them, all will be well again -- until tomorrow.

Monday, April 20, 2009

It's Springtime . . .

Yesterday was in the 90's here and it really feels nice. Even though it was hot into the evening it was just nice . . .
We walked the dog in the middle of the afternoon which wore him (and us) completely out. That was two walks in one day for me -- I could use more after the winter months.

After the walk I worked on the "family trees".  I have four of them going which I'm sure most hobby genealogists recognize -- that's four for my surname at four different sites -- I of course have a few others working on different surnames for friends.

I am always amazed at how things work when poking around randomly "in the trees". There is always trimming and pruning needing attention. I never tire of finding out what next will come within a tree.  In my four trees I usually build one name at a time so that I can "connect" with each name and feel like I get to know them and their growth.

Yesterday I actually was able to solve a mystery that I had uncovered but not followed up on for the last several years.  About five years ago my wife and I drove from Northern California to the Midwest to search for "dead relatives", living relatives and some in between. While in Monroe County, Wisconsin we visited a cemetery in Warren Mills -- The Warren Mills Cemetery -- and for the first time for me saw the tombstones of my Great Grandfather, his wife and some other family members. It was one of the others that I believe I have identified just yesterday.

The tombstone in question was one for "Adeline" 1909-1917. It was in the middle of our plot so I knew it had to be someone from the family, but like so many other times when it was easier to pick the low hanging fruit, I just tucked that name and tombstone in the back of my mind and went about several years of picking that other fruit.

Yesterday while finalizing putting another name into my personal website
I was puzzled at the three census reports for the family that I was going to upload to the site.
The 1910 showed my Grand Aunt and her husband and their first child. The 1920 Census showed Grand Aunt & husband and two children -- but neither of the two children had the name that was listed in the 1910 Census . Looking at the 1930 Census did not solve the question as now the family dynamics had changed even more.

The family had moved from Wisconsin to Southern California and that Census showed only my Grand Aunt -- no husband -- but still married, and the same two children as the 1920 Census.
It was at that moment that the "tucked" memory of the tombstone came to mind -- both the names on the tombstone and the child's name in the 1910 Census were the same -- Adeline.

Thinking more about it I realized that the tombstone was for "Adeline" who must have died and been buried in that family plot in Wisconsin and she was the daughter that "disappeard" from the two subsequent censuses. Now as to the missing husband to my Grand Aunt -- I am still working on recovering that . . . but there is still plenty of low hanging fruit that keeps me picking that, but one of these days "he will turn up" . . .

And so now it is back to the "trees" . . .