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Saturday, May 25, 2013

Super Moon -- Parade -- Fair & Bounty Lands

This week has been like the movie "Groundhog Day". Every day has been almost a copy of the day before as in the movie. In the movie Bill Murray relives one certain day over and over. We think of that movie every so often and certainly this week -- most of our activities seemed to be identical to the previous day. Except for driving home on Friday (last night). We found ourselves unexpectedly out during the evening and on the way home we were astonished to see the moon:

a full moon completely round and seemingly larger than normal. It turns out that it is what is called a "Super Moon" and it is closer to the earth than normal and so is larger when viewing it . . . had we not been out in the evening, we might have missed the beautiful display. It seems that there is supposed to be another Super Moon next month and it is to be even more spectacular than the moon this month -- I hope we can plan to be out again "in the evening".

Memorial Day Parade & Fair

This being Healdsburg the annual FFA parade -- the 64th annual -- took place on Thursday evening two nights ago. This is a big deal in town and allows for the display of most of the agricultural equipment and the emergency vehicles  in the county and features a lot of the local citizens riding in and on those vehicles. This year was not unlike last year (except for the Dry Creek Vineyard float not being there) and so sirens and bells and horns were featured and heard echoing throughout the area.

Since the weather has been so very nice the parade was well attended and went on for the traditional two hours or so -- pretty good for a small town. Last year Dino and I walked the entire parade route while Gail rode on the Dry Creek Vineyard Float . . . there was some "high-steppers" in the parade -- I bet they were tired at the end of the almost three miles of parade route . . .

The Fair portion of the event (still going on as I write this) was pretty much identical to last year as well. Dino was interested in several of the farm animals but was more interested in the "girls" that oohed and aahed and petted him -- can you blame him.

Some of the featured activities can be seen above -- even Josephina selling chances on shooting "hoops" for the benefit of the Healdsburg Junior High School. It is so much work setting up all the exhibits and attractions  but it is appreciated for the tradition of it all. The aromas from the food booths were almost enough to convince us to break from our diets -- especially the "funnel cakes" and the "teriyaki sticks".

But There Was Still Genealogy to be Done

Not all activities were outdoors some still showed up on the web (about 90% . . .). I am pretty much on the web or at the computer much of the day. This week I am still transferring things from the old computer to the new . . . it seems that even though I did bulk transfers many many files get over looked for whatever reason and so it is a time consuming task -- not to mention BORING. But I am getting there -- or I think so.

This week I feel lucky in that I had two webinars to attend. The webinars seem to add structure to an otherwise free-form day. So on Wednesday and Friday this week at 11 am I knew what the "plan" was:

Both of the above were excellent and well-worth my time and a bonus was that they were both free. Some sites charge "big-dollars" for webinars and I am very glad that Legacy Family Trees does not. The "live" webinars are free -- later one can purchase a CD of the event if one chooses.

The speakers were top notch and I took away a lot of good ideas and hints on how to enhance my search.
Just when you think you know a lot about a subject along come webinars like the above to prove that theory not to be the case . . .

Speaking of Webinars . . .

Last week, the one webinar I attended was on "discovering" the land that our ancestors owned. I vowed to renew my attempt to uncover "any" land that belonged to my (our) direct ancestors. Part of the issue is that not a lot of land records are "on the web" -- but some are and so this week I can share a couple of things that I found . . .

John Hiles, Jr (as I distinguish him from the other Johns) is my (our) 3rd GGGGrandfather and his brother, Christopher is my 3rd GGGGrand Uncle -- both of them served in the War of 1812 and in the same unit, Captain Sanderson's Ohio Volunteers.

As part of the reward for serving in the military during the War of 1812 (and other wars) land was offered to officers and to soldiers. This reward was called "Bounty Land" and both John & Christopher received "Bounty Land" for their service:

Clicking on the above you can see the documentation (part of) for the land that each received. The award to John Hiles came in February of 1854, and the award to Christopher came in December of 1855 both before the Civil War began.

John Hiles was awarded 167 acres of land in Ohio and Christopher was awarded (this was surprising) 160 acres in Illinois not far from Springfield. The award documents were written and (I at first thought) signed by President Franklin Pierce . . . but of course that was not the case as the two documents were  with different signatures . . .

The receivers of these bounty lands had the option of assigning the rights (I hope for a cost) to the land and that is what Christopher did and that explains maybe why Hiles was not a big named land owner in Southern Illinois. But I don't know yet what happened to the John Hiles bounty land. Hopefully I can uncover what the disposition was . . .

I know probably I will have to "go" to the locations, meaning the county courthouses of where our ancestors probably owned land to get more detail -- though I have some preliminary records showing Thomas Hiles as a land owner near Sparta, (Monroe County) Wisconsin -- apparently he Homesteaded at least 80 acres or so. I will be looking for the detail of that -- Thomas is my Great Grand Uncle -- the brother of my Great Grandfather John (& Emily Gillett).

Also, somewhere I have some land records showing Leroy Hiles -- the brother of the same John (above) as owning land in Viroqua, Wisconsin. So I have my work cut out for me -- an RV wouldn't be a bad investment . . .

So Lastly

It seems hot as I write this even though it is only in the high 70s or low 80s. And they are calling for possible rain on Memorial Day -- it can't rain on Healdsburg's parade though . . .

As usual we are planning on 'dem burgers and fries' tonight and that will be nice. In keeping with the holiday spirit we had hot dogs for lunch . . .  if we had known how warm it would be, the a/c would have been turned on -- maybe tomorrow.

That was a bit of our week, we hope that you enjoy this holiday weekend!

See you in a few . . .

Saturday, May 18, 2013

A Day to the Bay

Ii is not everyday that you get the opportunity to meet a Cousin (3rd Once Removed)) and so Gail and I high-tailed it down the road -- 85 miles worth -- to meet Lila (Myki) & Dale. Myki and her husband were on a cruise -- lucky people -- and one of the Ports-of-Call was San Francisco. And we had not been to the City for some time and this was a great opportunity:

The above shows some of our day around the Bay. Myki & Dale are in the middle photo taking a cookie break. Above is a portion of their Sapphire Princess ship that seemed to dominate the pier -- 2600 passengers were listed as on board.. We had a very enjoyable visit and got to know one another a little with the promise that we would continue via online communication and you never know, maybe a trip to visit where they are in Michigan (at some point).

The day was beautiful and Gail (who was doing all the driving) got to renew her feelings about the "streets of San Francisco". After the cookies above we drove over to Lombard Street and drove down the "crookedest" street and it did not disappoint.

Before we linked up, Myki & Dale (and the nine other relatives of Dale who were on the cruise together) all went to tour Alcatraz and then to Muir Woods -- we on the other hand had a high priority mission of purchasing a dozen (plus two) BBQ Pork Buns from our favorite location on Clement Street -- that mission was accomplished . . . mmmm good.

The visit was brief but very nice. We headed home across the bridge and back to Healdsburg in time still to hit The Wurst for dinner (sausages and hot dogs). And then for both of us to unwind from the more high level intensity of the day.

Dino's Day (not around the bay)

While we were doing our thing, Dino was enjoying his day at the local "SPA" or Veterinary Lodging. He was slated for a nice bath and getting his nails done. We left him with his favorite chewing bone -- a Nyla bone --
and the correct portion of his favorite food.

It was unusual to not have Dino around the house when we returned as we were picking him up the next morning. Every so often that night we thought we'd "take Dino out if he wanted to" . . . NOT.

The above is where Dino relaxed and then we picked him up . . . he almost pulled the attendant off her feet when he came out into the lobby and saw us. There are only so many moments like that . . . he quickly has gotten back into his routines and enjoying the moment. I am sure he was spoiled at the SPA -- Auggie before him always loved going there too . . .

Genealogy Things

I did have a chance to do some Genealogy and it seems like whenever you get back from being "away" even though it was just a day, everything looks different and somehow more doable than before, if that makes any sense.
I was off and running around the branches of the tree and then I attended another webinar -- this one on Land Records. There are four main categories of records -- Census, Vital, Land & Probate. I pretty much am working with the Census and Vital every day -- Land & Probate, not-so-much . . .

Mary Hill delivered a great webinar -- she is very knowledgeable on the subject and encouraged us all to "seek that deed". Many of our ancestors did in fact own land and the records show so much about them and their lives. I will diligently try to find more of those records.

Later in the week I came across a picture of land one of my Great Grandmothers -- we each have four of them -- this one the wife of Captain Samuel Martin, Elise. She is seated with several of her Great Grandchildren -- not me nor any of my siblings, but Cousins:

I thought it nice to share this photo of Elise with 6 Cousins of mine, some of her Great Grandchildren:
Leslie Hiles, probably Vivian Hiles in her lap, the other one I do not know, and then standing, Helen Clifton and seated in front, Doris & Ruth Clifton. The photo was probably taken around 1936 in Racine, Wisconsin.

Tool(s) of the Day

I renewed my involvement with a great tool used by many genealogists (and so many others). This comes from the fact that I have a new computer up and running (on the web too) and I have room again to have Google Earth loaded again.

I have probably spent the better part of two days this week just trying to locate every address that I can find for relatives just to get a picture of their homes. In the meantime I have "driven" around most of my old neighborhoods and loving it.

When we drove down the "crookedest" street earlier in the week I saw a Volvo honking at some sightseers who were in the way of their driveway and I knew which house it was going to and I thought that I had just seen that earlier but I realized it had been on a "Google Earth" trip that I had seen that Volvo before -- you can check it out yourself . . .

Take a few trips around the places that you know and have fun. I am going to take another upcoming webinar on how best to use Google Earth for genealogy . . .

It Could Happen . . .

There are a lot of things out there that "could happen" and some of them are even nice to think or dream about. Of course what else could I be teasing about -- the lotto and specifically POWERBALL. This day someone or more than one someone may win $600 or more million . . . if no one wins this week, then next week the jackpot will be close to One Billion Dollars . . .

But you cannot win IF you have not purchased a ticket -- or two . . . I have made the purchase and was surprised that there was no line. I have heard of California locations where there was a two-hour wait . . .

Above is a portion of my ticket and some of the whoopla . . . it is probably too late to buy a ticket now though. This is the first year for California to have the Powerball, nice and supposedly Education in our state will benefit as well. I am going to "listen" for the winner.

That was a part of our week, see you in a few!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Cousins Who Met Online -- Will Meet in San Francisco

This past week started out the way the previous week finished -- with massive difficulties getting online related to the problems associated with the new Netgear Router. As a matter of fact it was only til late Wednesday evening that things "were lookin' up" . . . actually like every thing's coming up Roses:

These are actually the roses alongside of our garage and they are fully in bloom and beautiful. Sadly they don't last forever and will soon start to deteriorate some. But in the meantime we do enjoy them. Now back to the router issues -- why does it take so much effort to have this device work properly and allow our computers and associated devices the online access to enjoy the web.

At the moment and for the last three days now all is well and it feels great to have all up and running -- again.

Great Strides Outside

While I was tethered to the telephone with numerous (very polite) folks from India, Gail was working in the yard quite a bit, partly because she knew it was "the thing to do" and partly because it kept she and Dino outside, where the livin' was easier. She planted the garden with vegetables (not as many as last year though) and several flower replacements.

A dwarf (with lantern) was actually placed at the corner of the garden to oversee the progress -- we're old. Some of the progress is shown above, we love the red flowers and the one flower in the yellow pot above is actually a "bug eating" plant that comes in at night . . . usually with it's fill of gnat-type things stuck to it's branches.

Webinar Break

It was not until Friday that I had the chance to watch/listen to a webinar -- and this one was just what the doc ordered -- it was on digital images of which I have a few (20,000 give or take). Geoff  from Legacy Family Tree Webinars  did a webinar that was not scripted so-to-speak. He demonstrated several things to do and handle digital images and we got to see the process (a few mistakes and all) as it took place.

All in all, a very good way to learn -- and I did learn several things that will at first slow me down but over time will save me a ton of time.

If you have the time -- or even if you don't -- check out these free webinars. I always learn something from them. When you view them live they are free and then are available to view for usually a week or so later also free -- eventually they are put on CDs and are available for purchase and also for a pay-for-view.

I look forward to the next "live" performance as the demonstration and steps really help.

Dino's Deck

Besides the tech mess this and last week -- we had the challenge of assembly this and last week. This week though we had ordered two gates to place at the end of the deck -- mostly in case we "get" another Guide Dog for the Blind Puppy -- but also because it keeps Dino where we can see him as he loves soaking up the sun on the deck and then often disappears around the yard . . .

Pleasantly, the two free-standing gates were perfect for what we wanted AND only one bolt to add to each completed the assembly that we required. Dino is content and we are thrilled. The red gliders are last week's challenge. It was rainy a couple of days this week but today it is supposed to be hot -- 90s -- so we are inside with the a/c on . . . Dino did spend some time "sunning" in his neck of the deck.

Genealogy on TV

We don't have a huge amount of shows on TV related to genealogy -- but that may be changing. There is one show on HBO starting tomorrow night that, while it is not a "how-to" show it sounds like it might be fun to watch -- we'll record it and watch it on our schedule.

"Family Tree" has a great name and I hope that it lives up to that. The second one, "Genealogy Roadshow" is slated to begin in the fall on PBS -- that really sounds good. The above two were featured on Dick Eastman's Blog and as always he is on top of the doings concerning genealogy.

I have heard too that "Who Do You Think You Are" has been picked up by I think, TLC and will be appearing later this year too. That is really good news because I enjoyed that show a lot.

Los Angeles Times (Along with the Chicago Tribune) May be Sold

I mention the sale partly because both papers I "grew up with" and because I read them both daily for years, AND also delivered both for awhile. But the following article was printed in the LA Times last week -- and while hardly surprising, it further adds to the interest shown in things genealogical:

I have had my DNA sent in to two different companies and have had several different tests run and judging from the huge number of  "hits" that I get, albeit several cousin layers deep, it is becoming apparent that the above story re DNA testing gets better and better.

The more people that get tested the better the results will be. I have had a few good leads on just where my (our) ancestors came from -- now I guess just about everywhere . . .

Speaking of Cousin Layers

I have found new cousins in a variety of ways -- but most of the ones that I have communicated with and have proven some real connection I have found "online".  And that is true with the following cousin who -- if all goes right -- I will meet in about 48 hours:

Click on the above to learn more about the "cruisin'" cousin coming to a port in San Francisco on Monday and Gail and I are headin' that way to hopefully link up (between Alcatraz and Muir Woods and other points of interest).

We are looking forward to meeting and getting to know -- another cousin that we should already have met or at least known about . . . we'll fill you in on our adventure (Dino will be visiting a "salon" for the day).

Lastly -- the Second Sunday in May . . .

How could we not recognize a very special day for us all. When I worked in the telecommunications world, tomorrow would be one of the all time busiest calling days of the year.  Some calls were obligatory and some were actually made through free choice. Whatever the reason, mostly they were appreciated.  A lot of us can only "recall" the experience and look back having a hard time realizing "it was so long ago" and that the time went fast.

And so, keeping it simple, a kiss, a gift and some flowers says it all.

That's a bit of our week, see you all in a few!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Ahhh Summer-Like in Healdsburg

Our week started out so well -- and then for me it changed rapidly due to "technology". And this experience has supported the love-hate relationship with tech devices. I got up Monday morning and after the usual of eating breakfast, catching up on the news and peeking outside:

The above is how I saw the day and week -- beautifully. It continued throughout the day as I went about actually changing out the old computer for the new AND INSTALLING A NEW ROUTER . . .

Physically I had to piece by piece disconnect both computers and then re-position each one so that the new computer would be where I usually work and the old one on the edge of the desk until I am sure that I have everything from it. I was able to accomplish that eventually and both were up and running, though I could not get the old computer connected to the net -- but I felt that was okay since I did not need that to be connected.

Enter the next phase of Monday:

When I ordered the new computer I also ordered a new router -- I did not look forward to changing out the router but I felt it was necessary to give us more capacity and freedom within the range of our house. Also
I read the reviews which for the most part told of relative ease with which they installed the router and how well it worked.

I have had 5 routers in the last 5 or 6 years -- none of them were easy -- mostly taking about two days of hassling to get them to work right -- I would gladly now accept the two days -- but instead this router took 4 days to work right.

Monday night after I installed the router, all worked well and I was connected to our wi-fi and so were some of the other devices . . . Tuesday morning came, a beautiful sunny day, none of the devices or computers would connect to the internet even though the symbol on the computer said it was connected both locally and to the internet.

Jumping forward it took until Thursday evening to get things up and running. (I missed two webinars) this included speaking with maybe 10 different techs (mostly from India, the politest people ever) and finally after crawling between our desks, connecting and reconnecting cables and wires, the router worked as it was designed to work . . . and all is well so far.

As usual, each party involved -- the Computer Manufacturer (Dell), the router people (Netgear) and the internet provider (Comcast) all pointed fingers at the others. Why has it been so hard to install a router and have it work . . . I hope NEVER to have to do it again.

Some Progress in Other Areas

While I mess around with the computers, Gail continues working on getting things organized in the house and the garage. The many boxes that populated our living quarters have been put away -- mostly. There are a few stragglers that should be taken care of this week:

This is one area of progress and it looks better than the backrooms of some grocery stores that I have worked in -- this is our "Costco" backup area and it gives us a glance at things as we use them.

I did have a few minutes of genealogy time in-between the router mess. I was able to document some vitals connected to another Gillett -- this one a Great Grand Uncle of mine (ours):

I actually visited this cemetery about 8 years ago -- but I was so excited about finding our HILES line there that I did not look for others, like William. Now when I visit a cemetery I am sure to look for other possible names that are from our tree. I hope to visit that cemetery again at some point to make sure that I visit all the possible markers or spaces . . .

I also pulled the information on who was born on this date and who was married on this date:

So on the 4th of May there were 5 people from our tree born on that day and one couple married on this day. If you wonder maybe as to who some of these folks are -- you can always visit the HILES website and delve into that a bit:       HILES WEBSITE    there is a lot to see and explore.

An Attempt to Unwind after the Tech Mess . . .

So on Friday, Gail and I both were looking for some respite from the router mess. We decided on a lower tech project and to do that on the back deck starting when the sun was in the front (it did get close to 90 at some point this week).

We had ordered two chairs that arrived on Thursday in two large flat containers -- that meant only one thing, "some" assembly was required:

If you click on the above you can see what we unwrapped . . . we just stared at the document for several minutes and then decided "how hard could it be". We both have education and experience going for us, just not so much in the schematic picture-type docs that we were looking at . . .

We struggled with the pieces and then started but nothing said where to actually begin -- there was a step one (on the left above) and a step two (on the right). We pushed around the parts and then started working on the inside and pieced together parts towards the outer edges . . . that seemed to work but was very slow going and we had to break several times to go inside for coolness.

We eventually were able to assemble the first chair and after all was done we had one bolt leftover -- and we felt that that was better than one short . . .

After lunch we tackled the second chair. Now feeling vastly capable after our success with the first chair. However, we did have to remove pieces a few times and reverse them but got down to one of the last connections AND found that we were "one washer short" . . .  how bad could that be -- we'll just go into the garage and pour through the many jars of miscellaneous nuts, bolts and washers and we did and found one that might work -- however it did not.

We made a run to the hardware store and looked through numerous drawers of washers and even got the assistance of two clerks and eventually decided on two possibles which we purchased for 30 cents . . .

We were elated that the washer worked and we now had two chairs that we could sit in and GLIDE:

Gliding to me has always had a nice connotation as my Grandparents had a porch glider that we always loved gliding on whenever we had the chance. In the days of the late 40s and 50s porch gliders and wicker furniture played a big role in the social lives of folks (especially screen-in porches) in the Midwest.

We plan to glide a bit each day this summer to get away from the tech part of the day. I sure enjoyed the sensation. However, while gliding I did spy the missing washer on one of our wicker chairs . . .

Speaking of the late 40s here is an ad for gasoline from 1949 -- Wow!

Apparently it was a good price then and it would be a sell out today for sure -- my Father always pulled up to the pump and ordered $2 ethyl . . . that lasted awhile too in those days and that was full service too, don't forget those tires and windows . . .

Happy Cinco de Mayo

Tomorrow is the day that is celebrated in pretty big way here in California, but a little of me feels like the web post below:

It is often mis-represented as Mexican Independence Day -- but we are on our way out to buy some avocados  . . . when I first came to California I rented a small house that was shaded by a few beautiful trees. However, often we would hear thumps on the roof and they would annoy us and we would go out and throw away those "ugly" looking fruit . . . I would love to have those thumping ugly fruit now -- they are usually around a dollar each at the store . . . we love avocados now . . .

And Lastly

We live a few blocks from the Russian River here in town. One of the big attractions is to rent a canoe and take a trip on the river and that has already started in a big way this season -- we have only one big piece of advice:

So that was bit of our week -- see you in a few!