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Saturday, April 26, 2014

The Week That Was . . . Strange Weather

Sometimes as the week gets into it's routine, e.g. laundry day, garbage day, lawn day and the other functionary days, it really seems that we "just" did that or so -- if that makes any sense. We have been watching most of the San Francisco Giants games which is not something that we usually do this early in the year. We almost always wait til the playoffs before getting interested.
This week also in some ways is dragging by -- on Saturday (blog day) I will be attending an all-day seminar in Santa Rosa -- the 2014 Spring Seminar offered by the Sonoma Genealogical Society and held at the Wells Fargo Center for the Arts.

During this week -- so far -- we have had a variety of weather. Some fairly warm days with sun and some overcast days with the promise of rain. But, on Friday around noontime, loud claps of thunder were heard and then a heavy downpour -- not only rain:

Around the exterior of the house hail began to fall and accumulate in the corners. Walking on the deck was dangerously slippery. The hail actually stayed around for an hour or so. It was totally unexpected (by us) and maybe it had been predicted on weather forecasts . . .

The prediction though is that it will be going back to warm-to-hot in the next few days. In the meantime it is another few days of not having to water the lawn . . .

Dates for Folks In-the-Tree

It is amazing that the number of folks having birthdays is just about the same number of individuals celebrating a wedding anniversary next week. Weather may be one of the factors . . .


On Wednesday this past week I attended a great webinar presented by Thomas MacEntee detailing the 1862 Homestead Act.

I did not know the provisions of the Act and how it may have possibly impacted our family tree. I learned a lot about the subject from the webinar and I do have one example of at least one HILES that took advantage of the Act.

What is surprising is that the provisions of the Act were in effect up through the 1970s and even a little later in Alaska. Basically it provided lands West of the Mississippi River to folks who would improve the land with planting and structures.

The Act provided another paper-trail for us genealogists to verify our relatives existence in the country. I'll share additional details about the "land" a bit later, first the upcoming webinars:

Next week there are TWO webinars -- the first one is going to cover an exciting product -- Google Glass, and how it works for genealogists. That is something I look forward to hearing more about.

The second webinar is on Friday and will be a Virtual User's Group Meeting for Legacy Family Tree.  I look forward to learning more about the many features of this software via tips and tricks offered by users.

Mark your calendars.

This Land is Our Land  ♫

Well not actually my land, but a little bit close. My Great Grandfather, John Hiles had 5 brothers and 2 sisters. A younger brother by six years is Thomas.  Both he and John were born in Ohio and moved to Wisconsin during the time of the Civil War with their parents (Daniel & Mary Jane).

It was about the same time that the Homestead Act of 1862 came onto the scene. And at least one of the brothers took advantage of it -- Thomas.

Click on the above and you'll see the relationships of Thomas to me -- 2nd Great Uncle. The picture shows Thomas at about 90 years of age -- I wish that I would have met him. I was about 5 years of age when he died at 92. I wish I knew who was sitting in the chair on the porch . . .

Thomas must have been a smart man as the paperwork for the Homestead Act was involved and of all the folks who applied for this land only about 40% of the required documents were accepted and completed.

The above shows the Certificate that was awarded to Thomas Hiles and the legal description of the land. This document is dated 5 August 1885 during the presidency of Grover Cleveland and issued under his authority.

Above -- click on to enlarge -- shows more detail and a map of the location of the land. The amount of land was 80 acres and the location was just south of Sparta in Monroe County, Wisconsin . . . I wonder who has the land today.

As I have mentioned in previous posts, it was always the dream of my father to have farmland in Wisconsin. And now knowing that the provisions of the Homestead Act of 1862 continued on into the 1970s, he might have been able to take advantage of that act -- my life would be totally different that's for sure . . .

While looking up the above information, I did examine some land records for George Bumgardner, but his Federal lands were purchased around the 1820s in Iowa -- before the Homestead Act.

So, What is on Our Nightstand Currently

We just finished reading the biography of Clark Gable. It was a fascinating story of a man that was so admired and respected by mostly my parent's generation -- though I certainly enjoyed seeing him in several movies as well. He apparently was a "man's man" and a genuinely likable person by most.

But, we have moved on to another reading selection and we have gotten through about one chapter so far:

Many of the above same adjectives can be used when addressing Tony Bennett. He is amazing and at this point in his late 80s (Gable died at 59). We look forward to this book and we have already gotten a better sense of who Tony is . . .

The Library Thing is a website that allows one to list their library of books and write comments and such. Next to this post you can see an ever changing display of many of the books that I have written about. The Library Thing can be accessed on:   and it is free.

That was a bit about our week. Tonight being Saturday Night -- burgers and fries . . . see you all in a few!

(Next post I'll review the all day seminar I attended today . . .)

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Goin' Back, Goin' Way Back . . .

Gail and I had not been back to the Guide Dogs for the Blind puppy meetings for over a year. We missed them and for one reason and/or another we did not attend -- of course one major factor is that Dino is a "career-changed" pup, so he no longer was "in-the-group". The very small cataract found during Dino's physical examination allowed him to be our "pet" dog -- and we couldn't be happier.

But this past week we did attend a meeting on Tuesday evening. Not a regular meeting -- but a surprise shower for leader Cassie and her husband John -- who are expecting their own "puppy-raiser to be" in a few weeks.

Of course, in the top left is Gail with Dino just before attending the shower. Then, some of the pups in the current group -- a couple of puppy names come to mind -- "Logger" & "Walt", the other names escape me at the moment -- but the images are great.

We petted and held some of the pups and Dino was like he was back in the group as well, enjoying himself now as an elder statesman at two and a half . . .

We really enjoyed seeing our friends from the group and the pups almost convinced us to "get another one". We'll see . . . Gail felt very attracted to "Walt" who she sure is named after her Grandfather . . .

Identifying Another Cousin

Earlier in the week I received an email from a cousin who had attended a meeting of their local genealogical society and had inspired her to dig around some Ohio records -- which she did and found a cousin that she thought I'd like to have in the tree . . . she was right, and he is now in the tree:

So, Samuel Hiles is a third cousin, two-times removed.  Click on the above and you can see how he fits into the tree. On the right side is the marriage certificate for Sam (with his signature) to Charlotte. On the certificate is a previous married name for Charlotte whose birth name was Hammond.

The email to me resulted in about three days of follow up as each name brought up additional names and facts. It all is fascinating e.g. Sam apparently took his mother's last name (Mary Isabelle Hiles) but that is another story. Mary wound up marrying another man (Tigner) and they had children who would be our relatives as well.

So my week was again fully engaged -- some hours continuing to "reorganize files" and some hours doing the fun stuff . . .

Dates for People in our Tree

Wow! Some forty folks celebrating birthdays next week and seven couples with anniversaries:

Best Wishes to all!

Goin' Way Back . . .

Long before Gail and I met -- we both had "other" lives. One of her adventures during those times involved a several months trip throughout the Middle-East. And as happens lately, we are going through all kinds of pictures and slides.
Because of the current Middle-East issues and conditions, the trip that Gail took with two others, probably would not be advisable today and we are sure her trip caused concern back then for her parents:

That actually is Gail as she approaches Jordan's most visited tourist attraction. The picture was taken in the mid 60s and the area is "Petra" -- it has been featured in numerous movies and written about by many journalists. Gail is quick to point out the site in any movie that we see it in . . .

The trio "camped" out of their land-rover and toured many of the countries surrounding the Mediterranean. We have a large number of slides from that trip and most have been digitized -- sadly not in order nor identified as to the locales -- some, like the above are easily identified though.

We'll share additional "highlights" of that trip in future posts.

Speaking of Pics

In my mind I "see" cousins and other relatives and I know pictures exist for most of them -- somewhere. I am sure that someone or several someones have copies of pictures of our relatives -- and sometimes it is me that has the pic. Case in point, I was going through some of the boxes that I am currently sorting out and I found this picture:

It is a picture of my Great Aunt Esther and her husband Frank Lampark. I vaguely remember meeting them at some time in my past up in Racine, Wisconsin. I only wish that I would have taken the time to visit them in later years. Esther was the younger sister of my dad's mother (my grandmother).

I have other pictures of Esther, but I believe that this is the only one of Frank that I have.


Beside the numerous baseball games that we watched this week, I attended a great webinar on "Evidence & Online Trees".  As usual I learned a lot.

Coming up are two more great sounding webinars:

The Homestead Act of 1862 I believe is about the program that replaced "land-grants" of the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812 giving land to veterans. Now during the Civil War came the Homestead Act. I look forward to hearing Thomas MacEntee deliver the facts on this, he always presents a great webinar.

And the week after that, a webinar about Google Glass is coming and I really want to know more about that fascinating product -- just in case I'm thinking about how to justify a purchase . . .

Spring Seminar

Each year I look forward to attending our local Genealogical Society's major seminar. This year it will be held next Saturday, April 26th:

Above you can see the details and four lectures are scheduled and the one that caught my eye was the one that I have underlined above -- "Finding the Origin of Your Immigrant Ancestor".  That is truly the goal of so many folks like me . . .

I have resigned myself to maybe "never-knowing" the details of who brought our surname to this country and from where they came. But I do not give up hope -- so I'll be paying attention especially to that lecture that comes "right after lunch" . . .

Maybe, just maybe I'll get the direction and possibly the steps to take to find out "crossing the pond" details.

So, that was a bit of our week -- it is Saturday night and that means -- burgers. See you all "in a few"!

Saturday, April 12, 2014


You know it is a pretty interesting ballgame when the pitcher from your team unloads a grand slam. This happened in last night's game between the San Francisco Giants and the Colorado Rockies. Madison Bumgarner (still checking to see if he is related . . .) had already hit a sacrifice long ball -- just short of a home run in his previous at--bat. He luckily came up again this time with the bases loaded, how could that be worrisome for the Rockies:
On the first pitch Madison dumped it into the left-center stands giving the Giants a lead that they managed to hang onto to win. Apparently Madison is known for his long-ball hitting -- in batting practice and he takes abuse for his game time hitting -- but not for awhile now, he is among only a few Giants pitchers to ever have a grand slam. And how did he celebrate -- according to the announcer -- "with  a snot-rocket" . . . I'm pretty sure he is NOT related.

Dates From our Tree

Things are lookin' up -- in terms of the number of wedding anniversaries anyway -- six in the next week:

Check 'em out and get those cards and letters sent . . .


As predicted in the last post there were two webinars this week -- and one of them changed my modus operandi -- in terms of genealogy anyway, and maybe carried over a bit into other facets of daily life.
More about that in a minute . . .

The next two weeks have additional webinars that look valuable as well. Both of the upcoming presenters are top-notch, so I look forward to attending their sessions:

There still is time to sign up for these webinars that are "no-charge" for the live sessions, check out Family Tree Webinars . . .

Now the life-changing session from this week. Both webinars this week were excellent and I received good
information that I can use from both -- but one had some immediate reaction . . .

Recall that the two webinars were -- the first on Wednesday, on 4-Color organizing of genealogy stuff, the second webinar on Friday concerned Estate documents (not just Wills).

This must be the year for me to "take another look-see" at how I have (or have not)  organized my genealogy stuff -- I worked through filing several thousand digital images of screenshots from over the years and I am working on the backlog of photos as well.

Now the webinar on Wednesday is giving me a renewed look at "taking care of" the paper trail that has accumulated in 20 or 30 years . . .

Above on the left is what "some" of my paper looks like both in the banker's boxes and in drawer files. On the right is the start of the system that I have worked on to hopefully correct the unwieldy paper. It is the brainchild of Mary Hill who some 18 years ago developed the four-color system and has perfected it and presented it on Wednesday.

The system starts with the pedigree (mine e.g.) of five generations up to my gr gr grandparents. It has been interesting to do the basic start-up which will become the basis for filing all paper documents in the future and from the banker's boxes and other files . . .

After Gail and I ran over to Office Depot and I started physically setting up the system, step-by-step, I thought "how hard could this be" . . . it did take me two days to set up the basic 4 colors as seen above on the right. The nice part is that I do actually feel that it makes sense and that it will allow me to grow into filling up more files -- but with the capability to find the things that I have filed fairly quick.

I am taking it slowly so that I "do it right" and so that it works. I'll give updates from time to time, starting right now:

One of the first impacts was that in following the steps, one step called for making a file for each family that I found on my 5-generation pedigree chart -- and as I got farther out on the pedigree chart, the less information that I had on some families.

AND, another factor that hit me was Patonymics -- and it is a subject that I have pretty much ignored in the past, but now feel that I need to address. Since I have Scandinavian ancestors Swedish and Norwegian, some of the surnames change with each generation . . .

For the Norwegians, a son would take his father's first name and add "--sen" to it and that would be his surname. A Norwegian daughter would take her father's first name and add "--datter" to it to form the surname. But that was not always consistent and when coming "across the pond" things frequently changed as well.

And the same sort of system is found with the Swedish folks in the tree, only mostly using "--son" for the males.

I now have to figure out what is what with the Scandinavian naming convention as it relates to our folks. It is a huge time-consuming venture, but I'd like to know the correct way and I am hoping the new "system" will be a great aid. All in all, thanks to Mary Hill and all her work,  related to this system.

And Now -- More About the Giants  Blood Moons

Apparently we are in store for an eclipse of the moon appearing on this coming Tuesday, April 15th -- which of course has other significance as well (tax related).

Not only are we scheduled to have one such "blood moon" but four in total, each coming about six months after the other, called a Tetrad:

Above you can see the dates of the four eclipses through 2015. It is just coincidence that the blood moon has Giants colors . . . check out for more information.

So that was a peek into our week. It is Saturday and it will be burgers tonight. See you all "in a few".

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Play Ball! In Town, All Around . . .

It has rained part of everyday this week here -- and for that we are thankful! But, this morning it is bright and sunny and it is supposed to stay that way all day. It is amazing how the sunshine impacts mood -- even Dino seemed to have a better outlook.

So we went out in the backyard this morning and after playing "catch" I took some snaps of the sun-filled yard:

The blossoms are out on the Dogwood and even a geranium bloom was out. Dino rested poolside after chasing some of his toys -- of the five different toys (he has his favorites) some he will retrieve.

The air is crisp and clear and soon it will be time to empty the pool-house of the winter storage items and get ready for visitors . . .

Important Dates from Folks in the Tree

There are numerous birthdays for our folks this week and all month. Even the wedding anniversaries have increased this week (7):

I only recognize a few, you may know more . . .

Big Week -- For Big Leagues and Little Leagues 

We haven't been fans of watching early baseball games on TV in the past few years, but for some reason we had a few openings in our viewing schedule this season so we taped some of the early games, mostly of the San Francisco Giants.

We made it part way through the first couple of games and either it was the fact that the announcers almost put us to sleep or there wasn't much going on, on the field -- until yesterday's Giants/Dodgers game.

The Dodgers scheduled their home opener versus the Giants on a sun-filled afternoon at Chavez Ravine in Los Angeles. Sadly for the Dodgers, the Giants got six runs in the first inning and then two more in the second. It was enough to keep our interest for the entire game.

We recorded the game so with four clicks at a third out, we started the next at-bats right away. I have seen games that start out lop-sided and then end up with the "other" team catching up. Fortunately for the Giants they kept their lead to the end even though LA got partway close . . .

Now, Little League action is on both diamonds behind our house and we can hear the cheering and peer over the fence a bit to see some of the action. The festivities included large inflatable climbing toys for the "kids" not playing ball.

I have to say that "opening game" festivities back East probably did not take place as scheduled due to some areas getting snowed once more this year. The scary part for us is the drought situation -- even with rain these past few days, we are not looking forward to long periods of no-rain.

This Week's Doings

Genealogically speaking, I was involved all week working on pictures. I have hundreds, if not more, pictures that have not been edited, meaning taking some of the scratches out, enhancing some colors and things like that.

Again, the real sad thing for me is to have in my possession so many pictures of a known relative standing with others who are probably relatives -- but are not identified. Most of us are guilty of not identifying certain pictures for a variety of reasons.

The above thumbnails represent just a few of the folks that I worked with this week. Picture management is a major time consumer for me -- I might work on cleaning up one photo for even an hour or more before being satisfied that it is better than before and a "keeper".

I am also concerned about the format in which to store the photos -- I have been trying to convert all photos to a ".png" format as opposed to a ".jpg" format due to the fact that with ".jpg " there is the possibility of losing quality each time you open the picture.

I am also taking the time to name each photo and to add the identification of individuals and other information that I know about . . .

Down the road -- way down the road -- the question comes up as to who will be able to view the photos if they are only stored and not physically printed. Will DVDs or other media be accessible or usable.

Webinars Coming Up

Last Wednesday I attended the really well-done webinar presented by Legacy Family Tree Webinars with Thomas MacEntee on "7 Habits of Highly Frugal Genealogists". In the webinar Thomas actually presented about 15 habits which made economic sense while working in the world of genealogy and elsewhere.

Above (click to enlarge) you can see the upcoming webinars from Legacy --  and as a matter of fact in just a little while a special Saturday webinar is scheduled on "Googling Around with Google and other Technology" presented by Geoff Rasmussen -- so I'm planning on attending that this afternoon.

Then you can see the two webinars scheduled for next week which I plan on attending as well.

That was a bit of our week -- and this being Saturday, tonight it is . . . burgers (and watching another ballgame, maybe)