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Saturday, March 29, 2014

RAIN -- TAXES -- SHORTRIBS

It did rain on and off most of the week which is really nice for California. There also was a brief break in the weather that somehow the gardener could squeeze into and take advantage of enough to do the lawn . . .


We pretty much took advantage of the pleasant raininess to stay inside and work on more pleasant things -- NOT . . . like taxes. For two "retired" tax-pros it was amazing the struggle that ensued to do this one (Federal & State) return. Gathering the data was frustrating and then . . . more later.

On one of our brief trips outside of the house we found ourselves at a small complex of multi-use commercial offices in Santa Rosa to visit a new Doctor.  Since Dino was along for the ride, I walked him around the parking lot to use up some of the waiting time. At the opposite end of the complex I happened to notice a familiar car -- one that belonged to my brother and his wife.

What were the odds that I would see someone we knew at that small office complex. And yet here was my brother and his wife visiting another office and I happened to spot their car -- and while waiting for him to come back to his car I spotted someone that my wife and I used to work with coming out of another office.
You just never know whom you'll see out and about . . .

There's Something About Living in a Small Town

And especially one that winds up being recognized nationally as "nice" and one that folks should put on their "must visit" list . . .


In the "just out" issue of Smithsonian Magazine their list of "best small towns to visit in 2014" is featured. And while Healdsburg is not number one (Chautauqua NY is) it is Number Two on the list -- and we all know that Number Two's try harder . . .

We are happy to say that we have lived here in town for almost 15 years now -- and we have enjoyed it very much and always are thankful for the decision to move here from "the city".

While we do live close enough to walk to the plaza, these days we look for a parking space and sit by the fountain almost every week. There is almost always a large number of folks wandering around town and it is not hard to pick out the visitors. And Dino does a really good job of attracting conversations . . .

Dates Next Week for Folks from our Tree

Only two more days for March of this year -- is it going out "lamb-like" or "lion-like"? Hard to tell and it depends on geography. But next week's birth dates are numerous,  some of whom you'll recognize and still we are not seeing huge wedding anniversaries 


So get out your "Hallmarks" . . .

Communications -- Today & Yesterday

The communication industry is where I found myself employed during the last twenty years of my career. I actually enjoyed much of that experience -- especially the days when my office was in downtown Seattle and my customer base included many of the (Media Recreation) top companies like all the TV Stations, Radio Stations, Sports Teams and Newspapers to name a few . . .

The communications industry (these days) is centered around the cell phone and is in evidence everyday everywhere we go. It is virtually impossible to NOT see people on their phones. We try not to give out our cell numbers because we do not want to use them for casual conversation -- only urgent type calls.


In the above left photos are examples of mostly now gone examples of unsightly phone wires seen everywhere in cities across the U.S. and the world. Only to be replaced these days by "hands to the ears" cupping cell phones and usually oblivious to all surroundings.

It is truly amazing how Alexander Bell (and others) have changed the appearance and experience of our daily lives. We are lucky enough to have "underground" utilities throughout our neighborhood, but we do have a lot of folks walking by every day and some (not all) are on their phones . . .

It's "That" Time

In the last 10 years for me -- but 30 some for Gail, this time of the year was spent in a furious frenzy of preparing and taking care of tax related issues -- for others. Now it is just a furious frenzy of a time trying to gather up the documents relating to just our own tax related issues . . .


This is the time to do our taxes so that we can make corrections and have a bit of time to reflect on them before the deadline. I think we for some reason can appreciate what others go through at this time more than we have in past years.

I assume that when we were "in the business" personal taxes were just "taken care of" matter-of-factly but now we must have erased "our hard-drives" and have started over as the process took its toll on us this week. 

We are though DONE -- we hope. The Feds have our 1040 and other related stuff and hopefully we will not hear from them. The State return is making the way through the system and only time will tell.

What's on the Dinner Menu?

To reward ourselves and to give us "comfort" we looked for some food item to assist. What better comfort-food than short ribs. We only have them once-in-awhile but usually when we do we are sooo glad.

And this was the case this week as well. We had a frozen package of short ribs and after a day of thawing we prepared them:


In the above you can see the process for the prep. We used the recipe that came with our "Ninja Cooker" and it turned out to be a good choice.

It was one of the tastiest dishes that we have had (for short ribs) and along with the twice-baked potatoes and the fresh vegetables -- dinner WAS a reward for getting through the tax process.

Webinars Coming Up

While we did not have a webinar this week (rare) next week the schedule resumes with a really interesting topic and a great speaker:


And the following week -- another excellent offering.

You still have time to sign up for these free webinars by going to the Family Tree Webinar site and registering:    Family Tree Webinars

And Lastly

I have finished the huge task of dealing with several thousand screenshots. I have put them into semi-appropriate files (in Picasa) and now begins the task of refining them. As I look some of them over -- for example the file of "may be related" I have found a ton of interesting facts and some not-so interesting facts.

This task will be time consuming as a lot of the "not related" folks have some interesting facts that I try to attach to them even though (at this time) I can't prove any relationship . . . if that makes sense.

The following is appropriate for the above exercise:


This is typical of some of the things that I have found . . .

And that was "our week" !   It is Saturday Night -- time for burgers . . . 

See you all in a few!














Saturday, March 22, 2014

SPRING MADNESS

We're into the third day of Springtime and we have managed to push aside the ravishes of Winter . . . the weather is pleasant, there were only sounds of baseball workouts coming from the back yard as school was out for Spring break . . .


The buds on most of our trees are advancing rapidly and overnight. We have repositioned our bird feeders, and we have enjoyed increasing traffic and less poop under the trellis area.

Since school was out this week the baseball fields behind our house were quite active with many basic type exercises for the new and returning little leaguers. We ventured over a couple of times to watch and relax and recall when our own kids were at that stage as well.

We have had to lower the sun shielding screens as the sun in the afternoon (from the West) is intense and pretty much blinds us at times. We have also renewed playing some Quiddler again and need the reduced glare to see the cards.

One current dilemma is that with the several days in a row now of 70s to 80s our pool is rapidly evaporating the water -- and our town has issued restrictions on water usage . . . do we refill or not  . . . we may have to make some decisions . . .

Dates for Next Week from our Tree


Lots of folks having birthdays next week, some more familiar than others but all are in the tree . . .

And an increasing number of marriage anniversaries for next week -- 10 couples managed to tie the knot:



Things are heatin' up, so-to-speak . . . it's Spring

Webinar Wednesday

I enjoyed this week's webinar a lot! The webinars each week have always had benefits no matter the subject and this week even more so:


Legacy Family Tree Webinars continues to stimulate for sure my searching enthusiasm. This week Kory Meyerink, in a fast moving fact filled presentation, went over the list of the top 50 most used and popular genealogy websites.

Many of the sites were not surprising to see on the list e.g. Ancestry.com, number one and for good reason. Ancestry adds so much to my genealogy searching ability, and I appreciate being able to subscribe.

There were though many surprises on the list as well. For example:  DAR.org, AmericanAncestors.org, GenealogyTrails.com, & AncientFaces.com -- sites that I have not really utilized and apparently should be.

I will be going through the list and investigating or re-investigating usage for my searching. This is probably a several month activity and it will be "fun".

In the above collage I have shown the dates of the upcoming webinars and their topics -- unfortunately next week is a "bye" week as the next webinar is in April . . . (withdrawal Wednesday nest week)

Speaking of Names (Surnames that is)

Recently, in one of my favorite daily must-reads I spotted the following information related to surnames around the world and in the United States. In www.eogn.com (Dick Eastman's Newsletter) there was a very colorful map showing the most popular surnames for many countries:


And to the right,  from the www.census.gov site a listing of the most popular surnames in the U.S.

The United Kingdom and the United States have the same name as the most popular -- SMITH -- not too surprising. I am sooo glad that our tree is not overrun with SMITH as that must really be a nightmare to search.

In the U.S. list (as of 2000) it is interesting to see two Hispanic surnames in the top ten and it will be interesting to see the 2010 list . . .

Still Speaking of Surnames

As I do my research usually I first add individuals (or families) to my Family Tree Maker database. Currently I have a little over 9000 individuals listed there -- most are related one way or another to our family.

From FTM I then slowly add those folks to our family website -- danhiles.com -- and to the Ancestry.com, Geni.com, FamilySearch.org and various other online trees.

None of these trees match each other at any given time -- that takes a lot of work and effort. But there is a springtime for buds as well . . .


The above chart shows my current count in the Family Tree Maker database on my computer. Click on the above to see better detail. 

Of the 9258 individuals I have in the tree -- the number one surname (no surprise) is HILES with some 695 individuals and the second most popular surname being BUMGARDNER with 233 folks (no surprise either).

Then statistically the numbers drop rapidly, and there are surprises e.g. 90 THROCKMORTONS. Of course a lot of the numbers have to do with my searching and the "finds" that are mined from the data.

It is still interesting though that many of the most popular names in my FTM file are surnames that I have never met in real life. AND, way down the list is SMITH -- thank goodness at this point. All of the above is definitely subject to rapid change as I "strike gold" in any searches . . .

Lastly . . .

What first appeared to me as a huge "family-tree" chart caught my interest. And the TV and news is filled with the ingredients that make up the real Spring Madness:


You have to admit -- it does look like a family tree created by a genealogy software program, but alas it is the 2014 printout of the NCAA teams competing in this year's March Madness. We are not big basketball enthusiasts -- but we do peek into a couple of the games randomly.

It is amazing though to see how much enthusiasm is generated as the games progress. Las Vegas is thrilled as it is very similar to the activity surrounding the SuperBowl.

And just one more thought:


I've been told that I resemble that -- but I am working on changing that perspective -- mostly by changing the location and the form (digital) in which much of my "stuff" is found . . .


Tonight being Saturday night it is Enchilada night (we've been invited out) . . .

See you all in a few!
















Saturday, March 15, 2014

The Best of the Season -- So Far

So,  it is the "Ides of March" today, so far "big deal", but it is really a beautiful day. And it has been beautiful most of the week. If we could pick our weather for the year, this would be it!

We did take advantage of the days to take a few walks in the neighborhood -- not far, but far enough to watch some of the almost daily baseball being played in the fields behind our house.


The sounds of the game enticed us to "check out the action" and we did. We managed to sit down to rest a bit and to watch the play. We always attract the attention of dog lovers. especially kids who want to come and to pet Dino -- which a few did.

We also got adult positive comments as well regarding "how attractive" Dino is and all. After a brief period we returned home to rest up before dinner . . .

Webinar Wednesday

Another great webinar this week -- one that was presented relative to the holiday this week -- St Patrick's Day on the 17th. I actually did not (yet) see all of the presentation as I had to keep an appointment -- but I will go back in and catch the rest . . .


The webinar was on "lesser known" Irish Resources and while we do not have a large amount of folks from our tree from Ireland, the process is relatable to other searches.

On the right above, you can see next week's webinar topic which will also be of value -- "The 50 Most Popular Genealogy Websites". The sites of course keep changing so this should be great.


Dates From Our Tree

Just two marriages for the folks in our tree, the rest are birthdates:



There is a variety of branches represented in the above -- click on and check 'em out.

The Main Focus this Week

For most of the last three weeks I have been going through the huge stockpile of screenshots that I have accumulated (8-10,000), and I have been able to sort and file a huge percentage of them. This week I continued working on that and what happens is that I do get side-tracked some of the time.

I have managed to put tidbits and documents that I have found in files with the pertinent families -- I still have a lot of "refining" to do, but I am making progress.

What that means is that I am reacquainting myself with a huge variety of facts and people. The following are a couple of examples of what I am dealing with.


The Bouldron Mystery Family

Gail's family is compact in that there are only a few people in the United States with that surname. I have posted about that in prior reports (you can do a search on Bouldron above).

This week I renewed my information that I found some time ago about some Bouldrons that we do not know. I have dubbed them the "Bouldron Mystery" family:


On the left above (click on the image to enlarge) is a list of the "known" Bouldron individuals that we have been working with -- there are only 32 total. There are no known male Bouldrons left in the U.S. so we know what that means.

In the middle is a screenshot from Ancestry.com re the 1940 census and to the right of that is an enlarged view of the individuals on the actual census. Gail does not know who these Bouldrons are -- even though they are in King County, Washington where all of Gail's relatives are found.

And, of three Bouldron children listed in that census are two males -- we do not know what has become of these folks -- nor where they came from.

It looks like a "Lutrell" daughter has taken the name "Bouldron", most likely via marriage, and has three children with the last name of Bouldron. If any one can share some insight to this mystery, please help out.

Recognizing More Hiles Cousins

Another result of the "admin" work the last two weeks is that many cousins have been found and confirmed.
One such family is that of John Vinson Hiles. Being able to identify any "John" Hiles is great and in this case I am finding an abundance of information:


Above, you can see the relationship of John Vinson Hiles and wife Margaret Catherine Mosser, to me -- a second cousin 2 x removed. John & Margaret had at least nine children all who would be third cousins to me.

You just never know what will be found in those "back-area" files of the screenshots -- I find it exhilarating as I go through them.

Lastly

In honor of St Patrick's Day we had the best corned beef dinner ever, a few nights ago. We do have more corned beef that we have stored in the freezer and might just fix that also.


With that we honor those Irish from our tree -- but tonight it is Saturday, and we are going to have burgers!

See you all -- in a few!
















Saturday, March 8, 2014

TIME -- LOTS of TIME THINGS

This week we actually had a couple of days of substantial rainfall. Today happens to be extremely spring-like, and there is even the possibility of more rain tomorrow. Our lawns in the neighborhood are probably as green as they will be for the season as there is  mandatory water rationing in effect.

In the meantime just driving into town is like driving under blossom-laden trees which makes everything scream SPRING.


Every year we are treated to these displays, and it is so refreshing even though we recognize that other parts of our country are still blanketed with snow -- they will really enjoy Spring when it arrives.

Events This Week

Last Sunday we recorded most of the Oscar-related shows as we enjoy hearing about the movies that we managed to miss this year -- and this year we saw none of the movies nominated for the Oscars. But after watching the show we have a better idea of some of the movies we would like to see.

Not enough to actually go to a theater though, we will watch them at home where we can better enjoy them and we do not mind at all if we are among the later viewers.


Above are the movies nominated for best-picture this year, and we saw glimpses of all of them. Actually there are several from other previous years that we would like to see also. Eventually, we will get back into the movie-viewing routine and partially catch up.

While watching the Oscars we have had a tradition of enjoying pizza -- it was fun to see some of the Oscar attendees also enjoying pizza this year. But this year we decided to make our own pizza instead of ordering-out.

So we bought two portions of fresh pizza-dough (at Trader Joe's) and then loaded up on a variety of toppings. About an hour before the main Oscar show we started fixing the pizzas:


Starting top left, we put cornmeal onto the pizza stone and then rolled out the dough for one regular and one whole-wheat crust. We put the tomato sauce on and then added the topping ingredients and covered all of them with two or three kinds of cheese. 

The oven was preheated to 450 degrees and within 10 to 15 minutes we had two pizzas ready (almost) to eat. They actually tasted very good -- we do have some "tweaking" to do for the next batch though.

Next time we will make sure that the dough is rolled out thinner as we like "skinny" crusts. And we need to make sure that we can slide the unbaked pizzas from the prep board to the stone in an easier way . . .

All in all, Oscar Sunday was a nice event.

Next Week Dates from our Tree

We came close to having a day without a birthday, but just managed to find one for Mar 10th. The marriages still are somewhat sporadic -- it must be the winter months.


Clicking on the above hopefully you'll find folks from your branch. For me next week is the celebration of the birthday of my Grandson -- Caleb Michael Dayton Hiles -- Happy Birthday!

Other Activities This Past Week

I have to say that every day this past week I have continued to "go through" the accumulated screen shots of the past few years . . . I have dealt with well-over 5,000 such pieces of information. I feel good about getting much of this stuff either filed or dumped.

What is amazing is that a lot of the screenshots are very pertinent to different branches in the tree. There are a lot of old newspaper articles and documents that put details into the lives of our relatives and humanizes them.

I did manage though to again attend two webinars this week:



The first one was on Wednesday, and it was presented expertly and professionally by Lisa Louise Cooke all about using Google Earth. I have seen some of the information before, but this presentation was so well done using live examples. It is truly amazing what can be done using Google Earth.

The second webinar was also very professionally presented by Geoff Rasmussen (on Friday), and it dealt with a subject that I struggle with -- citing sources. I am guilty of not citing sources especially in the early years but even now I fight the task

The Legacy 8 software that I have (along with Family Tree Maker and Rootsmagic) actually has a program that will assist in citing sources and makes the process sooo much easier to use. I learned a lot via this webinar.

On the Nightstand (continued)

Last week I mentioned that we had started a new read -- Clark Gable -- and we are still reading that very interesting book. Since the book is about someone who lived in my parent's generation there is a ton of genealogical information available -- so I thought that I'd do a little "looking" in Ancestry.com:



The above documents pretty much where we are in the book -- that is starting with the birth date and then into about the next twenty years. The first census that I could find Clark in is the 1910 census as he was born in 1901. In that census he is about 8 years old and living with his father and step-mother (his birth mother died shortly after Clark was born).

The second census shown above is the 1920 and Clark is living in a boarding house type of residence in Akron, Ohio. He was 18 or 19 years of age and was starting to get interested in the acting business.

It is fascinating to follow the book via actual documents found in Ancestry.com. I know there are many more that will substantiate what we will be reading in the coming chapters.

It's That Time Too

Apparently the Romans did not always use consecutive day numbering when referring to a given day of the week. Often the individual days were in reference to a certain time of the month e.g. Ides was one of the reference points, and it referred to the 15th. In this case March 15th.


In my high-school Latin class I remember learning about the significance of "beware the Ides of March".
It happened to be the day that Julius Ceasar was assassinated and ever since,  the warning about the Ides of March has stuck . . . next Saturday . . .

Lastly, One More Time Thing . . .

Again this timing has just snuck up on us -- we barely have time to react and change the settings on the numerous time-pieces throughout the house . . .


For us here on the West Coast it seems to make good sense as the kids playing baseball behind our house will have evenings in which to practice and the other outside activities will be enhanced by more reasonable daylight. For the folks back East, I don't know if they really want more daylight at the end of the day to exhibit snow piles and icy streets . . .

And so, that is a part of our week. This being Saturday night it is Slider Saturday! See you all in a few!

















Saturday, March 1, 2014

Doppler This -- March, Lion and/or Lamb

It seems that no matter what channel on TV that we watch the News/Weather -- Doppler weather radar is featured as a benefit -- and it is. We just needed some explanation as to the meaning of colors used and a few other details. In a way it is like when "Dolby Sound" started appearing everywhere as an enhancement, and it was.


Since this has been an eventful weather-week, the above screenshots illustrate some of what we have seen so far this week. Today is the first of March and depending on geographics it is entering either as a Lion or a Lamb, but mostly as a Lion.

The theory is that if March starts with being a Lion it will end up as a Lamb -- I thought that this saying came from my parents, but it is much older than that. There is little argument that certainly for a large part of the country March is starting out as a Lion.

In the last two days the above left shows the inches of rain that our part of Northern California has received. The Doppler part is top right, and it shows graphically where the most intense weather is happening -- and the bottom left shows the schematic to what is being illustrated. What will they have next . . .

Speaking of Next

Next week that is -- the birth and anniversary dates for folks from our tree. There were only two days of marriage dates while still seven days of births -- I am not sure what the significance of that is.


Clicking on the above you may be able to spot someone from your branch -- if not, try again next week.
Best wishes to all the above!

Cousin Checking

In the above list of dates and for the March 6th Anniversary date specifically, this is for a 2nd Cousin of mine (once removed -- meaning a one generation difference). I never knew of Beulah Lucile Hiles before working on this genealogy.

She was born in Wisconsin in 1913 (my parent's generation) and lived there until moving to the sate of Minnesota sometime in the 1950s. She was married twice and had several children (who of course are cousins as well). She died in 1995 in St Paul, Minnesota.


Above examine the trees showing her two husbands -- Victor Bell & Ray Dow. If you'd like to see more of her family I have updated the names and particulars on our Hiles website:    www.danhiles.com

Webinar Wednesday

This week I am continuing to "go through" screen shots that I have accumulated over several years. I am trying to make sure that I "file" the screenshots with the appropriate families and dispose of material that does not need to be kept. I have gone through almost 4,000 screenshots in the last two weeks, and I have at least that many more to examine.

But I took a break for the webinar on Wednesday from Legacy Family Tree Webinars. This week it was all about searching for surnames and how to deal with some of the many variations in spelling for example.



The presenter was Kirsty Gray (very English) and presented many examples of differences in names and how to deal with that issue.

So-Long Sochi

Earlier in the week we said good-bye to the Winter Games in Sochi. Overall we enjoyed the games and gained a new and better understanding of the country Russia. 


We enjoyed the "closing ceremonies" and marvelled at the spectacular things we saw on the screen. We look forward to the "summer games" in Rio coming up in two years and then the "winter games" in four years in south Korea. 

A Bonus Webinar (Today, Saturday)

Less than an hour ago I finished watching the rare second Legacy Webinar in-a-week -- this one on the subject of "Genealogy & Technology". It was very professionally presented by Barbara Renick -- who I have heard before AND have attended one of her live presentations a couple of years ago here in Sonoma County.


Barbara has a lot of experience and is up-to-date with the use of the emerging technologies that are happening in the world of genealogy. She had a ton of good suggestions as to how best to take advantage of the fast changing tools and sites.

What is on Our Nightstand

We have finished the book written by Marilu Henner on Memory and while it was not the usual biographical piece that we usually read -- it was all about how to enhance our autobiographical memories. And it did include examples from her life illustrating her amazing memory powers.

But now we are on to our next read -- and it IS a biography -- this time about one of my mother's all-time favorite celebrities:



I always enjoyed watching movies that Clark Gable starred in -- though just not with the same intensity that my mother had. What I find interesting about Clark as we get started reading is that he grew up in Ohio. And a part of Ohio where the HILES have a lot of history as well. 

Clark's family had a history in coal mining as did the HILES. It will be interesting to read about his experiences as he grows up and as an adult -- the book is longer than our previous read so will be taking us a good few weeks to read -- hopefully just as enjoyable as what we have read so far.

Lastly

As we look forward to what March brings in the way of weather we plan to enjoy whatever that may be and plan to just "hang in there"!


One of those looks just like Dino . . .

That is a bit of our week -- it looks like burgers tonight! See you all in a few!