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Sunday, July 31, 2016

♪ Ninety-Nine and Counting ♪

The two convention events are finally over -- we can get back to recording regular TV -- just kidding.  But it is nice to be through with those two events which are supposedly designed to give voters the information they need to make a decision come November.

There are now just 99 days until the election and I find it more confusing than ever as to the candidates. For some reason I was struck by the fact of "99 Days" and my mind took me back to school-day outings and other bus riding outings and the song we sang to keep our sanity and to fend off boredom -- "99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall".

The song was sung by "taking one down and passing it around" until we got to "no bottles of beer on the wall" at which point it was "get to the store and buy some more" and the whole thing repeated itself.

It is kind of like the four year election process. By the way, in the above photo is a "99 Bottles" store located in Federal Way, Washington named after the song . . .

Beer and parties seem to go together and to the right are a couple of photos depicting the early locations of each of the two parties making up our system.

The Republican Party originated in Wisconsin while the Democratic Party had it's headquarters in Kansas.

The two parties have evolved and probably the originators of either would have a hard time recognizing them today.

But, for all intents and purposes if we want to have a meaningful vote it will be in one of the two parties.

There may come a time when that will change but for now it is the candidate in one of those two parties that will be elected to the office of President of the United States.

During the conventions we did see and hear about many well known folks either not participating in their "normally
assigned parties" or officially dropping their affiliation to a particular party. Ahh, politics . . .

I did spend time searching "in the trees" this week and most of it involved the three trees below:

I actually did pick some apples from our heavily laden back-yard tree (we have one in the front too) but there were a lot on the ground as well that were not-fit-to-eat. Also I lopped off several branches from a neighbor's tree that were growing several feet over our garden and they too had several "good" apples.

Speaking of "good-apples" I spent a lot of time picking the low-hanging fruit in the other two trees as well mostly by seeking out colorful tidbits of information gleaned from old newspapers.

And speaking of colorful it is amazing to see the difference between black & white photography and
color photography:

Last post I shared the above (on the left photo) of a store owned by a cousin of ours --  and then on Dick Eastman's blog last week he introduced a site that could add color to black & white photos and I immediately tried the above photo and what a difference.

I have since tried it out on several other B&W pics and I'll share those over time -- but all a lot of fun and so nice to see. So, thank you Dick Eastman for sharing that site.

So, what else happened this week. Well, while watching the Giants game the other night with the Washington Nationals late in the game the Giants loaded the bases with nobody out and the score was 4-1 Nats, and I remarked "we should get a few runs here and either tie this game up or make the go ahead runs to win" . . .

Neither scenario happened -- the Nationals for the first time in their 12 year history scored an amazing triple play . . .

I can't even remember if I ever saw another triple play (other than in Little League) but I'll remember this one. Everyone was just shaking their heads with disbelief.

The Giants went on to lose the game, 4-1, needless-to-say.

But the good news is that pre-season football will be starting in about 8 days -- hard to believe, but is a fact.

Sunday, August 7 the Packers play the Colts in the "Hall of Fame" game -- we'll be watching.

On our nightstand -- Drew Barrymore's "Wildflower".

This book took the place of "Sinatra" that we just finished.

We are amazed at the difference of perception that this book points out to us.

Drew seems to have "pulled through" those early days and has become a successful and accomplished person.

She clears things up with a series of stories surrounding her formative years.

We are enjoying the book and look forward to reading more about her life as she continues to surprise us.

I have to admit that I always enjoyed her movies and now am
pleased that she has made it into a seemingly successful adulthood.

That is a bit of our week, It is Sunday and it looks like ribs, BBQ beans, & salad for dinner.

See you all "in a few"!

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Twenty Winks, And Then Some . . .

It's been that kind of week -- hot, air-conditioned and more of the same. Even the nights required some cooling. But each day this week was interesting from the standpoint of what the TV brought. We programmed several channels to the events in Cleveland and while we eventually did exhaust watching (some of us before others) we look forward to the next several days . . .

I remember my Grandmother (Mamie) saying on the occasions that I was visiting, that mid-afternoon she was going to take her "twenty-winks" . . .  I don't remember if I did as well, but I do remember that it usually was more than twenty that she took.

These days I recognize the value of "twenty-winks" and practice achieving that frequently. I actually like to wink long enough to actually get to sleep and then wake up refreshed and have it be only about twenty-winks, but sometimes it might be forty or more . . .

The search this week still is emanating from the chance meeting of our cousin from Norway who introduced me to the Madsen/Matson branch.

Brother-in-law of second great aunt (the sister of Samuel Martin). It turns out that Jacob and his wife, Louise must have had an interesting life at least from the standpoint that they appeared to move a lot.

They were both born in Norway and then arrived in the U.S. living in Chicago, Illinois, living in Wisconsin and ultimately, Eastern Washington (State).

In 1890, Jacob Matson owned and operated the store to the right. It was located at 518 Division Street in Chicago. (the picture and facts are courtesy of S R Colbert)

The store looks so reminiscent of some that I know I shopped in near my Grandparents home in Chicago -- though this one probably was not there in the 1940s or 50s.

At any rate I can envision the inside of the store and have a sense of nostalgia.

Later Jacob and family wound up as farmers in the Tri-Cities area of Washington State, Yakima specifically.  They were involved in fruit growing which that area was known for and probably still is.

It is amazing the stories that appear from searching -- I look forward to what else that I uncover.

So, guess what book is finally coming off our nightstand . . .

The book to the left is nearly 900 pages and we read all of them over the last three months.

I actually did not think that I would be able to hold the book to read it at night -- but managed to do so.

And I did not think that someone could write enough interesting things about Sinatra that would keep our interest -- but they did.

Since Sinatra basically lived during the life-span of our parents we could relate to the events going on during that period of time.

There were numerous insights into the political personalities of the folks during that period along with just plain observations of life in those days.

We now have the choice of picking our next read -- and we have several to choose from, that decision will come later today so that we can begin anew with our evening read -- but we know whichever book we choose it will not be 900 pages . . .

So, napping, watching the Giants games (they won their first game after losing 6, just yesterday) attending genealogy webinars, and of course the 2nd half of the political conventions.

Philadelphia is the site of the Democratic National Convention.  We will program the TV to record several iterations of that event and then choose which ones we want to watch.

I still find the process very interesting and am usually amazed at what people will do. I remember watching the conventions in the 50s while growing up and some of those images are still vivid in my memory.

At any rate, in a few months all will be determined and between now and then the news will be filled with any and all observations. We can't wait . . .

I guess that I am really out-of-luck because I did purchase a couple of tickets for the recent huge winning pots from the Powerball and the MegaLotteries to no avail.

Of course that would be my main reason for wanting to win -- i.e. finding all those "lost" relatives -- NOT.

It would be nice though to think that there is another value other than just economics in winning the lottery. . .

That is a peek into our week, see you all "in a few"!

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Made in the Shade . . . 10° of Separation

Okay, so it was hot -- what else is new for Healdsburg in July? A lot I suppose, but we did have two or three days of 100° weather and NOW for the last two days it has been at least 10° cooler. Actually as I write this post and sit by the opened window there is a very refreshing, cooling breeze.

Unfortunately while the weather climate is more agreeable other climates like tension around the globe is not cooling off and then there is the political climate -- more on that later.

Made in the shade . . .

The above floral group is found in the shade out back. We venture out only a couple of times in the day choosing the indoors for comfort.

About 54% of this year has passed. We are one day shy of 200 out of 366 for 2016.

But we have only 113 days to go until the Presidential Election on Tuesday, November 8th -- and that time will fly by.

For these first 200 days this year we have seen and heard tons of new approaches to campaigning.

We can only imagine what these next days will bring.

So what will we do next week -- like my Mother used to say:  "You get three guesses, and the first two don't count" :

So, who doesn't like balloons. Actually I have always pretty much enjoyed watching the convention activities. There will be no shortage of TV coverage. One could spend 24/7 listening in on the goings on.

What surprises will there be and how will the crowds be behaving both indoor and outside the Cleveland Arena.

So next week is fairly decided as to what to watch, but there will be many options as to which point of view you want to hear about and see.

Years ago I used to always check the comics for "Dennis" and a couple of others -- just like today I read three different comics and skip the rest.

I have to agree with the question that Dennis poses and I make it a practice to spend a large amount of my disposable genealogical search time just climbing the tree.

Some times when I am in the tree, just as in an actual physical tree, I feel as though I am so far out on a limb that there is potential for some sort of trouble.

I sometimes take a break from climbing "our" tree and seek out other trees to climb or I watch someone else climb their tree.

I almost feel that climbing the tree gives me a special insight into the "leaves" or people found there . . .

Following are some examples of this week's tree climb:

On the left is an example of climbing in Gail's tree. I started with George Calhoun, who is one of the brothers of Captain Rufus Calhoun. George is Gail's 3x Great Uncle. He, like his brothers, had a full beard and it is nice that I could find his photo.

I did not find a photo of George's son, but I did find a photo of his grandson, Grant Glen Calhoun who is Gail's 2nd cousin and I identified his son to be Scott Calhoun a 3rd cousin.

The 3rd cousin actually died in Santa Rosa in 2000 -- close to home for us. Maybe I can find out more about Scott and possible offspring that may still live in the area.

Next -- in the middle section -- I took a break and went climbing in the tree of my brother's wife, Nancy.

I know some basics about Nancy's family, but I stumbled across a photo of her Great Grandfather,
Philip Sheridan Francis who was born one year after the Civil War in 1866.

Obviously his parents gave him his name in honor of Philip Henry Sheridan the Civil War General.
General Sheridan was a career Union Army officer and played a large role in the war and in subsequent activities.

It is rare to find photos of our relatives from that generation. I have found only a handful of folks from that time period, but I know that they probably exist somewhere.

And lastly, I'm still climbing around the Madsen/Matson branches though the "low-hanging fruit" has been picked, so-to-speak. I'm getting close to getting a handle on some of the living folks that maybe I can communicate with -- we'll see.

And I can't stress this sentiment enough -- we are
for all intents and purposes --

A Nice, Normal Family . . .

And after climbing the branches for awhile and seeing the diverse number of families, it is very much the fact -- we are within the norm.

So we keep at it, at least for another week, in- between convention coverage, crisis and other horrific reporting, the climb.

It is Sunday and it is beautiful outside, probably chicken for dinner.

See you all "in a few"!

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Dealing With A/C or Not . . .

It's almost embarrassing that amidst the heat of the week, we actually used the heat from the furnace a few times this week -- in the early morning hours that is.

For some reason the weather was so strange this week that we went from one extreme to another sometimes all in the same day. And for two straight days we used no a/c at all, just good old fashioned ventilation -- which is preferable to us.

 In the above you can see the thermometer almost reaching the century mark on one day. The other pics are of some of the current blossoms in the yard. In the middle picture you can see a hard-working bee doing whatever they do. It is nice to see a lot of bees and humming birds working on the flowers.

I was again lucky this past week in that there were two excellent webinars presented  by Legacy Family Tree Webinars:

The first one was on working through the process of naturalization. This is a subject that I want to explore more in that it is really fascinating to learn of the details of immigrants and what they went though to move to our country.

The second webinar was another one about what I feel is one of the most confusing areas to deal with and that is DNA. This time it was a peek into the process that Geoff Rasmussen used as he dealt with the test results from Ancestry DNA.

It is going to take several more sessions and lots of work for me to feel comfortable with this but over time I should "get there". In the meantime, I keep receiving more and more news of matches from all three testing sites . . . now I just have to make the connections.

In the last couple of posts I have made reference to communicating with a new found cousin from Norway.

The information that he shared got me started digging into more of the details about the branches stemming from the Thorbjornsen connection.

In the above graph -- click on it to enlarge --  you can see my Great Grandparents, Samuel and Elise Martin and then their family.  But the attention in this graphic is on Samuel's sister, Ann, who married a man named Mads Madsen.

Ann is my 2nd Great Aunt and her children then are 1st Cousins and in this chart her son, Ingebrigt Madsen is a 1st Cousin. He married Hulda Emma Hansen and their children are my 2nd Cousins -- and there is a lot of them -- 10 or so. And if you notice they have changed the spelling of their surname from "Madsen" to "Matson", more Americanized.

So, while Henry is a 2nd Cousin, his children are my 3rd Cousins.

And you can see his five children pictured in the chart to the right.

Thank for their Yearbook Database as I found each of the children with pictures from Carl Schurz High School in Chicago.

I also found a couple of college photos for two of them -- one from North College and one from Wheaton College.

I believe that three of the five children are still living, so it would be nice to maybe communicate with them as I -- before this last week did not know of their existence.

There are 10 2nd Cousins and so I have a lot of material to search and find.

I am working on another story having to do with Marvin Matson.

It will be interesting to learn about his family.

All work and no play would not be fun . . .

The play here is actually the Major League Baseball standings so far this season.

Clicking on the chart you can see that the San Francisco Giants currently have the best record in all of baseball.

We have watched every game -- admittedly we have fast-forwarded through some innings . . .

We especially like the games that are played in the Eastern time zone or Central because the games start earlier in the day and we can record and watch them in the late afternoon or early evening.

AND, coming up this Tuesday is the All Star game.

This year it is being played in San Diego so even though it is in our time zone, the game is scheduled early enough for us to record it and enjoy -- which we hope to do.

I can only imagine what it was like to create a family tree in the "good old days".

But the image to the right is amazing and all of it done without a computer or the internet.

The women folk were smart to not participate in this family tree -- at least photographically.

And so, that is a peek into our week.

See you all "in a few".

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Fourth & 10 . . .

After 70 some "4ths" this is pretty much a favorite holiday -- ranks up there with Thanksgiving in that as Jimmy Kimmel put it " I don't have to wrap anything".  I agree. It is just a day to reflect and enjoy.
Usually we enjoy BBQ'd eats and a terrific fireworks display.

We can see some of the local fireworks without leaving our yard. We see some of the very high-in-the-sky ones -- and we mostly hear and feel the reverberations and concussions as they happen.

One plus is that while Dino hears them, he does not require medication or comforting while the show goes on. We are happy about that. And we don't miss attending the live show with the throngs of folks and the half-block long line up of porta-potties . . .

There has been about 240 4th of July celebrations since the original in 1776. I can claim about 30%.
If you get right down to it -- a lot of them are blurred and mixed in with each other.

We went "all-out" again with our decorating adding some new bunting on the front porch to the array including the authentic "13 Colonies" flag and some other banners. Growing up, I remember our father always displaying the old flag on this and other holidays. Our family did have the old flag from Samuel Martin's (Thorbjornsen) ship -- I wonder what happened to that flag . . .

While this week is "not-so-quiet" next week will surely be "a quite week". Why so -- the final edition of "A Prairie Home Companion" played last evening.

After 42 years, Garrison Keillor is wrapping up the weekly radio broadcast of APHC.

Over the years he has brought us so much enjoyment. I am a few months different in age as Garrison and I grew up in roughly the same geographical environment AND I am familiar with a lot of what he refers to as being "Lutheran" -- even though we were not Lutheran.

Parts of our family were Lutheran and even my younger brother attended a Lutheran school, so much of what Garrison described -- I recognized.

What will he do next. I doubt that he will just stop entertaining. I'm sure that he has "something up his sleeve". And we sure hope so!

Send Greetings to Garrison

The above link is to the PHC website where you can send a message to Garrison ( I already have).
When I write this weekly blog it so hard NOT to start it with "It's been a quiet week" . . .

I did manage to "squeeze-in" a webinar this week. One from Legacy Family Tree Webinars:

It of course was on DNA and that subject is still so confusing to me.

But, each time I attend a class or webinar about DNA it becomes a little bit easier to digest.

The speaker to the left, Diahan Southard is really enthusiastic and knowledgeable about DNA.

She made a very professional presentation and used really eye-catching slides which made the subject matter so much more understandable.

As I have mentioned before, I have tested with the three majors of DNA test companies -- Family Tree DNA, Ancestry DNA and 23 & Me DNA.  Each one has provided many connections and every day as more and more folks get tested -- more results.

Ancestry DNA for me now is providing the easiest way to see how each connection is related to me via folks in trees.

One of the most important messages from this and other DNA presentations is that -- do it now and start with the oldest folks in your branches for obvious reasons. The testing process is certainly simple enough -- who doesn't love "spitting" anyway -- in a tube that is.

As I wrote about last post -- I am spending a lot of tree-time in the "Thorbjornsen" branches:

Above is just the "tip" of the Thorbjornsen tourbillion -- tourbillion being a new word discovered just today on "Word of the Day".  It refers to a meteoric rise in the number of Thorbjornsens that I have been adding to the tree.

I actually have been able to add two photos of Samuel Martin's brothers -- I wish that I could find a good photo of Samuel -- hopefully that will happen.

But in the chart above, the arrows underneath the lowest folks indicate that I have already added many folks "to the line".  Eventually I will get to the "living descendants" and hopefully be able to communicate with them -- like I did last week with Alf Christophersen, who supplied some very detailed data on the family.

Now, with only 127 days until our Presidential election, who will be the running mates of the candidates.  Here are some of the folks on the lists:

It is going to be interesting in the coming days.

I never thought about the last person shown on Hillary's list -- I guess it could happen . . .

Some sites have said that Trump has already selected his running mate and so you have to ask why it is reported also that he is going through a "vetting" process this weekend . . .

And lastly, while this is not true for us at our house, I'm sure it is true for some:

That is a bit of our week -- enjoy the rest of the Holiday Weekend -- we'll see you all "in a few".