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Saturday, November 30, 2013

Fall Festive Family Friendly Foodies -- Thank You Very Much

Unseasonable weather -- four days now, sunny and in the 70s during the day -- 30s at night. One of the out-of-state visiting children was heard to ask their parents -- why is it summer here? And it is just like summer.
So the images of a "traditional" Thanksgiving are just that -- images and memories. So many locales are having snow and the more expected weather for November time.

The colors of fall are still around us suggesting so much of what we are thankful for. This is another of the magical times of the year -- for me, there still is that wonderful sense of the buffer day (the day after Thanksgiving) even though Gail & I have loads of buffer days.

On Thanksgiving we did celebrate the holiday with friends and family -- about 30 folks at dinner. The talking noise level was quite high between bites of delicious food -- for me I didn't say too much while eating opting to concentrate on my plate -- I think I made up for it after dinner though . . .

Since we were having dinner at the traditional "Andrew & Silvia" Thanksgiving get-together that meant that we would not have "left-overs" to call our own -- so, last night we roasted our own turkey in the new fryer that we got a couple of weeks ago and along with all the traditional trimmings we had a second turkey feast.

The fryer (no oil) turned out a great bird -- tender and juicy with a slight smoked flavor. The yam dish that Gail makes every year was excellent as was the cranberry relish she makes. For dessert we had a super tasty pumpkin pie -- courtesy of Elizabeth our across-the-street neighbor.

And so went our Thanksgiving, and I certainly remember the many Thanksgivings that I recall at my Grandparent's house (Mamie & Bapa's) in Chicago -- especially the pool game after dinner and the later turkey sandwiches in the evening.

From the Tree:   Birthdays & Anniversaries for Next Week

Park Friday

Years ago I used to join the crowds and head to retail stores to take advantage of the special sales associated with "black Friday". These days I am very content to shop mostly online for so many obvious reasons.  The parade of delivery trucks throughout our neighborhood is amazing and fun to watch -- as long as deliveries are made to the correct addresses . . .

But this year we walked the two blocks over to our local park and met some of the family along with their kids enjoying the day.

In the above collage the kids enjoyed the day outside and the meeting was very casual and enjoyable. Later in the day most everyone went into town to join the celebration of Thanksgiving time in Healdsburg. Dayton & Olivia are both back from their respective colleges and were really enjoying the time seeing family and many of their home-town friends.

And Lastly -- Spoontime, the Tradition Continues

For the last twenty or so years we have been engaging in the giving back and forth of a spoon -- the kind of spoon like you see in tourist shops. Gail received the  "Healdsburg" spoon from Andy for her birthday many years ago (about 1990 maybe).

The immediate reaction was one of disbelief in that Gail did not have a spoon collection and the final analysis was that the "gift" was one of expediency (correctly characterized and proven later). So at an occasion shortly later the spoon was returned to the giver(s) at the bottom of a full bottle of spirits . . . since those two exchanges the spoon has been passed back and forth in many, many configurations . . .

While the above is NOT the actual picture of THE spoon, prior to Thursday it did find itself as one of the hands of a clock hanging in the kitchen at the Andrew Hiles' house . . .

It has been a couple of years since Gail has been the recipient of THE Spoon and usually the most public of times was when the Spoon was sprung on an unsuspecting Gail -- and the closing of the Thanksgiving dinner was suitable for that to happen.

The newly received "Spoon" can be seen in the lower right corner on the plaque. It looks very much like some sort of "insect" now and it wants to play tennis . . . go figure.  Over the years the spoon has been transformed many times -- but it is still recognizable. What will be the scenario next?

The above occurred this morning when we dropped by to retrieve the Spoon -- they all were having a brunch outside -- Dino was impressed . . .

Actually we have a book on many of the spoon exchanges, but it needs updating especially now. You have to wonder what our ancestors might think if they were to see this saga . . .

That is a bit of our Thanksgiving Holiday for 2013. We are still enjoying the last two days of the four and wish the same for all of you!

AND we are going to have our third in-a-row dinner of turkey and all the trimmings -- probably why we only roast a full turkey a couple of times a year.

See you all in a few!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Summerfall Winterspring -- (Princess)

I am not sure how that popped into my head -- but this week we have experienced all four seasonal type weather -- today it is either spring-like or summer-like -- but the fact is that it is the Autumn Season . . .

We have been having great fall weather since it started in late September. Autumn will officially go until December 21st and then of course it is officially winter . . .

We have had cold, rain, hot (mid 80s) and in between all in this week and thinking about it caused the post title to come to mind -- go figure. Growing up, TV was not part of our home until the late 40s. And one of the first shows that was produced for kids -- "Howdy Doody" was very popular in my neighborhood.

We watched the show (at first at other kid's homes) every day that we could. And thinking back, TV did not come on during the day until 4:30 pm until "Howdy" came on. If we turned the set on -- a "test pattern" appeared:

So we often sat in front of our 7 inch screen TV and looked at a test pattern for a few minutes so that we would not miss even one minute of the show. Precisely at 4:30 pm the opening line -- question -- would announce the show and the rest is history.

There were several characters in the show (which aired 1947 -- 1960) and besides Howdy and Buffalo Bob, there was Princess Summerfall Winterspring -- we should add windy in there somehow for the huge amounts of wind we have had this week and even as I write . . . (the neighbors are trying to pick up their back fence . . .).

Be that as it may, we are enjoying the seasonal displays of variety. We have seen some other regions -- on TV -- with varying extremes though.

Webinar Wednesday 

This week I was not sure if I would benefit at all from the topic that was being presented -- but since it was being presented by a person that I respect (Thomas MacEntee) I eagerly joined the presentation. I was "blown away" by a concept that I had never associated with genealogy problem solving.

And as a matter of fact the name of the concept was totally foreign to me -- "mind-mapping". But I was completely satisfied with the concept and the presentation:

The concept was explained thoroughly and demonstrated completely with examples and "how-to's which encouraged me to embrace the idea. I certainly felt that I had several places that this could help me with brick wall type blockages.

So I applied some of the basics right away to one scenario that had just come up in the prior couple of weeks:   Who are the parents of Charity Reed?  This is something that I thought was a "done-deed" and just accepted as to the line of ancestry.

Charity Reed IS my (our) 3rd Great Grandmother and that is proven -- she was married to John Hiles Jr and they had at least ten children. In my tree I had her parents listed and then from there went up those lines . . .

But in the last couple of weeks, a cousin of ours has introduced the possibility that who we had accepted as Charity's parents just might not be her parents. And so the question arises -- just who are Charity's parents then.

So the mind mapping webinar comes along and I see an application -- Who are Charity's Parents?

Mind mapping is a way to brain-storm and visually display that -- and that is what I have started -- heavy on the started:

The above is some of the brainstorming that I have started, using as the platform to express questions, evidence and facts. And I think the advice of the webinar to practice makes a lot of sense. The "popplet" can be shared with others and can be edited by them and thus possibly a solution will evolve from the process -- hopefully we'll see.

So much to learn and do . . .

From the Tree -- Birthdays & Anniversaries

So this week I am reporting the upcoming dates for folks in the tree  . . .

And the Anniversaries:

All in all, another active month.

A Pre- Thanksgiving Day Day-After Thanksgiving Trial Dinner

Actually every year whether on not we go to other homes for Thanksgiving dinner, we also always prepare our own Thanksgiving dinner (eaten on Friday and later) so that we have the leftovers and all.

This year we have a new "turkey-fryer" to use. For several years I have been tempted to "deep-fry" a turkey. Everyone says how good they are -- but I am so glad that I resisted -- until now.

We have a fryer that uses NO oil -- so the many dangers and other negatives (what to do with leftover oil) have been eliminated.

So earlier this week we "did" a large chicken for a trial run -- and it worked like a charm. No oil and virtually no real mess to clean up from the cooking process -- not even running the "clean" cycle in our range.

So we are set to "fry" a turkey next Friday which will provide us with several meals . . .

Boot Camp Bonus

Today I was treated with a bonus couple of webinars. It did throw me off-schedule a bit as the first one started at 7 a.m. A nice feature about webinars is that the camera only works one-way so far, that is one can enjoy the class in "jammies" . . .

The two webinars were put on by excellent presenters both of whom know their material and know how to present it.

The first session was about Genealogy Writing presented by Lisa Alzo who has presented many webinars that I have attended. She had excellent tips and suggestions with links that can be referred to as needed.

The second was presented by Thomas MacEntee, this time about "Word". Microsoft Word to be exact.The secrets that he presented will make working with Word so much more doable -- I have always found Word to be difficult to work with and this will help. Thomas MacEntee knows Word as he taught classes on Word in the corporate world professionally . . .

Both sessions were valuable and there was a nominal charge to attend -- but so well-worth it! Both sessions sold out quickly this week. I will look forward to additional "boot camps".

Lastly This Week

We finished reading our latest biography -- Johnny Carson. It was an excellent well-written book that divulged an entirely different view of Carson.

We just started reading our next biography -- and it is about another "Johnny":

The book itself was notably "heavier" than the Carson book, whatever that means -- but I do have to support it while reading just before going to sleep . . . but Cash is another figure that we have enjoyed over the years and look forward to learning more about his experiences.

So that was a bit of our week -- have a great Thanksgiving!  See you all in a few!

Saturday, November 16, 2013


Out town is bustling with activity -- and now most of it is for the Holidays. It is fun to see the daily display of tourism here, and it is not hard to recognize the typical groups. It seems not that long ago (15 years) when we were in that group that decided to visit "that cute little town up North" on a given weekend . . .

And the time is flying by -- every year it seems that "there is tons of time" before the Holiday, either Christmas or Thanksgiving:

That number above is amazing -- while it seems that there are plenty of shopping days left, that will change. Christmas falls on a Wednesday this year and that means pretty much the whole week is taken up. We already have watched a "Christmas" story on TV and the music and jingles will get overdone and we have almost two weeks before Thanksgiving.

Birth Dates & Anniversaries from the Tree

Besides Holiday shopping there may be shopping for other "dates" as well. This past week we celebrated many significant dates for births and marriages:

The above represent last week events -- this post I will begin posting "dates" for the upcoming week:

The above would give advance notice -- which would be desirable . . .

Best Wishes & Congratulations to all the above   ♫  ♫

Shopping THEN & NOW

Seasons ago -- growing up -- things were a lot different than today's shopping arena. And in my early adult years I recall that 99% of what we bought was either "in person" or perhaps via a catalog with a specific retailer. It is fun to look at the old ads and compare that to current methods and habits.

I remember S&H Green Stamps and that whole process. Almost every retailer was involved and what a distinctive method to receive a "discount". When you shopped, stamps were generated at the checkout stand equal to a proportion of the dollars that you spent.

The stamps were handed to you loosely and stuffed into your wallet or pocket/purse and brought home. At home the process was to stick the stamps onto pages in small books. Once a few books were accumulated the books were taken to a "Green Stamp" redemption center where catalogs showed what merchandise could be redeemed with "how many" books of stamps.

What a cumbersome process and it so nice that we are beyond that today. Above you can see the S&H Books for two retailers (Wiebolt's & National Tea Food Stores) and the examples of the stamps -- I probably could find some in my memorabilia . . .

But today -- not only do we NOT have to lick stamps and drive to a redemption center -- we don't even have to leave the house to get some fantastic deals and promotions -- Amazon offers almost everything that you can think of -- it is usually priced right and shipping is often free.

AND now Amazon is going to include Sunday delivery in many areas (utilizing the USPS) which we'll see how that works . . . what more could you want.

Webinar Wednesday

The week was back to a single webinar from Legacy -- but it was a crucial one for those of us who have a lot of  ancestors from the state of Ohio:

Ohio is so important as it pertains to the known location and activities of most of my paternal family. It is in Ohio that we can most assuredly find documents and other proof of our family -- and that is true for a lot of families.

The webinar gave some very specific methods and links to use in Ohio and many could translate to other state researching as well.

"Spelling for Fun"

I try to use the correct spelling in most everything that I post -- spell check certainly helps. But in one of the webinars recently Thomas Kemp used the following to illustrate a point:

I found it fascinating that maybe too much emphasis is placed on the importance of spelling -- though I do appreciate when things are correctly spelled . . .

I though it would be interesting to plug the above paragraph into WordyUp and see what came out:

WordyUp is a site that you can use to see the relationships that words have with each other -- in this case most of the relationships were with non-words.  But try it out for yourself by going to the above site and plug in some written material.

Spotlight on One Uncle from the Tree

Growing up we had "limited" exposure to most of the extended family and this exposure usually came at the holiday times. I probably had ten occasions that I met or was around Uncle Ken and his wife Tada.  I have a positive sense about those occasions.

This week I was asked (by a cousin) about Uncle Ken and I realized that I needed to clarify in more detail about he and his wife:

Uncle Ken was married to my Grandmother's sister, so he is a Grand Uncle to me. We usually saw Tada & Ken at Thanksgiving and/or sometimes Christmas.

They lived in Algonquin, Illinois and had no children of their own. I do not remember ever going to their home when we were young. After I was married I remember visiting Tada & Ken one time at their home and we went to their club for dinner.

Ken was an officer (Vice President)  at the Algonquin State Bank which is still going strong today. In the above collage can be seen Tada & Ken, then Ken & Jean (Bumgardner/Swanson) with Marv as a baby, the house they lived in (316 Eastgate Dr, in Algonquin) and the Algonquin State Bank.

And Finally from GENi:

GENi from time to time let's us know which famous or well known person to whom we are related. And this week it is Georgia O'keefe:

In the above you can follow the path up through our paternal side and to the Gillett's path and then back down to Georgia -- fun to know.

That was a bit of our week -- and, keeping things changing -- Salmon Saturday Night . . .

See you all in a few!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Brisk & Beautiful -- It's All Fall . . .

What can I say -- 30s in the nighttime and mid 70s during the day, how enjoyable is that . . . this has to be our favorite season of the year except for the other three . . .

It used to be that growing up I associated fall with the return to school and with very cold and often snowy weather. At our current home we hear the school kids during their recess and lunch periods and then still baseball games going on in the evenings and weekends -- all in all pleasant background sounds.

Above are some of the fall colors that are so abundant around the country. These pictures are certainly worth many millions of words and evoke very strong feelings. I actually feel as though I have driven through the above numerous times and quite surprisingly we can drive just a short distance and find ourselves surrounded by the fall palette.

From Our Tree -- Birthdays This Past Week

With the many folks celebrating birthdays in this first week of November most of us are familiar with many names on the list. We wish them all a Happy Birthday!

From Our Tree -- Other Dates & Anniversaries This Past Week (and Statistics)

Eight couples celebrate wedding anniversaries and for one relative John Hiles III, my Gr Gr Grand Uncle, marks the day that he went into the Army during the Civil War.

The right side of the chart shows some of the statistics of the tree as it is on the HILES website. The numbers change all the time as I try to add things each week.

There are nearly 3600 individuals in the tree with 8 folks living well over 100 years. There are almost 800 unique surnames and over 750 photos attached to these folks. You can always check out my most recent changes and/or additions by looking a the "What's New" page.

While the website requires being a registered user that is there to keep privacy issues intact. It is easy to acquire an I.D. and then once obtained you can just take your time to explore the site.

If you want to visit:     Hiles Website  and let me know "what you think" . . .

The Automobile Attraction(s)

Over the years it has been fun to see pictures of the automobiles that we find from the family. And this week I was treated to a really fun video from the Ford Family of Racing. (thank you Marilee & Bill)

The above is the 1901 Ford that could exceed 70 miles per hour -- what a beauty. I can only imagine trying to hold on around corners . . .

You can check out the Henry Ford Museum at:  The Henry Ford Museum and explore automotive history.

Webinars This Week

Again this week I was treated to two webinars offered by Legacy Family Tree Webinars. The one on Wednesday was about doing research and the various steps involved in several reader submitted scenarios. I always learn from these presentations and this was no exception. It is valuable to see others work through a brick wall or tough situation.

Marion Pierre-Louis did a great job walking us through the steps to solve typical research questions.

The webinar on Friday morning was presented by Marlo Schuldt who worked through how to utilize the GPS features to aid in presenting your family's history. He demonstrated how GPS added value to research and made it not only easier but more enjoyable.

Fortunately, Legacy has announced already some of the 2014 webinars and their topics.

Across the Pond (folks from our tree)

A couple of years ago I briefly mentioned some facts about one of my Mother's favorite cousins. His name is Keith Bumgardner and it took me some time before I realized his full name was actually Charles Keith Bumgardner but he went by the name of Keith.

Keith was orphaned early in his life and lived with various relatives while growing up. Ultimately Keith joined the Army during World War II and found himself stationed in Japan (as was Gail's father).

Unlike Jimmie Bouldron -- who returned to the U.S. after the war -- Keith found work that allowed him to live in Japan and of course he ultimately married a Japanese woman and they started a family. Mariko was their daughter. She was born in the early 1950s -- she would be my 2nd cousin.

In the latest batch of pictures that I have scanned -- one was of Mariko and her husband Tatsuo Otani on their wedding day. I of course have never met Mariko but knowing that there is a "Bumgardner" kin in Japan is interesting -- maybe, just maybe we'll meet . . .

And by now there are probably little Otanis -- I wonder if any of them have the "Bumgardner" nose . . .

What is on Our Nightstand

Our reading habits include an eclectic library -- but there is usually a theme -- biography. We finished the Manson book and then lightened that up with Linda Ronstadt and now we are halfway through a very interesting tale:  Johnny Carson.

Like a lot of folks I spent a lot of time watching Johnny on "The Tonight Show" and I thought that I knew most of the key facts -- but again I have been proven wrong with many surprises. The "bombastic" Bushkin as Johnny used to refer to his lawyer has written a real eye-opener, for me anyway.

In the first half of the book we have been surprised several times -- I wonder what is going to be uncovered in the second half . . .

Speaking of Second Halves . . .

There is soo much enlightenment that comes with age and if only we could have known the things that we know now . . . when we were going through other phases of life -- but such is the state of living.

One thing that would really be nice is if "Google" or some other high tech company would invent the pill or the button that when pushed or taken will just make everything "Okay".

And then I found it:  

A new button added to the everyday keyboard -- well I ordered that right away and it is now up and running -- as you can see . . .

And Everything is Okay!

So that was a bit of our week. And tonight being Saturday night we are in line for burgers stir-fry. It is "Stir-Fry Saturday Night" -- just thought we mix things up a bit . . .

See you all in a few!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Sunny Days & Cool Evenings

It actually got down into the 30s a few of the nights this past week -- but the days still claim the low 70s for now anyway. I enjoyed the way the week started for me i.e. I received a couple of tips regarding early family members -- from a distant cousin -- and that lead to many others that kept me quite busy updating my trees.

But I'll get to the genealogy in a bit. The neighborhood and our yard is still showing a lot of colors even though they are tending to be fallish . . .

In the front we were amazed at the roses still blooming and our succulent hanging plant continues to thrive and add branches. This week of course marked the end of the month and for October that meant Halloween.

For the twelve years that we lived in our prior home -- not one trick-or-treater came to our door, part of that was by design (we shut off the lights . . .) but also because we were far back from the street and without lights it would not be a good investment in time and effort to trudge the driveway.

Moving here -- our third Halloween -- we though for sure we'd get a lot of knocks on the door and we purchased candy supplies in line with that thinking. But I think we had about ten knocks at the door with usually two or three kids in a group -- so not that many kids.

Dino loved going to the door to see who was coming to visit and he pretty much sat just looking out and waiting -- he never barks and the kids who did come all wanted to pet him. We decided not to put a costume on him this year, probably a good choice.

The candy will find a good home when Gail begins work again in the coming few months. We used to polish it off ourselves but have so far behaved with respect to that.

Our feeling, after the last two years is that there must be a shift in the way parents are helping their little ones celebrate Halloween -- most likely by attending "events" at churches or towns rather than door-to-door.

Birth & Other Dates from our Tree

Each week we have a fair amount of celebrating going on with respect to our fellow tree members. The following chart shows those who were born on last week's days and some who were married during that time as well.

The last name on the list belongs to one of our folks who entered the Army during the Civil War on November 1, 1861 . . .

Baseball -- World Series Style

For us, we enjoy the MLB post season play the most of the entire season. We watched all the play-off games and were actually sorry to see them end. We get to renew our memories of who plays on what teams and got acquainted with brand new players. (And we hate to see Tim McCarver retire)

Of course the big news this week -- the Boston Red Sox won the series in the sixth game -- because of the way we feel we would have rather seen a winner in the seventh game . . .

So the 2013 World Champions are the Red Sox beating the St Louis Cardinals. And of course the talk was all about the fact that Boston had not won a series at home (Fenway Park) since 1918.

The 1918 World Series (some controversy about that series) was won at Fenway Park on the sixth game played against (my favorite team growing up) the Chicago Cubs.

Above is the newspaper from September of 1918 announcing that win -- I always find it interesting to read those old newspaper accounts AND to scan the other articles and ads. The old Chicago Cubs logo is on the right side of the collage.

It's Webinar Day(s)

Besides enjoying baseball this week -- I got a double dose of webinars this week with one on Wednesday and then one again on Friday. Both were excellent and rewarding.

The webinar on Wednesday was about how we can enhance our family story by utilizing the information from various Court Records. It was very professionally presented with a ton of good ideas and "how-to's" for us to utilize.

On Friday morning the webinar also used "hands-on" demonstrations on using the features of Ancestry's trees to our advantage. Even though I have been an Ancestry member (almost since they began) I learned some things that will help as I go about my daily visits to

I really do appreciate having these webinars to view and they put a framework to my week.

From and About Folks in Our Tree

One of the most exciting things to have happen as I go about looking for the clues about our ancestors is when I receive a bit of information about someone that leads to another "bit" and so on. That was the case this week when on Monday I received some facts about the family of Jackson Hiles.

Now Jackson is "back there" as far as our line is known. He is the brother of Daniel Hiles, my Great Great Grandfather -- so that makes him a Great Great GrandUncle.

Above you can actually "see" pictures of Jackson & his wife Elizabeth -- which is truly amazing to me. At the start of this week I only had sketch information regarding him. And so when one cousin sent me information about Jackson I was thrilled but then even more so when out of the clear blue I received pictures . . . and from a different cousin.

They are the earliest pictures I have of my direct line -- I sure would like to receive pictures of Daniel Hiles and even his father John Jr. Someone has pictures most likely and maybe, just maybe I'll (we'll) be fortunate to receive them.

Then I also obtained a picture of one of Jackson's daughters -- Charity Faith Hiles (and her husband Hiram Emmanual Mohler) -- so all in all a very nice genealogical week.

It is funny how these "finds" come sporadically but enough to keep my interest strong and eager.

A More Personal Pic

Nearly 60 years ago my family was just moving into a new house in Hinsdale, Illinois. The finishing touches were being put on the house that my father had picked out for us along with most of the others in the new subdivision of GolfView Hills.

Above is a picture of me and my brother Jon along with "Chico" a very high-strung Cocker-Spanial that we had for awhile -- til he bit almost everyone in the neighborhood.

The picture shows us sitting on the slab that would become the carport and eventually an enclosed room that we called the "jalousie" porch because of the type of windows.

A few years ago when visiting in that area I went to check on the house and found that it was "gone" and a whole new house built in it's place . . . 524 W 58th St. . . at least I have a few pics.

Lastly -- Way Back

Well not that far back -- it is that time of the year when we hear "wow, last week at this time it was only . . ."
and can you believe that it is sooo dark and we haven't eaten dinner as yet.  Tonight is that night:

It seems to sneak up on us every year and this is no exception. The fun part is trying to get all the electronic clocks to synchronize so that the same time is flashing throughout the house . . . we'll do it one at a time.

That was a peek into our week -- hope yours was eventful as well -- see you in a few!

Saturday night -- that means burgers . . .