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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 . . .)

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