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Saturday, August 29, 2015

Sound of Nostalgia

Actually I mean the sight of nostalgia but it could be associated with sounds as well -- makes no sense . . . last evening after watering the yard and plants on one of the two allowed nights to water in our town (due to the drought) I glanced up at the sky:

Behind the mottled sky was the obscured full-moon. It looked and felt "different" and I remarked that it seemed like it was going to rain.  Growing up in the Midwest I had had this sense many times before.

It actually did rain some because in the morning there were pools of water on the back deck and spotted sidewalks in the front.

It has been unusually warm and sticky at night and instead of running the a/c all night (which might have been the best solution) we chose to run a small fan in the bedroom. The slight sound of the fan humming all night provided the nostalgic sound that recalls earlier days not to mention blocking out the sound of a light rain.

In the morning there was a "nice" feel to the day as if it had been somewhat cleansed and all was right with the world . . .

Webinars -- This week & Upcoming

I attended the webinar on Wednesday from Legacy. At first I was not sure how it would impact our research even though we have quite a few German ancestors and relatives plus remember that I have matched in DNA to a "HEIL" family that is directly from Germany.

Even though I have not found the connection to the HEIL family as yet, I'm certain that there is one and it is only a matter of time before we find the common ancestor.

The webinar proved (once again) to be both interesting and worthwhile. I learned some basics about German naming practices that makes it clear why I see some of the variations in some German names that show different first names for so many of the same individuals. And I'll put this information to good use especially when we know for sure our German connections.

The list of upcoming webinars shows the next five webinars that I'm sure to be attending. It is hard to believe that it is September next week.

Searching this Week

Again I did do some searching this week. I worked on a variety of branches just briefly and hopefully soon will be able to report on results.

I did find some nostalgic type photos in "old newspapers" that I'll be sharing soon.

So What is Coming Up This Weekend

Today we will be enjoying two sporting events -- Giants in the MLB and the Niners in the NFL:

And, we are saving a bundle by watching the games on TV. I checked on the ticket pricing for the Giants game today versus the Cardinals. The prices listed online for the game ranged from $44 to $600 each ticket -- WOW, we saved a bunch! And we are going to have "pretty good" hot dogs too.

Yesterday the Giants game was really exciting especially since they won too. But the game ended with a walk-off single (by Tomlinson) giving the Giants a great win over the Cards.

And tonight -- we will be watching (maybe not the whole game, it is preseason) the Niners play the Broncos. I checked on those tickets as well --  $60 to $455 each ticket and there would be airfare and hotel costs as well. We feel good to have saved these ticket prices AND we'll have some "pretty good burgers" during that game as well . . .

Lastly, on Sunday night we will be sure to be watching:

Who Do You Think You Are

I enjoy seeing the folks that are featured and it is really fun when we feel that we "know" them.

Tom Bergeron will be featured Sunday night and besides having read his recent book, we see him hosting two TV shows that we enjoy -- "Dancing With The Stars" and "Funniest Videos".

We look forward to finding out some of the secrets that he is searching for in his family tree and how they are uncovered.

That is a bit of our week and just now while writing this, my daughter Lisa called from Washington to say that they are experiencing very high winds and that a huge tree has landed in their back yard -- so far no one is hurt and hopefully no property damage -- more on that later.

It is hot dogs for lunch, burgers & fries for dinner. See you all "in a few"!

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Part-Time Half-Moon

This week kept us busy, busier than ever. While the weather was hot, warm and in-between, we went about our everyday business:

I did work on and in the tree a bit, but not enough to warrant any reporting. I answered and responded to a few cousin requests and then got occupied with everyday projects.

The sounds of the kids back in school is reassuring that things are "lookin' up" as they say. While it is early and the typical "fall" feeling has not kicked in as yet, never-the-less the school yard is active and in use once again.

Projects This Week

So what took our time this week?  For one thing, we have an anniversary coming up this next week so we decided to give ourselves something that grabbed our attention and seemed like something we might enjoy . . .

The only issue was that it required  assembly.

To the left is the gift and project. It arrived in three flat boxes weighing in at several hundred pounds.

Sure, we can do this -- how hard could it be.

We looked at the boxes on the back deck for two days.

Then slowly we opened them and looked for detailed instructions. We did find a single sheet with instructions along with some drawings.

We took our time and only worked when the sun was not overhead. It took us four days to assemble the sauna pictured above -- it smells great.

We have not yet plugged it in but will do so soon to check everything out. There is an "800" number to call for any help needed.

Gail worked many months on the Christmas stocking pictured to the right -- and finally it came back from the finishers.

It looks great and will hold a lot of goodies. Gail had made several of these stockings for various family members but never one for us.

This will be featured in our home in a few months along with some of the other needle pointed ornaments that Gail
has managed to make (usually while watching sports).

This stocking will most likely be the last one of this type for Gail to do -- they take forever and it does get tedious.

Gail is working on smaller needle points -- ones that she can finish in relative shorter time periods.

While all the above was going on I finally finished the puzzle shown to the left.

I was not sure that I could "get into the groove" with this one due to the fact that the pieces were all so similar in color.

But it turned out that I developed a system and moved into high gear yesterday and finished it. It turned out beautifully and represents Van Gogh nicely. Apparently Van Gogh loved irises as we do as well.

Webinars This Week

While there were two Legacy Webinars this week -- I participated in the first one on Wednesday and will watch the second sometime this weekend.

The "Kentucky" webinar was very well done and even though we have only a few Kentucky relatives -- so far that we know of -- the process was helpful to learn.

The second webinar is on "Digital Family Reunions" and will be most
interesting I'm sure. The presenter from Family, Devin Ashby is excellent.

Both of these webinars are currently free to watch at Family Tree Webinars, but only for the next few days.

Coming Up this Week

Later this weekend -- on Sunday evening, the feature this week on WDYTYA will be Bryan Cranston.

Bryan has a unique story (don't we all) and it will be interesting to see how it plays out with respect to genealogy.

Last week's show which broke open the vault of previously shown features was also very interesting.

The show continues to amaze me in that it illustrates that there is so much information out there waiting to be discovered.

I would love to be able to have the resources that are used on the show to be used on our family tree.

What would be uncovered that we had no idea was there? Who would come out of the woodwork so-to-speak -- only time can tell.

On (and off) Our Nightstand

I forgot to detail our reading two weeks ago -- but we did have a new book that we started. And last night we finished that book and tonight we will start another new book:

We finished "This Is Your Captain Speaking" last night. We enjoyed the book very much. Gavin MacLeod had a really fascinating travel through Hollywood. We always enjoyed his two most recognizable characters -- Murry, on MTM and Captain Stubing on the "Love Boat".

But the story outside of the acting was also very interesting to learn about. Gavin is a top-notch example of "good" Hollywood. We enjoyed getting to know him better.

And lastly we decided to reread "To Kill a Mockingbird" so tonight that is what we will do.  We hope that reading a novel once in a while will be fun. We'll see . . .

That was a bit of our week, it is Saturday night, maybe burgers are in order . . . see you all "in a few"!

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Dem Lazy Daze . . . Over

I'm not sure if it is the power of suggestion or just my imagination -- but the skies this morning were strangely colored and I thought there was the faint smell of smoke . . . but one thing I am sure of was the noticeable heat at an early hour -- supposed to be at or near the century mark today.

This week has been warm to hot and looks as though that will continue. There is a report of a possible "El Nino" effect in a month or so when the drought may turn into flooding . . .

Those "Lazy, Crazy, Daze of Summer"

Growing up in the Chicago suburbs in the 40s and 50s meant returning to school after a fun packed summer. The return date was always the first week of September and after Labor Day.

But in our town today -- summer vacation for the kiddies -- is over as of this week. School begins next week on Wednesday -- it is hard to believe. The chimes and tones from the schoolyard behind our house have continued throughout the summer, but next week they will mean something.

School here begins August 19th. One block away is the school pictured to the right. It will be overrun by very excited and loud youngsters next week.

We can see the kids when they get their recess breaks and their lunch breaks. It is something that triggers our memory of doing exactly that at some school in our past life -- Gail for both attending and teaching.

Whole aisles in the supermarkets and big-box stores
are filled with the stuff that we still find fun to think about buying -- and sometimes we do replenish our office supplies at this time.

Webinar This Week

I attended this week's webinar thinking that it probably will be something that I might not find interesting -- but I was wrong.

The subject had to do with taking the real estate type descriptions of properties and putting them into a visual image.

A lot was covered and a lot was learned. I found it amazing how to translate the obscure descriptions into drawings that could show the property owned by our ancestors or even us for that matter.

These drawings could then be overlaid onto maps and an even more exact visual could be made.

This is something that I would find fun to do if and when I determine the property for more of our ancestors.

Searching This Week

Unbelievable as it may sound, this is the first week in many years that I have not really done much searching for ancestors. I did not spend my usual hours searching and searching. My feeling is that I will take some time "off" and then return with great enthusiasm.

It is like the jigsaw puzzle that I, we, are working on -- I find that if I take a break and refresh myself I usually find several more pieces -- I am thinking that this approach will be useful in the family searching as well.

We'll see . . .

Meantime -- What's Coming Up?

Tomorrow night on WDYTYA will be a special episode.

The previous episodes have been great as usually they are.

This episode is going into the "Who Do" vault and will explore some previously shown episodes using never-before-seen details.

And lastly, coming up in the sports environment:

Today, for example, there is the combination of watching MLB -- The S F Giants vs the Washington Nationals AND the S F 49ers vs the

Through the magic of the VCR we will be able to watch both events in a "live" mode even though they are on at the same time.

We did this last night as well -- we watched the Giants game and then about the 5th inning we paused that game and went to the Rams game and watched a full half, skipping the breaks and commercials and saw that half in about a half-hour . . .

We then went back to the Giants game and sped through the action there. TV viewing has changed a lot over the years -- for the better I think.

So, that is a bit of our week. It is Saturday (the mailman just confirmed "smoke in the air") so it was not my imagination.

It means hot dogs for lunch, burgers for dinner!  See you all "in a few"!

Saturday, August 8, 2015


This was one of those weeks where we both wondered "what'd we do?" We went through all the motions and the iterations of a week -- but nothing stands out -- maybe that's a good thing.

While we weren't watching, a few new blooms showed up. The weather threatened to rain one day but did not. It was very hot a few days and then gray and so-so others and sometimes "muggy".

We did though keep the a/c on for most of the day each day. We "open-up" usually late sometime during the evening as the sun disappears. We much prefer natural air as opposed to refrigerated air if we can stand the warmth.

Baseball this week has the Giants on the road and so far we have watched almost every game this season as we did last season. Right now the Cubs are doing a "number" on the Giants, beating us the first two games of the series -- we'll be watching today's game soon.

I grew up watching the Cubs as "the" team to root for and I still have a bit of "root root root for the home team", Chicago Cubs, in me. My mother usually had the Cubs game on when I got home from school around 3:30 each day. In those days, Wrigley Field did not have lights so every game was a day game and all games were televised on WGN, channel nine.

I also remember that my father's parents at one time lived right across the street from Wrigley -- I did visit them there -- once -- I believe, maybe more times.

I have to say that Wrigley field still looks great after all these years.

Other Nostalgia

For some reason, the other day words to a song popped up in my head, a song which I had not thought of in many years -- "has anyone here seen Bubbles, B-U-B-B-L-E-S . . ."

Well, that song and many others were so much fun to remember and also recalling the person who sang and played those songs -- Two Ton Baker.

Two Ton Baker was always fun to watch and he always had a positive outlook and filled with enthusiasm.

He also was on WGN in Chicago as well as other stations in the 40s and 50s. Sadly he passed away in the mid-1970s. But I will always remember the fun he engendered. When looking up some of his information I found out that he even had married a girl from our town -- La Grange (Illinois).

The Searching This Week

I did a lot of searching this week, but a lot of it was on the dining table working the puzzle to the left.

It is without a doubt, the most challenging puzzle for me ever. The reason is that there are few definable shapes, no writing, and colors that are repeated in almost every segment of the picture.

Gail isn't anxious to work this puzzle very much so I have taken it on to finish it so we can get another more suitable one -- one that she would enjoy working on more.

Though I have to say that the other day while I had searched for a specific shape and was not having much luck after an hour or so -- Gail did spot the piece and solved that -- she then left me to the hunt again . . .

I did take breaks from the puzzle and worked on climbing the trees of the much bigger puzzle -- the Hiles Family Tree and others. The two activities are similar and rewarding when that special piece or name "fits".

Webinars This Week & Next

I did enjoy the webinar that I watched this week. It was "What's in a Name? Trouble!" by Ron Arons.

Ron took us through an unbelievable story about his Great Grandfather and the numerous names that he went by and the numerous ways that they could be spelled.

The name HILES can be spelled numerous ways too so I know some of the frustration, but to see Ron work through his situation was enlightening.

That webinar is still viewable for the next few days without charge and then later available for purchase.

Next week looks to be another great learning session -- "Power Platting" by Chris Staats and it should be very interesting as well.

What Else to do Next Week?

Tomorrow night on WDYTYA will be shown the story that developed when Alfre Woodard went searching for her ancestors.

It is always amazing to me the things that can be found from what might appear to be things that are "hidden forever".

I'll be watching for sure, if not tomorrow night, another night as we record all these shows.

And lastly,

On the right is the schedule for NFL preseason week one starting tomorrow night with the Hall of Fame Game.

Then there are games listed on Thursday evening, Friday evening and then for next weekend as well -- all in "week one".

So we have our assignments cut out for us and the everyday stuff as well.

It is Saturday, so it will be hot dogs while watching the Cubs & Giants play and then later burgers & fries while watching Perry Mason some other show . . .

I just have to say that as kids we grew up watching Perry Mason, Lawrence Welk, the Hit Parade and shows like that while having burgers on Saturday night.

That was a bit of our week, see you all "in a few"!

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Triple Digit Signature Week

August -- what can I say other than it is nice getting out of July and all that heat. Today, August 1st is rather cool compared to the 105° we enjoyed earlier this week . . . while we are not smelling any smoke -- thank goodness -- we see a lot of orange color on TV:

There have been a few grass fires nearby but the winds have not shared any fumes like we sometimes receive. About an hour or so away is a huge fire in Lake County with over 20,000 acres already consumed.

The drought of course has made the conditions throughout California extremely dangerous. I remember living in Southern California watching the flames crawl over the hillsides. Some of those same hillsides are being hit currently.

For the moment, Healdsburg has not had any major fire and we hope that stays that way. Maybe August will bring both heat relief and fire relief -- we'll see.

Webinars This Week

I was fortunate this week to have two webinars to attend. Both were hosted through Legacy Family Tree Webinars.

The first one, on Wednesday, was about how to "storyboard" your family history presented by Lisa Alzo. Lisa always does an excellent job and I learned many good ideas from this webinar.

The second webinar was presented by Melvin Collier and this too was excellent. Melvin presented his research techniques  for reconnecting his family after the devastation of slavery.

I was amazed at the material and facts that he found relating to his ancestors.

Both of the above webinars are free to view for the next few days at Legacy.

Coming up next Wednesday is a webinar hosted by Ron Arons and it has to do with "What's in a Name? Trouble!".  It sounds very interesting and I plan to attend.

By-the-way, at each "live" webinar presentation they offer about 4-5 door prizes to the more than 1000 attendees -- this week I was one of the lucky ones!

Researching This Week

I was all over the "map" again this week looking into Ellis Island, old newspapers and of course censuses.  Of all the interesting things that I thought about this week was looking at someone's signature.

Besides getting a photo of someone, finding an actual signature of an ancestor is also very illuminating:

Above are pictures and signatures for my two Grandfathers and for Gail's two Grandfathers. Males are easier to find signatures for as they were required to fill out so many forms.

The above four signatures are all from the WWI Draft Registration forms that most males were required to fill out and sign. This took place about 1917-1918 and the photos of each registration can be found on and other sites.

In upcoming posts I plan to share some of the signatures from the WWII Registrations and notice any changes.

For my two Grandfathers, I notice the long tail on the "s" in Hiles for Lloyd -- that says something.
And then I notice the very elaborate signature of Dayton Bumgardner and wonder how long and how much practice that took to perfect. That signature looks as though it could be from a founding father or someone like that . . .

Sadly While Searching

Besides searching the above resources, I usually peek through the lists of obituaries with names that are in our tree -- and this past week I spotted a couple -- one is on the left.

It is for Lawrence Pontier who is the husband of my cousin Helen Clifton. I do not think that I ever met Lawrence, but I know that I had met Helen several times -- the last time was at my own Mother's funeral in 1985.

The obituary shared some of the interesting points relative to the Pontier's life and family.

I will be putting that obituary on the Hiles website soon along with additional facts and photos.

Lawrence died 20 March 2015 in Florida and he was born in the Belgian Congo, 17 Jul 1930. His wife Helen passed away in 2013.

Coming Up -- What to Watch

While there are many choices, including MLB and some current TV shows, here are a couple of possibles:

On WDYTYA tomorrow night is (I think) J K Rowling -- which should be very interesting. Last week (Ginnifer Goodwin) was excellent. What I find is that it does not only matter who is being featured, it also matters about the process used to uncover such amazing facts.

So I look forward to watching that. I also will be waiting to see the start of NFL games -- in a week.

Even though pre-season football is not always "that good", it is still fun and we can always switch the channel, which we have been known to do . . .

And Lastly -- For That "Discriminating" Gift-Giver . . .

Right now, available on ebay, is the gift featured to the

What better way to say something to someone other than a pre-worn camo truckers hat from HILES, Wisconsin.

Act now to ensure the purchase . . .

That is a bit of our week, see you all "in a few"!

Saturday, hot dogs for lunch, burgers for dinner . . .