Search This Blog

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Purple Range

It is a perfectly sunny, windy day in Northern California. We have experienced a huge variety of weather this week necessitating the heater in the early morning and then by mid-afternoon, the a/c.

One of our favorite flowers (the Iris) appeared this week for the first time since last year. We were sitting outside when Gail noticed this beautiful purple blossom across the yard. Then we noticed that a deeper intensive color purple blossom had also appeared -- an appropriate tribute for this week.

It is interesting that, first of all the two blossoms on either end of the above collage appeared this week, but also in that there were only one of each. The flowers in the middle have been here all year and are shown to represent the range of purple.

We await the blooming of the rest of the Iris' both in the backyard and in the front yard, where normally we see them. Last year we planted a variety of bulbs and this is now the "fruit" of that.

It is always fascinating to me about where the searching on our tree takes me in a given week. This week was no exception. I have been across the country and even to some familiar and "connected" areas.

By "connected" I refer to the fact that I found a relative, a second cousin that I never knew of but wish that I had known of AND living in a location where other of my immediate family live -- and they did not know either.

I refer to our branch of the "Allen" family. It is a large branch and one that I am getting to know more about as time goes on.

I direct attention to Edna Mae Allen, above, who married Dewel Paul Walters and both of them were born and raised in Monroe County, Wisconsin. Edna was born in Warrens where so many of our folks were born. Dewel, born in Tomah, Wisconsin, also a popular birth location for our tree folks.

And guess where they wound up -- in Barrington, Lake County, Illinois -- where my sister and family live today (part of the year anyway). Edna just passed away in 2013, Dewel in 2005, so could have easily crossed paths with relatives that neither knew of . . .

I've learned some interesting facts about them, e.g. Dewel was a butcher in 1940 in  Walter's & Son Meat Shop in Tomah, but wound up as the Fire Chief at Fort Sheridan, Illinois (where my father was stationed in the 20s and 30s). Edna worked in Civil Service at the Fort as well retiring in 1975.

Dewel lived to be 90 and Edna to be 100, had two daughters, one of whom may still live in the area with her family.

Very interesting  and I'll be doing more research on this branch, for sure.

Another branch that I found myself in again this week was the "Butler" branch. The Allens are from my father's side, the Butlers are from my mother's side.  But specifically I was checking into the life of Emma Butler.

Emma Butler is more distantly related and in a more round-about-way than Edna Allen is, but related none-the-less.

I found Emma interesting because she introduced one of the most unique surnames into our tree:
the "Wackernagel" family. We have several "Wackernagel" members now. I tried to see if there was a definition to the name but did not find any. Nagel could refer to "nail" in German and "Wacker" is self explanatory . . . but no official definition was found.

Emma, is found in the William L Butler branch (as I am) and I will certainly be checking more into this branch as well -- I already have found several news articles about a Wackernagel, I just have to make the connection and as I do, I will post.

Coming up tonight on WDYTYA is the episode featuring Molly Ringwald -- should be interesting.

The other two genealogy related shows on currently are the "Long Lost Family" which is really impressive to watch. And the "Relative Race" which is fun as well.

Soon returning will be "Genealogy Roadshow", I look forward to that.

An addition to the "on the nightstand books" is "Passed and Present" which I am reading in between reading "Frank Sinatra".

I have just started reading this so I look forward to getting some good ideas that may be of use.

It sounds like it may contain novel ways in which to recognize and to remember folks from our tree.

Actually, I have a few other genealogy books that are on the nightstand as well that I alternate reading.

Someday, I will actually catch up with these and maybe post about . . .

And lastly, though "Unger" has passed, his humor lives on via "LaughingStock Licensing, Inc".

This particular comic has the "feel" of an original Unger and it reminds us why we do not have a cat any longer -- though we loved "Ms Kitty" when she was here . . .

In a mall years ago I had the pleasure of meeting Unger at a book signing event and enjoyed that thoroughly and bought several autographed books.

Ant that is bit of our week, It is Sunday night, dinner will be a surprise . . . see you all "in a few"!

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Rings of Flowers

This has been a terrifying week for many around the world and specifically for locations found on the so-called "ring of fire".  My family resides in locations found on that ring and that fact is ever in our minds.

I choose to think more of flowers than of fire. Our backyard is in full bloom and that helps us focus on these colorful displays as opposed to the other displays around the globe, be they volcano eruptions or mid-spring snow storms.

If you look at the "ring of fire" to the right it is apparent that "we" have been skipped in current activity.

Quakes in Japan have been powerful at 6.2 and 7.0 with numerous aftershocks happening constantly.

Then, yesterday, Ecuador with a 7.8 quake . . .

Having experienced a few quakes while living in California I must say to feel the earth move under ones self is very disconcerting, so I can only imagine the horror being experienced in Ecuador and Japan at this time.

For now I'm blocking those images and choosing to look at Dino (sculpture) among the flowers out back.

Now for the efforts in the everyday searching of our family tree:  habits are just that but this week I have reduced one habit that has been eating up a lot of my time.  When I search the web for information and details of folks in our tree I enter that information into and the HILES Family Tree located there.

Then I put that detail into my desktop program of Family Tree Maker. This process is so time-consuming. And to make it even more time-consuming I then enter it into
But that third step is often delayed for quite a while just due to the time, so the bottom line is that the trees were never in sync.

This week I have solved part of that dilemma by having automatically sync with my Family Tree Maker tree -- why I have waited so long to do this -- I do not know -- other than "habit".

So, when I work in either or in Family Tree Maker those trees will match one another. And the bonus too is that when I work on the mobile application for Ancestry on my iPad, that tree as well syncs. What a deal, what a feature! I feel so liberated . . .

An example of this is found to the left with Christiopher Hiles, my 1st cousin 4 generations different than me.

This Christopher is the son of another Christopher Hiles ( a 4th Great Uncle) and I knew of neither of these Christophers when we named our son "Christopher" Hiles.

You can see where the current Christopher fits into our tree.

So, while working in Family Tree Maker earlier this week, I stumbled across the documents seen to the right.

It is the probate of Christopher Hiles' Estate. He died during the height of the Civil War and left a wife and
a few minor children.

The document to the right (click to enlarge) shows that his net estate left to his wife Mary, amounted to $128.13.

Granted, that amount would be so different in value as to what it would be today, but it seems like such a minuscule amount.

The fact for me, finding this information while working in Family Tree Maker meant that the information would be automatically sent to the tree as well.

I think back to the early days of my researching and what a difference there is in today's environment.
Now, if I could only find a way for these two trees to automatically sync with that would be the absolute pinnacle for me anyway.

So, the week was filled with a lot of tree updating (all synced too) and we watched baseball, some good, some not-so-good.

And, we renewed a fun past time by playing Quiddler -- both inside and "on the deck".

A few years ago we used to play every afternoon (when our chores were done of course) but for some reason we stopped.

Now we have resumed, and even though Gail has won most of the games so far, I know I'll catch up at some point. It is just a matter of what cards get dealt . . .

That's a bit of our week. It is Sunday, and that means Chinese food for dinner, so good!

See you all "in a few"!

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Like Summer, Like winter

Okay, so we here in Northern California do not have the blizzards and snowfall that we see back East. Maybe some in our mountainous areas, but not here in Healdsburg. But never-the-less this week has been a real mixture of seasons.

We do have the dogwood blossoms and some of the other flowers, but covered in rain rather than the white stuff. This week we used our a/c for the first time to counter the 90° that we were experiencing for the first time this year.

And today, it is cool, damp, gloomy and just plain Northern California winter-like. We have the heat on and still feel the burn cool . . .

Speaking of politics, can you believe the election year activities so far -- wait til the conventions, we can only guess what will be happening at them.

My genealogical search engine of choice is still by far and I use that every day multiple times throughout.
This week I attended the Wednesday Webinar hosted by Legacy Family Trees and the speaker was from "find my past" and was terrific and knowledgeable. 

So I have spent a good deal of my researching time in "find my past" and was caught up in the many new resources that they have available -- and they are growing very rapidly.

We have some UK ancestors identified and this site can shed some light on those folks plus they have a lot of US resources as well, which surprised me. I plan to incorporate this site into my regular searching regimen.

Hopefully I will be able to share some of the interesting finds that I have made there already, in coming posts.

One of the things that I always tease my wife (and my older brother) about is the fact that they are "first born" and as such have received benefits unlike what some of the rest of us have received.

Starting with baby books and pictures . . . I can't really hold my parents at fault for showering attention on you-know-who, but this book does shed some light on the subject. 

I will read the parts about "middle-kids" with interest and will share some of that later as well. But as I go through the family tree and list the children in birth-order, I have to wonder if the same things that I have observed in those around me were true for those earlier children as well. Most likely to a great extent they were true.

As I go through our routine everyday, the addition of baseball this week has made a positive impact on both of us.  As I have mentioned before we record every Giants game and watch it about an hour after it starts. So day games are the best because then we can watch in the afternoon and even pause them to finish watching in the evening. Nighttime games are another matter because we start watching them at around 8 pm and of course that takes us into the 11 pm time-frame. Often though we will "speed" through watching and finish in way less than three hours.
This week though, we have pretty much watched the whole games (minus the commercials though) and have loved them. Especially the home opener game in San Francisco against the Dodgers.

When I lived in the Los Angeles area, the Dodgers were my favorite team, but now having lived in the Bay Area for twenty some years, the Giants are "our team". The home opener started out as though it was going to be a total disappointment as the Giants were losing 4 - 0 after a few innings.

But, when it was all over, the Giants scored twelve runs (that was fun to watch) and the Dodgers scored six. A slug-fest with the Giants on top of the total 18 runs scored. Enjoyed it a lot.

Ken Burns has a two series special coming up this week on PBS -- Jackie Robinson -- should be very interesting and we have it scheduled to record . . .

On our nightstand currently (and will be for some time as this book is nearly 1000 pages) is the above book about Frank Sinatra.

I am already experiencing pain in my wrists as I hold this mammoth read. I'm glad though that the first bit that we have read has been interesting enough to overlook the struggle to get comfortable while holding the book upright.

We enjoyed the previous book -- Carly Simon, "boys in the trees" and I sure do seem to notice certain patterns in the way that celebrities live their lives . . .

Since Sinatra has been such a public figure for most of my awareness learning about some of the behind the scenes happenings is fun.  

And so went our week.  We will continue to read, watch, research and enjoy the summer/winter days.

It is a perfect day to have "ribs" for dinner, which is what we have planned along with game four of the Giants/Dodgers series . . . See you all "in a few". 

Sunday, April 3, 2016

It's All About Cousin-Mania

Besides the sun and the beautiful skies this week, my world has been filled with cousin talk, cousin connection and the exhilarating feeling of some accomplishment. The topic of cousins seems so easy to grasp and yet -- it can  get complex what with 1st, 2nd, 3rd, Removed, Double, Half, and many other iterations.

Above are just some of the formats for working with "cousins". From the basic trees, to enhanced trees to illustrated explanations to frustration as shown in the "theory of relativity" decision.

Rather than trying to identify the degrees of cousin, I usually just say "Cousin" and let it go at that. Sometimes though I do have to get more specific and that is when the charts and so come into play.

In the past week though I have met and interacted with two or three new cousins, interacted with several already known and identified cousins and am actively seeking still other new cousins.

The last few weeks I have been concentrating on the Bumgardner, Butler, Hoopes, Rider and Rankin families. All tied to me on my maternal side of the family.

While climbing through the Bumgardner tree branch, I looked closely at Dayton Bumgardner's family. Dayton had an older brother, Carl. Carl was a little less than two years older, they both were born in Iowa.

Both Carl and Dayton eventually moved to Chicago, Illinois around the turn of the 1900s. I think they were close as brother's often are and I've seen many newspaper clips describing the two of them traveling back to Iowa for various family events.

Then I got to thinking about my own involvement with the Carl Bumgardner family as I grew up. I actually never met Carl or any one in his family which struck me as odd as I thought about it.

Carl and Dayton lived fairly close to each other in Chicago and they had children around the same years of each other's creating close-in-age cousins. Unfortunately, Carl died in 1952 and I remember attending his funeral and my Aunt Jean remarking about how much Carl looked like Dayton.

Our immediate family attended numerous holiday get-togethers at Dayton's house and not once was anyone from Carl's family in attendance. I never really thought about it til now.

Carl and his wife, Lydia had two children, Ada & Charles. I don't know if Charles -- who often went by Leonard, his middle name -- had children. But Ada and her husband had at least one child that I know of -- Carol Ann Vandenberg, who would be my 2nd cousin.

Above is the chart that depicts how Carol Ann fits into the tree. She is about the same age as my sister and so I went looking for her. Thank goodness for and

Reading the above article was astonishing to me because of the fact that I do not think anyone in my immediate family knew of her or about her achievements. And prior to this week, if I had just come across this article I would not have ever guessed that we were cousins.

And then I found the article shown to the right. Both of these articles came from The Pointer, the newspaper from Riverdale, Illinois, in 1961.

The sad thing is that I still do NOT know for sure if she and John actually got married. I have not found the evidence as yet.

And so there is a lot that I need to try to find, including Carol herself, which would be another cousin located and found.

One piece of evidence that I found is the fact that Carol's mother,
Ada Lydia Bumgardner, my first cousin, passed away in 1999 while living in Urbana, Illinois.

That fact leads me to think that Carol may have stayed in the Urbana area as well and continued to teach there.

So much to investigate, so little time . . .

Two other things, among many things going-on this week will take my time, the first is:

This show returns this week and is a favorite of mine. Each week they highlight a personality and uncover some of their family tree with a quality presentation of the facts.

There are currently three TV shows on now connected to genealogy and family history -- The Relative Race, Long Lost Family and now WDYTYA . . . there can't be too many of these in my view.

And lastly, a big chunk of time can be used up watching the return to Baseball this week:

The season openers are this week and the Giants will feature Madison Bumgarner as their starting pitcher in the first game. As I have said before, Madison probably is a relative -- we just have not proven the connection -- yet.

One really nice aspect of baseball is that I can work with my iPad and do research while still watching and enjoying the games.

So, that is a bit of our week. See you all "in a few"!