thegenealogygirl


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Sharpening the Saw

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My Sweetest Distraction ❤️

More than eight years ago now we moved into our home.  At the time, we had two children and my marvelous middle boy – who was my youngest then – was in 2nd grade.  I unpacked and took my time getting everything just so.  I had one room left to unpack – my office.  But life threw me a curveball and I didn’t get that office unpacked and organized as planned.  And then life threw me another curveball and after years of hoping, my darling youngest finally joined our family.  So my office was still not unpacked and organized.  My husband unpacked most of the boxes and just put stuff wherever, which he thought was helpful.  😉

Fast forward through lots of normal busy life moments to today.  I am happy to report that my office is finally unpacked, dejunked, and organized.  And it’s a completely different space today than it would have been eight years ago.  You see, eight years ago I hadn’t yet inherited all of the boxes from both of my Grandmas.  So now all of those treasures are in one place and more easily digitized, archived, preserved, and protected for generations to come.

My husband occasionally suggests that it might be time to stop working on something and “sharpen the saw” so that all tasks happen more quickly.  That is exactly what I have done for myself.

Here is a little of the completely-unusable-“before”-chaos:

 

And here is the beautiful after (for now):

 

There are still plenty of things to do, but it is now a wonderfully workable space, also known as Genealogy Heaven!  And yes, that is closet completely full of completely full boxes of photos, scrapbooks, journals, albums, histories, documents, and other memorabilia.  Like I said, HEAVEN!  ❤️

 

Happy Tuesday, if you need me, I’ll just be in that room ☝🏻 working away!  xoxo

 

 


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Farewell to the Spunkiest Grandma I’ve Ever Known

On Saturday we gathered with family to say goodbye to Grandma Charlotte, my husband’s grandmother.  The funeral was lovely.  Her seven children, many grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and even some great-great-grandchildren were there to remember and celebrate Charlotte’s wonderful life.

Charlotte had more pep than anyone I’ve ever met – she bounced and danced everywhere she went.  She was always happy and busy.  She loved people.  And she had a lot of people.  Lots of people to love and to be loved by.

I have so many happy memories of this wonderful lady but there is one memory, in particular, that sort of typifies what it was like to hang out with Grandma Charlotte.  I wrote this in October of 2008:

{Small disclaimer, fornication is not a word I use.  But it was a word Grandma used on occasion.  I am pretty easy going and happy to roll with other’s personal values.  No judgment here, just me and Grandma Charlotte trying to sort out her vocab.}

Grandma Charlotte with my boys

L-R:  My marvelous middle boy, Grandma Charlotte holding my nephew, My amazing oldest – many years ago.

“This is Jason’s Grandma.  She is delightful.  I have a funny story to tell you about her. First I will introduce you a little.
The Introduction:
Grandma is 81. When you spend time with her you realize she is really 17 just in an 81 year old body. She knows how to have fun and all time spent with her is happy. Remember this post [link removed] of her dancing with her boyfriend? See – she is about the good times.
Grandma is always hugging, squeezing, patting, shaking you or holding your hand.
She is always smiling or laughing or talking.
She tells the same stories over and over again because when she can’t get over something she really can’t get over it.
So if, for instance, say her wonderful grandson Jason is moving close to her, you would hear her tell you 17 times in one day that her grandson Jason is moving close to her with all the details.
That’s a fun thing. Who gets tired of hearing good news I say?
Of course that also means if someone makes a bad choice you hear about how she can’t get over that too because Grandma is very serious about doing what is right.
I think that is also great – tell it like it is and expect people to choose the right I say.
There are lots of other wonderful things I could tell you but then this post will be too long. Trust me, Grandma is great. Oh- and it helps that she adores me – mutual adoration is a fun thing.
The Conversation:
Grandma: “…committing fortification and that is wrong.”
Me: “Grandma, you mean fornication.”
Grandma: “Isn’t that what I said?”
Me: “No, you said fortification. That means to make something strong. You mean fornication which is bad.”
Grandma: “Fornification?”
Me: “No, FOR-nication.”
We are both laughing really hard now.
Grandma: “Fortication?”
Me: “No, FOR-TTTTT-ification is to make something strong. That is good. FOR-NNN-ication is not good.”
TONS of giggling.
Grandma: “So fornification is what he was doing and fortication is good.”
Me: “No, fornication is what he was doing and fortification is good.”
Grandma: “Okay, fornication is bad.”
Me: “Yes, you got it.”
Grandma: “So he was committing fortication.”
Me: “No. Forn – think of thorn. Thorns are bad just like fornication.”
EVERYONE in the room is almost in tears because we are laughing so hard – especially Grandma.
Grandma: “Thornification? Thornication?”
Me: “Grandma, I think I should write this down for you when we get back to your house.”
I was mostly kidding about that but when we got home Grandma handed me paper and pencil and insisted I write both words and definitions down for her really big so she could get this figured out.
That is why Grandma is fun.
You can have a vocabulary lesson about words such as fornication and laugh the whole time. How many Grandmas are like that?”

 

Man am I going to miss this lady!

 

Thanks for all of the laughs Grandma Charlotte – you are one of my favorite ladies ever.  ❤️

Happy Monday, do you have a favorite memory of a loved on that needs to be shared?  I hope you will write up a favorite story today!

 


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RootsTech 2018 – THIS WEEK!

It’s going to be a busy and awesome week for me at RootsTech!  I’m looking forward to a week of genealogy goodness, learning, and research at the Family History Library.

If you can’t be at RootsTech but want some RootsTech goodness, you can watch the live stream sessions from home.  Here is the streaming schedule.

Or, you can check out the recorded sessions from RootsTech 2017 here.

Or, check in with me here and on twitter – @genealogygirl_ – as I share a few things throughout the week.

 

Happy Monday, I hope you learn some amazing new genealogy tidbits this week!

 

xoxo

 


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This and That

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My littlest darling battling a yucky stomach flu.

The last week has been rough at our house.  The stomach flu made its way through all of us with the exception of my husband.  Despite spending the majority of my time being a human pillow for my feverish, sleepy little lad, I did have some cool genealogy moments.

But first!

Exactly one year ago today, we said goodbye to our missionary.  One year down, one to go!  🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉  Here is my favorite picture from that day.

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And Second – 

Momma C is a woman in South Carolina who loves Mormon Missionaries.  She adopts them, trains them to say “Yes ma’am”, take out her garbage, and bring in her groceries.  In return she feeds them – a lot, calls their mothers every week, and sends text messages with pictures.  My missionary has been in that area for exactly 8 days.  I’ve gotten 2 phone calls, 17 text messages, and 16 photos from Momma C during those 8 days.  What an awesome service!  What makes it even more remarkable to me is that Momma C is a staunch Baptist, raised by a Baptist Preacher whose best friend happened to be a Mormon Bishop.  What a great reminder she is that we really don’t have to have the same beliefs or viewpoints to just love and serve each other.  And as she said, “We really do believe mostly the same things”.  Bless her, for focusing on our similarities, not our differences.  ❤️

Now for the genealogy.

 

 

On Sunday I was fortunate enough to teach a group of 15 and 16 year olds a little bit about Family History.  I love doing that!

In preparing, I revisited one of my earliest “hunts” – Helen Boles.  Helen is my 3rd great grandaunt.  Learning her story took quite a bit of digging.  I planned to tell her story as part of my class, so I wanted the details to be fresh in my mind.  While reviewing, I also reviewed my Ancestry hints for Helen, her husband John, her children, and grandchildren.  Ancestry had a hint for a FindAGrave entry for Helen’s husband John.

The hint was accurate.  But even better was the fact that someone had uploaded a photo of the headstone!  Helen had paid for a monument and included information about her husband, granddaughter, and great-grandson on the stone.  This act of love just added to my depth of feeling for Helen.

This headstone find sent me on the hunt for other cemeteries in Scotland that might have been added to FindAGrave.  Then I just branched out and found a handful of headstones for my Boles family from Scotland.  Among them:

  • James Thomson Boles (grandson of Helen Boles), wife Mary Ann Storey, and sons James Thomson Boles and John Albert Storey Boles.  Scotland
  • James Boles (nephew of Helen Boles), wife Jessie Ferguson, and daughter Annie McFarlane Boles.  Scotland
  • Barbara Crow Boles (granddaughter of Helen Boles), and husband Robert Smith Yuille.  Scotland
  • Isabella Boles (mystery great granddaughter of Helen Boles), and husband James Moffat Marr.  Scotland
  • Isabella Muir Boles (niece of Helen Boles), and husband Alexander Kirkwood.  Ontario, Canada
  • John McLaren Boles (nephew of Helen Boles), and wife Jean/Jane Penman.  Ontario, Canada

There were a few other Boles entries in these cemeteries, but without the stones for confirmation, they are still hanging out on my “likely” list.

In the past, I haven’t had much luck finding cemeteries or headstones for family members outside of the US.  These new finds were especially exciting.

I am so grateful for the individuals who photographed the headstones and added them to FindAGrave.  This act of service helped me learn more about many of my family members.  But even better than learning more, was the connection I felt when viewing the stones, particularly the one that Helen had made for her husband, granddaughter, and great-grandson.

 

How about you?  Have you found any cemeteries or headstones on FindAGrave outside of the US?

 

Or even better, have you helped to photograph a foreign or obscure cemetery and uploaded the photos to FindAGrave?

 

If so, I commend you for your great service.

 

Happy Thursday!  My kids start school next week – more time for genealogy.  😉

 


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Memorial Day 2017

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Memorial Day 2017 with my family was really wonderful.

 

Part One:

 

While driving north to begin our adventures, we talked about the origins of Memorial Day, our cousin James Boles and his life and sacrifice, and where we were headed.

Part Two:

 

A picnic lunch with my 4th great grandmother, Maria Amanda Dolby Skeen at Lehi Pioneer Cemetery.  This sweet little cemetery is just a grassy park surrounded by trees and a flowing irrigation ditch.  There is only one marker sharing the history of the cemetery.  We know that Maria is buried there.  She was the mother of 9 children, 4 who pre-deceased her.  She died in 1854 at the age of 36, leaving her husband with 5 young children.  Maria and her family were Mormon Pioneers who experienced extreme persecution and were driven from one place to the next, finally traveling with the saints to what is now known as Utah.  A few short years after their arrival, Maria passed away.

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Part Three:

 

A few hours in the American Fork Cemetery.  We had a list of ten of my husband’s ancestors to look for, and 16 little star shaped flags to post on any veteran’s graves that had no decorations.  This year I couldn’t find actual flags so I had to make do with my Dollar Store find.

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This little darlin’ was so fascinated by everything about the cemetery.  He wanted to know all about every headstone he came upon.  He was searching for “soldier headstones” and “B-E-C-K”.

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He was so happy when he found his first “B-E-C-K” headstone.  Of course I missed his huge smile and caught his explanation instead.  😉

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Jacob S and Elizabeth H Beck, my husband’s 2nd great grandparents

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With my camera in hand, I obviously had to photograph any headstone that caught my eye.  I have a bundle to add to findagrave.

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It was a lovely cemetery visit, to a beautiful cemetery, in a fantastic setting, on a perfect day.

Part Four:

 

We made some new family memories exploring the beautiful Cascade Springs.

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Even the drive home was picturesque.  The summit took us to an elevation of 8060!

It was a Memorial Day to remember.

 

Happy Wednesday!  I hope you preserve a special memory today.

 

 

ps – Why do 15/almost 16 year olds insist on being ridiculous in photos?  Sigh.  My 19 year old recently told me I need to lecture his teenage brother and tell him to just smile for photos.  Haha, he was the scowler/face maker not so long ago.  A normal phase I suppose…

 


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A Few Personal Updates

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My youngest throwing rocks into the Columbia River in Kennewick, Washington.  You can just see the rock he has thrown clear up at the top of the shot.  He got a lot of height, not much distance.  13 April 2017

I am currently in my hometown of Kennewick, Washington hanging out with my Dad and my youngest son.  We’ve had a quiet few days and will be here for several more.  Last week we were able to enjoy a little time in Columbia Park.  They have a wonderful playground there right next to the beautiful Columbia River.  We ended our park visit with time along the river bank throwing rocks and sticks.  It was a beautiful day as you can see.  It was joyful for me to watch my son enjoy the river so much.

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My oldest, missionary son helping with a service project for refugees in the Lexington, SC area.  My son is in the center squatting down with his arm around one of the refugees.

My missionary son is also doing well.  He recently sent me this fuzzy picture and I just keep thinking about it and what a good boy I have.  There he is front and center with his arm around a refugee he met.  They obviously made a connection.  My son mentioned this man and how tearfully grateful he was for the service my son and others provided in one of his weekly emails.  It is wonderful to see the goodness of a grown child.  To see that he is choosing to spread love and light with those he meets.  And that in this instance at least, that love and light was readily received.

There is too much sorrow and pain in this world.  But this week, I am feeling the simple joys of motherhood – of mothering that is bringing goodness to fruition, and of mothering in the moment and seeing beauty in the world with a tiny child.

Hopefully my wonderful middle son is enjoying his one-on-one time with Dad at home.  Lots of man time building a play structure and installing a sink.  🙂

 

Happy Monday!  I hope your week is filled with fabulous genealogy discoveries – or peaceful family time like mine will be.

 


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Photograph Showcase: Polaroid Surprise

PETERSON, Amberly, July 1978

I visited my parents over Christmas.  While I was there, my mom and I looked through a few different things and this stray polaroid was mixed in with some other random items.  That is a picture of me that I had never seen before.  I was instantly taken with this image of my cute little toddler self.  There is something special about seeing a picture of yourself for the first time.  A happy discovery for sure!