Monday, December 24, 2012

This Year's Winning Silly Sox (not mine)

For some reason lost to the mists of time, my family is a sox-gifting family. Not only do we pelt each other with new and fun sox at holiday time (and for birthdays), we have a  Silly Sox contest every Christmas.

In 2011, I lost (as usual), with my entry being a "conventional" crocodile sock.

In 2010, I lost because my entries (see one, left), were embellished. The judge (then 9 years old) disallowed such creativity!!

For 2012, the judge has specified that sox MUST be embellished.

And so now for a preview of my silly sox, which must be a sure-fire winner, don't you think? Thanx to my friend Cyndy, who found these awful toe-sox in an after-Xmas sale and sent them to me in January so I could think about what to do with them.

After months of careful deliberation, I settled on glued googly-eyes (with green glitter eyelashes) for each toe plus handprint buttons under each set of lips. Also, I gave the red monster a couple of fangs because, well, the judge (now 11) is a Twilight fan. Maybe this will give me the winning edge?! I'll let you know.**

** Obviously 2012 wasn't my sox year. The judge threw my entry out in the first round.

The two finalists are shown at right. Notice that they're both fuzzy. And the winner is...fuzzy sox with cute puppy buttons sewn on, at far right. There's always next year...yeah, and the Yankees might make it to the World Series in 2013, too. Right.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Sentimental Sunday: Mom & Dad's Bermuda Honeymoon

Mom (Daisy Schwartz) and Dad (Harold Burk) were married in late November, 1946, and immediately went on honeymoon to Bermuda. No swimsuits on that trip: It was cool, as you can see from my mother's warm coat, but good weather for a horse-drawn carriage ride and a honeymoon hug.

Below, Mom getting her flowers ready for the wedding ceremony. Wish I had even a small bit of her gold lame dress as a keepsake, but it fell apart many, many years ago (well before today's preservation techniques!).

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Getting Organized: Boxes, Bags, Backup, and Charts

In 2013, I plan to finish (ha!) reorganizing my genealogy documents and photos for archival storage. I'm gonna scan, scan, scan, and then store, store, store to protect these all-important clues to my family's historical background. 2022 update: I now have more than three dozen archival boxes and will be moving some photos to archival albums for easier viewing!

Today I put all of Sis's school memorabilia and documents into protective envelopes, arranged by year, so if she feels like looking at a college newspaper or reliving her spelling bee glory (champ of our junior high, representing us in the New York City bee), she can just open the archival box and browse! That's what sisters are for :)

Here are the tools I'm using to organize and protect things...what are you using and how do you like your results so far?
  1. Archival storage boxes with metal-reinforced corners to stay sturdy when stacked. I bought these boxes in various sizes online. With my handy-dandy label maker, I stuck names on each box. Last month I had to order more, but that wasn't a problem since I was ordering . . . .
  2. Archival acetate document display/storage bags with resealable closure. Inexpensive archival storage, and I like to be able to seal things in, so they don't move or fall out. Over time, I'm going to move many originals from file folders to the storage bags so nothing slips out. Those that I want to keep handy I'll put in binders for handy reference or maybe I'll just keep copies in the binders...not sure yet. But I can stick labels on the outside of these with extra info about the contents, without harming the originals.
  3. Data backup. My backup systems work automatically, in the background, backing up my photos and scans and data every day at the time I choose. I've used it for years and I like the security of backing up into the cloud, not just on an external hard drive sitting right on my desk (backing up every hour, thanks to Apple's Time Machine).
  4. Pedigree charts so family members can figure out who's who in each directly line quickly and easily. I use Misbach's free downloadable .pdf pedigree charts. I type in everything, note which pedigree charts connect to others in the line, and label each chart with alphanumeric designations (like 1W, 2W, 3W for the Wood line) to help keep ancestors straight. I date each one to be able to know at a glance which is the latest version. Yes, I DO have Family Tree Maker, and I do synch with Ancestry, but I like these separate pedigree charts as well. Especially since with a highlighting marker, I can show the younger relatives who their Mayflower ancestors are, right on a paper chart of their very own.
For more ideas about organizing and preserving family history for future generations, please see my updated genealogy book, Planning a Future for Your Family's Past.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Edgar J. Wood and Trio at "Marty's"

Publicity shot of Edgar J. Wood at the piano, with his younger son on guitar and Banjo Al, another local musician, for their gig at Marty's in Northfield, Ohio.

Originally, hubby thought this was related to the trio's gig at Mother's, a bar and grill in Cleveland, but his brother says it was definitely Marty's. "Mother's" was so named because regulars could, in all honesty, say they were stopping off at Mother's on the way home from work :)

And the photo at right, taken at a different time, has an inscription showing that Edgar Wood is, indeed, playing at Marty's. The date, as you can see, is February 1961. Thank you to hubby for making notes on the back of some photos!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Saddest Post I've Ever Written--Newtown

Dear genealogy friends,

We're all heartsick and aching with grief in my small New England town because of very sad news that the world has seen unfolding for the past 24 hours: The senseless and horrific killings at Sandy Hook Elementary School, my local school.

Everyone in town knows some family touched by this tragedy, absolutely everyone, not just on my street but throughout the town and beyond.

So many dreams crushed, so many hopes never to be achieved, so many tears.

Thank you all for your comforting thoughts and prayers. I can assure you that Newtown knows you're mourning along with us. We'll need your help to heal in the coming months.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Tech Tuesday: Taking Online Search a Step Further

Several years ago, thanks to a simple search technique in Dan Lynch's no longer available book Google Your Family Tree, I was able to quickly and easily locate my long-lost first cousin. I'll share the technique below--because it illustrates a general strategy useful in any online search situation. 

The other reason I'm thinking about advanced search is that two people with connections to my family found me through the blog last week. Learning how they located the blog gave me new ideas for taking online genealogy search a step further.

Now for 3 search hints that have paid off:
  1. Adapt search terms that people use to locate your blog. You know those blog stats we all check from time to time? I looked under the subheading "Traffic Sources" to see the "search keywords" that people type in when they land on my blog. Example: The son of a woman who knew my aunt during WWII found my blog by searching on my aunt Dorothy Schwartz's name. He (or another visitor) also searched on the name of the military unit my aunt was in from 1943-1945. Turns out my aunt was this gentleman's godmother! It was great to hear from him and learn a little about his mum, one of my aunt's dear friends from that period.
  2. Search both "First name Last name" and "Last name, First name." That's how I found the Ohio cemetery where hubby's great-grandpa's buried, along with his 2d wife, whose maiden name and life remain a mystery. If too many names turn up, I narrow things down by adding "AND genealogy" to the search box. Also try "First name Middle initial Last name" or use the entire middle name. This worked for me! *And don't forget to search using common variations of the names. I found our family's names in a tree on Ancestry, using incorrect spellings that had been shown in a 1920 census. By searching on those incorrect spellings, I found the tree and learned more about the distant connection between that researcher and my family.
  3. Search for particular results such as images or news. That's how I found one of my cousins. He had posted a comment somewhere and it turned up when I searched for "First name Last name" in the News section of Google. This kind of search technique is valuable when searching any gigantic database, such as Family Search or Ancestry. By narrowing the scope to only images or news (or just Ohio or just 1900 Census), I increase the odds that what I want will show up high in the results. Be sure to search on Google's books page. I found a lot of info about hubby's ancestors in books about the early days of Wabash, for example.
By combining all three techniques, I found the following paragraph buried in a 1953 edition of Billboard magazine.
I knew Auntie Dorothy, my Mom's twin sister, worked for a few years on the Macy's parade with long-time friend Lee Wallace but I didn't know about their Bridgeport gig. Little items like this round out my understanding and encourage me to dig deeper on other relatives and ancestors.

After all, new data comes online all the time. Who knows what nuggets I'll find with my next search?

Saturday, December 8, 2012

2013 Brick Wall Priorities (on the Wood tree)

Will 2013 be the year of breakthroughs on my most challenging brick walls? Here are my priorities for the coming year's genealogy research into hubby's family:
  • McClure. Are hubby's 3d great-grandparents (John McClure and Ann McFall) originally from Donegal? They married in Rockbridge county, VA, in 1801 and one of their sons was Benjamin McClure (1812-1896), the subject of my Facebook genealogy experiment. If John McClure is from Donegal, is he Scots-Irish? Where in Scotland did the family come from?
  • Rinehart. The patriarch of the Rinehart part of the family, Joseph Rinehart, died on December 9, 1888, 124 years ago tomorrow. His very brief obit in the Wyandot County Republican reads: "Joseph Rinehart died Sunday morning, Dec. 9th, at the residence of Mrs. E.G. Steiner [his daughter, Elizabeth Rinehart Steiner], aged 82 years. Funeral Monday afternoon at Oceola O." Joseph was born in 1806 in Pennsylvania; his mother's name was Elizabeth but his father's name I have yet to discover. Did they come from Switzerland or Austria or Germany? And when?
  • Shehen. Who were John Shehen's parents and what was John Shehen's wife's maiden name? John (1801-??) was hubby's 2d great-grandpa, born in Ireland, as was his wife, Mary (1801-??). Where in Ireland, I don't yet know...
  • Slatter. Where and when did John Slatter Sr. die? He was born in 1811 in Oxfordshire, England, and he was hubby's 2d great-grandpa. Who were his parents and where were they from?
2022 update: I later discovered that yes, John McClure was descended from a Donegal McClure family (see this ancestor landing page). I don't have many answers about the Rinehart family, but here's that ancestor landing page. I do know about the Shehen family and the Slatter family! See this ancestor landing page.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Wedding Wednesday: Hi Mom!

Hermina Schwartz with twin daughters Dorothy (center) and Daisy (right, the bride, my Mom!)
Mom's birthday would have been this week, and her wedding anniversary was at the end of November. Today I'm saying "Hi Mom" with this quick photo post of her late-1940s wedding. Above, Daisy Burk gets ready for the ceremony with the help of her twin sister Dorothy Schwartz and their mother, Hermina Farkas Schwartz.

Here's Mom with her father, Theodore Schwartz, in the ballroom of the Hotel McAlpin in New York City, then a fashionable place to hold a wedding.

My father's Mahler family gathered for a group portrait after the ceremony. Just to the right of Mom is Dad, Harold Burk, and his mother, Henrietta Mahler Burk (in the hat). Dad's younger brother is at far right of the second row, and his two sisters are the ladies in the center/right of the top row, at either side of the gentleman with the mustache.

Hi Mom!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Surname Saturday: Rinehart

Elizabeth Jane Rinehart Steiner,
hubby's great-grandma
Thanks to the responsive librarians in the Heritage Room of the Upper Sandusky (Ohio) Community Library, I have a copy of the obit for Elizabeth Jane Rinehart Steiner.

Now I know she was one of four children of Joseph and Margaret (Shanklin) Rinehart. I may even receive a copy of Joseph Rinehart's obit from the Heritage Room before December 9th, the day Joseph died in 1888.

Here's the obituary, transcribed from the Wyandot Chief (Ohio), November 6, 1905:

Mrs. Elizabeth Steiner 
Dies at home of her son-in-law and daughter at noon Saturday
Another of Wyandot county's grand old ladies has passed to that beautiful home where sorrow and sickness are unknown. At the residence of ex-Auditor and Mrs. E.N. Halbedel, on North Fifth Street, at 11:45 o'clock Saturday morning, the spirit of Mrs. Elizabeth Steiner took its flight heavenward and a home is cast in deepest gloom. All her daughters except one were at her bedside when final dissolution came. Mrs. Steiner had been an invalid for five years. For the past six weeks, she had been hovering between life and death. Demise came as a sweet relief to a noble woman, who had bravely battled against the ravages of disease for years.

Elizabeth Rinehart was born in Ashland county, February 18, 1834, having passed the seventy-first milestone of her life. She removed to Crawford County with her parents, Joseph and Margaret Rinehart, when ten years of age. Here on August 7, 1857 [sic--year was actually 1851], she was united in marriage with E. G. Steiner. Shortly after their marriage they moved to Nevada [OH] where they resided for many happy years. That village was then but a hamlet of perhaps a dozen houses. Nine children blessed this union. Three preceded their mother to the other shore. Mr. Steiner's death occurred in 1880. For a number of years Mrs. Steiner has resided with her daughter, Mrs. E.N. Halbedel.

The living children are Orville, of Marion; Mrs. E.D. Post, Knoxville, Tenn.; Mrs. F.W. Rhuark, Topeka, Hansas; Mrs. E.N. Halbedel and Mrs. J.N. Traxler, of this city; Mrs. B.L. McClure, of Bellefontaine. A brother, Hugh Rinehart of Antrim township, and two sisters, Mrs. Samuel Hilborn of Nevada [OH] and Mrs. Nannie R. Gregg of Bellefontaine, survive her. She also leaves three grandchildren: Mrs. John Rummell, of Galion; Mrs. A.T. Welborn, of Detroit; and Edgar Traxler. 

Mrs. Steiner had been a kind/christian wife and mother, a woman who loved her home and she was never happier than when surrounded by her children. Her dear, kindly face will be missed here on earth, but the heavenly hosts have already rejoiced in its coming.

The last sad rites over the remains of Mrs. Elizabeth Steiner occurred from the home of Ex-Auditor and Mrs. E.N. Halbedel, on North Fifth Street, at 1:30 o'clock, Monday afternoon. Rev. J.W. Holland conducted the services. A choir, composed of Miss Mildred Hughey, Mrs. Geo. F. Pierman, Mrs. W.C. Teter, and Miss Lottie Hutter, accompanied by Miss Alice Blaser at the piano, sang several selections. The floral tributes were very beauiful. Burial was made at Old Mission [cemetery], where Rev. T.D. Fidler had charge of the ceremony. The pallberarers were Capt. G.W. Hale, William Gregg, Judge Allen Smalley, Jonas J. Hulse, H.W. Peters and W.H. Frater.