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Family History Research Hints and Tips

Elevated Garage


30 December 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

William Bradford – Of Plymouth Plantation Page


Front page of William Bradford’s book, “Of Plymouth Plantation”

26 December 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Sweet Sixteen (Generations)

After researching my ancestry for the majority of my life, I started to think that I was doing a great job.  Then I decided to print a sixteen generation pedigree chart using OnePage Genealogy at BYU.

I’d better live a LONG time yet if I’m going to populate the entire chart.  There is a LOT of missing ancestral information in my records.

My mother spent the second half of her life researching her ancestry and also made great headway on my fathers lineage.  I helped her in the quest as a young man and knew how thick her old genealogy books were.  It seemed like she had found it all.  The charts in the books never seemed to end.

New resources emerged after I started the quest in earnest that helped me add significantly more information to the family tree than Mom had found in the limited resources available to her.

Ten years ago, I was feeling pretty good about my work and created a twelve generation circle chart.  The darned thing looked like it was a blank chart!  I had over 250,000 family records in my direct line database.  Why didn’t all those names completely populate the chart, so I could take pride in my work?

Well, just like most of you, the relatively few brick walls in my ancestral quest occur relatively close to us in time and that precipitates much of the white space on the chart.

Each generation doubles the number of ancestors in your tree.  Block your knowledge of their names early on and the white space wedge on your chart rapidly widens with each succeeding generation.

Flash forward one decade.  My research has been rewarded with substantial finds.  The new printing of the circle chart had a lot less white space, but truth is, I’m still just starting in my personal ancestral quest.  The majority of my father’s paternal lines tie to royal lines in the late 1500’s, so most of them are known and fairly well documented back in time.  His maternal lines don’t fare as well as you can see in green in the image.

Unfortunately, all of the research by my mother and myself on her lineage has been less rewarding.  Rather than descending from royalty like my father did, her ancestors were all common folks: farmers, sheepmen, butchers and tailors. (red and yellow in the image)  Their lineage is hard to trace once I cross the 1650 C.E. year boundary.

One of my maternal lines ties to famous Dutch painters and to the Dukes of Pomerania, so they have been easier to trace, but the other lines have hit that magic ‘edge of paper’ (records) boundary and I probably won’t find much if any more of their lineage.  I won’t give up, but don’t expect to have a lot of success.

I like the charts from OnePage Genealogy and opted to print the largest chart size available.  It stretches six feet in length and three and a half feet in width.  The Mary Hill coloring system is used to delineate the main lineal branches on the chart. Unfortunately, the bright colors used for maternal lineages in the system are not well represented on my chart.  White space is still white space. You don’t print colored empty boxes just for balance.

I’ll continue to look for my lineage and as success comes will print another large chart.  If nothing else, the gaping inadequacy associated with my maternal lineages will goad me to never stop looking for them.  Nature abhors a vacuum.

23 December 2009 Posted by | Genealogy | , , | Leave a comment

F-15 and P-51 Fighters


The famous P-51 fighter from World War II flying in formation with a F-15 Strike Eagle.

22 December 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A Wreath for Private McLaughlin


21 December 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Tis the Season for Childrens Delight


Merry Christmas to all.

20 December 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Saw Dust and Dark Holes

When our side-by-side refrigerator failed a while ago, we were inconvenienced to the point we had to hurriedly eat as much ice cream as we could stomach and hurriedly cook the meat and other frozen goods in the freezer lest it all go to waste.

During our marriage, other refrigerators have also failed to function, immediately throwing us into action to find a repairman or to purchase a replacement unit.

We’re a bunch of softies.  Probably about as tough as marshmallows.

Of course, here at the manor, we have addressed that issue with other means of surviving without a functioning ice box, but they are so inconvenient.   They don’t even provide ice and cold water on tap.

icesaw Looking at the locations where my ancestors lived using Google Earth, I can still make out the outlines of the pond on the old homesteaded farm.  The water in the pond was used by my great grandfather to water his stock, as a flood control tool and to supplement his income in the hot summer months.

No, folks in the 1800’s didn’t pay him to swim in the pond, but they did pay him for the water. —  Frozen water in July.

Every fall, he and his sons would clean the pond of any debris and fill it to the top of the banks.  Within a few weeks, the pond became an ice skating rink for the enjoyment of his family, at least for a little while.

When the ice was sufficiently thick, he and the boys would venture onto the pond, drill or break a hole and proceed to saw the ice into blocks.

The ice was stored in what was in essence, a tunnel (a generous description of the hole) carved into the several hundred foot tall hill to the east.  Grandpa and his brother dug it not long after they homesteaded the 400 acres of prime mountain land.

The earthen ‘refrigerator was well supplied with saw dust that had been collected from cutting wood to burn in the stoves and in clearing the oak brush from the land.

In the ice harvest, a layer of ice was laid on the floor, fitted together much like a rock wall.  The different sized blocks were meshed together on a deep bed of sawdust.  They were covered with another layer of saw dust and the process was repeated, layer after layer, harvest after harvest.

By spring, the cache was full of ice and since the entry door was well shaded by cottonwood trees along the creek and the natural ground temperature of the tunnel hovered around 60 F, the added cooling of the slowly melting ice was sufficient to prolong its frozen life into warm weather.

When late May and June rolled around, the stores in town had a need for a cooling resource that now commanded a premium price.  By July 4th, the price topped out and the last of the dwindling resource was sold off as the last frozen ‘cash crop’ asset to meet hard currency income needs until the fruit, produce and hay was ready for market.

Fort Canyon ice was always in high demand because of the purity of the water.  While growing up below the old farm, a drink from the tap in the kitchen sink still seemed like you were drinking liquid ice well in to July.  But ‘cool’ wasn’t the cold required to keep the meat lockers in the store or ice boxes in the homes cold enough to extend the life of last years beef, pork and chicken harvest.

My uncles used to stop by our house at O’Dark Thirty on Saturday mornings, just to taste that cold Alpine water.  Back in the day, to enjoy the same soothing draught, they’d have to drink directly from the mountain runoff stream above town to get their cold ‘fix’.  Back then, if you wanted a clean, clear block of ice, you’d talk to great grandpa .  Cash or barter would change hands and soon a wagon loaded with lumpy dripping sawdust would arrive at your door with your order.

The ice crop cycle continued for several generations on the farm but it seemed like ice produced more heat than cooling.

icetongs You got hot in the summer sun while burning energy cutting wood.  Hot gathering the saw dust and putting it in the hillside refrigerator.  Hot cutting ice with long saws.  Hot hauling it to the cave, and finally, hot while delivering it.  Fortunately, this time, you at least had a side benefit from your labors, because you had something cool to lay on for a minute and something cool to drip down the front of your overalls as a welcome relief from all of the heat you’d generated.

I don’t work that hard to enjoy a little cool today.  Not for our whole house air conditioning, our ice cream, cold milk or even for a cold soda in the summer months.  The hard won energy temporarily captured in ice isn’t as difficult to capture and enjoy today as it was back in the day.

Soft like a marshmallow.  I guess that the failure of our side-by-side wasn’t that big of a thing, was it?

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19 December 2009 Posted by | Histories | Leave a comment

Joan of Arc Saved France – WWI – Savings Stamps


Women of America

Save Your Country

Buy War Savings Stamps

17 December 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Temperance Society


After looking at the faces of some of the ladies in this group, it is readitly apparent why their husbands drink.

14 December 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Grandma’s House – As Seen by Grandchildren


Young people often observe reality differently than adults.

11 December 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment