Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Kevin’s Story, Part 31, Fire Department Volunteer


Some little boys are interested in family history, some want to grow up and be a soldier or a policeman, most want to be just like there dad, I wanted to be a fireman.  In the 1950's those that served their country were honored above all.  The next best thing was serving your community.  As a little boy, all I saw was the glitz and glamour of being a fireman.  I could imagine myself climbing that 30 foot ladder grabbing that little kid, putting them over my shoulder and taking them to safety.  Or holding onto that fire hose and saving a house.

With friends devoting there lives to the fire department I understand what it means to serve.  When they serve there whole family serves.  They don’t get a lot of high fives from the community like I thought they would.  Maybe a nod on the forth of July when they blow the horn of the fire engine.  Our dedicated firemen are just unbelievable.  No way I could fill their shoes.  We took a group of young boys down to the local fire department for a tour ten years ago.  The kids got way more than a tour, they got to see what a fireman’s life is like.  At the end of the tour they got out the sixty foot ladder truck and showed us how they fight a fire on a high rise.  Each and every firemen had that glint in the eye that I must have had at five years old.  Every time we dial 911, they come flying in the door ready to help.  The whole emergency response team shows up at the door in less than five minutes.

To all of you that give so much so that we can have a better life, we are thankful that your dream came true.


Monday, October 31, 2011

Kevin’s Story, Part 30, Happy Halloween


Happy Halloween.  Some would say that Halloween is this terrible day with all types of anti religious overtones.  If that’s your position, well then more power to you.  When I was five years old we moved to Wilmington, California.  Wilmington was a very rough town in the early 1960's.  We lived within a stones through of highway 1.  Not the fancy four lanes in each direction highway one, the four lane, with no left turn lanes highway 1.  With a light on every corner and people really frustrated at traffic.  If someone was turning left, that stopped the fast lane, then if someone wanted to turn right and the sidewalk was full that would stop the right lane.  Everything would clear just fine when the light changed and two cars from each lane made it through the light.  Our world was a half block down the street.  There was an alley behind all the businesses on highway 1 and we were 15 feet and an alley away from those businesses.  The kitchen window was at least two feet and a bush away from the alley.  The same window that my Mom watched as they scooped up the man that had just been shot and took him to the morgue.  So, I hope,  you can understand my point of reference.

When you are five you don’t think of dangers you think of candy.  Lot’s of it.  Southern California you don’t even have to think about rain or snow like Maine.  Fact is you don’t have to even consider a coat.  Just worry about how many houses and how much candy.  I’m sure Mom raked through to ensure razor blades were not sticking out but I don’t remember.  Halloween was a great fun experience filled with sound effects and scary masks.  I don’t remember being scared of anything but I do remember the candy.  Did I already mention that part?   The season got off to a great start.  The local refinery would dress up the oil tank and make the biggest pumpkin in the world.  One of my greatest joys and memories of being a five year old.  Fact is, I don’t remember anyone telling me how bad anything was until I was about forty.  So I had thirty five years of fun.


Thursday, October 27, 2011

Kevin’s Story, Part 29, I lived down the street from


 

Thank you dailyishphoto.blogspot.com for this, the best picture of this house I have ever seen.  A perfect picture for this time of year.  I have ten pictures that don’t even come close.  Great job, I have to follow your blog and wait for another great picture.

You may have to go back and read Part 25 again because, that window was close to this house.  I guess this should be a quiz.  Well the famous writer did not live in the house when I lived close by.  I don’t even remember seeing the house when I was little.  If you get to see it in person, you won’t forget it.  It has a completely different look when surrounded by snow.

The mansion was built in 1858 for $7,000.00.  I would wager the last paint job cost more than that.  Maybe if you lived in a house like this you could write awesome books also.  So who lives in the house now?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Kevin’s Story, Part 28, side bar; there was a little boy


There was a little boy that lived in Maine.  (my nephew)  He was born long before me but never got to know his younger uncle.  In his sixteen years I’m not sure he ever got to know anyone.  Like all little boys he loved to play and get into trouble.  What was he thinking?

He is thinking how much fun it is to learn to crawl, take the first step, then not thinking much about anything.  He may have just stop thinking about stuff.  Maybe the best times in his life were when big sister and grandpa would come visit.  Maybe, the crafts or the painting.  Maybe looking out the window.  The window that would see spring time and the birds singing, then the summertime and watching the man mow the lawn, then the leaves would turn into a million colors and drop to the ground.  Then the window would turn all white, powder puffs would fall from the trees.

Johnny didn’t have to worry about anything at all.  His food was always in the same place and he had a place to sleep.  Did he care how he was treated?  Did he get the proper care?  When he was sick, did they send him to a doctor?  When life is so simple, so simple is life, so easy to forget, so maybe it never happened?  Johnny were you in pain?  Tell me John Anthony, did you have a good life?  I’m sorry that I never got to meet you John, but I will never forget you.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Quiz 4, Where Did This Show Come From?

In the 1960's there was a TV show called The Andy Griffith Show.  One of my very favorites growing up.  Well there was a little boy and his name was Opie.  He was always getting in trouble just like me.  But his heart was always in the right place and his Dad always taught him the difference between right and wrong without having to take off his belt.  At least they didn't televise that part.

So our trivia question of the day is where did The Andy Griffith show come from.  You may remember that The  Andy Griffith show had it's own spin-offs like Gomer Pyle U.S.M.C., Mayberry R.F.D, and the movie Return to Mayberry.  But, what series was The Andy Griffith show a spin-off of?

Monday, October 17, 2011

Kevin’s Story, Part 27, the Train


Winters are long in the north east part of our country.  Living on the west coast for 50 years does not make you an expert in east coast weather but, having family members relating weather stories makes it easier.  When I was growing up I remember old folks talking about the weather.  Maybe it’s having something to talk about?  The weather is boring in central California at 10 feet above sea level.  We don’t have snow drifts to talk about, closed roads, snow tires, we don’t have to put away the summer clothes and get out the winter clothes.  But we can tell stories about the really bad winter where Dad had to climb out the second story window to dig out the snow drift that would not allow us to get out of the house.  It was so exciting for a little boy to stand at the front door waiting for Dad’s shovel to finally break through.  Or the memory of driving down a tree lined road with so many colors in front of you and you could hardly see the tire tracks through all the leaves.  

Have you ever heard of the gift that keeps on giving?  When I was little I guess the fly boy wanted to impress the auburn haired girl so he brought home a gift for the little boy.  The gift came through the door in a big bag.  Maggie was so happy for the little boy as she said what’s that?  As I climbed into the bag I found a huge box.  As the future Dad helped me open the box, I was so excited.  The biggest box I ever got.  Could have stopped there but what is in the box.  Hurry!  Out of the box came a huge train engine.  It was beautiful.  Wow, green, yellow, just like a real one.  Could I ride on it?  Not quite that big.  Then the fly boy pulls out a package of batteries.  He turns the huge train upside down and puts in the batteries and then the gift started giving.  Noise, lot’s of noise, train whistles,, lights, did I say noise, I loved it.  As he put it on the floor it took up a life all it’s own.  It headed straight for the wall, hit the wall, and WOW it turned around and headed right toward me.  All I could do was laugh.  As it chased me and I ran to safety behind Mom, the train hit the chair.  You guessed it, it turned and headed directly for Mom.  And that’s the last memory I have of the train.  If I could just ask Mom what happened to the train.  My guess is the batteries ran out the same day and we could never afford replacements.




Monday, October 3, 2011

Kevin’s Story, Part 26, The Fly Boy


Maggie did not have it easy.  Of course taking care of a child that minds perfectly should be simple but the big boy, who weighed all most as much as his Mom, was not very healthy.  The doctor wrote; he was hospitalized for eight days on Jun 17, 1958 for possible Rheumatic Fever.  At that time low grade temperature elevated se. rate 27 mg. Per. Grade 1 cystoloc murmur was heard-maximum at 4th left interspace-tonsils were enlarged not injected, cervical glands were small.  Following hospital discharge he came down with acute tonsilitis which responded to penicillin.  He was considered a potential Rheumatic Fever suspect and treated accordingly with limited activity.  ECG taken,  showed evidence of Myocarditis.  He had an episode of Bronchitis in September of 1958 which responded to TAO Suspension.  He also was given HesperC liquid as a prophylactic against respiratory infection.  Heart murmur remained unchanged.  Tonsils enlarged somewhat moderately.  B. L. Shapero M. D.  Thanks doc you fixed me.

This was starting to get expensive.  Then of course were the doctor visits she would have to be making for herself soon.  There was another one on the way.  See, she had met this fly boy. Let’s go back a year.

She worked at Dow Airfield and there were a lot of pilots flying in and out.  She happened to meet one that was not in the service but flew for a Government contractor.  His job was to wait for a prototype part to come to the cold country for testing.  They had to install the parts in real conditions before they were certified to go into production.  So the fly boy would install the part and then test it in actual flight conditions.  He would travel to New Foundland, Iceland, and Greenland testing parts and then return.  The fly boy got a glimpse of the auburn hair and there was no turning back.  Must have been the little boy that sealed the deal because they would stay together for the rest of there lives.  The fly boy had a family, and it would soon be growing.

Continued . . . . .

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Kevin’s Story, Part 25, The Window


Let’s back up just a couple years, maybe to 1954, continued from Part 4 posted in April.  News was in the newspaper and on the radio.  Television was becoming more affordable.  You could pick up a brand new 19" black and white set for about $150.00.  The median household income was about $5,000.00 per year, so not everyone was lining up to buy a new set.   However, if you worked for a television shop you got a discount and it wasn’t long before Maggie’s Dad got a new set.  He would have just a few months of TV watching before he went to meet his maker.  By then Maggie had bigger challenges.  She was going to have to share the news that she was in trouble.

Three big brothers, there wives, step Mom, sister, Aunts and Uncle’s.  The consensus of opinion, adoption.  In 1954 girls did not become pregnant.  They went on holiday to some far away place and came back six months later like nothing had happened.  (Sidebar; [I got that from the OJ trial], we did not understand the mental damage that giving up a child for adoption would cause in the 1950's.  It wasn’t until abortion was legalized and we found out about the life long mental damage it caused that we looked at how hard it was to give up a child for adoption.)  You can imagine that I favor anything but abortion.  If you are on Facebook, search for the +9 group.  I should be the poster child because my Mom could have gone the easy way with an abortion or give me up for adoption.  It was much harder on a female then.  The right to chose is much easier the day you chose than living with the choice forever.  If you find it difficult living with a choice you made, please seek help from your church or pregnancy resource center in your area.

I am thankful that Maggie chose life for me.  It would take Maggie another 18 months before she could take me home.  She gave everything she had during those 18 months to make a home.  Back then you did not get a reward check every month for having a child you could not take care of.  Women did not have many options for work that paid enough to support a family.  Maggie found a job as a ward clerk at the Governments Dow Air Field hospital.  She found a one bedroom apartment in downtown Bangor and got to work by bus.  She would break that kid out of foster care and raise him by herself with no help from anybody.

Think back to when you were two years old.  Do you have any memories that far back?  I have one thing I can remember.  I must have been two years old and must have been in trouble.  I was required to stay on Mom’s big bed (I guess that was a time out) and take a nap.  I was not allowed to get off the bed for any reason.  (You may not have the whole picture.  It’s Bangor Maine, in the fall, cold breezy day, maybe in the 40's) Mom puts down the laundry basket, bends over grabs the latch on each side of the window, gives it everything a 5 foot 2 inch girl can give and the window finally comes up about 2 feet.  She grabs the laundry basket, bends over like a girl jumping hurtles, climbs out the window onto the roof.  I don’t ever remember being able to go outside that window and play.  I can’t see my Mom from my position on the bed.  I slowly and quietly lean over, , , , more, , , , a little bit more, , , , can’t see anything, , , more, , , oops.  I jump to my feet and try to get back on the bed but I can’t climb that thing because the bedspread pulls down when I pull up.  (I may have been vertically challenged then but I had plenty of weight) The bedspread on the floor and I have no way up on the bed.  I’m in trouble but, Mom didn’t yell yet???  Well since I’m down on the floor anyway, I slowly and quietly make my way over to the window.  Maybe I could go out and play with Mom.  I slowly peek around the window molding and see my Mom hanging up clothes.  ON THE ROOF?  This looks like a lot of fun so, being the good helper that I am, I throw a leg over the window ledge and the next 60 seconds is probably why I remember the story.

Continued . . . . .

Monday, September 19, 2011

Kevin’s Story, Part 24, Another What? Part 7

. . . . . . brother.

What a lucky guy, I am to have so many brothers and sisters.  This one lives in the most beautiful house overlooking the Atlantic ocean.  The last brother, yes last brother, is also retired, also a navy man, and a great family man.  Not sure he is really in the same family, or maybe he was lucky to get all the brains?  Must be, I got all the looks.

Anyone that can make a business out of telling other people how to save money must have most of his marbles in the right place.  I have a lot to learn, whoops, I guess I have to get some money first.

Well I guess this is the end of the story.  Eight brothers and sisters and some fantastic children and grand children.  I have not met them all but, I’m working on it.  Not only am I the little brother but I’m the biggest brother.  Then I have four younger brothers and sisters, of which I’m still the biggest.  That makes thirteen.  Some day I’m going to start counting the nieces and nephews.

That was two years ago.  Now let us get back to the 1950's and see how we got here.

To be continued . . . .

Friday, September 16, 2011

Sad Day in Frankfort, Maine


Written by;  Marilyn Wotton Doe
FRANCES ROSE (DOT) WOTTON
4/13/1913-9/14/2011
Dot passed away very peacefully in her 98th year at her home on the hill with her family at her side.

Dot was born April 13, 1913, on the Hamm Road family farm in Frankfort, the first child of Walter Ford and Frances Edna (Larrabee) Trundy.

Dot had many accomplishments in her long life. She and her brother Edward were eventually raised by their grandmother, Caroline Hamm Larrabee and later moved to New Jersey to live with their Aunt, Dr.Callie Carver. Auntie had no children of her own, and her niece and nephew were her life, allowing Dot and Ed a very priviledge up bringing. She always took them on great adventures, some of which were historic moments. They witnessed the Hindenburg Airship disaster in Lakehurst and while touring the Ford Edison Estate in Ft. Meyer's Fla, said she attended Thomas Edison's funereal in Orange NJ.

She first married Will Lane, a WWI soldier in the early 1930's and lived in Brooks where she worked with Dr. Jewell as his Midwife.

Dot was a real “Rosie the Riveter”, lining the pipes with Asbestos on war ships during WWII at Bath Iron Works, where she later met and married Harold Wotton.

Dot was the Worthy Matron at the Star of the East #84 during the early to mid 1950’s.

Dot worked in earlier years at EMMC and at Meister’s Nursing Home in Brooks. She did private duty personal care on numerous occasions, and spent many summers caring for her friend, Dorothy Milliken, at Breezy Point in Bayside. Dot was the Librarian at the Waldo Pierce Reading Room in Frankfort until she was 85, at which time she declared herself too old to be working anymore!

Dot resided for the last year and a half at the Country Villa, a delightful retirement home in Bangor. There was always places to go, people to visit and meals to eat. Her family extends their appreciation and gratitude to the owners, staff and residents of the Country Villa for all their kindness, generosity and care.

Dot was the oldest alumni of the Goodwill Hinckley School in Fairfield, and the matriach of the family as we gathered for a large family reunion last year.

Surviving are her daughters, Barbara J. Perkins of Frankfort and Marilyn Doe of Winterport. Granddaughters Callie and husband Fred Grant of Prospect, Tami and husband Michael Young of Patagonia Az, and Rebecca Doe of Lowell Mass. Grandsons, Adam and wife, Michelle of Frankfort and Robert Doe of Winterport. Great-grandchildren Clint, Melanie, Brayden, Kergan, Delaney, Hannah, Brianna and Tyler.

Dot also leaves step-children, Ramon Wotton of Meriden Ct, Clinton Wotton of Kittery, Laura W. Smith of Lake Ronkoncomo NY and Kevin Sigler of Suisun Calif. and many step grandchildren.

She is also survived by two brothers, John and wife, Marion Trundy of Searsport and Fla, and William (Bill) and wife Joan Trundy of Belfast, many special nieces and nephews. Dot leaves very special friends, Frances McFarland, Betty Williams, Ada White and her loving caregiver, Dotty Havey.
She was predeceased by her parents, brother Dr. Edward L. Trundy, Baby Sister Ruthie in 1918, brother Walter Ford Trundy Jr., father of her children, Harold in 1994. Step-children, Harold M. Wotton Jr, (Buster), Donald Wotton and Carroll Wotton .

At her request, she did not want a funereal. She would like to be remembered stamping library books, tending her gardens or meeting friends at yard sales Please consider a contribution in her memory to the Winterport Ambulance Service, PO Box 724 Winterport, 04496.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Kevin’s Story, Part 23, Another What? Part 6


. . . . brother.

Really, are you kidding me?  Your pulling my leg!  Seriously, another Navy boy, following his big brothers and serving his Country.  But, sad to say, he is no longer with us.  Seventeen years older and I’m sure a lot wiser.  One thing he left behind was an amazing family.

Five kids and twice as many grand kids, he was loved by everybody.  Another great Maineac, part time Connecticut business owner, part time Florida retiree.  He spent 35 years working with his older brother to build a great construction company.

I am not sure what the final count is, but I got to meet most of them.  What a lot of fun, this family knows how to enjoy life.  From the twelve foot blow up big screen to the drinking games, hard to determine who was the life of the party.

If you have been following along for the last six months you will remember all the prayers for Luke.  Well Luke belongs to this group.  Here is a guy who drives his motorcycle to all four corners of the US, then go fights for us in the war, then comes home on leave and darn near gets killed.  Now he is waiting to find out how he is going to serve us some more.  His grand father would be proud.

(Phone dying, writing faster)

I’m beginning to think I dodged a bullet.  Can you imagine four older brothers?  The Lord knew I could never have made it through childhood with all the nuggies and wedgies.  I was lucky to be 3000 miles west.

(I can’t write all this down with no battery and no more paper to write on.)

(Gotta go!)

How about your other . . . . .

Continued . . . . yes really. . . . .

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Kevin’s Story, Part 22, Another What? Part 5


 . . . . . sister?

Really?  I’m not at liberty to divulge the age however, I just want to say that I respect my elders.  She is vertically challenged but, makes up for it with a big heart. Completely adored by all those brothers she grew up closer to her grandma.  While the boys were goofing off at the wharf, little sister was learning how to take care of a family.

(I’m writing down names and birth dates wondering how long the phone battery is going to last.  iPhone’s are not known for there long battery life.  All I know is I have to get this last date down before it dies on me.)

Retire, no way, they will have to close the office before she quits.  I was told that Long Island was sinking because of all the Government money that went on to the island every week.  The Government contractors may have there own bank on the island because I’m sure they don’t have a vault big enough to hold all the cash. You have to download the list of defense contractors in spreadsheet form because the list is so big.  Although things have changed some.  Sister has to fight the Government contractor traffic to get across town.

I had the honor of meeting big sister last year.  With a bonus, I met her daughter and grand daughter.  When I visit Long Island, I think I better go on the weekend.

(Okay sister, I’m finally hanging up)

Don’t you want to know about your other. . . . .

Continued again, believe it or not.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Kevin’s Story, Part 21, Another What? Part 4


. . . . . brother

Oh no???  Coming in at only 22 years my senior and I can actually talk to this brother on the phone.  Wow, I could write a book about this brother but, we are going to have to hold this down to a few highlights.  He grew up on the same wharf with his big brother.  And he has spent two years telling me stories about his mentor/grandpa.  Still need to make a trip to the left coast to see for myself although the stories are priceless.

Another Navy man, He got an opportunity to do a Navy Captain a favor and got the favor returned by getting a free pass to engineers school.

(My 3x5 card is full and I don’t have all the grand kids names down yet.  I’m writing as fast as I can and the battery is beeping in my ear.  What’s the son’s birthday?)

He built a house and then another.  He even shared a boat with those big brothers.  He just as soon be on the water or digging clams in Maine but never gets the chance to go any more.  Enjoying the retired life spending lot’s of time getting ready for the weekend flea markets where he sells two things and gives twenty five things away to the kids walking by.  He is very careful spending his money so he can give more to the Children’s hospital.

I never considered having an older brother because I was the older brother in my family.  I wish I would have been such a positive role model.

(Phone beeping. . . I better get going and charge this battery,)

but you have another . . . .

Continued again . . . . . .

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Kevin’s Story, Part 20, Another What? Part 3


Kevin’s Story, Part 20, Another What? Part 3

. . . . brother

He passed away in 2001,  (DAMN!)

At 23 years older he served our Country in the Navy.  He was married more than once and has four great kids and they have kids.

He had a fishing boat and his son now does the fishin’.  He spent most of his life overlooking the East coast.  As a youngster he spent hours on his grandpa’s wharf.  I have heard a lot of stories about his grand father since and look forward to writing about this great guy.  The life and times of growing up on the Maine coast.  You just can’t make this up.  Unfortunately, I can’t hear about the stories directly from this brother.

Only ten years late.  I guess I will have to just wait to hear the stories from his kids.  I plan on visiting that small part of the Maine coast in the next few years.

Okay, I really have to hang up before this battery dies. . . .

But, I didn’t tell you about your other . . . . .

Continued . . . . .

Friday, September 2, 2011

Kevin’s Story, Part 19, Another What #2?

brother.

Well I only have one younger brother.  Talk about torment, how did that kid ever make it through childhood.  Well if this new brother is anything like the little brother, I will really be blessed.

He passed away in 1986.  Damn.

He was 25 years older than you, and very successful.  He had a construction company that built roads, housing developments, and anything else he could get his hands into.  I think I should have met him 25 years ago, maybe he could have taught me how to run a successful business.

Yes he was married, lived in Connecticut and has a great family.  There are kids and grandkids, and great grand kids.  “Do you want all there names?”  I’m feeling like I’m coming to the end of this story so I turn over the 3 by 5 paper and start writing on the back.  He had a daughter then a son three years later.  The son passed away though. (very sad face, two family members that I will not get to meet.)  Then he got re-married and had a girl, then another girl, then another girl, then a couple boys.  My paper, poor penmanship, and the holes due to the pencil are very sad.  As I’m writing I''m looking around the truck for the next scrap of paper, because I’m not going to fit all these names.

If you have ever worked on ancestry.com you know how valuable the information, spelling, and dates really are.  I am trying to get everything down.  Still focusing on the construction company part as I’m writing.  My hero, and I never got to shake his hand.

So I get it all down, I'm fixin’ to take a breath, need to say good buy before the battery dies, but before I open my mouth she says;

And you have another . . . . Oh my!  Now I know what my bio-dad’s calling was.

To Be Continued . . . . . . .

Our Third Quiz, Where Are You?

A great entertainer died in 2005 named Julius Russell.  Better known to us young kids as Nipsey Russell.  The generation before us rarely saw black people on TV.  Nipsey Russell just had a way about him, made me smile. Anyway, Nipsey played a New York City Policeman in a great sitcom.  What was the name of the sitcom?  I can't forget the name Francis Muldoon even 50 years later.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Our Second Quiz, What Was Mom Thinking?

What was Mom thinking when she went to the medicine cabinet, pulled out the bottle and put that red stuff all over your cut?  Probably every Mom in America did this, but they don't do it anymore.  What was it called?  Extra credit, why was in it that is not good for you?

First quiz answer: The Cheers show jingle.  There was three correct replies.  I'm getting old!

Kevin’s Story, Part 18, Another What?

sister.

First I was thrilled to have another sister.  Mind you, I’m not lacking in the sister department.  I have adequately tormented two sisters for all there lives but, this is a new one.  Poor girl, she has no idea.  With an older sister, there are advantages.  They can tell you all about girls.  (No, I don't have them figured out yet!) When you are down, there is nothing better than five minutes on the phone with your big sister.  I have gone along just fine with younger sisters however, an older sister, this is new.  I probably scared the girl by talking a hundred miles an hour (California talk) to a poor girl that talks half speed (that’s Maine talk).  In the beginning she was just warming up, now she can keep up with the west coast speed.

And she says, oh by the way, you have another sister. . . . ......  OMG (that’s young people talk for Oh My God)  But my battery is gonna die.

The ancestry dude in me went into high gear.  One thousand questions, a 3 by 5 inch piece of paper, a pencil, and one knee.  (I never use a pencil, they poke holes in paper???)  I’m writing as fast as I can, is she married, what is her birthday, is she married (oops), I mean does she have any kids, what’s there names, when were they born, who’s her daddy?  She is talking the Maine talk speed but the California speed can only write at 25 percent of Maine speed.

Yes a husband and kids and living in Maine.  Another Maineac?  Kids, grand kids, a nurse, in the Army, (Well that tells me a whole bunch.  Guess I'm goinna have to break out my curse words that I learned while riding aircraft carriers.  I have an enormous amount of respect for anyone that serves our Country, specially the girls.  They not only have to put up with the enemy but, they have to put up with all the boys on our side too.)  I’m writing, poking holes in my leg, can’t read what I just wrote and she had the audacity to say

“And you have another . . . . . .”

To Be Continued . . . . . . .

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Kevin’s Story, Part 17, The Call


Ring....Ring.....Ring....

This is Kevin

This is your sister.

pause . . . . (while I pull over with out wrecking the truck)

She tells me this story; when I was little, you and I were playing together, and I overheard all the Aunts saying “Wow they look just alike”.  I was at your Uncles house and we were playing in the front room.  I remembered that and asked my Mom one day.  Do I have a brother?  Mom said; “Yeeuup” (That’s Maine talk for yes)

(How is it that the whole world knows I’m adopted but I don’t?)
She continues; twenty years ago we were getting ready to have a family reunion and I tried to get in touch with you.  I contacted your Mom.  (Oh?)  She talked me out of contacting you at the time.   (Oh?)

Later, as I was putting pieces of the puzzle together, I thought back to a phone call I made to my Mom as I was traveling on the East coast.  I drove from Virginia to Maine.  As I entered my birth town I realized I didn’t know what to look at, what to take a picture of.

Mom, where did we live, where was I born, do you want me to take any pictures while I’m here?  I don’t remember the answers but that must have made her very uncomfortable about the secret.  I’m sorry for that.

Big sister and I talked for about 30 seconds (actually about an hour and a half) before I said my battery was getting ready to die.  Damn cell phones.

Then she says, oh by the way, you have another

To Be Continued . . . . . . .

Kevin’s Story, Part 16, Looking for the sister


A sister?

Who, where, when, who?

I was talking to a cousin and they mentioned that they had been friends with your sister for a long time.  What’s her name?  I don’t know much of anything else, you’ll have to ask him.

Pause for 3 weeks while I try to get hold of him by phone.  (This is killing me) (Not the Jeff Dunham - Achmed the Dead Terrorist "I KILL YOU") The phone fell out of my hand when he finally answered.  I thought I had lost the connection.  Damn cell phones.  I understand that I may have a sister running around out there?  Yeeeessss.

What’s her name, how do you know her, what, what, how, what?

So I will call her and ask her to call you.  OKAY!

Just to find out a little piece of information, wow.  How exciting.  The joy of finding out the possibility of a sister.

The wait.

A word of wisdom from someone with not much of it.  Change the way you look at family.  Stop judging, stop saying bad things about them, stop tearing them down, stop being jealous.  Start forgetting the bad stuff in the past, start to remember the good stuff, start looking at them for who they are, start enjoying them while you have them.  Life is too short to hold onto the bad stuff and not long enough to find out about the good stuff.

To Be Continued . . . . . . .

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Kevin’s Story, Part 15, The secret


The family decides to divulge the secret.

The unknown?  It’s like a drug!  I don’t mean the 1960's kind of drug, I mean after you get a taste you can’t stop kinda drug.  With each answer, I had a hundred more questions.  You hear stories of people looking for there families to get money, or don’t try to find family because they are afraid they will take there money.  Most, I believe, just want to know about where they came from.  The first thing that popped into mind; “Maybe I have a brother or sister.”  I tend to be more of a steam roller and barge right in shaking hands person.  Not the kinda guy that asks permission to meet the bio-dad, I would knock on the door and say Hi Dad!

I can not imagine what it would be like to have a huge secret entrusted to you.  Mom wanted to ensure that all her children were treated the same.  (They were) Didn’t want anyone to get hurt or feel like less of a family member.  She worked so hard to ensure that each family member would get the same amount spent on them at Christmas.  How about the rest of the family?  How do you not tell stories about the first five years of someone’s life?  Thirty years later when your asked about something, how do you not tell?  How do you carry this secret?  Mom and Dad, now gone for over a decade, it’s time to tell him.

The email comes, you may have a sister!

That changed my life forever.

To Be Continued . . . . . . .

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Kevin’s Story, Part 14, The Bio-Dad


So now I have what I call a bio-dad.  And so starts a most fantastic journey into my past - - - -.  Are you wondering about your birth certificate yet?

I did have a name, many don’t have that much.  I tried 411, Google, and could not come up with a viable bio-dad.  There are some great resources.  Cindi’s list is a great starting point for records of any kind.  www.cindislist.com.

One huge challenge for ancestry researchers is too much information.  The bio-dad’s last name is as popular in England as Smith is in America.  When Google returns 1,790,000 possible hits you know you are in trouble.  This is when I started to study how Google works.  It is amazing how you can add a + or a - or even “ ” to get something completely different.  I recently bought a book about using Google as a research tool written by Lisa Loiuse Cooke called The Genealogist’s Google Toolbox.  If that book was available two years ago I could have saved thousands of hours.  You don’t have to be a Genealogist to learn a lot from this book.  For more information about the book look at her blog http://genealogygemspodcast.blogspot.com .

I remember a cousin asked if I wanted all the information? (Refer to part 9)  What does that mean?  Yes, why?  Well, do we want to have everything like past marriages, step brother and sisters?  Of course!  How about un-advertised past families?  We want to get history as correct as we can.  Even if it isn’t the most popular, we should err on the side of correct.  Even your past?  MINE? Of course, as correct as possible.  Pause for a couple months.

To Be Continued . . . . . . .

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Our First Quiz. What was the show?

Making your way in the world today
Takes everything you've got;
Taking a break from all your worries
Sure would help a lot.
Wouldn't you like to get away?

All those night when you've got no lights,
The check is in the mail;
And your little angel
Hung the cat up by it's tail;
And your third fiance didn't show;

Sometimes you want to go
Where everybody knows your name,
And they're always glad you came;
You want to be where you can see,
Our troubles are all the same;
You want to be where everybody knows your name.

Roll out of bed, Mr. Coffee's dead;
The morning's looking bright;
And your shrink ran off to Europe,
And didn't even write;
And your husband wants to be a girl;

Be glad there's one place in the world
Where everybody knows your name,
And they're always glad you came;
You want to go where people know,
People are all the same;
You want to go where everybody knows your name.

Where everybody knows your name,
And they're always glad you came;
Where everybody knows your name,
And they're always glad you came...

Monday, August 8, 2011

Having a Child

When you are young you really don’t think about having a child or being a parent.  Oh I knew when I was a teenager that I wanted a family some day, but I never really thought about it.  When I got married I didn’t even think about it.  Not until I found out my wife didn’t want children.  Don’t you think I should have asked that after a few dates and not a few years after marriage.  I just assumed everyone wanted a house full of kids.  Never thought how much that might cost or how I was going to support them.

You can never really know what love is until you have a child. I have never adopted a child but I guess it is just about the same.  When I was talking to wife two on the phone (1300 miles away) she said we are pregnant.  It took my breath away.  I don’t think I ever really understood what happiness was until that second.  When you hold that baby for the first time I am positive that God has your back.  That is when I understood what a blessing meant.  It wasn’t just written in a book, it was happening to us.

From my perspective (a guy that doesn’t think too much about stuff) going through everything is worth that first time you are introduced to the little person that just changed your life forever.  Wife two told me that if I wanted another one that I would have to have it myself.  If that was really possible, I might chicken out.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Kevin’s Story, Part 13, Three Sides To Every Story PG-13 Version

Family histories are shaped by those telling the stories.  Do you know what happened in the past?  Who really slept with who?  Why is my hair a different color than my parents?  Why do I have a huge nose and my brothers and sisters do not?  Did the mail man have a big nose?  Did the milk man have red hair?  Very interesting.

What is on your birth certificate?  I’m not talking about a record of live birth.  Those are generated by those telling the stories.  Is your birth certificate correct?  When asked who was the father, did Mom say Joe the Barber?  Was Joe the Barber really the father or was it Jimmy the ticket taker at the Century Theater?

When the story slipped out (at 45 years old) that I was adopted, I pulled out my wallet and read the names of my mother and father.  I wasn’t adopted.  After a little research a couple years ago I found out that when you are adopted they make a new birth certificate listing the adopting parents.  Oh!  So I write to the state of Maine and ask about my records.  I have to have a certified copy of my birth certificate.  (No the President doesn’t have one of those.)  I send away and get a certified copy that matches the one in my wallet. (Yes, it’s the same one) It just so happens that two years ago Maine allowed you to gain access to your real birth certificate.  I send a petition, with my certified copy to Maine.  That was a long wait.  The names do not match.

To Be Continued . . . . . . .

Sidebar; Just in case you were wondering what I thought about the truth being withheld, I will tell you.  Any young lad can become a bio-dad, it takes a real man to become a father.  It takes a dedicated family man to adopt a child and treat them as he does his own.  I was blessed to have one of each.  Blessed?  You’ll just have to keep reading to find out how.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Take a look at Remembered.com

Create a free online memorial website in memory of your loved ones. Enshrine your photos, memories, and tributes with friends and family. 

Memorials are free to create and use for 30 days and can be commemorated forever for $9.95. There is never a fee for memorial visitors.

Friends and family can add to the memorial.  They can add pictures and stories.  Well worth the fee.  

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Free Genealogy and Family History Forum - Time has forgotten our ancestry, what is a family tree? Where do we get genealogy or family history information? How do we search detailed records? We can assist with all those topics and more. Lets keep our history alive. • Free Genealogy and Family History Forum

Free Genealogy and Family History Forum - Time has forgotten our ancestry, what is a family tree? Where do we get genealogy or family history information? How do we search detailed records? We can assist with all those topics and more. Lets keep our history alive. • Free Genealogy and Family History Forum

Kevin The Bold

They say there was a reason for the name Kevin.  The first hint may come from my grandmothers maiden name, Farrell. If that doesn’t help, her mothers maiden name was Boyle.  Some heavy Irish accents in that house.

Others would suggest the name was more related to the possibility of this little guy resembling Kevin The Bold when he grew up.

In the 1950's Kevin The Bold was a household name.   Kreigh Collins developed a comic strip named Mitzi McCoy.  It appeared every Sunday starting November 7, 1948. Mitzi’s ancestor from the 1500's Kevin The Bold joined the characters on September 24, 1950. Not long after the comic strip was renamed Kevin the Bold.

The story goes that the young shepherd Kevin became a trusted employee of King Henry VIII.  He and his cohorts Pedro and Brett had many adventures that lasted a couple decades.  Many of the strips echoed Mr. Collins own life.  The Collins family took a year off and spent it sailing, and the youngest of the four sons was named Kevin.

Mom either really liked the name or hoped I would end up working for the King.  Obviously any resemblance to the picture above is only accidental. 

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Grave Research Sites

When I started researching my family history, I had no idea why I would be interested in the final resting place.  It was all about family names.  Then I started collecting surnames.  Next I wanted to know about the history behind the name.  Now I want to know where they are buried.  It’s the only way left to honor those that have gone to meet their Maker. (See note below about footnote)

Finding a grave is simple if all the family members have stayed in the same area for 200 years.  What happens when they start moving around to different states or countries?  Worst yet, what if they do not have a final resting place?  That happens more than you would think.  Many don’t get buried or they get cremated and have their ashes spread all over Manhattan.  Did great uncle Jim get buried under the oak tree in the back yard?  Some families can not afford a grave marker.

I performed a “Random Acts Of Kindness” for someone.  (www.randomactsofkindness.org/, The making of this web site is a random act of kindness in my opinion.  If you want help, they may be able to find someone to help.)  I spent 7 hours at the cemetery looking at every head stone.  And I knew what cemetery the person was buried in.  I actually started over again and after two rows I gave up.  The office did not have records for those buried on that side of the cemetery???  Three different cemeteries at the same location I guess?  A week later I found the person that had the records and they told me exactly what site she was buried on.  No marker to be found. You learn something new every day.

www.interment.net  provides cemetery records on line.  You have to work to get past the advertisements but it pulls information from many different sources.  It’s a last stop for me if all else fails.

www.namesinstone.com  It’s mission is to preserve history by mapping grave sites.  You can upload pictures of grave stones, then transcribe the information on the stone.  The information becomes searchable as data is entered.  You can view a map of the a grave site and then view the stone.  A virtual grave yard, where you can honor the fallen with virtual flowers.  Saves on travel expenses.

www.findagrave.com  is the biggest place to look for graves.  It’s focus is on famous people, so if you think you have famous folks in your background, check them out.  They have a huge amount of resources available.  I use and contribute as often as I can.

www.billiongraves.com is a picture place.  What would happen if you got together a million people armed with iPhone’s?  Maybe a billion pictures of grave sites viewable on a map.  WOW the potential of this is unbelievable.  If you take a picture with a GPS enabled smart phone you get more than the picture.  When you upload the picture to billiongraves that information is attached to the file.  That helps them pinpoint the location on a map that you can view.  Then you transcribe the information from the headstone on the site.  (Fill in the name, dates, and etc.)  Then anyone can search billiongraves to view the grave site.  Did I say WOW?  They are only a few month old, but I estimate will take over the category in no time.

A few other links that you may find useful.

www.cousinconnect.com is a site that you can post question about a family name or see questions already posted by others.  There is a lot of information available.
www.genealogyarchives.com has a family history section.  They give history about surnames.
www.mycinnamontoast.com a search engine of other search engines.
www.mytrees.com a search engine of family trees.
www.familysearch.org will help you find individuals.

There are a lot of additional web sites that have information for a fee.

www.achives.com
www.origins.net
www.ancestry.com  You can develop a family tree at no cost on the site.  Can I just say, thank you very much ancestry.com team for changing genealogy research forever.  (Remember that the people create the trees, is it fact or fiction, check your sources, verify the facts.)
www.footnote.com  I can’t list footnote without an atta boy.  They created footnote pages to honor our hero’s.  There is no charge to view or add to the footnote pages.  Take a look.  www.footnote.com/pages/  Is your ancestor listed there?  It’s a Wiki style site to honor our ancestors.  Go look now.
www.onegreatfamily.com

From www.findagrave.com a great memorial to the late Betty Ford. (Elizabeth Ann Bloomer)
Born April. 8, 1918 and died July 8, 2011.

First Lady of the United States of America. Born on April 8, 1918, she first married William Warren, before marrying future President Gerald Rudolph Ford in 1948. Together they had 4 children. She became First Lady following the resignation of President Richard Milhous Nixon, and served as the First Lady from August 8, 1974-January 20, 1977. In 1987 she released her autobiography entitled, "The Betty Ford Story" (1987), which was made into a movie the same year. The Betty Ford Center in Rancho Mirage, California, a well-known substance abuse clinic, was named in her honor.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Free Family History Photos | Vintage Photos from History

Free Family History Photos | Vintage Photos from History

Kevin’s Story, Part 12, Force It

So, , , , I decide to force the family history.  I spent two days, first with Yahoo, then Google, then in frustration I  tried ASK.com.  I typed in “who was my Mom’s Grandmother?”  I got something about grandparents day.  Forcing the family history was not working.  Obsessions do not follow logic.  Nor was I able to be logical.  So I wrote a letter.  After another month, I got the contact information and away we go.  I got names for all great grandparents!  This can sometimes be the bridge you need.  With those names I added an additional two generations and 94 cousins to the list.  That was two years ago.  In the last two years we have added almost two thousand more family members.  There are another 25 little green leaves yet to investigate.

Adding names to the family tree doesn’t add a lot of family history.  But, if you have the names, then you get the dates, then comes the Google.  I have only started to research our family history.  Most of the stories have been lost in time.  If the stories were not written down or passed down, you can’t get them back.

Families did not move often.  There could have been major moves to find work or harvest crops but many families stayed in the area for long periods.  If you get stuck, try looking at records for the next town over.  Maybe the next county over.  I was looking for the Grant family in a small county in Maine.  By accident I found a record for another Grant in Maine from a different county.  Come to find out they lived about three miles apart across a river.

To be continued . . . .

July 4th from Footnote.com, a great resource

The United States lost two founding fathers and former presidents on July 4, 1826. Thomas Jefferson, age 83, died at his Monticello home. John Adams, age 90, died a few hours later in Quincy, Massachusetts. His last words were reportedly, “Thomas Jefferson survives,” as he had not yet heard of Jefferson’s death.
In this age of instant access, it’s hard to fathom how slowly word traveled before the telegraph, telephone, and internet. It wasn’t until over a month later, on August 14, 1826, that the news was picked up by The Times in London. The paper published extracts from newspapers which arrived in Liverpool via the ship Canada. One account, reprinted in The Times, tells of “regrets that cannot but mingle with our joy in such a singular dispensation of Providence, as the departure of Jefferson and Adams on the same day, and that day the first jubilee of our independence.”
The Times also ran a piece commemorating Adams and Jefferson the following day from a New York paper dated July 13, 1826.
As noted in the published account above, not only was the coincidence of two of our most important founding fathers dying on the same day remarkable, but the date was also the 50th anniversary of our nation’s most patriotic occasion, the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

Explore Related Items on Footnote

Monday, June 20, 2011

Kevin's Story, Part 11, Graduation

Not mine, not a family history graduate, my son graduated from high school this week.  Time keeps ticking along.  It seems like yesterday that he was graduating from Kindergarten.  Amazing how his sister ten years older than he would be teaching the little ones in the same room that he attended only twelve years ago.  Things have changed.  Maggie stepped into the building as a five year old and stepped out of the same building twelve years later as a high school graduate in 1948, Kevin started Kindergarten in Maine, finished Kindergarten in Wilmington California on the other side of the Country.  First grade was in Connecticut, second grade Vallejo, California. Twelve years twelve schools?  Not that bad, maybe nine schools.  It wasn’t easy keeping our children in the same schools for twelve years.

Why couldn’t they teach me how to remember family history in school.  I learned algebra, and trig.  Why not teach the importance of family history.  In the seventh grade (Junior High School when I attended, where did the term middle school come from?  I digress) In the seventh grade they should have a class, Family History 101, that teaches you how to interview your grandparents.  In the eight grade, Family History 201, how to interview your parents.  If only I would have asked a few questions.

My first gift to you, if I can figure out how to attach it, “In The Life Of”.  Get out the video camera and have your kids ask grandma and grandpa a few questions.  https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&pid=explorer&chrome=true&srcid=0B6827uafnKGDZWEyZGZmNjMtMTAyMC00OTAwLWE5YzgtMjI5YmNhZmI5MGIy&hl=en_US&authkey=CNCkn_EO

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

BillionGraves: Tips & Tricks

BillionGraves: Tips & Tricks: "Today some of us went to out to test the Android app and some updates to the iPhone app (both are looking sharp, and it shouldn’t be too muc..."

Friday, June 10, 2011

Kevins Story, Part 10, Ancestry.com

Family history with the help of a little green leaf and some of the other tools available on ancestry.com I started to put the family together.  This is the dilemma, do you jump on each suggestion blind because you want to add names to the family or do you want the history in your family tree to be accurate?  This is where I’m going to pause and start the Lessons Learned section.  Because it is with this drive to add family members, that we get a little carried away.

Lesson Learned #1; Lie!  I know, mama told you not to lie, and daddy told you that if you lied he would take his belt off.  In fact my Mom would say, “you’ll never be to tall to stand up to my chair and broom young man.”  Let me explain.  If you run into a brick wall and can’t find anything out about where that family member came from or their parents, take a guess.  Put the guess in and see what happens.  Is there leaf now?  If you get suggestions, follow that and see what happens.  Let me explain.  If your great grand father was Felix Sigler and you can’t find any other family members, guess that his father’s name is Phelix Sigler, or Filex Sigler, F Sigler.  Run your search and see if anything pops up.  If it does, then see if you can find census records or something else that confirms your guess.  Since we are talking of census records, take a look at anyone else with the same last name.  If they were born within 10 or 20 years of each other, assume they were siblings.  Lie and put them into your family tree and see if you can make a match now.  Confirm the lies.  If it doesn’t work out, make sure to remove those lies, so it doesn’t confuse the next researcher.

We have to be careful when we follow the green leaf.  One small error can put you in the Queen of England’s family.  Can you imagine the back taxes you might owe?  Verify your work.  So much information is being added every day.  If you run into a brick wall, don’t give up.  Make a list of those family members that you would like to do more work on.  When you need something to do, start at the top of your list and see if anything has changed.  Any green leaves now?  

To be continued . . .

Friday, June 3, 2011

Photo’s, The Dummies Guide, Part 1

What better way to save your family history than to include photo's of your ancestors on that family tree.  If you have a just a few photo’s now, you will probably have a lot of photo’s later.  Find a way to organize your work now.  It will save you from duplicating and wasting your time.

What do you want to do with your photo’s?  Are you going to store them, share them with family members, post them on the Internet for all to see?  Maybe you want to create a memorial slide show for a family member that is no longer with us.  How about your grandma’s 85 birthday party?

Is the quality of your photo good enough?  If you are going to share them on the Internet then maybe they are fine.  What size should the picture be?  Many questions.  Some basic answers will follow.  Most important, I am not a photographer.  If you want the best then consult a pro.  I will try to bring you up to speed to help you with your genealogy work.  Anything past that you should do some additional study.

I love to work on photo’s and use a few programs to help me.  If that’s not your interest, I suggest you get help from someone that loves to.  I suggest you talk to Lisa at http://www.retrophotorestoration.com/.  Take a look at her website and see what is possible.  Lisa is passionate about working with her photo’s and will take the same care with yours.  If you think it is impossible, contact Lisa.
                                                                                                                                          
Most importantly.  Backup your work.  Have a backup plan and stick to it.  If you are going to digitize your pictures, make sure a copy of the work is protected and stored at a different place than the original.

To Be Continued . . . .

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

BillionGraves: Launching BillionGraves.com

BillionGraves: Launching BillionGraves.com: "As we here at BillionGraves.com launch our website and release its integrated iPhone app, I wanted to give you an insider look at what we d..."

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Kevins Story, Part 9

Well there’s two sides to every family (not always) and, you guessed it,  I have no information about the other side.  I can remember Uncles and Aunts names.  I remember my Grandfathers name that died before I was born.  I can remember grandma Clem.  The most fantastic lady you could imagine with blue hair.  Her favorite time of day was 6:00 pm when my Dad would come home from work.  They would take turns mentioning it.  Usually within 15 minutes my Dad was pouring a 7 and 7.  For Dad that meant 3 parts Fleischmanns to one part 7up.  For grandma Clem that meant 1 part Fleischmanns to 3 parts 7up.  There was always a bottle of 7up in the fridge.  I made a huge mistake of drinking what was left of the 7up one time.  We not going there with this story.

My Mom’s (Maggie) side of the family was so far away.  Today, you can text your friend that moved away to Japan 6 years ago and he gets the message and responds in under a minute.  In 1960 it was just a little bit different.  I’m sure as the family member was boarding the plane the last words said was I’ll write.  That meant a Christmas card in December with two or three lines scratched real fast because you had 20 more cards to get in tomorrow’s mail.  You would think that anyone that could type as fast as lightning would get more letters out.  Not the case, just too much of life to tend to.  I am sure anyone on the receiving side of one of Maggie’s letters was praying that it was typed.  You could spend all day trying to read her writing.  It is different now, every time I pick up a scrap of paper that has her handwriting on it, I get all choked up.  The smallest things get ya’.  The point?  I don’t have a phone number, haven’t seen anyone in 20 years.  I remember one of the cousins was working on a family tree.  I even got offered a copy of the work.  Why didn’t I pursue that?

How do you spell obsession?  I couldn’t sleep!

Continued . . . .

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Kevin's Story, Part 8, read slowly

I guess the family history stopped in Texas some place.  What had happened to that file cabinet?  The answer that my niece needed was in the file cabinet.  If I could just take a look.  I remember they had a son.  I remember his name because it was the same as my Uncle the war hero,  (If you are following along, you will hear a lot about the war hero) I called 411 no help.  I remember only one thing.  He worked for Texas Instruments (TI).  411, I let there fingers do the walkin’ and there fingers found 24 phone numbers, “#@!?”.  This is going to be much harder than I thought.  I get the main number and call ‘em up.  Me; “I would like to talk to my cousin.”,  TI; “We have no one here by that name.”, me; “#@!?”, TI; “He may have transferred to the new division when the company split about 10 years ago.”   So I call up the split off company.  Why not, can’t hurt.  Me; “I would like to talk to my cousin”, TIsplit; “We have no one here by that name”, “we used to have a guy with that last name but that wasn’t his first name.”, me; “may I talk with him please?”  “He hasn’t worked her in years.  “#@!?”  411, not in that town, but we have one in another town.

Ring, ring, ring, “hello”, “are you my cousin?”  He actually was my cousin.  What’s the chance of that?  And he has all his Mom and Dad’s computer records.  I receive them by way of FedEx the next afternoon.  WoW!  Fifteen years labor, thousands of hours, vacation trips, thousands of dollars spent, and in my hand.  What a gift!  There labor of love and devotion, and I will try to honor them by keeping it going.  Any reference to Auntie M has nothing to do with a movie about Oz, but only to give credit where credit is due.

The next 24 hours I spend reading over everything.  So much stuff, now I have to get this organized.  That day Family Tree Maker arrives in the mail.  I load up the program and start to work.  I don’t think I left the chair for days.  With the program comes a trial offer for ancestry.com.  I upload my family tree.  Then something starts happening.  The little green leaf pops up, then another, then hundreds.

To be continued . . .

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Kevin's Story, Part 7

The ancestry question is looming.  I now have a list with 22 names on it.  I remember my Aunt Marion and Uncle Henry were really into genealogy research.  They only visited a couple times as I was growing up.  When they did my Uncle Henry would get up early Sunday morning and say “you ready to go”  Off to church we would go.  Only a few times in my life had I seen a man have such a love of the Lord.  Not the going to church ‘cause he has to kinda guy, the kind that is just so positive about the Lords love for us.  He had a profound effect on the rest of my life.  (A different story)  Anyway Uncle Henry would take me to breakfast after church.

Twenty five years go by and I travel to Texas to work at Bell Helicopter.  My Aunt and Uncle do not live far away so I decide to look them up.  I visit with them for four hours and ten minutes, four hours of which they show me the family tree they have been working on.  They are so excited because they just found a long lost family member.  They take me into the hobby room, which has every horizontal surface lined with family tree pages.  A file cabinet full of paper, and stories of trips they have taken to find stuff.  They devoted years to the project, It’s all coming back to me.

Fifteen years go by and I’m thinking, I’ll just give them a call.  Not in the book.  411 no help.  I have no idea how to contact anyone on that side of the family.

To be continued . . .

Monday, May 9, 2011

Kevins Story, Part 6

We made it to California in a week not a day.  Family history?  Hold your britches.  (That’s what they used to tell me.  Not sure why.  I assumed it meant wait a minute.)  What did I know about the family?  I am trying to remember stories.  My parents have been gone for 10 years, and I can’t remember yesterday.

Okay I remember my Dad grew up on a farm in Iowa.  I think the name was something simple, Jones or Brown.  He was farmed out a lot of his childhood because his parents split up when he was about five.  My Mom would tell me that when he was growing up he worked hard even at his young age.  A typical Christmas morning for my Dad was up at the crack of dawn (that’s how they talked then), get the chores done, and get back to the house to celebrate Christmas.  My Dad would have to go upstairs until the family finished with there Christmas celebration, and then he would get to come down and have Christmas dinner with them.

My Mom’s story is way better.  Remember she was born on Christmas day.  Christmas was a huge celebration for her growing up.  Even though she lost her Mom when she was seven, Christmas was always great.  Think of it this way.  The whole family gets together to go to midnight mass.  As they come out of the church, happy birthday Maggie.  (They didn’t call her Maggie, but I didn’t want you to get lost.)  How many kids get a happy birthday one hour into it?  Not only that but, every one comes over on your birthday.  And everybody brings something.  A cherry pie for your birthday.  A ham, mashed potatoes, a huge feast for your birthday.  No one gets treatment like this on there birthday.

Oh yeah, that ancestry question.  Got sidetracked, I have to start with my Aunt and Uncle.  If you look up Genealogist in the dictionary you will most likely find there picture.

To be continued . . .

Monday, May 2, 2011

Monument Monday: Bunker Hill Monument on the Accessible Archives Blog

Monument Monday: Bunker Hill Monument on the Accessible Archives Blog

Kevins Story, Part 5

I am the oldest of five children.  One brother is no longer with us.  My brother called and asked if I could help his daughter with a family history project that she was working on for school.  “Sure” So he asks the question and I have a blank stare.  You would think the oldest would know something.  Who gave you that idea?
“I’ll get back to you!”  Not the answer my niece was looking for.  Where do I start.  I remember on my mother side there were three brothers, a sister, my grand fathers name, and his second wife.  On my fathers side, there was a brother that died fighting so we could be free, and a sister.  I remember his mother, her husband, and my grand father.  Where do I start.  I really have no information but there are people on both sides of my family that have been doing research into family history.  How do I get in touch with them?

In 1959 we migrated west.  I remember a 1959 Ford station wagon.  You could fold down all the seats in the back and that left just enough room for your legs to hang down, and your face to be level and right between mom and dad in the front seat.  Bangor Maine to Wilmington California, I’m thinking we should be there by dinner.  Super highway’s, not yet.  Fancy hotels, dreamer.  Air conditioned car, what is that?  Views straight over the cliff on the right side of the car?  “Fathaaa, you are to close!!”  Two lane roads over the summit.  That’s one lane that way and one lane your way.  Four year olds don’t remember how hot it is thankfully.  My mother never forgot.

To be continued . . .

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Funeral Records, What A Find

Do you have holes in your family tree?  As you fill in the family tree, you may get lucky and find more family history hidden in the funeral record.  There is a good deal of information on cemetery headstones.  I found the headstone of my great grandfather.  (I didn't really find it, my cousin found it and posted it on our family web site)  If you get a picture of the headstone, you are in luck.  Most of us walk away thankful for what we have.  However, dig a little deeper, while you are there, and look at the possibilities.  I find my great great grand fathers name and my great great grandmothers maiden name.  This is huge information.  My great grandfather was from Ireland.  This opened up a new avenue of research.  Cause of death Apoplexy.  This is not much help.  In early 1900 apoplexy had a lot of meanings.  I you lost consciousness and then died suddenly they called it apoplexy.  It could have been a heart attack,  ruptured cerebral aneurysms, an aortic aneurysm may have been the case with this one.  Many in my family suffer from aortic aneurysms.  Some funeral records that I have found even tell you how long the person was sick.  The occupation is even interesting.  My grand father was a stonecutter.  John E Farrell was his father in law.  He may have worked with him at some point, maybe even learned the trade from him.  The family story is becoming more clear with every bit of information that we find.  This one document filled a lot of holes.  

Monday, April 25, 2011

Kevins Story, Part 4

Family history is made daily.  Take a look at your family tree, look back just one or two generations.  Three generations back they lived on farms and grew there own food.  There world may have been confined to two or three square miles.

The first television was introduced at the 1939 world’s fair.  RCA was petitioning the Government to allocate room for 13 channels to transmit television pictures into the home.  That was kind of silly because who could afford $500.00 for one of those picture boxes.  By the 1950's RCA had what they wanted, except channel one was taken back for local government broadcasts.  What’s this got to do with Maggie, you ask.

After graduation in 1950 what work was available?  You could go to college, if your family had a lot of money, you could be a waitress, maybe a librarian.  A woman’s role was to get married and raise a family.  They would look forward to Friday night and spend most of the week getting ready for the dance.  Sitting around the radio turned into sitting around the TV every night.  Baseball games never looked so good.  That opened a whole new industry repairing the picture boxes.  Maggie got a job keeping books for a small television and radio repair shop.  The commute was excellent, the TV shop was located directly below her apartment.  Maggie did not own a car.  Not much need, she didn’t know how to drive.  Winterport came by it’s name for good reason.

To be continued . . .

Friday, April 22, 2011

Kevin’s Hurdles “A Better Story” Part 2

I’m driving, I’m am so happy that I may have found him.  I pull into the parking lot.  Walk to the office.  “Oh, we are so glad you came to visit.  I have been out to the site personally and I think you were correct.  I can’ wait for you to see what we have found”

This is a huge place.  This amazing lady puts me into one of those electric carts and off we go.  As we drive up to the area where my brother is laid to rest, it is beautiful.  There is a huge old oak tree.  And below the gigantic oak is a thousand very small grave markers.  As I start walking, I notice each soul was only with us for a very short time.  Some for a week, but most only for a day.  As I got closer it was clear to see which site belonged to my little brother.  The little guy I never met, never got to torment,   These amazing people had spent the morning working around my brothers plot.  It was manicured to perfection.  It was clear that all the trimming had been done by hand.  To honor a little one that had passed over fifty years ago in such a loving and tender way is beyond the words I can write.

A lost brother is found.  History has been restored.  Yes these memories are painful to remember in our lifetime, but we need to save them, we need to honor them.  Matson Matthew would have turned 50 this past March.  He missed an awesome life.  So we take the time to ensure that those that follow us will know of the little boy with red hair, that made it only three days, was not forgotten.

I can highly recommend All Souls Cemetery and Mausoleum in Long Beach California.  I can’t thank them enough.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Kevin’s Hurdles “A Better Story”

This story starts a couple years back.  Maybe fifty years back.  I remember Mom and Dad coming home.  They must have been gone.  They had there coats on.  There were a few people in the house and I was laying on the floor watching Gunsmoke.  I turn around and see everyone standing in the kitchen.  Not much exciting going on there, back to Gunsmoke.  I always wore my cowboy hat when Gunsmoke was on.

A few years later I remember Mom talking with someone about Matson.  I leaned my right ear closer to the kitchen table thinking maybe my grandad was coming for a visit.  Nothing better in life that watching my grandad do the dishes.  He smoked Chesterfield’s that did not have a filter on them.  He never took that cigarette out of his mouth the whole time he was doing dishes.  The ash would get longer, longer, longer, and finally it would drop on the clean dishes.  I don’t need to spell out the words that followed.  Better than TV.  But, they were not talking about grandad, they were talking about a little boy, born with a full head of red hair and how his intestines had not formed properly.  At eleven pounds and ten ounces you would think he would have all the right parts?  Mom continues the explanation.  They had operated on him but the little guy just wasn’t destined for this world.

Fast forward 49 years and big brother has hit another hurdle.  I had a first name, a last name, parents names, age, but I could not find my littler brother.  As you do your research, you are going to run into hurdles.  Aunts and Uncles didn’t even know about the little guy much less where he could be buried.  I am planning a trip that will take me right past Los Angeles.  Where do I start?  I printed out a list of every cemetery in Los Angeles County.  We lived in Wilmington a the time so I got google earth on one computer and mapquest on the other.  I started closest to Wilmington and worked my way out.

Some cemeteries have a list of those people buried on the grounds.  Others do not.  I searched everything I could on line.  Then I started calling.  I can not believe how fantastic each person was that answered the phone.  They were all so helpful.  I eliminated the first two cemeteries with one phone call to each.  Three of the cemeteries would have to research there records and call me back.  They each called me back, but no little brother.  I put calls into two more cemeteries and then I got a call from back from one.  “What was your brothers name?”  Matson.  “I’m so sorry, but we don’t have him here.”  “What was your Dad’s name?”  “We have a contract with your Dad for about that same time but the name is Matthew not Matson” That is him, I can not believe it, his middle name started with an M and his other grandad’s name was Matthew.  They must have messed up the names????  Would it be okay if I came down to see?

“Please come”

Kevin's Hurdles

Most likely starting your family tree was the hardest part.  Now that you have started thinking about it and putting the pieces together, you may find some hurdles to overcome.  I am still trying to overcome one of my own.

I have an uncle that got lost.  Lost?  I guess, I really don’t know.  Neither does anyone else in the family.  One day 40 years ago he told his mom he was going to take a motorcycle trip to maybe Canada for a few days.  No one has seen or heard from him since.

I started looking two years ago, picked it up a year later, and again yesterday.  I spent 4 hours trying every trick I have learned and got to the same place I stopped at before.  The sad part is that he had a wife and a son.  He was married a short time and we do not even have there names.  Do you have a lost family member?  Maybe some family members don’t want to be found.

Do we give up?  You would think after finding thousands of family members I would be able to drop this one.  I am going to put this one back on the bottom of the pile and it will work it’s way to the top in another year.  Hurdle or brick wall, they are meant to climb and go over.  Just a matter of time.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Kevins Story, Part 3

Maggie’s world in the 1940's was probably full of war.  America needed hope but that was taken over by rage at our attackers.  That gave focus to life in America.  From rationing, to scrap drives to collect steel, rubber, and what ever they needed for the troops.  They still sat around the radio, but they listened to news of the war and not as much baseball.

It is real important to understand how hard life was in America.  American’s came from somewhere then.  Your family was from Italy or Poland, maybe Germany or England.  You were Jewish, Catholic, or of some faith.  You knew your roots.  You were proud of your heritage, your country, your town, and your team.  Dad wore the pants in the family.  He didn’t give too many atta boys.  You knew were you stood and if you messed up, you knew it was going to be bad.   You tried to avoid trouble if you could but, knew that you had better tell the truth when asked or it was going to be much worst.  Talk about family values, no they didn’t talk about anything.  If it had to do with boys and girls, you better learn the facts from a friend because you weren’t going to learn it at home.  Unless you made a mistake.  And then it still wasn’t talked about.

As Maggie became a teenager and the war started to wind down it was a great time to be alive.  American’s had jobs, they had hope, and manufacturing revolution fueled by war innovations was about to explode.  The advancements in medicine like Penicillin changed everything in the 1940's.  Note: The first electronic computer was made in the 1940's and it wasn’t called a PC.  It was called ENIAC and weighted 30 tons.  http://ei.cs.vt.edu/~history/ENIAC.Richey.HTML .

To be continued . . .

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Ellis Island

I found a good article written by Laura about Ellis Island on the footnote blog.  I did not realize that Ellis Island didn't open until January 1st 1892.  There is so much information available for those ancestors that came through Ellis Island.  Unfortunately, none of mine did.  Laura writes that twelve million immigrants did arrive via Ellis Island over the course of six decades.  Was yours one of them?

Consider other ports of entry.  I found a few on the east coast.

Bath, Maine, 1825 - 1867
Belfast, Maine, 1820 - 1851

We think of the United States as 1776 forward.  What if your ancestors were here before that?  One that I researched was William Dyer.  He arrived in the new world in June 1629 at the port of Boston.

Heirloom or Junk

What is an heirloom.  When I got married twenty years ago we found ourselves integrating family, friends, and stuff.  If you have two houses full of stuff and you have to fit it all into one bucket, what do you do?  So we went about making some really tough decisions.  We decided to keep all the family and friends.

I asked, “Are you bringing all three cats?”  With my three cats and two dogs I wasn’t sure they were all going to make it.  They did!  She said, “Your dishes are all chipped, maybe we should just use mine.”   I asked, “ What should we do with your bedroom set”.  She said, “I can’t possibly get rid of any of those pieces”.  I asked, “Do you want to put the area rugs over the carpeting like that?”  She said, “That couch is an antique”.  I asked, “Can I keep my favorite chair?”  She said, “Most of the things I am bringing are heirlooms, your stuff is just junk.”

I didn’t like hearing that at all.  I loved my chair.  So what if the cats had clawed it up a bit.  A man has the right to be comfortable in his own chair.  I wonder what happened to that chair?  Between you and I, what did I know about heirlooms or what was of value?  I had no idea what might even be of sentimental value. As you research your family history, take the time to inventory the things you would like to pass down.  Go do it now!  (Not if your driving, wait till you get home.)  Open you favorite word processing program and make a list of the items that may possibly have value.  Take a picture and put it on the same page.  List where it came from, the date, any story behind the piece, who you want it to go to, and anything else you can remember.  Email the file to yourself and another family member in case your computer crashes.

I need to put in a plug for another one of my favorite tools in my tool box.  Family Tree Magazine.  After opening my big mouth and told you what to do about heirlooms, I thought that it would be better to organize the mess as you go.  I thought I would look to see if they have any recommendations.  They have a form for that, http://www.familytreemagazine.com/upload/images/pdf/artifact.pdf.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Stork

The stork could have come to the house in our ancestors days.  Your Mom could have been in a family way or expecting.  Today we don’t need a stork because babies come by magic through the front door.  Mom’s get driven away and come back from the store with a baby.  They could have picked one out that wasn’t so loud.

Searching for records about stork visits may not be as simple as the if the baby shows up at the front door.  There is a difference between types of records and maybe there is no record at all.  What if your grandfather was born on the farm?  My bio-dad was born on the farm and there was no record.  However, he did qualify for social security.  But you need a birth certificate to get a social security card?  In other countries it could be even harder to find records, we have it easy in America.  A record of live birth is a way for a person to get a social security card if they do not have a birth certificate.  You typically need to have an idea where you were born and someone standing beside you to vouch for you.  In my case my brother went with my bio-dad to the recorders office and said “this has always been my Dad”.  If only the stork keep records our job would be easier.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Surnames

Before we go to far in cataloging our family history, we should consider surnames.  Surname is sometimes called family name but most think of last name.  As we go back in history we find that last names were not always used.  When you are doing research before the thirteen hundreds last names may be associated with a town, or an area of land.

Consider if your name is Jim Smith.   You look up everything you can find on the Smith family name.  When you are done you have 100 pages of things to read about the Smith family.  Did you forget about your mothers family?  Back to the computer and look up everything you can find on the Jones family.  How about your grand parents?  Great grand parents?

As you can see it can grow very fast.  Every generation back almost doubles the amount of surnames.  I made the mistake of trying to keep track of all the surnames in my family.  It became a full time job.  At fourteen generations back I quit.

Many family historians start at a point in history and work there way forward.  The Smith family in America.  As we work back to find our history, search for the real treasure chest, a family history story written about the families history after arriving in America.  I recently came across one at freepages.  While doing research about your family history, if you find a new surname, take a trip to the site. http://freepages.rootsweb.ancestry.com/directory/genealogy.html

Monday, April 11, 2011

Kevin’s Ancestry Story, Part 2

To understand Kevin’s ancestry story, you have to realize what happened to Maggie.  Maybe this should be renamed “Maggie’s story as told by Kevin”.  But really this is a story about family history.  About heritage and the search for the facts.  Do you know your story?  Are you sure?  What if?  I knew my story for 54 years and then it changed.  Do you like change?  Let’s leave the jury out about the change thing.  At the end you can decide.  I already know.

America in the 1930's was somewhat like 2009.  A bust of the stock market, no jobs, income down 40%, and little to eat for many Americans.  Maine may be a long way from the heartland of America, but they felt the hard times also.  Survival was the name of the game.  (Can’t you hear Lena Horne or Billie Holiday music in the background?)  At that time the Government wanted to let the free market find it’s way, but as the 1940's approached the Government took over and worked to regulate our way out of the mess.  Social security, unions, employee rights, a fair wage for a fair days work.  Back in Maine a preteen didn’t think about those things.  They were more concerned with playing games, listening to the Boston Red Socks on the radio.  Dom DiMaggio and Ted Williams were household names in the North East.  Christmas morning may have brought you a new present under the tree.  New meant, hand made out of something else, but you would have loved it.

To be continued . . .

Friday, April 8, 2011

Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness

If you have slammed into a stone wall and can not find a way over, do you give up?  Most of us give up so don’t feel bad.  A year goes by and you find yourself back at the same stone wall and you don’t want to give up this time.  If you could just fly to the other side of the country and spend a day or two doing some research you might be able to solve the riddle.

What if you could get a little help from a friend?  Well, Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness helps you find a friend if you have no other options.  They have volunteers standing by that may be able to help solve that riddle.

The site is free but they do accept donations at http://www.raogk.org/support.html if you are able to give.  To find there site go to http://www.raogk.org/index.html.  If you would like to volunteer, they are accepting applications.

What a fantastic act of random kindness.  Thank you.