Note: For privacy reasons, living people are not identified in this blog without permission.


If you would like to be contacted about a comment, you must leave me a way to reach you. Please include your email address. Thank you!

Follow This Blog!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Rerun Friday - A Window In Time

Originally posted on Tuesday, October 4, 2011

A Window In Time

Photographs are like small windows in time.  You can look at the photo and get a quick glimpse of the people.  I love photos and wish for more old photos.  It does help if we know who's in each photo.  I realize that is not always possible though.

A photo can share some information about people including what they looked like.  Most photos were taken on happy occasions when people were enjoying themselves.  I find it interesting that in many photos, no one is smiling.  I suppose that was not the practice in the 1800s.  It does help when those in the photos don't look like they're frowning though.

Below are a couple of my favorite photos.  I only wish that I had a true copy of the original for the second photo.

Photos still leave much to the imagination.  I still have to wonder what my ancestors were like.  A photo can't tell you about their personality.   You might be able to pick out some emotion.  Joy, for example, can show through in a photo.  I think that I spotted some joy in these.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Feature Article - Meals and More Personal History

I don't usually post too much about my own personal life.  As time passes, I do think that I should write some of my own personal experiences down, however.   I started a blog about cooking and wine but have not had much time to add to it in recent months.  Below is a little personal history and experience with my own challenge in learning to cook.   This is for my children who I hope someday get the chance to read this blog about our family history.

Feature Article

Learning To Provide the Meals - September 26, 2011

Just over two years ago, I stopped working in "Corporate America" to be a stay-at-home mommy. With that came the need to learn how to cook.  In my entire life, I really had never learned how to cook. From having a mother who is an awesome cook and made sure that dinner was on the table every night by 6pm to my husband who cooked dinner for the first eight years that we were together, there was not much need for me to spend a whole lot of time in the kitchen.

While there were those years that I was a student and a working adult single woman, I always figured something out for mealtime. College campuses are great places to find some food.   I was not a starving student in those days. When I began my career, I easily acclimated to the yummy cafeteria food at work where they served breakfast, lunch, and, for a while, dinner. When you work for a large company with many employees, the cafeteria services are generally available. In fact, for many years the company that I work for had two cafeterias on site plus a coffee bar. They also subsidized the food for a number of years but that was discontinued into the new millennium.

While I was still working, I had a couple of babies along the way which perpetuated the need for my husband to continue as chef, kitchen help, and grocery shopper. Heck, I was busy feeding my children as infants and toddlers. A mother's work truly is never finished. That's why dad needs to jump in to handle things, especially, when both parents work all day.

During my work hours, I did not have to worry an ounce about what my children would be eating. They attended "school" (daycare) at a child development center that provided breakfast, lunch, and snack. How lovely was this? Well, you never truly appreciate things until you don't have them any longer. Let's just say the cook at the center was marvelous plus all of the meals were approved by a dietitian. You have to love that. There was even more to love. The children were served hot meals every day. From the youngest children in the infant room able to eat table food up through the preschoolers, they all sat at tables and ate family style. It was truly a unique situation in a day where few families have a chance to eat dinner together in the evening. I won't mention the cost of the child development center here. We did pay for it! I am only now really beginning to understand the full value of what we paid for. It was so worth it and I'm not just talking about the food plan.

Trying to figure where your next meal is coming from can be challenging. Two years ago the full responsibility did fall to me for our household. The pressure was on and I am still in my learning curve two years later. I thought I'd start this blog to document what I have learned - mistakes and all. I figure that we'll see where this blog takes me along the way. I do love to eat, drink, and be merry. Cooking is starting to become my forte for a few meal items.

Well, that blog has been put on hold for now.....I continue with my genealogy blog though while I've got dinner cooking in the crock pot or oven most evenings.  

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving Week!

MYOG is taking a break for Thanksgiving Week.  Have a great time with friends and family!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Rerun Friday - Borrowing From Trees on

Originally posted on Saturday, May 21, 2011

Borrowing From Trees on

Beg, borrow, and steal.....Ok, steal is a bit too forward.  Beg....I'm not opposed to asking for family tree information from those who have the research done and I know are of my family line.  I suppose that it is not really begging as I am more than willing to share in return.  As for borrowing from a tree off, that leaves something to be desired.  My uncle warned me just about a year ago...."Buyer Beware!".  Not everyone on checks their facts and sources their tree.

If you post your family tree as a public tree on, you'd have to expect that eventually someone will try and borrow information from it.  How else would a college professor or other relatives have found me (or I found them)?  Well, they are the real deal in looking for my specific Flanagan Family line.   They do, in fact, "get it" and have the line with the associated history and stories of this family.

I had someone select Michael Flanagan (1839-1904) from my tree as a direct line ancestor for their tree last summer.  Given that Michael never married or had children, made it rather impossible for that person to be one of Uncle Mike's great grandchildren.  I sent them a quick message to let them know.  Once they had linked into Michael, they had "sucked in" all of my information in the past up to my original Patrick Flanagan ancestor.  Oops!  That's a lot of people to "back off" of one's tree.  Mistakes happen but this is why it is so important to check what you've pulled over to your own tree online.

What I noticed the other day, is someone else borrowing from the distant past of my Flanagan Tree.  They were borrowing Patrick Flanagan (The Grandfather) and Judith Kirwan along with Richard Flanagan and Alice Bellew.  I think that the person found a decent match and picked Patrick and Judith.  This person's John Flanagan of Cavan was married to a Barbara Maguire.  Apparently, his line continues with an Elizabeth Flanagan.  The "John" matches, right?   Not really.

Are there other Flanagan's from County Louth, specifically, in the Termonfechin Area?  You bet there are a few.  I am just not all the familiar with those lines and much of the information does run cold into the more current generations.  Going back 300 years, they were probably all related to one another.  
So John is a common name.  John Flanagan is probably pretty common too.  What do you think I did next to my Flanagan comrade?  I emailed him, of course.  I peeked at his tree and let him know where he got off track.  Frankly, I just don't want people thinking that their line is one way when it is not.  Let's face it, I like accuracy, insasmuch as that is possible on a family tree.

How sourced is my Flanagan Family Tree on  Not very.  It's hard to attach 240 years of written history to include letters, farm account books, and a PowerPoint Presentation on a DVD.  At this point, I have to consider making my Flanagan Family Tree on a private tree.  I am not setting a very good example by not sourcing it online while making it public.  As is probably obvious, it will be hard to fix the online tree given the way I maintain the sourcing.

I guess for now, the tree will be private.  Those who have been invited to it will still be able to see it via their invited guest status.  Everyone else would need to contact me and discuss their connection to this line.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


Chickie, Bunny, Jack, Minnie, Dolly, Mo, Max, Dick, Fannie, Popeye, Mama, Papa, and many more nicknames of this sort appear on my family tree.  In fact, for my Flanagan's, I have written a special "key" for deciphering the nicknames of the family members to match them to their legal, given names.

Now, I know why my grandmother used to say that she could not stand nicknames because then you never really know the real name of the person that is being referred to.  As cranky as that might have sounded at the time, I think she was onto something.  She insisted on calling her own children by their given first names.  She refused to shorten them when addressing or referring to them.  Robert for her was always Robert and not Bob, Rob, or another variation of the name Robert.

In my quest to find my family, I completely understand why nicknames on census and other source documents are completely confusing.  My granddad's legal, given name was Francis but I see it as Frank everywhere.  That may not be a big deal but it can still throw you off when you're using a picky search engine to locate your ancestors.

I looked up a definition of the word "nickname" and found the following on Wikipedia: "a usually familiar or humorous but sometimes pointed or cruel name given to a person or place, as a supposedly appropriate replacement for or addition to the proper name, or a name similar in origin and pronunciation from the original name."  I further found where nicknames are usually awarded to and not generally chosen by the recipient.  I must admit that a few people have tried to call me Kris and it just doesn't really work for me.

Now, I do have quick cute nicknames for my own children but generally call them by their full first given names.  I am not opposed to nicknames in their entirety.  I refer to Sacramento as "Sactown".  My only wish of past documents is that people would have spelled out legal, given names rather than nicknames.  That's a rather rhetorical request that just can't be filled at this point.  I live with my "keys" and "legends" to help guide my research when it comes to my ancestors' "nick" names.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

My Ancestors At Tulocay Cemetery

The internet can be such a handy tool at times.  In my quest to find my family tree, I found many of my ancestors final resting places at one cemetery in particular.  As was really no surprise, I found them at Tulocay Cemetery in Napa.  The interesting part is the number of people.

While this may not be the most interesting post, it does contain notes that will live online for my future reference.  I can quickly pull these up if and when I make it over the cemetery.  I can also easily share this information with others.

The following are my family members and the basic and/or detailed locations of their final resting places at Tulocay Cemetery.  By the way,  I have four pairs of great great grandparents in this cemetery.

Henry and Anna (Jackel) Borchers - Block 82
Albert Borchers - Block 82 next to Anna and Henry
Herbert and Mary (Vienop) Borchers - Block 1, Upper Section, 282D
Henry and Clara (Borchers) Gruenhagen - Block 104, Row 16, A67 & A66

John H. Vienop - Block 81
Anne Marie Louise (Koch) Vienop - Block 81
Alma P F Vienop - Block 81 (between John and Anne)
J. Henry Vienop - Block 81
Adella (Bruns) Vienop - Block 81
Ernst Vienop - Block 81

The above six Vienop's are buried almost exactly across the cemetery road from Henry and Anna Brochers (Block 82).  Mary (Vienop) Borchers is buried with her husband, Herbert Borchers above.

More Vienop's........

Ernest W. Vienop - Block 1, Upper Section, 114D
Ida M. (Frank) Vienop - Block 1, Upper Section, 114D
Edwin J. and Mageline (Inman) Vienop, Block 1, Upper Section, 283D
Martin L. and Anna Minnie (Vienop) Reidenbach - Block 1, Upper Section, 79D
Esther Reidenbach - Block 1, Upper Section, 79D

Patrick and Kate (O'Brien) Flanagan - Block 82
Agnes Flanagan - Block 82
Edward Flanagan - Block 82
Dr. Leo Flanagan - Block 82
Ignatius Flanagan - Block 82

The above Flanagan's are buried together in block 82 in unmarked graves above Malcom Brown and his wife.

More Flanagan's...............

Louis Flanagan - Block 80
Mary "May" Flanagan - Block 80
Richard Austin Flanagan - Block 80

The above Flanagan's are buried at the base of an oak tree on the premises.

Additional Flanagan's.......................

John Francis Flanagan - Block 153
Mary Elizabeth (McLaughlin) Flanagan - Block 153
Richard J. Flanagan - Block 153
Dorothy (Borchers) Flanagan - Block 153
Gary Richard Flanagan - Block 153
Ellen Maxwell Flanagan - Block 153
Catherine Veronica (Flanagan) Fratessa - Near Block 153
Joseph Fratessa - Near Block 153
Anne (Fratessa) Scoville - Near Block 153

Thomas Michael McLaughlin - Block 131, Lot 18, grave #2
Ellen (Maxwell) McLaughlin - Block 131, Lot 18, grave #1
Catherine "Katie" McLaughlin - Block 131, Lot 18, grave #3
Albert and Ellen (McLaughlin) Heflin

See Mary Elizabeth McLaughlin under the "Additional Flanagan's" .

That's about 43 people that are on my family tree who are buried a Tulocay.  I have either placed or found online memorials on Find A Grave's website.  There are probably more relatives at this cemetery including but not limited to more people on my Vienop side.  I just have not yet pursued the information.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Rerun Friday - Compelling Storytelling

Originally Posted Thursday, May 19, 2011

Compelling Storytelling

What makes a story unique and compelling?  I am almost certain that my high school English teacher would say something like "a story, no matter the length, that pulls people in....draws their attention....peeks their interest......has a draw, a catch, and cleverness about it....something unique or novel......"  The originality of a story or the ability to tell a story in quite a "first time", "can't stop reading or put it down manner" is the goal.   Did I succeed at this in my freshman year of private high school?  Well, not exactly.  I was the star Math student if you can believe that.
When it comes to writing, I am again practicing.  I am praciticing on anyone who reads this blog.  I can only imagine the thoughts of my seventh grade teacher reading this and continually critiquing the grammar.  If only I had her to proofread my writing, I'd be in a grand place.   Back in the 1980s, I'd hear my teachers say that most people write at a "seventh grade level".  I believe that they now write at a "TEXT" level.  That's the result of phones and technology.
Back to compelling storytelling.....When it comes to your own family history, anyone or any story can make you feel proud.  I find that any shred of information that tells me what someone was like interests me when the person is my relative.   I even find other people's family trees interesting.  Does everyone find this information interesting when the people are not apart of their own family tree?  The answer is no. 

What I have grown to realize though is that many, many people do find the story of the discovery process of one's family tree interesting.  To watch someone find their family roots and see the excitement and gratification that it gives them, is entertaining.  This is why the show, "Who Do You Think You Are?", is so popular.  The discovery process and the elation (or sometimes disappointment) that follow is interesting.

Are there any compelling stories in my family history that await me or have I already found some?   I hope to someday find out more about the people on my tree including something about their character, personality, and motivations.  Have I already found at least one compelling story?  Why, yes, I think that I have.  Putting the story together in written form to share with anyone who wants to read it is another thing.

Below is an excerpt from an essay about storytelling.........

Perceiving The Foundation of Storytelling
by Bill Johnson
Revised 12/27/98

A storyteller should to be able to perceive what a story is about at its deepest level, and how to move that to a resolution that offers fulfillment to a story's audience. Understand what about the movement of a story engages the interest, the needs of an audience. Such a writer can better perceive how characters, plot devices and POV work to create a dramatic movement of a story toward its fulfillment. How every element of a story works together in its characters, plot, environment and ideas to make vivid and potent a story's world.

That's why I say that at its heart, a story must have an issue at stake that is of consequence to the story's audience. Something the members of the audience will desire to experience in a state of resolution and fulfillment. Love. Courage. Redemption. Renewal. Some issue that revolves around the aching need of humans to feel they matter, that they have a place in the world.

Now, I think that I have a story.  Can I make it compelling?

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Napa - Threatened Treasures

The list of "Threatened Treasures" in Napa is always interesting to me.  I also like to note that the Flanagan Ranch House is no longer on this list.   It has new life with its remodel.

Enjoy this article from the Napa Valley Register. "Ctrl Click" to get to this link:

Napa "Threatened Treasures"

Saturday, November 3, 2012

The Glos Family

A few months back I found an article about a pioneer family of the Napa Valley.  I'd say specifically in the mountains above Calistoga.  The following is a link to the article.  What struck me as interesting is that they were everyday people making the best of what they had.

Napa Valley Register Article - The Glos Family

Friday, November 2, 2012

Rerun Friday - The Game of "Telephone"

Thursday, March 3, 2011 -  The Game of "Telephone"

When I was a kid, we'd gather a group of people together at a kids party and play the game called "telephone".  The players sat in a circle and whispered a short, detailed story to their immediate neighbor and passed it on.  The short, detailed story would be passed along person by person in the circle until it got back around to the first person that started the story.  The success of this game was that the final message bear little to no resemblance to the original message.   There really was no particular "winner" of the game but the entertainment value was worth it.

The cumulative effect of mistakes and misunderstandings along the communication lines of person to person could completely change the story.  In some cases, the deliberate change of the story was part of the game although this would be considered cheating by most.

So why do I bring this up now?  Well many family stories, plus facts and information, are handed down by families through the years.  Imagine how they can be misconstrued along the way.  I will say that most of the time, families don't intentionally misconstrue information unless they are trying to paint a rosier picture than what really occurred.  

Then there's those "tall tales" as we know.  Not to get overly religious here but the Old Testament of the Bible is a good example of a great story book but, honestly (and I learned this at Catholic school), there are some definite "tall tales" in there.   The lesson learned is what is important in that great book.  For our own family history, we want the lesson to be a historical truth.

At this point, I will cut to the chase.  I have come across lots of historical truths in my quest for my family tree.   I have found a few "tall tales" but many appear to be historical truths once investigated.  That leads me to my latest find.  My Granddad, Francis "Frank" Robert McGuire (1908-1993), had always indicated that there was a Dutchman from New Orleans, Louisiana, somewhere back on the "Roman" side of our family.  He did not have specifics but this is what he remembered being told.  I will admit that his information has been "right on" in my recent discoveries.  Most of his information was just a shred of information but led me down the path of successful discovery.  My regret was that I did not ask him more when he was alive.

Now, I have spent time looking for my "Roman's" (could be Romaine, Rohmann, Rohman, Romain, etc.).  I've looked in New Orleans and New York City.  I think that I found them at 240 Delancy Street, NYC circa 1870-1880.  I also think that later they may have been in Brooklyn or just went to St. Louis Catholic Church there.   I'm not exactly sure.  My great grandmother was Mary Elizabeth Romaine McGuire.  Her married name was McGuire, of course.  Her parents were Joseph Romaine ("Roman") and Frances Lakervine (or was it Luchwurm, Lendevorson, or Lindeaurm).   Frances my have been Francesca too.  Your guess is as good as mine on her last name.  Was she Dutch?

I don't know if Joseph Romaine or Francis Lakervine were Dutch or related to a Dutchman from New Orleans.  What I am starting to discover though in my searches on is Deutschland.  That is Germany in the German language.  I have found it time and time again on U.S. Census.  Does this location really refer to those from Germany or were they Dutch from Holland.  I don't know but it certainly begs the questions that I have especially when it pops up on my potential ancestors' information.

So am I as lost as ever?  Were my relatives Dutch or from Deutschland?  Was it written down wrong on U.S. Census?  I seek the truth here and add one more thought.  

My thought is about prejudice and segregation in New York City when my grandparents were young and, I'm sure, before then.  My father grew up in Franklin Square, New York.  If you have ever been there, it's a small town/location just off the Hempstead Turnpike in Nassau County, on Long Island.  Like the neighboring Levittown, NY, it is "wall-to-wall" houses.  Levittown was the "original" suburbia type community.  Franklin Square is not much different.

While you can say this is suburbia and a mixture of people who originated in "The City", there was still prejudice to an extent.  My grandparents would admittedly say that they were the only Irish family living on a street with a bunch of Germans.  They felt rather separate from their German neighbors and maybe that was because of their own prejudice.  That does sound bad as I write it down but was a sign of the times (1930-40s) and their upbringing.

Knowing that my Irish family differentiated themselves so strongly from the German families, makes me wonder if someone in the family was trying to cover up some true family roots.  I am just throwing this out here as a possibility and one of the "secrets" that my family took to their graves.  I really don't know the truth but so want to find out.

As you can imagine, this leads me to a comparison to the game "telephone".  How much was the information changed from person-to-person and was it deliberately "tweaked" to paint a rosier picture?  Today, I must admit that acceptance of diversity is important, commonplace in my life, and should be everywhere in the U.S. and the world.

Will I find the historical truths about my Romaine's?  I hope so but for now I've written down the "telephone" person by person version of my family history.