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Saturday, April 27, 2013

Spring Break for MYOG

MYOG is taking a Spring break for a week.  This blogger has just completed the editing of a school yearbook, planted the garden, and is in the middle of First Communion party planning.  Let's not forget to mention that swim team just started too.  Fun and games!  So, it is "Spring Break" for MYOG.  More posts soon.................

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

What's Hot In Genealogy!

Blogging about anything that you're interested has been a trend for several years and that includes genealogy.  What I have found is that my own desire to blog ebbs and flows.  Some of my posts have a lot of meat to them while others are anecdotal with a bit of fun.  Overall, my blog posts form my family tree diary.  I keep on writing and doing research as I have time.

I recently looked up the "10 Genealogy Blogs Worth Reading".  Now, the article is not dated online so who really knows when it was written.  About half of the blogs listed are truly interesting and up-to-date.  I find it disappointing that the search engine did produce this article as a top result but several of these blogs have not been posted to in quite a while including one that has not been touched since 2009.  I guess that how's it goes with genealogy and blogging, in general.

Ancestry.com has also been a big trend in genealogy for the past couple of years.  I jumped on that bandwagon in 2010 and produced several lines of my family tree on this site.  Did I finish and have I edited all of the people added to the tree with source documents?  The answer is "no" to that question.  While you can fly through developing an family tree on Ancestry.com and accept hints like crazy, it may not be real accurate.  In our day and age, people do want things to be done quickly.  Forming a family tree really shouldn't be done that quickly.  It is a process.  "It's a marathon, not a sprint!"

"It's a marathon, not a sprint!"

I was sad to see "Who Do You Think You Are?" on the NBC's cancelled list.  However, TLC may pick up this series and continue to produce it.  This will be a "wait and see".  Another show about genealogy that I tired watching was called "Finding Your Roots" on PBS.  I must admit this is a bit of a "snoozer".  The enticing point of "Who Do You Think You Are?" is the storytelling part of the program with the elation of the discovery process.  "Finding Your Roots" misses the storytelling arc that peeks people's interest with some suspense and elation of finding their family origins.  A little drama can go a long way to inspiring people to seek out their own family history.

DNA gives me mixed emotions and results.  I think the jury is still out on whether it was worth submitting my husband's DNA to Ancestry.com.  They are still building their database of DNA samples.  The best that my husband's matches have produced are 4th to 6th cousins.  They may as well be my next door neighbor because that gets to be pretty distant and hard to nail down.  Heck, none of those people even have a common surname indicated for my husband.  I think we will need to wait awhile on more submissions.

Last Spring, I spent some time trying to locate the graves of my ancestors.  I even visited a few cemeteries myself with my children tagging along.  I did find a large number of my ancestors at one cemetery in Napa, CA.  I posted my information at Find A Grave.  You can almost build your family tree right on that site based on cemetery plots.  It is public information and somewhat interesting.  Lately, I've given up posting anything else on that site.  At least the information is out there for future reference.

My own hot topic is finding photos of my ancestors.  I love, love photos!  They are an amazing find and a window into the past.  A picture does say a thousand words and it helps if you know who is in the photo.

Circa early 1930s
 Leonard Gruenhagen, Dorothy Borchers, Louise "Bruns" Gruenhagen,
 Ruth Gruenhagen, and  "A Living" Borchers
If anyone is reading this, do share what you consider your "hot topic" in genealogy these days!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Carneros School - 1 Room

There have been many times while working on my family tree when I think, "Well, that probably about it.  I don't think that I will find any new information.  I've exhausted my family records for now."  Then, I am reminded of my grandfather's favorite thing to say in the face of some needed patience.  He always used to say, "wait awhile".

I really wasn't waiting for or expecting the following photo.  My mom showed up with it a few weeks ago and I almost immediately posted it on my Facebook page.  The back side of the photo indicates "Carneros School - 1 Room - 9 Grades - Abt. 1907 or 08 - Across this road from the social hall and store."  Then the photo has every single person identified.

Carneros School, Napa, CA

So, where did this photo come from and who is in it?  My mom seems to think that her cousin Anne made the copy or print of this and that Aunts Kay and Ellen had made sure that the teacher in the photo had identified all of her students.  

Initially, I thought the "May Flanagan" indicated as the teacher was our Aunt Mary Catherine Flanagan one of my great grandfather's sisters and daughter of Patrick and Kate Flanagan.  When you look closer at the photo, you see a fairly tall woman in the back with dark hair.  Knowing that Aunt Mary taught in San Francisco and that based on other photos she was much shorter and had lighter hair, I can ascertain that the teacher is not Aunt Mary.

I have other photos of Aunt Mary and of the other Mary Flanagan who was rather tall for a woman, and she was a teacher in Napa.  Minnie Flanagan (Mary Elizabeth McLaughlin) was my great grandmother and the teacher in this photo.

The photo may look small on the screen here but I am amazed with the clarity even after I scanned it into my computer.  The back row is left to right:  Russell Murr, Roy Bentley, Albert Raina, Harry Murr, Edgar Geiseke, Stella Brown, Jim Sunnafrank, Madeline Witt, Walter Theilig, Olive Burdick, Louis Kiser, Raymond Raina, May Flanagan (Teacher), Frances Mitchell, Emma Neuenschwander, May Sunnafrank.  The front row from left to right:  Chas. Kiser, Malcolm Brown, Ferdinand Kiser, Henry Zweifel, Lena Oesch, Mathilda Raina, Florence Theilig, Harry Swanson, Volney Murr, Royal Norquist, Simeon Williams, Chris Murr, Fred Raina. 

The details of this photo come through as a result of the identification of every person and the location plus approximate date of the photo.  It is a wonderful discovery that I didn't know my mother had in her things.

It is interesting to note that these children represent the family farmers of the time in the Carneros District in Napa.  My own mother recognizes several of the names.  I even recognize the name "Malcolm Brown" as a man of the same name and is wife are buried at Tulocay Cemetery adjacent to my great great grandparents', Pat and Kate Flanagan, unmarked graves.  

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Family Tree Snap Shot - For My Children

The following is a photo collection for my children of all of their great grandparents:

The Flanagan's 
Dorothy Borchers Flanagan

Richard Josseph Flanagan

The McGuire's 
Josephine Hickey McGuire
Francis Robert McGuire

The Ross' 
Evelyn Turner Ross
George Washington Ross

The Elser's
Edward Elser and Marie Ward Elser