Monday, January 31, 2011

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History - Week #5: Food

Week 5: Favorite Food. What was your favorite food from childhood? If it was homemade, who made it? What was in this dish, and why was it your favorite? What is your favorite dish now?

I don't recall a special meal or dish that really stood out while we were growing up.  The one food related event that does stand out is the relatively rare times we went out to eat.  My parents didn't take us out to eat very often, but when they did it felt like something very special.

My favorite place I believe was Crystals.  It was a spaghetti/pizza place and we always had a fun time there.  One room had a large screen TV and we would watch movies like The 7th Voyage of Sinbad or sports bloopers.  For our birthdays, we'd get a cake with a sparkler in it but I don't recall all the staff singing 
happy birthday.

This may be the reason I am not really a fan of going out to eat at the drop of a hat.  For me, going out to a restaurant should be something special, something out of the ordinary.  I feel if you go out too often or because you feel lazy and don't want to cook, then frankly going out loses its appeal.  

It's also why when I do go out I would rather go out to a proper restaurant than a fast food joint.  If it is a choice between fast food and staying at home with peanut butter and jelly, I will almost always choose that latter.  

Motivation Monday -Those Troublesome Autrey's

I am currently working on my NGS-home study course lesson 2 and am starting to obsess on it a little.  This assignment involves analyzing a family story.

The basic story is that we are distantly related to a certain singing cowboy from back in the day.  Other Autrey family searchers seem convinced that the story is true, however in my search so far I have been unable to confirm their findings.

Here is what I need to do this week:

1. Stop obsessing over which Cornelius is the likely common ancestor.

2. Don't worry about having a cite for each and every believed fact.
The point of this exercise to to evaluate what I have uncovered,
not to prove something beyond a reasonable doubt.

3. Cover the highlights of the story and whether they mesh with the     facts.

4. Write the summary, no more than two pages, and submit it.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Space Shuttle Challenger-25 years ago

I was in my senior year of high school when this happened.  I recall just getting out of class and walking into the library and noticing a TV on a cart out in front of the check out desk so some could watch the launch.  A we walked towards the desk to see what was going on, a  girl who was already there called out to someone near me, "hey, the space shuttle exploded!"  For some reason, as she told her friend she was laughing as though it was comical.

Mr. Burger, our economics/government teacher yelled at the girl, "you think this is funny!" She quickly changed expression and looked down and hopefully realized the gravity of what happened.  Mr. Burger was in the Teachers in Space program though I have no idea how far he got.  He was, I believe, and ex air force person so I assume he was in the running.

Growing up, I recall the birth and development of the shuttle.  Up to that point space flight was magical and the fact that this one had a teacher on board was very exciting. It seemed to me like we would soon be living Star Trek.  This brought home how truly dangerous space travel could be.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Home: 52 Years of Personal Genealogy and History - Week 4.

This is the fourth challenge in a weekly series from GeneaBloggers called 52 weeks of personal genealogy and  history, suggested  by Amy Coffin,  that invite genealogists to record memories and insights about their own lives for future descendants.  Week 4 - Home   

The first house I remember was in the Hallmark neighborhood of Fort Worth, Texas.  It was a 4 bedroom house and we lived there pretty much from the time we started school until we all moved out.  My parents finally sold the place about 15 years ago because the neighborhood started going down hill.  I was in Fort Worth visiting my parents over Thanksgiving and was going to Home Depot with my mom.  It was near the old neighborhood, so we drove by the house. 

The yard was mostly dirt and dead grass and mom remarked on how hard dad worked to keep the yard looking nice.  The windows and doors now had bars over them, but other than that the outside didn't look too different. 

This was the house where we played football in the street and rode our bikes everywhere.  The elementary school we attended was about a quarter of a mile and groups of us would walk or bike to and from  the school.  The backyard was large and we often played various sports or climbed the monkey bars or played on the swing or in the sandbox my father built.

Inside the house were 2 rooms towards the back which were my parents and eventually my sisters.  The other 2 at the front I first shared with my older brother then with the younger one.  It had long shag carpeting which we would rather lay on than sit on the furniture. 

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Droid camera phone

Last weekend I visited my parents in Fort Worth and "discovered" that my father had the Bible that belonged to my grandmother Sample.  I never realized he had it and was excited to look through it and see what genealogical tidbits I could get from it.  Unfortunately,  it really did not contain very much.  The only thing written in was my grandmothers death.

The one thing I did find was her obituary.  It was cut out, but did not include which paper it was in, when it was published or the date of death.  

It did contain some good information, such as where buried, her age and date of birth.  With this information, I was able to find her in, which for some reason, when I searched for her a while back, I didn't find the listing.  With this, and the date written in the Bible, it gave me enough information to go on. 

My father did mention that it most likely appeared in either the Little River News or the Texarkana Gazette.  So now I have what I need to find the paper and verify the date it was published.  I just need to either try to get it through ILL or find where archives are kept in Arkansas and plan a research trip.

I didn't want to take it with me, so I thought I'd try to take a picture with my Droid phone and see how it would work.  I took a picture and emailed it to myself.  I was very surprised at how good the image came out.  I have an older Kodak digital camera, and have tried to take pictures of pages from a book and never was able to get as good or as clear a shot.  It was either blurry, too light, too dark, etc.   I was planning on buying a scanner for my research, but for now, I'll just rely on my camera and copy machines.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

NGS-Home Study Course-Lesson 1

I just completed lesson 1 and it's on the way to be graded. This lesson was to create a pedigree chart and family group sheet with citations. I figured this assignment would be a breeze, but it turns out, the little genealogy I had done in the past was not done with any system in place.

I had small pieces of paper with little notes scribbled that I couldn't figure out what they meant. I had copies of pages from books that had no information about the source, and if it did, it had important items missing like page numbers, etc.

I did refer to Elizabeth Shown Mills’ book Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace, which made it much easier. Now I just have to sit back and wait. Oh, and start the next lesson.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History - Cars

Cars. What was your first car? Describe the make, model and color, but also any memories you have of the vehicle. You can also expand on this topic and describe the car(s) your parents drove and any childhood memories attached to it.
This is an especially appropriate topic as I just bought a new (to me) car yesterday.

I have never been a big car person and would be happy depending on my bicycle, legs and public transportation. Unfortunately, in Texas, you pretty much have to have one.

My first car was a 1979 white 4 door Mercury Zephyr. Around 1983 it was decided that my grandfather was not really able to drive any longer, so since my older brother had a car and I just received my license the car went to me. I do not recall and was never told how my grandfather reacted to this but I think it went fairly smoothly. While I enjoyed having it and being able to go where I wanted to without relying on others, I felt a little bad that my grandparents were now in the position of having to rely on others.

Whenever I would visit my grandparents, my grandmother would always ask how the car was doing. My grandfather by that point was losing his battle with alzheimers and never mentioned it.

I had the car for the rest of high school and it served me well. Since I was a little older than my classmates, I was the car guy until others started getting theirs. I then learned that I definitely prefer being the passenger and not the one with the keys. Since the car was a 4 door with bench seats, I could always fit more people in mine than most of my friends who had trucks, hatchbacks or sports cars. Every car I have had since then has been small so I rarely end up having to be the driver.

I believe it was just after graduation, before I figured out what to do next that the car started having problems. When I decided to go to Lubbock for school, a good 7-8 hour drive, we traded it in for a newer, more reliable car.

A more positive memory I have is of my parents blue station wagon that they had for more than 10 years during the 70s and 80s. Don't remember the make, but it was the car that I saw my only drive-in movie in. It was probably my 10th birthday and my parents asked me what I wanted to do. I wanted to see Godzilla Vs. Megalon at the drive-in. My father tried to talk me out of it, but I wouldn't budge. They gave in and we went. I recall my father pulling into the spot backwards so we could open the back door and us kids sat there watching the movie. My parents sat in the front seat and I have no memory of what they did other than bring us drinks and popcorn shortly after the movie started. I'm guessing that just sat there and dozed while we saw the epic masterpiece.

Shortly after that the theater began showing X-rated movies then eventually closed down.

Monday, January 10, 2011

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History - Winter

Week 2: Winter. What was winter like where and when you grew up? Describe not only the climate, but how the season influenced your activities, food choices, etc.

Growing up in Fort Worth, Texas we generally had mild winters.  On the rare occasions it would snow, it usually gone by the next day. 

The one thing we would specifically do during winter is that my mother would mix up some spiced tea which we would drink on the weekends sitting by the fireplace usually watching football.  Everything else was pretty much business as usual.

The one thing we did get at least once a year, so it seems, was ice.  Of course with it would come the stories of how people in Texas cannot drive on ice and the inevitable, some guy just threw hot water on their windshield.  I never remember it being so cold that we didn't venture outside at some point.  Even when we were hit with ice and schools were closed, we'd still be on the street playing football at some point.  Usually most of the ice was sanded and melting.  It did make the games a little more exciting when we'd hit an ice patch or slip in the slush by the curb.

We never really had full seasons.  It seemed to go from summer immediately into winter.  We did have coats, hats and gloves, but often had on only a shirt underneath.  By mid afternoon, the coats were slung over our shoulders or on the ground as we went about whatever we were up to. 

Trees quickly lost their leaves and grass turned to the color of hay.  I recall one year, going into the backyard for some reason and looking up.  There in the large tree was Superman hanging in a weird angle, arms outstretched as if flying towards the ground.  On another branch were tied Captain Kirk and Barbie waiting for Superman to arrive.  Who knows how long they'd been up there, and forget about any future resale value.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

What I Learned Today

Today I learned that proper citations are our friends.  I found on Roots Web a nice transcription of a family Bible that includes one of my ancestors birthdays.  That with a couple of census records verify at least the month and the year. 

Unfortunately, no other information about the source was included other than it was the George Washington Webb & Elizabeth Gant family Bible.  I tried to email the original poster but since the message was from 1999 it was unsurprisingly returned.  I have contacted a few distant cousins who are also working on this line in hopes that they have a little more information on this source.

And I thought the  first assignment in the NGS Home Study Course would be a cinch.

Now I'm just repeating to myself, "cite your sources, cite your sources" until it sticks.

NGS Home Study Course-lesson 1

I finally received the first disc for the NGS Home Study Course and am currently working on the first assignment.  My Webb line is the one I probably have the most information on so I figured it would be a breeze, especially first starting out.

I already had the pedigree chart pretty much filled out but I hadn't done any family group sheets.  I don't have a genealogy software program yet because I am still planning on buying an Apple that I plan to use primarily for genealogy.  Hopefully if things go right I should be able to get it soon.  So right now I just need to figure out how to export the form into Word so I can work on it.

I also have learned that I really need to work on my organization.  Unfortunately, I do almost everything the introductory section of  lesson 1 says not to do.  I have notes scribbled on small scraps of paper.  I have sheets of paper with multiple names from different family lines written in no order.  So in order to find my citations, I have to go through several folders and loose pieces of paper to find what I need.  This is helping because when I find a citation, I now double check the cite for accuracy and put it in its proper location so I don't have to waste time in the future shuffling paper.

The sad part is that I thought I was fairly organized, and after seeing the organization skills of some others I probably am.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History - New Year's Memories

Did your family have any New Year’s traditions? How was the New Year celebrated during your childhood? Have you kept these traditions in the present day?

I really don't recall any specific traditions that we followed. I do recall my father either eating or saying we should get some black-eyed peas but am not sure if we ever did.  My parents were never much for going out to parties especially on New Years because of all the drunks on the road as my mother would remind us and still does.  In fact, that may be one of the reasons I'm not really inclined to going out on New Years unless it's an informal get together of friends.