Sunday, January 29, 2012

Working Until The End: Ida Mae "Tillie" Henderson

In today's "handout" world, where people are paid to do virtually nothing, it's always uplifting to read a story about someone who worked hard all their lives, right up until the end.
My favorite obituary from this week's Kansas City Star is for Ida Mae "Tillie" Henderson.  Godspeed, Tillie!

Ida Mae "Tillie" Henderson
Ida Mae "Tillie" Henderson, 81, Overland Park, KS, passed away suddenly at home on January 25, 2012.  Visitation will be from 1-3:00 p.m., Monday, January 30, with a Memorial Service following at 3:00 p.m. at McGilley & Hoge Chapel, 8024 Santa Fe Drive, Overland Park, KS.  Memorial contributions may be made to Susan G. Koman for the Cure (breast cancer awareness) at donor
Tillie was born January 29, 1930 in Benton County, Arkansas, to Marksu Lafayette and Rose Erman Douglas-Tilford.  Tillie moved to Kansas City in 1950.  She met and married Herschel O. Henderson in 1954.  In 1962, Tillie gave birth to her only child, Tanya.  Starting her career as a beautician in 1967, she worked at Jones Store salons for 25 years, then continued her enjoyment of her customers at her own salon until her death.
She was preceded in death by her parents, husband, and nine siblings.  She is survived by:  her daughter, Tanya; her identical twin, Betty Lou (Scott) Wilson; their daughters Gail (George) Schlagel, Julie (Justo) Sibala; and many nieces and nephews.
Tillie's competitive spirit fed her love of both Dominoes and Politics!  Her other passions included sewing, cooking, and puzzle solving.  Please offer condolences at

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Happy Anniversary, Grandma and Grandpa

Today would have been my grandparent's (Floyd and Mildred Gannan Robertson) 78th wedding anniversary.  They came from farming families in the small, tight-knit communities of Harrison County, Missouri, and both died in St. Louis, Missouri, my grandfather first in 1986; my grandmother followed in 2004.  They were both hard working, loving, and caring individuals, and I miss them terribly.
This is a photo that was taken in 1958 on a warm, sunny St. Louis day.  I love how young and vibrant they look.
Happy anniversary, Grandma and Grandpa!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Favorite Obituary - Mary Ann (Disciacca) McCall - Meatballs!!

My favorite obituary from this week's Sunday Kansas City Star was that of Mary Ann (Disciacca) McCall.   There was a lovely photo of Mrs. McCall (she reminded me of my grandmother, which is what caught my eye in the first place).  The lesson to be learned from Mrs. McCall's obituary is that everyone leaves behind a unique legacy, whether it be something big, or something small.  Godspeed, Mrs. McCall!

Mary Ann (Disciacca) McCall
Mary Ann McCall, 83, a Northland resident in Kansas City, Mo., passed away Thursday evening, January 19, 2012, at the NorthCare Hospice House.  She was born May 17, 1928, in Kansas City to Frank and Mamie (Scola) Disciacca.  She graduated from Glennon High School in Kansas City.
Mary Ann had been a member of St. Therese Parish in Parkville since it was founded in 1951.  She worked in the Early Education Center at St. Therese for  many years.  She was a constant contributor to the family business, Papa Franks and Frank's Italian Restaurant in Parkville, Mo.  Over the years Mary Ann made thousands of meatballs.  She made them for family, friends, former Governor's and Congressman, her church and the restaurant.  She was very family oriented and had a great love for her God, family and friends.
She married James W. McCall on July 3, 1955, in Kansas City.  He preceded her in death.  In addition to her husband, she was preceded in death by her parents; a son, Frank T. McCall; a brother, Joe and his wife Marie; a sister, Angie Musso and her husband Shano.  
Survivors include three sons, James E. McCall and wife Patricia (Pie) of Parkville, Donald W. McCall and wife Kelly of Phoenix, Ariz., Mark T. McCall of Higginsville, Mo.; a daughter, Judith A. McCall of Higginsville; five grandchildren, Sean Gray, Daniel McCall, Luke Gray, Brent McCall and Tyler McCall; two great grandchildren, McKenna and Mason Gray; brothers-in-law, Tom McCall and wife Barbara and John McCall and wife Marily; and a host of nieces, nephews and extended family members and friends.
The body will lie-in-state and friends may pay their respects on Monday, Jan. 23, at the Meyers Northland Chapel in Parkville.  The rosary will be recited at 3 p.m. and the family will receive friends from 4 to 8 p.m.  The Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Tuesday, at St. Therese Catholic Church with Rev. Joe Cisetti as celebrant.  Interment will follow at Mt. Olivet Cemetery.  In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions are suggested to the Higginsville State School in care of Patriots Bank in Parkville.
Memories of Mary Ann and condolences may be left with the family at

Saturday, January 21, 2012

DAR Workshop

I was a history major in college, with a special interest in the American Revolution and political science.  As a result, one of my genealogy goals has always been to join the Daughters of the American Revolution.  Ten years after I picked up the family history research where my mother and grandfather left  off, that goal remains unfulfilled.
One of my goals for 2012 is to successfully complete the DAR application process, and I took a major step forward today by attending a workshop hosted by several local DAR chapters.  I brought along my worksheet and all the documents I thought could be used as proof.  As it turns out, I still have some homework to do, but am looking forward to completing the process and becoming a DAR member.
I'm really interested in DAR as an organization that promotes patriotism, the preservation of American history, and especially the out-reach to today's youth regarding what it means to be an American.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Man's Best Friend - by Guest Blogger John

Today's post is brought to you by my brother, John.

In honor of John's post, here's a photo of my dog, Pete, who died last year, getting hugs from my grandson Jack.

Often i sit and peer into the eyes of my faithful companion Winston. He's a handsome young fellow. I managed to save him from an animal shelter up north from where I live. I often wonder as i stare at him what he sees when he stares back at me. After all, dogs have been blessed with the ability to read human emotions through our facial expressions. And we too, as humans, sometimes seem to be able to read the expressions on our companions face. We've allowed them to become part of our families. We let them live in our homes, share our food, some even share our beds at night. We keep them as pets, but they always become so much more to us. They share in our joy, comfort us in our sorrows, feel our pains of suffering, and delight in our happiness. And even though they become so much to us, we often forget to mention them in any of our writings. I wonder what my faithful friend would write about me in his daily journal. He seems to sit and study me all the time. He follows me everywhere. He's always overjoyed to see me when i come home. He's there no matter if i'm happy or sad. So i wonder what he sees when he stares back at me. No journal would be complete without mentioning his name everyday. He'd gladly share my burdens if he could. He'd give his life for mine. He's worthy of me writing his name so others can share in the joy he brings my family. So when you're writing in your journal, don't forget to include your faithful friend. I'm sure they'd write about you.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

This Week's Favorite Obituary - Ouita Maxine Tomlin

I'm sure I'm not alone when I confess to a love of the obituary section of my Sunday newspaper.  There was an obituary in today's paper that caught my eye.  I never had the pleasure of meeting Mrs. Tomlin, but her obituary really brings her to life for me.

Ouita Maxine Tomlin
Ouita Maxine Tomlin, 95, Kansas City, MO, died Jan. 12, 2012.  A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 17 at Grand Court, 501 West 107 Street Kansas City, MO.  In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Brookdale ISC Hospice, 9201 Foster St., Overland Park, KS 66212.
Ouita was the second of three daughters (Winona and Elsie) born to Bula Teel.  She enjoyed 45 years of marriage with second husband C.E. Tomlin who preceded her in death.  She is survived by her son, Stephen, and daughter-in-law, Peggy, KCMO; and grandchildren, Cindy, Mark and Charlene, all of Chicago, IL.  Ouita considered having three children, but after the birth of her son, she knew she would never do any better.
She was a child of the Great Depression and thus had a tremendous work ethic.  Student, soda jerk at Katz, wife, mother, sales clerk, single mom, executive secretary - these were just a few of her many hats.  Even in her later years, she practiced her ABC's - always bingo, always cards and always caring for others.
Special thanks to the staff at Brookdale Communities Grand Court of Kansas City, Freedom Pointe in Overland Park and the Hospice team from ISC.  Her longevity was aided by the aptly-named geriatric specialist Dr. Stanley Sharp.  He is and she was.
Condolences may be offered at

Friday, January 13, 2012

My Brother Has A Few Great Ideas - Part Two

I was chatting with my brother John the other day, and the topic turned to "junk."  Junk, as in everyone's basement and attic seems to be full of it, and no one knows what to do with it.  The "junk" discussion then turned into a bitch session between siblings regarding our dad's habit of holding onto family heirlooms and objects with sentimental value without any regard for their preservation.
My mom died when I was in high school, and after my dad remarried, he boxed up the reminders of his first life and stashed them into the basement.  Over the years, my brothers and I have asked for certain items, only to be told, "You can have them after I'm dead," or "I'm not ready to let you have that just yet."   Unfortunately, stashing the items in the basement was not a great idea, and after years of exposure to the moisture and temperature extremes, most of the items are ruined (including my mother's wedding dress).
Unfortunately, my son and daughter-in-law don't seem to be interested in family heirlooms, and I'm struggling with the dilemma of what to do with items I don't want to see leave the family.  Do I hang onto them in the hopes that my grandson will some day be interested?  Do I pass them along to my cousins or nieces/nephews?  My brother has already talked to his step-daughter about what items she might be interested in, what keepsakes she wants from her childhood home.
I would be interested to hear from fellow genealogists regarding your plans to preserve family heirlooms.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

My Brother Has A Few Great Ideas - Part One

I have three wonderful brothers, one of whom (John) is closer in age to me than the other two.  He, like me, feels the pull of mortality and the desire to leave a written record behind for future generations.

I was chatting with John yesterday, and the subject naturally turned to genealogy.  He and my sister-in-law, Ginny, had spent quite a bit of time a few years ago traveling around cemeteries in northwestern Missouri, taking photographs of our ancestors' gravestones.  In recent years, his job has kept him too busy to continue with his family history pursuits.
John mentioned that for the past several years, he has been keeping a hand-written journal that documents his daily life, mixed in with stories of our childhood.   While this isn't a new idea, it's certainly one that I hadn't really considered because of my love of technology and digital records.
I recently saw a blog post from a fellow family historian (sorry, can't remember whose or else I would link to it here!) that asked if anyone has found handwritten documents from ancestors.  In my case, the answer is unfortunately no.  Imagine how wonderful it must be to uncover a handwritten journal or letter from one of your ancestors!
I plan to take my brother's advice and start a handwritten journal.  I don't think it has to be anything elaborate, just something that future generations can have as a reminder that we were more than just names and dates.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Paying It Forward

Several years ago, I purchased a family history volume, "Evans Family, Originating in that part of Frederick County, Virginia, which is now in Berkely County, West Virginia, 1700-1983," by Marjorie Stewart Tucker, hopeful that it would contain some mention of my own Evans line.   Ms. Tucker's family originated with two brothers, Isaac and John Evans, who were first mentioned in Virginia Land Grants in 1751.
Unfortunately, my Evans line from northern Missouri did not intersect with the Evans brothers, so the book has proven to be of no value to me.  Even so, I decided to make the volume available to others for research purposes, and have received several requests resulting from posts I made on the internet.
I know everyone is busy with their own research, but isn't it great when you find that one person who has a key piece of information and is willing to share it with you?  I'm a big fan of "paying it forward," so if you have something to share with other researchers, I hope you will take the opportunity to do so!!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Don't Overlook Local University/College Libraries

There is an excellent article by Tami Osmer Glatz in the February 2012 edition of Family Tree Magazine called "It's Academic."  Below is an excerpt:

You never quite know what you might find in your local college or university library.  For example, the one at Marietta College, a small private college in southeast Ohio, has the original 1810 census for that part of the Buckeye State.  It's the only complete 1810 census known to exist for any part of the state.  Another gem:  A 1798 tax list for Waterford Township in Washington County, Ohio.  Not only did this particular tax-man list freemen, lodgers, servants, land and other taxable possessions, but if you flip to the back of the booklet, you'll see he included the names of every person - even women and children - in each household.

In the article, Ms. Glatz includes links to many on-line resources, such as:

Making of America Collection:
Ohio's Heritage Northeast,
West Virginia University's library,
University of Iowa Digital Library,

I have never used a university or college library for genealogy research, but after reading Ms. Glatz's article, realize I may have overlooked an excellent research resource.

Ms. Glatz also has a very information blog called Relatively Curious About Genealogy,

Monday, January 2, 2012

Amaneunsis Monday - February 1925 DAR Magazine, Davidson County, TN Marriage Records

In a fit of cleaning out my pile of genealogy magazines, I ran across one that must have belonged to my mother.  It's the Volume 59, Number 2, February 1925, Daughters of the American Revolution Magazine.  I have no idea why my mom would have saved it; I've looked through it and don't see any connections to our family.  It did have a couple of interesting articles, along with an abstract of some marriage records of Davidson County, TN, partially included below:

Marriage Records of Davidson County, Tennessee
Continued from August, 1923, Magazine
Copied by Penelope J. Allen

Page 31
James Everett to Lettie Ridley, May 5, 1792
Richard Frenleyson to Elizabeth Black, May 18, 1793
Hi Turner to Martha Lancaster, Dec 13, 1788
Jeremiah Moore to Nancy Slaton, May 30, 1796
John L. Mishler to Mary Cassellman, May 1, 1791
John Hamilton to Sarah Lucas, Apr 10, 1794
Amos Moore to Margaret Neely, Sept 17, 1791
James McCutcheon to Elizabeth Dean, Apr 23, 1792
George McLane to Parmelia Davidson, July 20, 1789
Patrick McCutcheon to Hannah Marshall, Mar 24, 1789

Page 32
Robert White to Nancy Hays, Jan 7, 1789
William Ray to Mary Meenees, July 20, 1791
William Nash to Polly Evans, June 5, 1790
Elijah Gowers to Prudence Coon, Dec 22, 1790
David Smith to Beauty Fort, ---, 1791
Aquilla Carmack to Eunice Williams, June 15, 1791
Samuel Edmiston to Nellie Dean, March 23, 1791
Luke Anderson to Elizabeth Shaffer, Aug 1, 1794
Evan Tracy to --- Taylor, Aug 6, 1794
Henry Robertson to Margaret Bradshaw, Apr 3, 1793

The information continues on through 1802.

There is so much information on-line these days that it's easy to forget how volunteers hand transcribed old records and published them for use by other family historians.   It inspires me to take part in one of the many indexing/transcription projects that benefit all of us.

I'm sure this information must be available on-line, but if it's not and you are interested in the additional information contained in the article, please let me know.