Sunday, February 26, 2012

1940 US Census

I can't believe it's been 10 years since the 1930 US Census was released!  As my parents were born in the 1930's, this will be the first time they've been visible in a census record.

Because there won't be a name index at time of release, the 1940 US Census will present us with a different challenge:  narrowing down  the Enumeration District.

The National Archives' website has some great suggestions regarding how to prepare for searching in the 1940 US Census, including: 1) make a list of people you will be looking for; 2) find their address in 1940 using several different resources such as city directories and WWII draft records; 3) then identifying the 1940 Enumeration District.

In addition, Steve Morse's website  has three different utilities you can use to find the 1940 Enumeration District.

April 2 will be here before you know it, so get busy making that list of people you want to locate in the 1940 US Census!!   Also, sign up for the 1940 US Census Community Project at

Sunday Obituary, Charles C. McAmis - Plan like you live forever, live like you will die tomorrow

Today's obituary from the Kansas City Star was obviously written with a lot of love and care by his children and grandchildren.  I love the tag line:  "Another of the Greatest Generation returns to Home Port."  Godspeed, Charles!

Charles C. McAmis
Another of the Greatest Generation returns to Home Port
Charles C. McAmis, age 92, died February 17, 2012, of hear failure.
He was born September 4 in Cushing, Okla., to parents Jessie Oscar Alnzo and Josephine Prisella (Tisdale) McAmis.
He grew up during the Great Depression.  When he was 10 years old, he "rode" the rails with his dad looking for work.  Moving from town to town over three years he was placed in the third grade three times.  Finally in the next town he convinced them he should be in the sixth grade.  They were run out of town a couple of times because his Dad made bootleg beer.  One time his sister, Opal and he had to quickly dump the beer down the drain when the house was raided.
They finally settled in Hotchkiss, Colorado.  While in high school he herded sheep in the high country wearing only jeans, an unlined jean jacket and regular shoes.
He graded from Hotchkiss High School in June of 1939.  He enlisted in the US Navy in January 1940.  He said he joined because he was seeing a married woman and the husband found out and said he would shoot dad the next time he saw him.  Since he was the county pistol champ, dad knew he wouldn't miss and got out of town.
After boot camp at San Diego, he was stationed in Hawaii.  He was then ordered to the light cruiser USS Boise CL47.  The Boise was in the Phillippines and part of the Asiatic Fleet when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor.  They spent the next several weeks escorting civilian ships past the Japanese blockade.  During one mission, the Boise hit an uncharted coral reef, causing extensive damage that required a return to the States for repairs.
One of his sisters, Jewel, had moved to Liberal, Kan., so he went there on leave and met and married the love of his life, Mary Francis Brier of Liberal on June 4, 1942.  He boarded a train to return to his ship immediately after the wedding.  Upon his return to the ship it got underway for Guadalcanal.
The Japanese had decimated two other task forces that tried to stop the Tokyo Express that resupplied the Japanese and shelled the Marines at Henderson Field.  On October 11, near midnight, the task force consisting of several destroyers, light and heavy cruisers intercepted the Japanese task force.  With the use of the newly developed radar they were able to cross the "T" and for the first time in the war delivered a serious blow to the Japanese Navy.  They stopped the Tokyo Express that night for the first time.  It was known as the Battle of Cape Esperance.  However, the Boise was seriously damaged in the exchange with the loss of 107 men.  During his time in the Pacific, he was credited with downing two Japanese planes while manning a 20mm gun was was wounded twice.
After the Boise returned to the Phillippines ship yard for repair, dad was assigned to a destroyer escort that part of hunter, killer submarine task force in the Atlantic.  As the end of WWII came to an end and he was stationed on an aircraft repair ship on Okinawa awaiting the invasion of Japan.  By this time he had been promoted to Chief Warrant Officer WO4 Bos'n.  He was offered a commission but by 1947, he decided to leave the Navy he loved due to family obligations.  Returning to Liberal he, like most of the WWII generation, put the war behind them and got on with their lives.  He went to work for Panhandle Eastern Pipelines at the lowest entry level, that as an oiler on the huge compression that sent natural gas to other parts of the country.  Chuck eventually worked his way up to plant manager of two different plants despite having only a high school education.
He retired in the late 1980's after over 30 years of service to Panhandle Eastern Pipelines.  After retirement he moved to Brazoria, Texas, and lived near the water he had loved as a sailor.  Age took its toll as it does for everyone.  He eventually moved back to Liberal to be near his youngest son, Tom, and live out the rest of his life.
Chuck was preceded in death by his parents and his siblings, Opal, Jewel, Edward and Howard; his first wife, Mary, and his second wife, Audrey.
He is survived by two sons, Ronald and Thomas and grandson, Conor, of his first wife, and two step daughters, Karen and Vicki from his second marriage and two step grandchildren, Bobbie and Aron.
At his specific request, there is no service or memorial.  He said he just wanted us to have a party and talk about the good times and give him a toast with Crown Royal.  His favorite saying was, "What the hell, I'm going to be sick in the morning anyway so give me another drink."  Plan like you live forever, live like you will die tomorrow.
Cremation and funeral arrangements by Miller Funeral Home of Liberal, Kan.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Totally Not Genealogy Friday

Happy Friday, everyone!

It's the end of a rather slow week, so I'm looking forward to getting outside with  my grandson Jack, playing with the neighborhood dogs, going for a walk, and maybe start planning an herb or flower garden this year.  I've found so many great gardening ideas on Pinterest (wagon wheel herb garden, cinder block flower garden, and photos of many new varieties of flowers that I didn't know existed!) and I'm  motivated to do a little more landscaping than I usually do.

My brother David will be over this weekend to finish up a master closet re-do, which I'm very excited about.  New floor, shoe/purse cabinet, and completely re-configured to make use of some dead space.  Can't wait for him to finish up so I can get my clothes off the dining room table.  Again, more ideas from Pinterest, especially the shoe/purse cabinet.  Pinterest is my new HGTV.

I also plan to do a little bit of genealogy organizing/scanning/research planning.  I really  need to get back into the business of doing some actual research, instead of reading genealogy blogs, Pinterest, and twitter.  Social media is killing my research!!  I also want to take a look at a few webinar schedules, and possibly register for the St. Louis Genealogical Society annual conference in April.  At some point, I need to finish my DAR registration papers.  I have almost all the documentation I need, except one piece that proves who I am (can you believe it!!), and I need to get that ordered.

The other thing I need to do is start taking more photographs.  My husband bought me a new camera for Christmas (a Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF3, if you're interested).  I've been interested in photography for quite a while, but lots of other things get in the way of truly learning all the features of my camera, and just getting out there to take pictures.   I've been inspired by the blogger JD Andrews, who has the amazing job of traveling around the world.  You can follow his latest adventures at  He is currently on a trip to Antarctica (one of my dream trips).  He tweets a lot as @earthXplorer, if you're into Twitter.  His photographs are amazing.

Another great blog I just ran across the other day is called Kevin & Amanda.  There is a widget on my home page that links out to their blog.  Amanda is very interested in photography, cooking, web design, and her doggies (and husband, too!), and she shares some amazing blog design and photography tips.  If you are looking for a fun blog to follow, this is for you.  Amanda also tweets as @kevinandamanda.

I hope everyone has a wonderful Friday and an even better weekend!


Thursday, February 23, 2012

Family Tree University - Virtual Conference

I love genealogy conferences.  Unfortunately, I couldn't make Roots Tech, and as far as I know there isn't anything local (Kansas City area) until October.  My other option this year appears to be attending "virtual" conferences or webinars.
I received this month's Family Tree Magazine today, and noticed several reminders for the upcoming Family Tree University Virtual Conference March 9 - 11.   The schedule looks great, with sessions on such topics as Evernote, iPad genealogy, newspaper research, guardianship records, and Civil War pension files.  However, I'm balking a little bit at the cost of the conference:  $199 (with a 20% off coupon bringing the total down to $160).  I think it's a little pricey for a virtual conference, and will probably stick with free webinars this year, or some low-cost webinars on similar topics.  

Preserving My Mom's Handwritten Recipes

My mom passed away when I was in high school, and it's only been a couple of years since my dad finally broke down and let me have her recipe files.  I don't remember her having any cookbooks, just handwritten pieces of paper where she scribbled recipes from other family members or neighbors.  One of my many projects is to sort and scan all the recipes and create a family cookbook.  I also need to get archival sleeves to protect the fragile pages.

Below are a few of my favorites.

This is a recipe for what I'll call "Croatian Dressing."  My brother Bob and I fight over it during the Christmas holidays.  I haven't tried making it myself but my dad and stepmom make it every Christmas.

You can never have too many meatball recipes.  This one is from an old family friend, Berniece Westermann, dated 1963.

The same holds true with Sloppy Joe recipes.  I am not sure who "Maxine" is , but I found another version of the recipe dated 1958 with the name Maxine Cox.  

But everything else pales in comparison to "Cherry Delight."  This was my grandfather, Floyd Robertson's favorite dessert and the one I remember most.  The recipe is dated 8/16/1958, when my mom was a young bride and I wasn't quite a year old.  This is also my all-time favorite dessert.

As you can tell, this recipe has seen a lot of use.

Looking through the old handwritten recipes is a way of connecting with my mom and grandmother, and remembering family friends and relatives who have passed away.  

I think I know what I'll be having for dessert tonight!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Today's Obituary - Louella Kelly Myers

Every Sunday morning, I ready the "Remembrances" section of the Kansas City Star, a habit I'm sure I share with many of my fellow family historians.  This week, the obituary of Louella Kelly Myers struck me as noteworthy.  Louella was a fellow genealogist, active in many patriotic societies.  Godspeed, Louella!

Louella Kelly Myers
Louella Kelly Myers, 100, passed away Tuesday, February 14, 10212, at Ashton Court Care Center in Liberty, Mo.   She was born May 3, 1911, the middle child of seven born to Hugh Marshall and Sarah Lee (Douglas) Kelly in Paradise, Mo., and she was the last survivor.  Her family moved to Kearney when she was seven.  At 19 she married and moved to Chicago, studied and sold real estate in California and Maryland.  She  moved to Baltimore in 1937.  She graduated from a modeling academy and later taught modeling.  Louella became engrossed in genealogy by 1967 and traced the lineage of her forbears from Kentucky to Clay County including such notable early settlers as Abraham Creek, Charles Younger, George Washington Douglas, and Peter Kelly.  Her interest led her into the Daughters of the American Revolution which she joined in Baltimore in 1969,and joined 11 more patriotic organizations, including US  Daughters of 1812, Daughters of American Colonists, Colonial Dames of the XVII Century, Daughters of the Indian Wars, Colonial Dames, Southern Dames of America, United Daughters of the Confederacy, Sons and Daughters of the Pilgrims, and founded the Maryland Chapter of the Dames of the Court of Honor.  Louella compiled her data into a book which she published including the families of Younger, Creek, Kelly, Payne, Day and Ellington.  She and her husband, Russell Myers were charter members of the Wesley Retirement Home in Baltimore, but after his passing in 1999, she longed for her Missouri family and moved to Elliot Place in Raytown, the Gardens on Barry Road, to Westbrook in Kearney and finally after breaking a hip, she became a resident of Ashton Court.  Louella had no children of her own, but she loved the children of her six sisters and brothers, and was loved by them.  Family and friends will gather for visitation at 1 p.m. Wednesday February 22, followed by a celebration of her life at 2 p.m., both held at Hidden Valley Funeral Home in Kearney.  Interment in Mt. Olivet Cemetery, Kearney.  In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to Crossroads Hospice of Kansas City, 9237 Ward Parkway, Ste. 300, Kansas City, MO 64114 or to the United Methodist Church of Kearney, 1000 East State Route 92, Kearney, MO 64060.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Today's Obituary - Penny Lynn Burnett

From today's Kansas City Star.  Godspeed to Penny, a fellow family historian.

Penny Lynn Burnett
Penny Lynn Burnett was the sixth of ten children born to Violet and the late Clifford Burnett.  She was born in Aurora, Colorado on 1 July 1957.  One brother, Michael, preceded her in death.  They settled in Paola Kansas where she attended school graduating from Paola High School where she was a Cheerleader.  She attended Emporia State University. She married Wendell N. Henderson in April of 1987 and they had one child Marisah A. Henderson.  Marisah was born on 1 July 1988 so that she and her mother share the same birthday.  Later this marriage was dissolved.  She remarried William (Bill) Reindl on 11 April 2001 and they lived in Leavenworth Kansas to the present.  BIll and Penny were members of 47th Street Baptist in Kansas City, Kansas under the leadership of Pastor Charles Mitchell.
Penny loved sewing, quilting, reading, landscaping and remodeling.  She was very active and had many projects going or pending at all times.  Penny actively researched and loved genealogy.  She loved to follow Marisah's basketball career and never missed the first game of the season whether in New Mexico, Colorado or local.
Penny worked for the Girl Scout Council based in Kansas City, Kansas where she was also worked with the United Way.  She then was employed by BNSF railways until her position was relocated to Texas.  Since then she worked in various positions including the Leavenworth County Clerk's Office, the IRS and most recently the Leavenworth Public Library.
She departed this life on 9 February 2012 at her home in Leavenworth surrounded by her loving family and friends.  Penny is survived by her loving husband, Bill; loving daughter Marisah; sisters Bonni Smith, Joyce Burnett and Mary Jane Burnett; brothers Richard Dean Pratt, Nate Pratt, Donnie Ray Burnett, Keith Duane Burnett, Christopher Leroy and Terri Burnett; Aunts, Uncles and many friends.
The family will receive friends from 9 to 11 A.M. Tuesday, February 14, 2012 with services at 11:00 at the Davis Funeral Chapel 531 Shawnee St. Leavenworth KS.  Following the service the family invites you to attend a dinner at The Heritage Center, 109 Delaware St. Leavenworth, KS.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

They Were a What?

I ran across these interesting occupations and historical terms in Barbara Jean Evans' "A to ZAX, A Comprehensive Dictionary For Genealogists & Historians."

knock-knobbler:  the name of the person who walks about the church during the service to maintain order.

prairie breaker:  a person who accepted free land from the federal government and lived on it while he "developed" or homesteaded it.

fluttergrub:  a field laborer.

argonaut:  after gold was discovered in California in 1848 those who went to hunt the gold were called "argonauts" after the name of the mythical ship in which Jason sought the Golden Fleece.

doxies:  women of a doubtful reputation; prostitutes.

trenchepaine:  the person who cut bread at the royal table.

cordwainer:  shoemaker.

costermonger:  a person who sells fruit and vegetables from a cart on the street.

candy butcher:  a peddler on a train or a railroad station who sold small goods to passengers.

bull-wacker  a driver of horses who used a long whip called a bull-wacker.

bung:  pickpocket.

baise:  bastard.

woods colt:  a child born out of wedlock.

window peeper:  the district tax assessor.

vita brevis:  life is short.

St. Elmo's Fire:  so called for the patron saint of sailors, this is a fire-like glow caused by static electricity, which is seen at the tips of masts, tops of trees, etc.

infirmarian:  a nurse in a hospital.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Where The Heck Did THAT Come From?

As you can tell from my blog's name, I have been hunting my great-great-great grandfather, John Gannan, for many years.  He remains perhaps the most elusive brick wall in the family tree.
I was working on a research plan today for how to tackle old John in 2012, which included documenting "known facts."  I ran across a Family History Sheet someone had deposited in the local genealogical society files, listing his middle name as "Benjamin," along with death dates for two of his daughters.   The problem with the record is that there are no sources listed.  I have no idea where the middle name "Benjamin" came from, or if there are additional records that weren't filed with the sheet.  Fortunately, there was a name, address, and phone number of the family historian who provided the info, so I just dashed off a note to him asking for sources.  Old school genealogy:  pen, paper, and a stamp.
The moral of this story is, before I post anything on-line or at a genealogical society, I'll be extra careful to include my source information.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Beunia "Bonnie" Marcellia Robertson - 1917

In going through a few old unclaimed photos that the Harrison County (MO) Genealogical Society gave me for the surname "Robertson," I ran across this photo of Beunia "Bonnie" Marcellia Robertson.  On the back of the card, it states "Age 10 months, 21 days, 1917."  I'm going to post the photo to DeadFred to see if anyone can identify her.  Somewhere, her ancestors must be looking for this photo!

I encourage everyone to post their photos and "pay it forward" by sharing with fellow family historians who may be looking for that illusive portrait of an ancestor.  Don't be the cousin who keeps everything to him-or-herself!

Names Are Not Always What You Expect Them To Be

One of my favorite volumes in my personal genealogy library is "Directory of the Ancestral Heads of New England Families 1620-1700,"  compiled by Frank R. Holmes in 1923. It 's a treasure trove of early New England information.  In the book's Foreword, Mr. Holmes briefly discusses one of the most vexing problems a genealogist can face, the dreaded name change:

Though the custom is widespread for all males to bear the names of their parents, common law sanctions a change of name when made in good faith.  There are no serious consequences growing out of an adoption of a new name, except the possibility of confounding the identity.   Many who have become famous in history, arts, and literature, have adopted a new patronymic in whole or in part....The baptismal name of General Grant was Hiram Ulysses, but was changed when he was nominated for a cadetship to the Military Academy at West Point, where he was recorded as Ulysses S. Grant, in which form it ever since has remained....Similar illustrations are found among worthies in European literature and art...Rembrandt's family name was Gerretz, which he changed to Van Ryn, on account of its greater dignity....Even Bonapart altered his name from Buonaparte to disguise his Italian origin.

Moral of the story:  names are not always what you except them to be.

Now back to the book.  The entry for my Waterbury ancestors:

John, hotel-keeper Watertown, Mass., 1646, removed Stamford, Conn., where he died 1658.  William, came in Winthrop's fleet 1630 to Boston, Mass., died soon after on return to England.

If anyone has a surname they want me to look up in this volume, send me a quick email or post a reply!  I love to share resources.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Overwhelmed By Technology

I've become a lot more interactive with the internet these days.  I follow 800+ people on Twitter (the vast majority are fellow genealogists), and I add new blogs to my RSS feed daily (again, the majority are genealogy related).  Through these new connections, I've been introduced to webinars,  products such as the Flip Pal Scanner, podcasts, previously unknown on-line document websites, and countless new ideas for research.
Lost in all this interaction and technology seems to be my time for fundamental genealogy research.   I'm so busy tracking down the next new thing, that I haven't really pulled together my research plan for 2012 and actually utilized any of the new ideas/technology/websites I've run across while on Twitter, webinars, podcasts, and blogs.
I'd be interested to hear from my fellow family historians how they manage to balance the wonderful discoveries made through social media, with day to day genealogy research.      

Travel for Genealogy Research

I'm going to Paris in May with my best friend, whom I've known since kindergarten.  I mention this because yesterday I wrote the check to the tour company.  We will be spending a week in Paris, visiting all the wonderful places I've dreamed of seeing:  the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, Versailles to name a few.
As I was planning this trip with my friend, it made me think about all the  places I would love to visit for genealogy research purposes.  My son's great grandparents lived in Trier, Germany, their whole lives, running a small hotel there.  His family also has a line that can be traced to Scotland.  My husband's grandfather immigrated from Austria.  My father's grandfather immigrated to the United States from Croatia, with the classic case of "one brother stayed behind and the other went to America."  Descendants of the "brother who stayed behind" still live next to the family homestead and I've corresponded with my cousin there.

This is an old postcard of Prezid, Croatia, where my grandfather's family immigrated from during the first part of the 20th century.
I would happily pack my bags and head to any of these places, but unfortunately, travel is expensive and I'm afraid the foreign language would prove daunting.
I would love to hear from my fellow genealogists who have traveled abroad for genealogy research purposes.  Was it as daunting as it seems?

Sunday, February 5, 2012

On To The Next Adventure - Susan Oberlander McNeil

Godspeed, Susan!

Susan Oberlander McNeil
Susan Oberlander McNeil, cancer warrier, left this life for a new adventure February 1st, 2012.  She was born in Kansas City, Missouri, April 30, 1951, and went on to live a wonderfully fully and rewarding life.  She packed at least 85 years of living into her 60 years.  Susan was raised in the Leawood home her parents built in 1950, graduated from Shawnee Mission South and the University of Kansas.  She worked more than 40 years, mainly in the medical field.  It was easy for her to see the talents and gifts in her many diverse friendships.
Music filled her ears nearly every moment.  In November, 2001 she performed with a choir at Carnegie Hall.  Other thrills included swimming with dolphins, watching the sunset from Mt. Haleakalah, walking on a glacier, and traversing Venice's Grand Canal.  Susan's interests included theater, music, art, photography, handwork, travel, and gardening.  She volunteered for Hospice, the American Cancer Society and Bloch Cancer Hot Line.  Her sense of humor and perseverance helped her survive three unrelated cancers in her lifetime.  She was a proud member of the DAR and got a kick out of being related to the likes of Queen Elizabeth II, George Washington, Meriweather Lewis, William Holden, Stephen Crane, and FDR.
Her greatest accomplishment was her marriage to John, the love of her life and her knight in shining armor. Susan was predeceased by her parents Robert G. and Virginia J. Oberlander and her grandparents Howard and Lola Krimminger.  She unwillingly leaves her husband John A. McNeil, MD, their beloved dog Teddy, an array of family members, many friends, some of them lifelong, and her devoted in-laws.
 Visitation will be held from 10:30-11:00 a.m. followed by funeral service at 11:00 a.m. Monday, February 6, at Mt. Moriah & Freeman Funeral Home, 10507 Holmes Road, Kansas City, MO.  Burial in Mt. Moriah Cemetery South. Memorial contributions may be made to the Kansas City Hospice House, 12000 Wornall Road, Kansas City, Missouri 64145.  Condolences may be offered at www.