Thursday, January 28, 2010

Why Is It?

Why is it that genealogy, as fun as it is, can sometimes be challenging and at the same time enlightening?

1. Why is it that all the women in a family married brothers and named their children some of the same names? There are three boys named Noah, all born in the same place within a few months of each other. Couldn't they be more creative with the names? They should have realized how difficult this makes genealogical research!

2. Why is it that the death certificate indicates an ancestor died in 1922 and the tombstone is carved as 1923? Couldn't somebody read or remember?

3. Why is it that when I call ahead, the courthouse is still closed? Do they do these things on purpose? Surely the furnace won't break down or the basement flood the day I drive 500 miles to get there!

4. Why is it that genealogists have to buy different genealogical software to get one that seems to be perfect only to learn that something else has been released that is even better?

5. Why is it that on the 1880 US Census a 75 year old man is shown with no occupation and yet his wife who is age 73 is shown as a housekeeper? I know that answer ... a woman's work is never done!

6. Why is it that when you get to the library to do research, you discover that the notes you need are still at home? Solution: take your laptop or iPod Touch or iPhone!

7. Why is it that the web page you really need is no longer there? Refer to my latest blog at Genealogy Lines.

8. Why is it that the cemetery you have never visited and are now in is covered with poison ivy, most of the tombstones are broken and you have to walk through fifty years of fallen leaves to find them?

9. Why is it that the person who has the family records you need has died and the records have been thrown into the dumpster by their relatives.

10. Why is it that you can't get your great grandmother's death certificate because you don't know her maiden name? Duh ... that's why you need the certificate.

Why is it that I'm so addicted to this frustrating "stuff?"

You Go Genealogy Girls #1 .... Ruby

Friday, January 22, 2010

It Pays To Clean House!

How many are like me and would rather be doing genealogy than cleaning house? Who cares if the wash gets done, the dishes get done or the toilet gets cleaned? My ancestors are waiting. The older I get, my priorities have changed in that I try to spend more time doing what I want to do. Occasionally though I have to bite the bullet and go after the "dust bunnies" when they get so deep that I have to walk around them or company is coming. Such was the case in December past. While YGGG#1 was off in Virginia visiting her son and having fun, I was slaving away in my basement and cleaning out one of our spare bedrooms for company which was coming for the holidays.

That cleaning job was one that had needed to be done for nearly 10 years (can you imagine that--10 years of junk and "bunnies" taking up residence?) Since the passing of my parents and the subsequent sale of their home and property, I have had nearly 30 boxes of stuff stored in that bedroom along with assorted junk and left overs from when my boys still lived at home. When Mom and Dad passed away there were just things I could not go through due to time and some I just didn't want to go through and make decisions on at that time. My brothers helped, took what they wanted and the rest was left to me to deal with. I dealt with it by stuffing it all in my spare room! Believe it or not, the room was piled to the ceiling. YGGG#1 will attest, she couldn't even stay in that room when she came to visit and was relegated to the upstairs family room.

For that nearly 10 years, I had lived under the misconception that all the important , relevant, keepsakes and momentos had already been found, sorted and distributed within the family. BOY, was I wrong!!!!! What treasures I found living with all those huge "dust bunnies". I found enough old photos, cabinet cards and documents to fill two boxes the size of orange shipping boxes and that isn't all. Many pictures from my Coleman family were in boxes that Dad had stored and I had never seen those pictures before. My grandparents large, nicely framed 1905 wedding parchment and a large framed 16 x 20 photo of Grandma Moore when she was only about 15 years old. How does one miss things so large? Surely those "bunnies" are to blame.
Mom had kept greeting cards from the early years of her marriage. Beautiful little cards with notes, many are nearly 75 years old and best of all--the original handwriting and name signatures on them from so many of my early ancestors. Dad had also stored a large box of my mother's grade school papers and art work. These will supply a treasure trove of wonderful scrap booking momentos for my children and grandchildren. Mom's 1934 high school graduation dress and her baby bonnet were two more treasures and my Dad was a volunteer fireman for years and I unearthed his fireman's belt buckle and convention badges. Flower show ribbons and cards from all the years that Mom entered and judged shows. Of course the pictures that rounded out this great spare bedroom discovery were an awesome discovery.

You will surely understand why the moral of this story is the old cliche: Don't put off until tomorrow what you can do today! Just imagine what you might find in that old room or even in just that one box that may be lurking in a corner and slyly being hidden by your resident "dust bunnies".

Saturday, January 9, 2010

The Wayside Inn

New Years 2010 was welcomed by spending time with family in northern Virginia. A few days into the new year, my son and I drove to Frederick Co., Virginia (not too far) and had lunch in an ancestral abode.

We stopped at the Wayside Inn in Middletown to have lunch and walk through the building that ancestors lived in shortly after the Civil War. I was actually hoping to meet one of them! It was easy to feel their presence among the various rooms that have old fireplaces and tables for diners. Upstairs are rooms that are available for lodging, all decorated with Americana artifacts. I was able to go into all of their dining rooms, each with fireplaces. The slave kitchen was the most interesting. I tried to picture slaves preparing the meals on the open hearth for those who were guests or passing by in search of a warm meal. Unfortunately the employees had no identification of the many paintings of people that line the walls.

My son and I enjoyed a lunch of Colonial Peanut Soup and homemade, original family recipe Chicken Pot Pie. The waitress was attired in a colonial costume which added to the experience.

The Wayside Inn is the oldest continuously operating Inn in America. It is at 7783 Main Street in Middletown. You can't miss it because it is a small town. Travelers started coming to the Inn in 1797 as they journeyed through the Shenandoah Valley. Then it was known as Wilkerson's Tavern. Into the early 1800s it became a relay station for stagecoaches.

It was a common ground during the Civil War as soldiers from both sides sought refuge there. This actually spared the Inn from the ravages of the Civil War. It was after the war that relative, Jacob Larrick purchased the Inn and changed it's name to Larrick's Hotel. In the early 1900s another relative, Samuel Rhodes, purchased the Inn. Samuel added a third floor, wings on each side and renamed it the Wayside Inn. In the 1950s Leo Bernstein bought the Inn and restored and refurbished it. The current owners are doing a great job of maintaining the ambiance of the original Inn.

I would like to return to Middletown in the summer when I can relax in a rocking chair on the Inn's veranda and maybe glimpse a Civil War soldier approaching. Oh well, it's fun to dream. Where's my time machine?

You Go Genealogy Girl #1 -- Ruby


Find a Grave

Search 31.6 million cemetery records at by entering a surname and clicking search: