Genealogy: Where you confuse the dead & irritate the living....

Surnames: Calaway, Dunn, Evans, Johnson, Lindsey, Rollins, Short & Williams

States: Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, S. Carolina, Tennessee, Texas

Friday, September 17, 2010

Past From a Recipe...

I normally don't follow the schedule for the "Daily Blogging Prompts", but I see where today is "Family Recipe Friday" that is pretty cool.  I like that one a lot.  My first thought was, what would recipes have to do with genealogy.  Then in thinking about it for a bit, genealogy isn't just about dates & names, it is about our past, right?  And how we try to tell the stories of what our ancestor's days were like, what their occupations were, who they were, etc.? 

Among many things, my Mom was known for her cooking, I don't know of a person who didn't associated cooking with her.  She just had a certain knack with it, so much so that she could take a can of veggies & make them taste like a dish you'd get in a 5 star restaurant.  And really, she wasn't a fancy cook, just a down home cook from the South.

One of my favorite meals that she'd make was her homemade soup.  It couldn't get any better than that in my book.  Of course if we were sick, she'd make it then.  But on that first cool crisp day you'd get in the Fall, we knew her homemade soup would be on the dining table ready for us to dig in.  :-)  Besides her homemade soup, we'd always ask her to make her dressing, peach cobbler, speghetti sauce -- well the list goes on & on.  Thankfully before she passed away, I was able to learn how she made them all.  Yes, I had to learn, cause you see, Mom didn't use recipes, it was a bit of this, some of that & a whole lot of love that she would put into every meal. 

So yes, I can see where recipes can be part of our genealogy.  When I think back to the days when families worked hard out in the fields, I'm sure they looked forward to a favorite recipe their loved one would spend time in making for them.  Or those Sunday dinners that the family gathered around for.  Yep, recipes are definitely part of our history, as those recipes have been handed down from one generation to the next generation. 

Mom's Homemade Soup


Roast (be sure to get one with good marbling)
salt/pepper to taste
1 medium onion
2 regular cans (or 1 large) of tomatoes
1 regular can of corn 
2 cloves of garlic
4 -5 medium potatoes
Handfull of dried broad flat noodles (optional)

1.  Salt/pepper both sides of a large roast & then sear it in a bit of oil in a large heavy pot -- drain off the excess oil after searing
2.  Add approximately 8 cups of water....or till the water level comes up to about an inch from the top of the pot
3.  Boil roast (covered) on medium heat till done.....about an hour to an hour & a half - take it out & let the roast cool for a bit so you can shred the meat
4.  Dice up a medium onion & add to the water you cooked the roast in
5.  Cut your tomatoes into bite size pieces....add to the pot, along with the juices
6.  Add the can of corn (w/juice) -- I like the white shoepeg corn best
7.  While that is cooking, shred your roast -- add back into the pot
8.  Peel & slice 2 cloves of garlic....add to the pot
9.  Peel & dice into bit size pieces approximately 4 medium potatoes....add to the pot
10.  Let the soup cook for approximately 5 to 10 minutes, then do a taste test, you will need to add salt to your taste
11.  About 8 minutes before your potatoes are done (folk tender), add the dried broad flat noodles & cook till tender

FYI:  I never was that crazy about the noodles, so I just leave them out.

If any of you do try Mom's homemade soup, I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.  And psst?  It is extra good with a pan of cornbread!  :-)

Later, Deb

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Ancestor Approved Award....

OK, I'm a terrible person....its been eons since my last post & I am thoroughly ashamed of myself for letting it go this long without posting. Especially since Joan of Roots n' Leaves was kind enough to give me the "Ancestor Approved Award". I believe I am supposed to ......list ten things you have learned about any of your ancestors that has surprised, humbled, or enlighten you and pass the award along to ten other bloggers who you feel are doing their ancestors proud. Hmmm, that's going to be kinda hard for me I think, but here I go.....

1. In reading some old letters that my maternal grandfather wrote to his soon to be 2nd wife, well let's just say he was quite the romantic guy. Who would have guessed. lol

2. In reading those same letters, I discovered that even though he left school in the 4th grade (due to having to go to work to help the family out) he was a very smart man. And I'm very proud of him & what he accomplished in his life-time.

3. I found out the reason why my own father left school in the 10th grade. My grandmother & grandfather could not afford to send both him & his sister to school. So to give his little sister, who was 8 years younger, the chance of an education he quit school. And to the day she died, she never forgot what a sacrifice he made for her.

4. Through out the years, we had always been told that my maternal great grandmother Lindsey was a Pentecostal preacher. So of course when I found a couple of photos of her holding a book in a prominent way in these photos, I just took it for granted that she was holding a Bible. Wrong! Turns out, after looking at the photo with a magnifying glass, it is a dictionary that she is BOTH photos. I'm going to say the photos had to be taken several years apart. Just why she wanted to be holding a dictionary, I don't have a clue.

5. Also, I have been quite surprised at the number of female relatives who have gotten married around the age of 15 - 16. Yet the males in the families tend not to get married until they are in their 30's a lot of the time. You'd think they must have had been married before, but so far I haven't found that to be true.

6. OK, speaking of marriages, it has been hinted within the family that my paternal grandfather had a child before he married my grandmother. (((pssst, we'd always heard he was a bit wild, you know? lol))) Then one day I was talking to my older sister & that subject came up. That's when she mention that Granddaddy "had" been married & divorced before meeting our grandmother. She had seen the divorce papers. Whoa! OK, now that was news to me. And the kicker of all of that? I found out in my research that yes, he had been married before, not once but TWICE before meeting our grandmother. lol

7. I discovered that every time I find where some relative died at birth, or at a very young age, I just want to cry. It just saddens me to know that they didn't get to experience life that we often take for granted.

8. My Aunt Helen had 3 sons who joined the military back when WWII & the Korean War was going on. I'm very proud of their military careers. One even went on to work for the CIA. One was a MP & a sharpshooter. And one had such a hard job that he was required to perform in the war, yet he was a very gentle man. I would love to know more about their service careers, but sad to say they are gone now. I am very proud of all of my relatives who served in the military.

9. And for me, it is always heart breaking to disprove those family folklores that have been passed down through the generations. Sometimes you just don't want to tell anyone of your findings. ***sigh***

10. Then lastly, in a way, it saddens me that I never got to meet all of these people that I have discovered in my research. I often wonder what their thoughts were, what their lives were like, what did they do for fun, what did they look like, etc..... And I think that "is" why I do genealogy, so they aren't forgotten.

WOW That wasn't as hard as I thought it was going to be. :-) Now I know I am supposed to pass this award on to 10 more people, but since I am SO late it doing it, I think I'll pass on that. Just know I am honored to receive the award.....thanks Joan! Heck, it humbles me to know that anyone even follows my Blog. And I promise I'm going to try & do better with my posting.

Later, Deb

Monday, March 22, 2010

New Way of In-putting Unknown Surnames...

If you've read some of my earlier posts, you'll know I'm in the process of re-vamping my genealogy files. I've been trying to blog about the things I'm personally making changes with in my own genealogy work/habits. And in doing so, hope what I write about will benefit others in their own genealogy. So let's get onto the newest change that I'm making.....

When you are in your genealogy program on your computer & bring up the list of names that you have entered, toward the end there, most likely you'll see a long list of "Unknowns" (surnames). Or I know I did. These are the females who married into the family but not knowing their maiden name, they would be listed as "Jane Unknown" (or whatever her first name was) in the Family Group Section. By listing them as such, it can make it kind of hard to know, at a glance, just who these females are associated with & it irritated the bejebbies out of me.

So I've been trying to think of a better way of handling all of my "unknown surnames" & I believe I have finally come upon a workable solution. What I do is list her husband's last name for her surname & attach "unknown" at the end. For a better explanation, let's say Jane married Jack Smith & I don't have a clue as to her maiden name. When I in-put her in the Group Sheet section in my genealogy program, I will include her husbands name now. It will be entered as "Jane Smith-Jack-Unknown". This will tell me that I don't have Jane's maiden name & that she married Jack Smith. Since I have my genealogy program set to list the females by their maiden names, she will be associated with the Smith family & not in a long list of "Unknowns". FYI: If I should be so lucky to find her maiden name later on, it would be easy to correct in the program.

This little quick hint might be well known within the genealogy circle & if it is, I apologize for repeating it here. I just thought it made sense & would, hopefully, make things a little easier for your own genealogy files.

Later, Deb

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

A Family Forum...

This latest genealogy hint/tip might not work for everyone, but it can be a genealogist's dream. In not only getting closer to your own family, BUT a wonderful way of gathering the genealogy data you might need from them. What is it you ask? Very simply it is set up a Family Forum! Most of you who are reading this, has knowledge already of what a forum is -- probably belong to at least one forum. Right? -_-

I have over 45 people in just my immediate family alone, needless to say, we had trouble in keeping up with one another, even though most of us live fairly close to each other. About 7 years ago, my niece & I came up with the idea of starting up a forum for the family to post about their daily lives, share photos, etc. It especially came in handy whenever one of us was sick &/or in the hospital to keep everyone abreast of the latest update on them. And the best thing of all? It gave us a chance to get to know one another that we hadn't had a chance to before. We have threads tailored to what fits our needs, such threads for Chat, Recipes, Photos, Books, Movie/TV, etc. Occasionally we will even do fun/silly things on there by having a Game thread & play "Hangman" or "21 Questions".

Like I said, though we mostly lived in the same area, many were busy with their own family....raising their kids, attending school functions, work, etc. And besides with that many people, it was hard to find a good time when we all could get together as a group. By having a Family Forum, everyone then could chat/post when they could. And in doing that, though it was slow at the beginning, we've become a much closer family.
I know I've gotten much closer to my own family, especially the "in-laws" (i.e. niece-n-laws / nephew-n-laws) that otherwise it would have taken me years for me to get to know them as I do now.

And having a Family Forum is an excellent way for those who live out of state to be a big part of the family & share what all is going on in their own lives. Makes them feel just that bit closer to home & family.

Now how is this such a good tool for the family genealogist? On our Family Forum, I have added a thread "just" for Genealogy. Anytime I need to ask a question of them, I post it on there & 99% of the time I get a response back from everyone. I have also done what I call "group questions". Like right now the one I have up, I've asked them to all tell me "How They Met Their Spouse", as well as tell me a bit about their wedding. So far, I have gotten great feedback on it & have some wonderful stories to add to our family history that otherwise I might never had gotten.

Here are a few suggestions to give you an idea of what you could have for questions/topics on your own family forum:

1. What was your weight/length at birth?
2. What college did you go to & what was your degree in?
3. Once a week you could name a person in the family (past or present) & ask them to list facts about that person.....or to tell a favorite story about them.
4. List the church/place where you got married.
5. Have them share a favorite photo of themselves &/or maybe a relative that is no longer with you.

As I said, those are just a few things you could start with on a Genealogy Thread.

FYI: To start your own family a Google search by using "Free Forum Hosting". A good list of free ones will come up. Check through them & find one that will suit your needs & ease of use. (((several of them out there are very easy to manage & maintain))) One thing to make note of, you will need an administer for it....someone to manage it -- hopefully you. Anyhoo, I would recommend that you lock the settings where only the administer(s) can add any new thread(s) to the forum. Otherwise, no matter what you tell them in the beginning, they will eventually start adding their own threads left & right & your forum will grow too big, becoming hard for others to navigate. EDITED TO ADD: Also, you might consider (& I highly recommend it) making your forum password protected & all members have to be approved by the administer(s) before they can join & get on your forum. Reason, sad to say there are sources (i.e. idiots) who will spam a forum. By making those two settings will stop that & give you control on who can see your forum.

Hope you will consider this as an option for your family & that you have as much fun as we have had in my own family. If you have any questions about starting your own Family Forum, please feel free to ask me. Enjoy......

Later, Deb

SPECIAL NOTE: I want to personally say "Thanks" to Judy from the Tennessee Memories blog for the Kreativ Blogger award she gave me back in November. Sadly its been that long since I last posted here. But as you know, I don't stick to any type of a writing schedule....just whenever I think of something to share with you all do I post. -_-