Saturday, September 19, 2009

RIP Genea-Rooter: You Made a Good Start

My Genealogy Blog's Obituary

This is a post for the Carnival of Genealogy, to wit:
"If your blog ended or waslost/deleted today, how would you
write it's obituary? What were the highlights of your blog? What is its history?
This theme was suggested by Schelly Talalay Dardashti of Tracing the Tribe who
will be hosting this next edition of the COG. "

The blog lasted less than a year. Ran some pictures. Made some points about dealing with official forms such as birth certificates as compared with death dertificates. What can we tell the author?

Well, you kept up your side, altho you could have done better. Had you
devoted yourself instead of patting yourself on the back, you might have put up
more stuff, more interesting stuff, and generally made a bit of a splash. But
buck up, old girl, you made your Wordless Wednesdays, you added some wisdom to
the search. Better luck next time.

Having not been in the game even a year, there's not much to say. Rest In Peace.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: Mystery Man

I asked my Dad's cousin for a copy of Dad's grandmother's picture.
She tucked in a copy of this gentleman, whom she cannot identify.

I suspect he is one of her grandma's four brothers. (See below.)

Unidentified Mr. Tirrill about 1900.

Henry, Jr b 10 Oct 1861, m 6 May 1899 to Leonora Cribbs
Jacob Porter, b 22 Oct 1862, d 1929 Clayton, MO
John Klinefelter, b 3 July 1866
Willard Oakes, b 16 Aug 1874, res Nashville, TN, m 24 Apr 1900 to Aphra Eve
All born in Bunker Hill, Macoupin, Illinois, to Henry Tirrill and Louisa Klinefelter.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: School Days

Patriotic Program, about 1875.
Bunker Hill, Macoupin County, Illinois, USA
Little Robert Dickie (born 1865) is last on the right, hiding behind his standard.
From a reprinting of his picture in the local paper sixty years later.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Who Do You Remember?

Randy Seaver at GeneaMusings posts a regular Saturday Night Fun challenge. (Highly recommended.)

So Here Goes:
  1. Write down which of your ancestors that you have met in person (yes, even if you were too young to remember them).
  2. Tell us their names, where they lived, and their relationship to you in a blog post, or in comments to this post, or in comments on Facebook.
Father: Porter Tirrill Dickie, known as Pete, loved chemistry and sailing. Living between 1912 (St. Louis, MO) and 1999 (Seattle, WA), he found it necessary to choose between them to make a living, going back and forth between the paper industry and the U.S. Navy until family made the decision for him. To the world he was Mr. Nice Guy. To his family he had troubles that only they saw. The middle child between a bad boy and a girl genius, he was the only one to have kids, the only one to get torpedoed at sea, the only one to travel on foreign soil, and the only one to make it within a hairs breadth of the 21st century. When he and his gay son each lost the love of their lives during the same year, they finally came together in love and understanding.

Mother: Donnabelle Moodie Dickie, known as Donnabelle (thank you), insisted on pronouncing my first name as spelled (Tirrill), not as pronounced by those who had born it for twelve generations before me (Turrell) . She also refused to be a military wife or to live on the East Coast. When her son came out of the closet, she refused to acknowledge him. Yet she taught me how to hug like a bear, to say "I love you" a million times a day, to love plants and animals, to pay attention to historical events happening daily. Born in 1916 (Bellingham, WA), she saw a lot of change during her lifetime. At the time of her death in 1994 near Portland, Oregon, she was learning how to use the computer.

Paternal Grandfather: John Tirrill Dickie, known at Turrel, took a sales job at a paper company and moved from Illinois to St. Louis, Missouri to be near the girl he loved. He sold wholesale paper most of his life and hated it. World War II was his blessing in disguise as the First Church of Christ, Scientist in Boston set up a War Ministers program with Uncle Sam. He served that higher cause the rest of his life. I remember him as having the patience of Job under a surface of "hail fellow well met." He passed when I was eight years old.

Paternal Grandmother: Isabella McCully Dickie, known as Isabel, was the youngest of her troupe of McCully kids. She told her own kids of peeking between the banister rails at her parents' 25th anniversary party in 1892. She looked like a Gibson Girl when Turrell fell in love with her at a Presbyterian cotillion. She had a great sense of humor and perfect pitch. She lived only five months following my birth in 1946, so I don't remember her personally. I have the china she painted and the cutlery she chose for her wedding. She had exquisite taste.

Maternal Grandmother: Cora Anna Smith Moodie, known as Coral, raised her kids next door to the Dickies on Mercer Island in Seattle. Both husbands were intent on becoming Christian Science practitioners but worked other jobs to keep those kids in oatmeal. (Mr. Moodie taught high school biology.) She was born a Methodist in Sioux Falls, Iowa in 1885 and moved to the Idaho panhandle to teach school, where she met Mr. Moodie. I recall her as staunch in all things, including reading the riot act to my mother for hiring a person of African descent to babysit her granddaughter. (My dear mother didn't let me know that detail until after I was over thirty for fear of tainting my memory of her.) She was a great cuddler. She passed when I was going on five, my introduction to death.

The apple truly does not fall far from the tree, yet we are sometimes surprised by the direction of that fall. Seeing what joys and sorrows my forebears experienced, whether doled out by circumstance or brought on by themselves, I see a lot of my life repeated in theirs. I became a teacher, traveled, struggled in my spiritual and economic lives, and found a great love. I also never had children, lived on the East Coast, and became a Jew. I could see them all spinning in their graves had they not all been cremated!

Turrel Dickie (left) Accompanies McCully Ladies to Church (Isabel in white)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: Through the Years 2

John Tirrill Dickie and Isabella McCully, 1910

John Tirrill and Isabel Dickie, 1942

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: Through the Years 1

Sarah Smyth and William McCully, 1867

Sarah Smyth McCully and William McCully abt 1906

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: Documentation 2

Last week's picture documented the death of Porter Tirrill Dickie.
A death certificate is the document we most often discover first, say from a parent or grandparent.
Please note any differences of reported fact between death certificate and birth certificate. They can tell you a lot about the family.
The next generation normally fill out death certificates and frequently don't know necessary details about the decedent. In this case information was given by the subject's surviving son. But the birth certificate information was given by the father.
Note a small difference in the mother's name: Isabel/Isabella. Many women of this generation changed their given name later in life due to changes in American culture over those years. Isabella, born in the 1880s to parents born in the 1840s, decided she preferred Isabel when styles changed during the 1920s.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: Ancester Bling?

ca 1860 Elizabeth (?) Smyth

1908 Sarah (Smyth) McCully

1910 Isabella (McCully) Dickie

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Nowhere Close To Wordless Wednesday

Newspaper Clipping, No Title
Lodge Members?

Frequently one finds a photograph from the past that, in its original context, made perfect sense. But looking at it several generations later, we have questions.

Obviously this group of gentlemen had something in common as witnessed by their badges. Without a title from the original newspaper, how are we to know?

This photo was generously sent to me by a local historical society member. She found it in The Bunker Hill, Illinois, Gazette, March 1948. It is identified there as "possibly the Woodsmen" and had been taken "70-75 years earlier" and "The picture is the property of Miss Viola McPherson of Gillespie..." I will have to go back to the original newspaper record to find the page, if that is possible. Until then, I include the entire 1948 identification and source.

Gentleman #3 top left, is identified as William Patrick Dickie, postmaster, my father's grandfather.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Nearly Wordless Wednesday

From Alice and Elizabeth
To Alice Elizabeth

John McCully m Alice Stuart abt 1835

James Smyth m Elizabeth ?

Sarah Smyth m William McCully 1867

Isabella McCully m John Tirrill Dickie 1910

Alice Elizabeth Dickie

Sunday, June 28, 2009

SoCal Genealogical Society Jamboree 2009

So who WASN'T there? Every blog I check regularly has something up about the Southern California Genealogical Society Jamboree held this weekend in Burbank at the Marriott Convention Center.

I think Gini at Ginisology put my feelings most accurately. (Actually, I'm tempted to say that she stole my words, but since I hadn't thought of them yet, she's definitely the one to see about what I think.)

Anyhoo, I'll say ditto to Gini's great blog and add that she and I were in the same meetings and the same get-togethers and the same dinner at the same time and we didn't recognize each other. Horrors! Of course, I don't know what she looks like and my pic here doesn't do justice to my overwhelming beauty.*

Did I mention that Gini was the very first person to leave a comment on my very first blog? I'm indebted to this lady, big time. And I didn't recognize her!

So who did I meet?

Well, Thomas MacEntee, the Pearl Mesta of the genea-blogging world, who got me into this fine mess through our friendship on facebook. Pat Richley (AKA DearMyrtle), someone I seek to emulate when I grow up. Schelly Talalay Dardashti, the maven of mavens in the Jewish genealogical world. Randy Seaver whose postings educate me in the genea-blogging world.
And I'll never forget Kiril Kundurazieff, The Mad Macedonian, who has focused firmly on that brick wall in Macedonia ever since it was part of Yugoslavia.

So did I do everything right at the Jamboree? Not a bit! I didn't sign up soon enough to get my name badge printed up with the special "FIRST JAMBOREE" tag. I left my camera home for two of the three days. I lost both of my two pens on the last day and had to, um, "borrow" one from the Society (and forgot to return it).

I had great conversations with lots of nice folk and yet didn't meet Gini. Grrr!!!

So, enough kvetching. Let's kvell a bit:

Thomas MacEntee and Denise (The Family Curator) created lovely survival bags that kept me alive on Saturday with a bottle of water, two yummy muffins and fruit galore! Thomas provided great neckwear to identify bloggers and organized a dinner on Saturday evening where bloggers could get together and get to know the faces behind the posts. I even sat next to DearMyrtle's affianced - yup, there's amour in genea-blogger-land!

After running back and forth and listening and taking notes and collecting neat stuff for three days, the last-but-not-least of the whole adventure was a session with Suzanne Russo Adams, AG who opened the door for me to study my husband's Russo line. To me, that made my weekend. Thanks, Suzanne.

Now if I can only find Gini :)

*Well, actually, thanks to Randy Seaver, I now have pics of all! Take a look on his blog Genea-Musings: Geneabloggers Dinner Photos - Post 1.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Group Photos: Wedding Belles

There's nothing more exciting/confusing than a group photo from another generation!

For example: I have a wedding photo of my paternal grandmother's first cousin. It's easy to figure out who the bride is. With a little thinking one can sort out the groom. Okay, so what about all those other folks?

McCully-Geist Wedding
St. Louis, MO

Uncle Bill during his first year, up front. The happy couple second row right. My grandparents, parents of Uncle Bill, third row from left #5 and #6. My grandfather has his eyes closed.

Fortunately for me, I recognized my very young grandmother and grandfather. I later learned that the baby in front was their new first baby, my Uncle Bill.

Assuming that most of the others had the last name McCully, I rooted around in materials left to me by Uncle Bill's little sister. Praise folks who worked in offices! She not only had a list of attendees but of where in the picture these folks appear. Typed.

Typed information is a gift from heaven. My mother left me a nice album of tintypes with hand-written names. Now was that Foust or Forest?

Sometimes you find a group picture where you know who is there but not who is who. For example, I have a photo of two of that grandfather's maternal uncles standing in front of a pillar in Paris, but I don't know which is who!

The worst is having no idea who that person is in that perfect picture. One can only assume, and therein lies great goof-up potential. And then there's the mystery pic with no connection to anyone you know about. I have one of those, found stuck behind a picture of my father's paternal grandmother. Nobody else in that line knows who the guy is, either.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

King James I of England

Unverified documents suggest that I descend from King James I of England, the first ruler of what is today the United Kingdom. His life ran like an old-time Hollywood flick.

James Charles Stuart (19 June 1566 – 27 March 1625) was the son of Mary, Queen of Scots, and her second husband, Henry Stuart, Duke of Albany, commonly known as Lord Darnley. Both parents were descended from Margaret, elder sister of Henry Tudor, father of Henry VIII. Mary has been accused of participating in the murder of Lord Darnley.

He acceded to the Scottish throne as James VI upon the forced abdication of his mother, known to history as Mary, Queen of Scots, by Elizabeth, Queen of England and his godmother. He was thirteen months old at the time, and his father had been murdered the previous February. Therefore on 29 July 1567 he was crowned with his illegitimate uncle, James Stewart, Earl of Moray, as regent. That wasn't the end of it, as murder was a prevalent form of politics.

In August 1582 a direct attempt on his life left the Earl of Gowrie's younger brother dead, run through by a sword, supposedly by the king's page. Since we have only the king's testimony in this event, I smell definite movie material.

His first of many "favorites" was the Frenchman Esme Stewart, Sieur d'Aubigny. James made him Earl of Lennox on 2 June 1581. By now James was fifteen. Lennox was criticized by Calvinist Scotland for his public displays of physical affection for the young king. In August 1582 James was lured to Ruthven Castle where he was imprisoned by Protestant earls of Gowrie and Angus while Lennox was removed from the country. He was freed the following year and proceeded to assume control of his country with a heavy hand. He had a lot to say about divine right.

As a king he needed a proper queen. He had been praised for his chastity until twenty-three, since he had only male friends. He was married by proxy to fourteen-year-old Anne of Denmark in August 1589. Great movie scenes: Anne embarks for England and is blown off course to Norway. James rallies 300 pals and sails to save her. They have an idyllic honeymoon on the fjords, not to return until the following May.

James and Anne got along well enough to produce seven (some say nine) babes. Of their three surviving children: Henry, Prince of Wales, died of disease in 1612, aged 18, Elizabeth became Queen of Bohemia, and Charles, the future King Charles I of England, lost his head over religious issues. Anne died in March 1619.

Elizabeth I of England died on 24 March, 1603, and James was proclaimed king in London later the same day. His English coronation on 25 July was a fantastic event even during a plague. He wanted to be crowned King of Britain, but the English wouldn't have it. At his death he was officially His Majesty, James VI, by the Grace of God King of England, Scotland, France and Ireland, Defender of the Faith, etc.

Of course there were two attempts on his life during that first year - one now commemorated as Guy Fawkes Day. More movie stuff.

He wrote, and wrote, and wrote. He presented Prince Henry with a handbook on how to rule a country, heavy on the divine right of kings, not friendly at all to parliaments. His reign continued the "Golden Age" of literature and theater. He adored the hunt. He was frivolous in spending to the point of at least two major arguments with Parliament resulting in his closing that institution for years at a time. (On one of these occasions - specifically 1620 - a group of dissenters requested to settle in what is now Massachusetts, whence one branch of my family tree.) He managed to end the Armada War and avoid the Thirty Years War. His people generally loved him because he gave them peace and prosperity. High society generally found him paranoid and rough due to his upbringing.

Robert Cecil, Earl of Salisbury, died in 1612. He had disagreed with James on just about everything, but he had managed to manage both king and country well. Now James decided he'd run his own country, thank you. He did it badly with the help of "favorites" in factions, manipulating things to their personal advantage. A poisoning scandal left George Villiers, 1st Duke of Buckingham (1592-1628) in the prized position in 1618. Resoration of Apethorpe Hall from 2004 to 2008 revealed a passage linking the bedchambers of James and the Duke.

His greatest legacy was the Hampton Court Conference, bringing together religious factions with the intent of unifying the English church. The result, in 1608, was what today we call the King James Version, the most used English translation of the Bible. That was, to put it mildly, a Big Deal.

Was he bisexual? Hard to avoid concluding so. Also the stuff of film.

For deeper study: Alan Stewart. The Cradle King: A Life of James VI & I. London: Chatto and Windus, 2003.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Where to start???

I began my genealogical snooping with lots of information, if only I would use it.

My mother had left me a photo album, two, actually. One was of her immediate family. One was of her mother's ancestors. Then there were a few photos from my father's family. She even walked me through this morass when I was 14. Of course I was bored stiff.

All those opportunities lost. Or ...

That's right! I knew where it all was. So when finally the bug bit, I had info galore!

So then what to do with it? Make a special corner in the tv room and buy a family history application. Easily done, since only one is specially made for Mac. :)

Then I had to learn to footnote. Oh, I could do it on a term paper, but the genealogical world is full of blarney, even from Scots! We humans accept too much on faith, and facts REQUIRE verification.

Example: Where did that factoid come from? Um, my mom's photo album. But the good folk at the historical society in that ancestor's town say the name was Forest, not Foust as written in album. Hmmm.

So that's how I learned that factoids must be backed up by a second witness. Just like in the Jewish law: If you can't justify it in two different places, BEWARE. (At least don't stone anyone.)

This little problem made for some brick walls a lot closer to present time than I'd expected, but then maybe, just maybe, checking out those "forest, not foust" walls have saved me a lot of wasted time snooping through wrong, though very interesting, roots.