Sunday, June 28, 2015

If You Could Spend an Afternoon With an Ancestor....

I'm imagining time with an ancestor again.  In my last conversation with an ancestor I didn't mention in my post that I would ask about her parents and family.  I wouldn't want my ancestor to think I wasn't interested in him or her personally or that I was only interested in talking with him or her for the purpose of obtaining genealogical information.  I would certainly have included questions about family -- parents, siblings, ancestors -- in our visit, but only after my ancestor and I had developed a rapport and become comfortable with each other.

Today I'm imagining time with one of my British-born ancestors, one who is just three generations away from me, my great-grandfather, William Doyle.  He came to America as an 8-year-old boy with two younger siblings and his mother.  His father had immigrated to America the previous year.  All of his grandchildren called him Pap.

I would choose a spring or autumn afternoon for this visit.

I would like to know...
  • if he worked in the mines even as an 8-year-old.  Family legend says he did.  If so, I would like to know what he did and how he felt about it.
  • if he was able to attend school while he lived in England and what it was like, if he did.
  • that he remembers about preparing to come to America, the trip across the ocean, landing in America, and travelling from New York to Pennsylvania.
  • what happened that he decided to keep a mustache his whole life.  (Again, family legend says there was an accident that caused scarring.)  What was the accident and how did it happen?
  • how he met his wife, Tressa Froman.  Maybe he would tell me some courtship stories.  Maybe he could tell me where his father-in-law is buried!
  • if he remembers his grandparents on either side of his family, if he lived near them, and whether he saw them often.  I hope he would share specific memories.

With an afternoon to spend with him, I would ask him to show me around the farm in Stoneboro.  I would ask what life was like for him as a boy on the farm and what school was like.  I would want to know about his childhood friends.  I hope he would talk about growing and selling strawberries, determining where to dig a coal mine, and share any special memories of his parents and/or his children.

I'm sure his answers to my questions would prompt more questions and the afternoon would pass all too quickly.  I fully expect to be able to talk to Pap when I pass through the veil from life to death.

I welcome your thoughts about questions you'd ask your own ancestor.  If some of you would like to write a post and leave a link in a comment I'll compile your responses in a blog post next Sunday or Monday.  (Feel free to use this image or the one in the previous post at the link above.)

Happy visiting with your ancestor.


Copyright © 2009-2015 Nancy Messier. All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

When New is Old - Shopping Saturday

In recent years I've heard Kroger's advertising incentive, "Let's Go Krogering."  I thought it was new.  Not so.  When searching the August 14, 1958, edition of The Youngstown Vindicator online I noticed a Kroger ad.  And there, in the middle of the page, was the suggestion, "Let's Go Krogering."  Who knew!

The ad suggests to me that the 1950's were the days before prepared foods had become so popular.  Days when people usually used real, unadulterated food and made meals from scratch.  Oh, yum!

If only we could return to 1958 prices (without returning to 1958 incomes). 

White potatoes    25 lb. bag  79¢
Peaches    4 lbs.  49¢
Blueberries    pt. box  29¢

Ground Beef   lb. 49¢
Tenderay Round Steak   lb. 89¢
Tenderay Sirloin Steak   lb 89¢
Tenderay Porterhouse Steak   lb. 99¢
Tenderay Chuck Steaks   lb. 69¢

Campbell's Soup, your choice   6 for 99¢
   Cream of Mushroom
   Cream of Chicken
   Chicken w ith Rice
   Chicken Noodle
   Turkey Noodle
Vegetarian Soup   8 for 98¢

I guess there were some prepared foods available.  (In our family we most always cooked from scratch except for an occasional box cake.)
   Banquet Frozen Dinners   2 for $1
   Ballard or Pillsbury Biscuits  pkg. 10¢
   Macaroni and Cheese  6 for 88¢
   Peach Pie   49¢
   Grape Juice  5 for 88¢
   Spaghetti   4 for 89¢

More "real food."
Swiss Cheese   lb. 49¢
Sharp Cheese  lb. 59¢
Fresh Eggs, Grade A Small  doz. 41¢
Fresh Eggs, Grade A Medium  doz. 53¢

I don't remember a Kroger in the Niles/Youngstown area when I was growing up.  In fact, I don't remember when I first encountered a Kroger store.  These days they are prevalent primarily in Ohio and neighboring states.

This post was prompted by a pattern my grandmother cut from a newspaper which my aunt gave me.  There are some ads for cleaning supplies but since the date was cut away with the cutting of the pattern, I decided not to scan and post it.  The ad also has coupons for Top Value Stamps with the purchase of various items.  Businesses don't give stamps these days but so many stores have scannable customer cards which, if a customer registers and uses the cards, may offer them points for later use or discounts at the register.  Of course, it's a way for the store to track the spending habits of people who use the cards:  more invasive than those old paper stamps we licked and pasted into books to turn in.

I often stop by Kroger to pick up a few items these days but it's not my primary store for groceries.  What about you?  Do you go Krogering?


Copyright © 2015 Nancy Messier. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Memories of My Father and Me for Father's Day

My aunt remembers that my father, Lee Doyle, had a great sense of humor.  It was probably true when he was younger, with fewer responsibilities and cares, but by the time I knew my father he was a serious, purposeful man.  Below are a few memories of time spent with him.

In the Ridge there was a gas station called Smitty's where my father often purchased gas.  When I was perhaps 4 or 5 I would occasionally ride with Dad to get the car filled with gas.  He pulled up beside the pump which was under an awning that extended from the little building.  The attendant or owner came down the steps and out to the car to pump the gas, wash the windows, and check the oil.  I waited in the car while Dad went inside to pay.  When Dad came back to the car he had two little bags of roasted, salted peanuts (but smaller that the current-day Lance or Planters brands).  The memory ends there but I suppose we sat in the car and ate them.

Dad was a handyman, fix-it, tinkerer father.  He could and did fix just about anything and everything.  I remember "helping" him on projects in which he taught me how to hold the nails to hand to him -- by the narrow, sharp end, so that I was handing him the head.  Taking the nail by the head, he could place it and pound it without the need to reposition it in his fingers.  What did he build?  I have no recollection.  But somehow this activity taught me that when helping another I need to be observant about what will be most helpful.

Ironically, in the photo above, my father has his hands on the shoulders of my cousin and my sister has her hand on my shoulder.  I wonder what had been happening before this photo was taken:  my cousin and are in dresses, not the normal playwear of those days, and my brother and sister are in play/work clothes.  It's hard to tell but my mom looks like she could be wearing clothes she would wear out.  Oh, to have little details about old photographs!

Happy Father's Day, Dad!


Copyright © 2015 Nancy Messier. All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Copyright Infringement or Common Occurence?

Two days ago someone came to my blog from an link (which you may or may not be able to see without an Ancestry account).   I wondered how My Ancestors and Me happened to appear at Ancestry since I don't have a tree there.  I clicked the link to go to the Ancestry page and was surprised by what I found.

There I saw photographs of Dixon Bartley's home and Dixon's will (that I had photographed from microfilm at a Family History Center) which had been copied from my blog.  There was also an image of a newspaper clipping that I had scanned and posted (but which the owner of this tree could and may have requested, scanned, and uploaded herself).

In addition to the images, there were several posts from My Ancestors and Me which had been copied word for word and pasted into the stories area of this individual's tree.  Granted, there were links to the individual posts somewhere on the pages but there was no other mention of how the images and words had been obtained, who had written them, or that permission to copy and paste them had been obtained.

The owner of this tree has never contacted me.  She has never left a comment on any of the posts she copied, nor has she emailed me directly.

This feels like a violation of copyright to me.  I sent a message to her through the Ancestry contact information telling her that, asking that she remove my content, and requesting that she contact me.  She has not yet responded.

When I was looking at her pages again this evening I noticed a link to's Terms and Conditions.  (Click through if you want to read the whole section about user provided content.)  There were several parts that stood out to me.

Ancestry states that they host and provide access but are not responsible for the accuracy of the user provided content.  The company doesn't monitor or preview user provided content but may use automated filtering tools (which seem to focus particularly on obscene content) and reserves the right to remove content.  The company states it is sensitive to copyright and intellectual property rights of others.

Directly from the terms and conditions:
The decision to upload or share User Provided Content on the Websites is your responsibility and you should only submit or share User Provided Content that belongs to you (or where you have obtained all necessary permissions or consents) and that will not violate the rights of others. Be aware that copyright and other intellectual property rights will normally belong to the creator of the material in question and you should not reproduce or submit anything without permission of the owner. By submitting User Provided Content to any of the Websites, you represent and warrant that you have the right to do so or that you have obtained any necessary third party consents....
Additionally, the terms and conditions state,
By submitting User Provided Content on any of the Websites, you grant Ancestry and its Group Companies a perpetual, transferable, sublicenseable, worldwide, royalty-free, license to host, store, copy, publish, distribute, provide access to create derivative works of, and otherwise use User Provided Content submitted by you to the Websites, to the extent and in the form or context we deem appropriate on or through any media or medium and with any technology or devices now known or hereafter developed or discovered.
Does this mean that because someone else copied and posted my work to Ancestry, it now belongs to Ancestry?

I'm interested in interacting and cooperating with other descendants of my ancestors who are researching the same individuals and families.  And I'm obviously interested in sharing my research or I wouldn't have a blog.  But seeing what I've written copied word for word and posted elsewhere on the internet without my knowledge or permission feels like a violation.  It's causing me to reconsider blogging about my ancestors.

Is this a copyright violation or am I just being too sensitive?  Is this how the genealogy community does things and I'm just unaware of how it works?  Is this something that generally happens and writers/photographers ignore it?  Or is it a violation of my copyright?

If you've had a similar experience please share and tell me what you did, if anything, and what the outcome was.  Thank you.


Copyright © 2015 Nancy Messier. All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

A Dear Old Tunnel - Sepia Saturday

Until a few years ago there was a beautiful stone tunnel arching over a nearby road.

Part of the joy of this tunnel was that it was just wide enough for two cars:  drivers on opposite sides of the road were within arm's reach of each other inside the arch.  The speed limit on the road is 45 miles/hour.  What a rush we felt when driving through its arch with another car coming toward us.  Was I on my side of the road?  Was I so close to the side that the car would scrape?  Would the other driver stay on his side?  Whew!

There were other beauties to the tunnel, too.  In the top photo you can see the carefully crafted stones creating the arch.  At right you can see the inside of the arch lined with bricks.  Some drivers (probably of trucks) neglected to notice the sign telling the height limit:  12' 2".  I never saw a truck scrape the arch but the photo shows that it happened.

These photos below are of the giant stones used to create the sides and entrance of the tunnel.   The photographs may be deceiving regarding their size.  Most were about 24" tall and much too large and heavy for even a few men to carry.

From the photographs it's hard to tell that railroad tracks ran across the top of the tunnel.  It was originally built in 1902 by the B&O (Baltimore & Ohio) Railroad.  At that time the area would have been farmland with a few homes and barns dotting the land.  Automobiles were not yet common and I suppose the builders had horse and buggy traffic in mind, hence its narrow dimension. 

This dear tunnel was perfectly sturdy.  It had character.  It had a history.  It's only problems were its height and lack of width.  I like old and I would have preferred to keep the tunnel in place despite its challenges, but the county had other ideas.  They tore it down and built a new, expansive, modern bridge.

It's been gone a few years but I still miss the old tunnel.

Head over to Sepia Saturday 283 to see what other participants are sharing.


Friday, June 12, 2015

School, ca. 1917

Have you seen the chalkboards from 1917 that were recently discovered during renovations an Oklahoma City Public School?  They've been a hot topic in some news.  The lessons were left in place when new chalkboards were installed in 1917.  There are math, history, music, and health lessons plus Thanksgiving quotes and drawings.  (You can see more images at Colossal, The Washington Post, Generation X, and  Yes, go look!)  Seeing them I can imagine girls with braids, boys with short pants, and teachers with their hair in buns.  Talk about stepping back in time!  No computers, no reams of paper, no calculators . . . .

Imagining school in 1917 reminded me of tests I've read while researching in old newspapers.  There were exams to pass eighth grade which, for many students, was the highest level of formal education obtained in the early 1900s and before.  The 1912 eighth grade test from Bullitt County, Kentucky, has questions I can't answer now, and some I never could have answered.  Subjects included spelling, reading, arithmetic, grammar, geography, physiology, civil government, history.  A few questions from the exam:
  • Find cost of 12½ cents per sq. yd. of kalsomining the walls of a room 20 ft. long, 16 ft. wide and 9 ft. high, deducting 1 door 8 ft. by 4 ft. 6 in. and 2 windows 5 ft. by 3 ft. 6 in. each.
  • How many steps 2 ft. 4 in. each will a man take in walking 2 1/2 miles?
  • At $1.62½ a cord, what will be the cost of a pile of wood 24 ft. long, 4 ft. wide and 6 ft. 3 in. high?
  • How many parts of speech are there?  Define each.  
  • Name and give the capitals of States touching the Ohio River.  Locate Erie Canal; what waters does it connect, and why is it important?
  • Name the organs of circulation.
  • Name three rights given Congress by the Constitution and two rights denied Congress.
  • Sketch briefly Sir Walter Rawleigh, Peter Stuyvesant.
  • Name the last battle of the Civil War; War of 1812, French and Indian War, and the commanders of each battle.
  • Who invented the following.--Magnetic Telegraph, Cotton Gin, Sewing Machine, Telephone, Phonograph.

And then there were the examinations given to prospective teachers to determine whether they qualified to teach.  The January 13, 1916 edition of Ohio's The Greenville Journal published the questions of an exam for county teachers wishing to obtain elementary school certificates.  The categories included arithmetic, geography, grammar, history, physiology, literature, agriculture, theory and practice, writing, orthography, reading, and spelling.  (Click image to enlarge.)

A few of the questions from the teacher's exam:

     A man walks 5/12 of a mile.  Express in integers of rods, feet, inches.  Show the outline which you would have the pupils follow in this reduction.
     Give statistics regarding Ireland -- its size, population, industries, cities.  What is its form of government?
     What is conjugation?  Conjugate the verb "dream" in indicative mode, present, past, future tenses.
     Name the leading political parties since 1796.
     What effects has the use of intoxicants upon (a) tuberculosis, (b) pneumonia?
     How does knowledge of a scratch on the hand reach the brain?  Would knowledge of an injury to an internal organ locate so accurately the place and nature of the hurt?  Does the brain control the processes of the internal organs?
     Write a short biography of Robert Burns; name four poems.
     What are the principal points in which a cow of the dairy type differs from one of the beef type?  Name some good breeds of each type.
     Outline your principal aims in teaching some particular subject.  What use can you make of pictures (either textbook, card, magazine or blackboard in your teaching?  What can you do to teach pupils to use their leisure hours profitably?  Of what does loyalty on the part of the teacher consist?
     Mark for pronunciation:  Des Moines [sic], troubadour, sumach, stalagmite, reciprocity, silhouette, quagmire, papyrus, degeneracy, larynx.

This exam was nearly two full newspaper columns long.  I don't know if the exam was published in advance so the applicants could study or if the exam changed from year to year and this was the previous year's exam.  I suppose it was an all- day or several-day exam.

It's clear that most of the questions were appropriate for rural students and their teachers. 

Some have argued that students these days don't need to know information like this and that modern-day students are more advanced.  But I wonder. . . .

Aside from finding the exams and the chalkboards interesting, the only tie I have to this topic is that my parents both attended county schools.  My father was born in 1913, my mother in 1915, so both would have been in schools a few years after 1917, but from the little my father said, I could imagine it was very similar to school in 1917.


Copyright © 2015 Nancy Messier. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

The Boy with Merry Eyes

On May 27, my cousin Rex -- the boy with merry eyes -- passed from this life to the next.  Rex was born just a few years before me.

There were 8 of us grandchildren on my mother's side of the family.  My brother and I, nearly 11 years apart, were the bookends, the oldest and youngest.  The other cousins stair-stepped between us.  Rex was a little over two years older than me.  Wedged between us was Belinda, just 9 months older than me and about a year and a half younger than Rex.

Some Sundays my grandmother would make dinner for all four of her daughters and their families.  On those occasions it was a riot of grandchildren running in and out of the house, giggling, playing, teasing.  Rex, of the merry eyes, was the biggest tease of all.  I think he occasionally brought us youngest girls to tears with threats to our dolls' lives.  Belinda and I played well together because we were so close in age and I suppose, if Rex had been a girl, he would have joined us in our play.  But Rex was all boy, laughing and teasing.  Of course, by the time evening came and we all left Gramma's for our own homes, we were on good terms again. 

As Rex and I grew to adulthood and the years passed our contact was through Christmas cards with brief messages and greetings of the season. 

Rest in peace, Rex.  I'll forever remember your merry eyes. 


Copyright © 2015 Nancy Messier. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

If You Could Chat with An Ancestor....

With church in the morning, my Sunday afternoons are usually quiet, leisurely, and restful.  They are the perfect time to think about my ancestors.  Today I'm envisioning a visit with my great-great-grandmother Rebecca (Smith) Bartley.  I know her birth date (1820), marriage date (to Dixon Bartley in 1836/38), and death date (December 1899), and where she and Dixon lived.  I also know that there was a very large golden wedding anniversary party for her and Dixon in July, 1888.  But I know little else about her.  Nothing of her appearance, her personality, education, beliefs, nor, especially, the essence of her:  who she was/is. 

If I could visit with Grandmother Bartley, I hope the conversation would cross boundaries of times and interests.  I would ask her about her childhood:  her interests, activities, chores, hobbies.  I would want to know whether she attended school and about the things she learned from her mother.  I hope we would talk about courtship and marriage, and becoming a wife, household management, and her daily schedule -- how she arranged the necessities of her days.  I would like to hear about her becoming a mother, and her thoughts on raising children.  (How did she manage diapering, infant cleanliness, and keeping children away from hot stoves and fires?)  I would especially like to learn about any handwork she might have done:  sewing clothes, knitting, crocheting, quilting.  Did she spin her own wool?  I hope we could touch on her religious beliefs.  Rebecca was a married lady during the Civil War living in a Union state.  I would like to know about that experience.  I would also like to hear details about their golden wedding anniversary celebration.  And so much more.

If I knew I would have an opportunity to chat with Rebecca for an hour, I would make a list of questions and add to it until the moment of our visit.   And, of course, as we visited I'm sure more questions would come to mind.  I think the visit would last longer than an hour.  (I'm imagining an older Rebecca with time on her hands to sit and talk for a good long while.)

If you could chat with an ancestor for an hour, who would it be and what questions would you have?


Copyright © 2015 Nancy Messier. All Rights Reserved.
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