Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Best Choice May Be a Nap

My mother was not easy on her children's spouses. Somehow she seemed to distance herself from them, perhaps unwilling to accept them as real family members.

Before she married my brother, my future sister-in-law, Jan, visited with my brother on occasional weekends when he came home from college. I was a young teen at the time and had no idea how difficult it must have been for her. Looking back I realize that it must have been an uncomfortable and stressful time for her.

As a young teen it gave me great pleasure to snap photos of family members while they were napping. I was particularly thrilled with this one. I can't remember what was going on before it was taken but because the furniture is out of place it looks like Mom had been cleaning. (And why, one wonders, would my mother have been cleaning with a guest in the house. That was Mom!)

Despite how stressful it must have been for Jan to visit our home she always managed a smile for the camera. In fact, in every photograph I have of her she's smiling. She was a dear sister-in-law.

Jan would have celebrated her 74th birthday today had she not lost her battle with cancer over a decade and a half ago.

Happy Birthday, Jan!


Friday, August 24, 2012

Some of the Questions I Would Ask

Today I'm celebrating the birthday of Elizabeth Armitage Meinzen, my great-grandmother. She's the lady with the sunbonnet in the photo above. She was born 160 years ago, in 1852, and passed away long before I was born. No stories about her were handed down through her son, my grandfather, or, as far as I know, through any other of her children -- at least none that reached my ears. I've learned a little about her but there are plenty of questions I'd like her to answer. Here are a few.

Personal/Family History questions
  • What was your favorite color?
  • Did you have a favorite season? If yes, which?
  • What color are your eyes and hair?
  • Did you spin wool, weave cloth, and/or sew clothes? Did you quilt?
  • Were you apprehensive to travel from England to America?
  • How did you meet Grampa Henry Meinzen?
  • What was your favorite food? Did you make it often?
  • Were there any traditions in your family when you were growing up or when you were a mother? If so, what were they?
  • What was the hardest thing about being a mother?
  • What invention during your lifetime helped make your life easier?

Genealogy Questions
  • Was your mother Eliza Hartley? When did she die? Where is she buried?
  • Who were your grandparents on both sides? Did you know them and spend time with them?
  • You were only 12 when you left England. Did you have to work during your childhood? If so, what did you do?

That's enough questions for now, especially because I know I won't find answers, at least to any of the personal/family history questions.

Happy Birthday, Gramma. I hope the angels are celebrating with you today.

Thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Always the Same Age

My sister-in-law, Eva, is celebrating her birthday today. Isn't she lovely?

From her I think I've learned how to stay young - or at least look the same age for many years: have a sister-in-law (me!) who doesn't take photographs at every family get-together. (I take my camera, then forget to pull it out. Some family historian, huh?) One never ages if the photograph stays the same.

This photograph was taken 11 years ago but if I were to take a photograph today, I believe Eva would look just about the same. She just doesn't age!

Eva is interested in family history, too. The last time I visited she showed me some star quilt blocks that one of her ancestors had made. She was trying to decide what to do with them and how to present them to their best advantage -- whether to turn them into a quilt or do something with each individual star. I was quite taken with the two at left, one with its decorative heart motif and the other with the little boy in short pants. Aren't they fun?

Happy Birthday, Eva! I hope you had a grand and memorable birthday!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

When the Maple Leaves Turn - Wisdom Wednesday

My grandmother could predict rain better than any weatherman.  When I was very young I took it for granted that because she was older than me she knew everything, so of course she would know when it was going to rain.

When I was a little older and she predicted rain, I asked her how she knew.   She pointed out a maple tree and showed me that the leaves had turned themselves bottom side up.  Both the green and silvery parts of the leaves were showing. Sure enough, within two days or less it rained.  Every time.

You may think the maples turn their leaves because of the wind.  Of course, they do; but they turn their leaves when rain is coming even before there is a wind.

In Eric Sloane's Weather Almanac:  A Classic Illustrated Guide to Weather Folklore and Forecasting, he corroborates Gramma's weather wisdom:  "When trees grow, their leaves fall into a pattern according to the prevailing wind.  Therefore, when a storm wind (which is naturally a non-prevailing one) occurs, the leaves will be ruffled backwards and show their light underside."

Except for two times during my lifetime, I've found my grandmother's weather wisdom to be accurate.  The maple leaves may be better predictors of rain than the weather man.


Copyright © 2012-2014 Nancy Messier. All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Precious Little

Does it seem to you like precious little family history work is being done in my home? I would like to say you're right, but you're not. Absolutely no family history work is being done these days. Life has taken me away and I sorely miss searching for my ancestors. I hope to be back at it very soon.

Of course, I haven't forgotten them. They won't let me. They are still calling me, nudging me, pushing me to find their information. I tell them they've waited years, they can wait another few days or weeks for me to get back to work.

I'll begin regular posts again soon. Thanks for visiting.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

A Laurel Wreath for Helping Index the 1940 U.S. Census

FamilySearch Indexing Indexer Badge
Family Search keeps giving us nice little rewards for indexing the 1940 U.S. Census. Did you get yours? If not, you can copy it from me or find it here
We -- everyone who indexed -- should be pleased with ourselves to have done it in 4 months! I was reading comments on a post at the FamilySearch blog today and some indexers complained about how the arbitrators changed their entries and mentioned other challenges and difficulties they had indexing. I think it was a learning process for everyone involved and I know we'll all just keep getting better and better as we continue to index.

It will take another several weeks for all the states' indexes to be posted because they are checking them. The FamilySearch blog explains the delay.

Well done! Thank you, everyone who indexed.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Spick and Span for Our Blog Birthday Celebration!

We turned three today, My Ancestors and Me, and we're having a little celebration. Please join us!

In honor of the occasion, we bought a Western Electric Clothes Washer because the ad said, "Everything spick and span for the birthday party, thanks to this dependable Clothes Washer." "Everything" included sheer window curtains, a dainty white dress, a heavy rag rug, a damask table cloth, and a delicate georgette waist. (Of course, we washed them in separate loads.) Our Western Electric Clothes Washer worked great and you can see we are spick and span. On to the games!

Game #1: Name That Ancestor
Can you name anyone in these photos? I'm not sure why you'd want to but humor us anyway and play along. Just for the fun of it. (No fair looking at the url for the names!)

Game #2: Hide-n-Seek
(or Where is He or She Hiding Behind that Brick Wall?)
Some of my ancestors love to play Hide-n-Seek and they don't want to quit playing. There are no prizes for these games but I would certainly figure one out if someone discovered the hiding place of these ancestors!

Ancestor #1: Fred Gerner's mother or father, names unknown, probably born in Germany, probably before 1828, may have died after 1855, possibly in the U.S.
Ancestor #2: Henry Meinzen's mother or father, father was Carl Meinzen, probably born in Germany, probably before 1817, probably died in Germany
Ancestor #3: John Froman's mother or father, probably born in Germany before 1820

Game #3: Your Favorite Ancestor
We've played some games with my ancestors, let's play some with yours. Who is your favorite ancestor and why? Have you written a blog post about him or her? If so, what is the link? If enough of you play along, I'll write a follow-up post to highlight your posts about your ancestors.

And now for refreshments. Let's have a slice of refreshing Blueberry Cheesecake, a glass of lemonade, some popcorn and peanuts, and chocolate cake and ice cream.

Thanks for coming to celebrate with us. We're glad you came and hope you had a good time.
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