Saturday, August 22, 2009

Changes are Coming :: Empty Spaces

It's looking a little empty here in the apartment. As stated in Changes are Coming :: The Plan I have been selling off lots of stuff - the washing machine and dryer were the first to go, just before the Georgia trip. It's been over 20 years since I've experienced the "joys" of going to a Laundromat! But it is something that I'll have to adjust to along with life on the road.

Over the past four weeks bookcases have been sold as well as filing cabinets, the dining room table, end tables and other household items. Today the television disappeared as did the living room furniture (sofa, loveseat, chair, ottoman). The only pieces of furniture left are my computer desk, two chairs, and the bed. Those will be the last things to go into storage the end of next week. The place definitely has that empty feeling!

It's sad in a way, to see things you've enjoyed using going off to a new home. But they are just things and I wasn't really attached to most of the furniture since I'd only had it three years - though I really hated to part with the dining room table, it was quite nice.

The van is almost set up the way I want it - thanks to some very good friends (Cindy, Bill & Ben) who spent an entire day (14 hours actually) planning, designing and building the "platform" to even out the floor of the van and to provide access to storage areas and a sleeping area. It's awesome and much better than I had envisioned.

Window coverings need to be added to the van and then I think it will be ready to go! I'm still trying to figure out how to do that but got an idea last night that should work. At least, I'm hoping it will…

After the Georgia trip, the van was serviced and tires aligned. At that time the service manager said two of the tires would have to be replaced but that they should last several more months, till winter at least. I had an uneasy feeling about them and every couple of days would look at them. I noticed that on one of the tires the steel belts were showing through! There was still quite a bit of tread in the middle of the tires but the sides were worn bare. So, yesterday I got two new tires and that uneasy feeling has gone away, along with several hundred dollars.

The van is doing pretty good on mileage. Not what my little Cavalier got, but then the van is a 6-cylinder vehicle. It has been averaging 23-24 mpg around town and driving back and forth from Albion to Columbia City. On the Georgia trip it got 26 mpg on the Interstates and 21 mpg the two days in Brunswick. Not too bad, better than its rating of 17 mpg/city and 24 mpg/highway. So far I'm quite happy with my choice and I'm hoping it will serve me well.

To say that I'm tired right now would be an understatement. I'm exhausted. Physically, mentally, and emotionally. But there is still lots to do. This coming week I'll finish the packing (which is mostly done, whew!), work on window coverings for the van, finish scanning a small box I found with pictures from Dad (mostly unidentified), load software on the new netbook (a lovely, amazing piece of hardware!), figure out how to use the mapping software and GPS, work on ancestor reports and continue making the research list, try to get caught up on blog reading (3 days this week I never even connected to the 'net!) as well as go visit friends and relatives that I want to see before I go. All that, and only 9 days left before departure! Oh my, the end of the month is coming up awfully quick.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Not exactly of the "Ride 'em Cowboy" genre..

There were no "pony" pictures taken of us kids while growing up. We lived in the country so the fellows that went around to the "big city" with their ponies, didn't come our way. Although, there is one of my Uncle Bill taken about 1940 (give or take a couple of years), and I found one of two of my cousins taken about 15 years later that looked like it was the same horse! But then, last week I was scanning the last box of my Dad's pictures and discovered this…

I absolutely fell in love with this picture - it is a photo postcard and because it only filled up 2/3 of the front of the card I've cropped out the borders and enlarged it a bit to show the details. There is so much going on - the colt in front, the chickens scurrying around the horses hoofs, the barefoot girl atop the horse, and the man holding the reins. It's static, yet dynamic, at the same time!

The postcard was sent to Amanda Wiseman, Warsaw Ind RR#1 and postmarked at 6 PM on Jul 23. The city is not legible and the year is missing. The one-cent stamp has "909" stamped in ink, perhaps it is the year 1909? Eileen Hover, the little girl on the horse, was born April 21, 1904.

My Dad wrote at the top of the postcard "Uncle Hank Hover & Allein" and on the next line "Bessie, Edie, & Charlie Hovers father"

The message, written by Lue Hover, says "Dear Sister will Write a few lines to let you know we are all well it is raining to day Smith is up stairs a sleep Will write more soon if you answer the letter I did write"

Hank Hover's full name was William Henry Hover. He was the fifth of six children born to of George and Rachel (Van Curen) Hover. George passed away in 1855, just three years after Hank was born. In 1859, Rachel married William Alexander. Their first child was Amanda Alexander who married Samuel Wiseman - they are my great grandparents.

I'm not sure exactly where Hank Hover and his family lived but it couldn't have been too far from the farm of Amanda and Sam Wiseman, perhaps a few miles - they both lived in Tippecanoe Township, Kosciusko County, Indiana.

Last year I posted a photo of the Hover children, Bessie, Edith and Charlie. They were Hank's children from his first marriage with Elizabeth Biltz. Eileen Hover was Hank's daughter from his second marriage to Lula Crawford, the writer of the postcard.

This post was written for and contributed to the 78th edition of the Carnival of Genealogy :: Ride Em Cowboy: Let's See Your Pony Pictures!

Monday, August 10, 2009

They've got just a little bling.

The vast majority of my ancestors were not well-to-do folk. They were mostly farmers and their wealth consisted mainly of family and friends, rather than material things. But every once in a while I come across a picture that makes me wonder if some of them really weren't all that poor. Case in point is the photograph below, which depicts my great-grandmother Amanda Minerva Alexander Wiseman. The fancy dress isn't one that a farmer's wife would wear on a daily basis. I wonder, just what was the occasion?

The picture is not dated. Amanda was born on September 25, 1860 and was the first of four children of William and Rachel (Van Curen) Alexander. Amanda was married to Samuel Bray Wiseman on June 7, 1883 (her sister Laura married Sam's brother Henry).

From this other picture and several others of the Alexander siblings from my Dad's collection, I think that the Alexander's were one of the more affluent families in my lineage. Although with a total of 19 children between them (he was married twice and she once before they married each other), I don't see how William and Rachel managed. Of course, all of the children didn't live with them at the same time (the first one was born in 1841 and the last in 1868). Undoubtedly, the later children had it better than the earlier ones.

The photograph below (not a good copy of a copy, but the best I have) was taken earlier. Based on the ages of the children, probably about 1892/3.

Amanda and Sam Wiseman with their children.
Charles (my grandfather, born 1885), Goldie (born 1890), and Smith (born 1888).

Contributed to the "Bling, ancestor Bling" edition of Smile for the Camera.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun :: My Sweet Sixteen

Here 'tis, Saturday Night, again, already, and Randy has issued his Saturday Night Genealogy Fun challenge:
  • List your 16 [great]-great-grandparents in pedigree chart order. List their birth and death years and places.
  • Figure out the dominant ethnicity or nationality of each of them.
  • Calculate your ancestral ethnicity or nationality by adding them up for the 16 - 6.25% for each (obviously, this is approximate).
And, they are:

1. Charles Wiseman was born on 30 Nov 1815 in Berne, Switzerland, died on 14 Aug 1895 in Craig Township, Switzerland County, Indiana, and was buried in McKay Cemetery, Craig Township, Switzerland County, IN. Ethnicity: SWISS-GERMAN

2. Naomi Bray, daughter of Samuel Bray Sr. and Susanna Ball, was born on 03 Mar 1824 in Probably Switzerland County, Indiana, died on 06 Dec 1908 near Long Run, Craig Township, Switzerland County, IN, and was buried in McKay Cemetery, Craig Township, Switzerland County, IN. Ethnicity: UNKNOWN

3. William Alexander, son of William Washington Alexander and Lucy Sprague, was born on 20 Nov 1805 in Erie County, Pennsylvania, died on 07 Apr 1899 in Washington Township, Kosciusko County, IN, and was buried in Morris Chapel Cemetery, Kosciusko County, Indiana. Ethnicity: SCOTCH-IRISH (maybe)

4. Rachel Van Curen, daughter of Hendricus "Henry" Van Curen and Rebecca, was born on 05 Sep 1824 in China Township, Genessee County, New York, died on 20 Dec 1891 in Washington Township, Kosciusko County, IN, and was buried in Morris Chapel Cemetery, Kosciusko County, Indiana. Ethnicity: DUTCH

5. Christian Schuder Jr. son of Christian Schuder Sr. and Anna Eva Christina Stoever, was born on 19 Jul 1813 in Montgomery County, Ohio, died on 02 Sep 1885 in Van Buren Township, Kosciusko County, Indiana, and was buried in Syracuse Cemetery, Kosciusko County, Indiana. Ethnicity: GERMANIC

6. Sarah Nancy Huntsicker was born on 02 Feb 1817 in Pennsylvania, died on 14 Jun 1883 in Van Buren Township, Kosciusko County, Indiana, and was buried in Syracuse Cemetery, Kosciusko County, Indiana. Ethnicity: PROBABLY GERMANIC

7. Daniel Lavering, son of William Lavering and Elizabeth Ann Schuder, was born on 18 Apr 1830 in Montgomery County, Ohio, died on 10 Oct 1895 in Kosciusko County, Indiana, and was buried in Syracuse Cemetery, Kosciusko County, Indiana. Ethnicity: GERMANIC

8. Elizabeth Ann Long, daughter of George Long and Unknown (Elizabeth?), was born in 1829 in Ohio, died on 23 Nov 1895 in Kosciusko County, Indiana, and was buried in Syracuse Cemetery, Kosciusko County, Indiana. Ethnicity: PROBABLY GERMANIC

9. Jacob Phend, son of Johannes B'hend and Susanna Kübli, was born on 27 Jun 1829 in Aarmühle, Interlaken, Canton Berne, Switzerland, was baptized on 05 Jul 1829 in Gsteig, Interlaken, Canton Berne, Switzerland, died on 07 Oct 1917 in Elkhart County, Indiana, and was buried in Hepton Union Cemetery in Hepton, Kosciusko County, Indiana. Ethnicity: SWISS-GERMAN

10. Louisa Fisher, daughter of Michael Fisher and Christenia Houck, was born on 27 Jun 1829 in Germany, died on 04 Apr 1898 in Nappanee, Elkhart County, Indiana, and was buried in Hepton Union Cemetery in Hepton, Kosciusko County, Indiana. Ethnicity: GERMANIC

11. Eli Yarian, son of Jacob Yarian and Elizabeth Switzer, was born on 25 May 1839 in Randolph Township, Portage County, Ohio, died on 28 Jan 1895 in Locke Township, Elkhart County, Indiana, and was buried in South Union Cemetery in Locke Township, Elkhart County, Indiana. Ethnicity: GERMANIC

12. Lovina Viola Berlin, daughter of John D. Berlin and Susannah Hoffman, was born on 08 May 1845 in Washingtonville, Columbiana County, Ohio, died on 03 May 1932 in South Bend, Saint Joseph County, Indiana, and was buried in South Union Cemetery in Locke Township, Elkhart County, Indiana. Ethnicity: GERMANIC

13. William Brubaker, son of John Brubaker and Sarah Foster, was born on 20 Nov 1843 in Perry County, Ohio, died on 26 Jan 1912 in Columbia City, Whitley County, Indiana, and was buried in South Park Cemetery in Columbia City, Whitley County, Indiana. Ethnicity: GERMANIC

14. Malissa Mariah Joslin, daughter of Lysander Price Joslin and Lydia Robison, was born on 24 Jun 1849 in Troy Township, Whitley County, Indiana, died on 30 Sep 1937 in Columbia City, Whitley County, Indiana, and was buried in South Park Cemetery in Columbia City, Whitley County, Indiana. Ethnicity: ENGLISH

15. William Pythagrus Wise, son of Jacob Wise and Malissa Ann Stem, was born on 01 Jan 1852 in Miami County, Indiana, died on 12 Oct 1935 in Troy Township, Whitley County, Indiana, and was buried in Scott-Keister Cemetery in Troy Township, Whitley County, Indiana. Ethnicity: GERMANIC

16. Sophia Elizabeth Dunfee, daughter of William Hamilton Dunfee and Catherine B. Jones, was born on 18 Sep 1850 in Columbia City, Whitley County, Indiana, died on 06 Dec 1916 in Troy Township, Whitley County, Indiana, and was buried in Scott-Keister Cemetery in Troy Township, Whitley County, Indiana. Ethnicity: SCOTCH-IRISH (maybe)

81.25% of my 2nd great grandparents (13 of the 16) were born in the United States. As close as I can guesstimate, the ethnic breakdown is predominantly GERMANIC (9 = 56%), SWISS-GERMAN (2 = 12%), with a bit of DUTCH (1 = 6%), ENGLISH (1 = 6%), SCOTCH-IRISH (maybe 2 = 12%), and UNKNOWN (1 = 6%).

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Wordless Wednesday :: Schooldaze ~ Eleventh Grade

What Are They Looking For?

Over at What’s Past is Prologue, Donna Pointkouski has shared some really strange, weird, puzzling and funny search terms that bring people to her blog, along with some commentary. It had me smiling with an outright laugh or two even. Thanks, Donna, for the laugh, and the prompt!

Though the items on my list are not nearly as informative, inventive, or esoteric as hers they still sometimes leave me scratching my head. These are a few the latest things people were looking for when they landed on my blog via a search engine. . .
  • "charles wise" balloon
  • does the joslins have ansters in englad
  • dresslers chocolate cake
  • general macarthur's cousin in ww2
  • michigan dnr plot map levering
  • missing people alert in elkhart county
  • ms backy ard 69
  • parrot inherits estate dayton ohio
  • personality
  • please acknowledge myself as author of the conference slides
  • robbins family strict and particular Baptists
  • sheet protectors
  • voting turn out for noble county Indiana
  • who is the fav wise man in mexico in children

Monday, August 03, 2009

Changes are Coming :: The Plan

As alluded to in Changes are Coming :: The First Step, an extended road trip is on the horizon! Terry Snyder asked in a comment to that post if it had anything to do with my "if I had a million dollars" post. In a way, it does. But no, I haven't won the lottery or inherited any money from a rich old uncle. And no, I don't have unlimited financial wealth. I don't have all the tech-toys that would be helpful in this venture, and I don't have the big beautiful RV I'd like to have, but I do have my little van. And I think it will do quite well, thank you very much.

For quite some time, long before I retired two years ago, I have wanted to do this. But my Mother was diagnosed with breast cancer about the time I retired and we've been dealing with doctor visits, etc. ever since. She was recently given a clean bill of health, at least as far as the cancer is concerned. Considering the fact that she is 81 years old, she is in pretty good physical health though her mental faculties are a bit shaky now and then.

Her improved health, along with my illness in February, was the catalyst that put things in motion. I finally just decided that if I was going to do this, I'd better be doing it soon. I'm not getting any younger ;-) and who knows what my physical condition will be within the next few years. Hopefully, no drastic changes in that regard, but you just never know. The third factor that really set this in motion was the fact that the lease is up on my apartment at the end of August - there would be another $30 per month increase as well as having to sign a two-year lease, both of which were unacceptable to me! So, it just looks like the time is right.

I've been selling off my household furniture though I still have a few things that need to be sold. My books, photographs, and research papers will be put in storage. However, I'll still have the photos and research papers with me since I've spent nearly the past year and a half scanning them! I just knew there was some reason I needed to get them digitized, other than the fact that it needed to be done. LOL. If I don't want to keep what doesn't get sold, it will be given away. The storage space that I rented today is only 5' x 10' which should hold the things that are being kept.

To say that the past few months have been stressful is putting it mildly. So many thoughts going through this old brain of mine - making lists of things that need to be done, putting things in order, finishing up projects, deciding what to keep and what doesn't need to be kept, selling things and seeing them go out the door, notifying friends and family, trying to explain what I'm going to do and hoping they understand. Actually, there has only been one person that has had anything negative to say about it and that was my Mother. Understandable, since she has come to depend upon me for so much, but I'm confident that my niece, my brother, and a cousin will be able to do the things that I have done for her. She's not happy about it, but has accepted that it is going to happen. Still a bit more stuff that needs to be done before I leave. Time is passing too quickly!

So, what is it that is going to happen?

An extended road trip. A bit of research and a whole lot of traveling. Places to go and people to see. Back in March, I wrote about a proposed Joslin Family Heritage Tour being planned for September. Due to the fact that one of the major players involved (Lorene) had surgery in June and then had a stroke (which the surgery was supposed to prevent, sigh) that tour has been postponed until next spring. Lorene is home but is still in therapy. She can't speak and can't swallow so she is on a feeding tube. Other than that, she is getting along okay. Having the stroke was disheartening but George and Lorene are optimistic folk and they have had a lot of people praying for them. The outlook is hopeful.

My first destination, the first week of September, will be to Springfield, Missouri to visit Lorene and George for a few days. Then I'll be coming back to Indiana for several days to take care of some "loose ends" and then it will be off to Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Massachusetts, New York, Vermont, etc., etc. for some research. I'll pretty much be "playing it by ear" as far as where I go and when, though I do have a list of specific places that I want to visit and documents that I want to find. I've been told that fall in New England is beautiful and I am hoping to become an official leaf peeper this year! I've got a first cousin that lives in Maine that I haven't seen in more than 15 years, an aunt and a cousin live in Maryland, and there are other relatives that I'd like to spend some time with too. As I said, places to go and people to see…

There is a lot to do before I leave. I'm still trying to figure out how to set up the van with storage for the stuff that is coming along with me, as well as a place to sleep. Campgrounds will become my friend. When the weather turns cold, I'll be heading south, eventually making my way westward. There are friends and family to visit in Georgia, Florida, Louisiana, Texas, Colorado, Arizona, California, Washington, Montana and elsewhere. Whew! Hopefully I'll get back to Springfield to see George and Lorene again sometime this winter. I'd like to spend some time in Salt Lake City too.

The plan is to maintain the blog, though I don't know how frequently I'll be posting. You are welcome to join me on the journey via this blog. I'll also be setting up an account on Flickr.

I believe in serendipity. Not just in family research, but in travel also. As one door closes, another opens… one phase ends, another begins. I'm a little nervous and a lot excited about the prospects of this journey but I feel it is the right thing for me to be doing at this particular time. The stars have aligned. It's time to go.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

The Year Without a Summer

It is possible that an event - horrific and deadly to so many - that happened half a world away impacted some of my ancestors and lead to their migration from Vermont to Ohio.

The year 1816 has been called "the year without a summer" and according to various online sources has been attributed primarily to the eruption of Mount Tambora - the largest observed eruption in recorded history - in Indonesia in April of 1815. The death toll of that eruption and it's aftermath exceeded 70,000 souls as well as the destruction of all habitable areas and all vegetation on the island. Although the volcanic explosions ceased in July 1815, flames and rumbling aftershocks were still being reported in August 1819, four years after the event.

It took several months for the effects to be felt but temperatures fell worldwide because the ash caused less sunlight to pass through the atmosphere. This caused a global climate anomaly and catastrophic effects worldwide, which were especially noticeable in the Northern Hemisphere, specifically the northeastern portion of the United States, Canada and Northern Europe.

With the coming of spring in 1816 there also came erratic temperatures. The soil did not warm up enough so that crops could grow properly. Late spring and early summer saw frost that killed off many of the crops that had been planted. In June, two large snowstorms in eastern Canada and New England resulted in many human deaths and consequent loss of most of the remaining crops. Destruction of the corn crop forced farmers to slaughter their animals. Soup kitchens were opened to feed the hungry. Prices skyrocketed, and with food stuffs unavailable, the result was regional malnutrition, starvation, epidemic, and increased mortality.

In July and August, lake and river ice were observed as far south as Pennsylvania. Rapid, dramatic temperature swings were common, with temperatures sometimes reverting from normal or above-normal summer temperatures as high as 95 °F to near-freezing within hours.

Winter hit with a vengeance beginning September 27. Snows began during early October and stayed on the ground until April, 1817. During that period much of the New Englander’s livestock perished, either because there was nothing to feed them with, or because they were slaughtered for food. Tens of thousands of people also perished in what became the worst famine of the 19th Century.

Article from The Decatur County Journal, June 9, l892 as quoted in Brethren Life: Frontier Journal
On August 20, 1816, the temperature again plunged and any remaining crops were destroyed. Sept. 27 saw the start of winter with another killing frost. ... Snows started early in October, and stayed on the ground until April 1817. The snows were two feet deep with a terrible ice crust on top. Many survived only because the deer were trapped by the snows and ice and could not escape the hunters. Following that winter, deer were so scarce that they could not be depended on as a source for meat, nor was the common deerskin britches and jacket any more available ..."
Many New Englanders were wiped out during those two years, and tens of thousands struck out for the richer soil and better growing conditions of what was then the 'Northwest Territory' of Ohio and Indiana. Among those who migrated to Ohio (in 1817 or 1818) were my (presumed/probable) Joslin ancestors, Jonas, along with his wife Ruth, their son James, and their other children. I can only wonder if they would have remained in Vermont if the 'year of no summer' had not happened… As Craig Manson has stated "all history is personal" and one result, if they had remained in Vermont, would be that I (most likely) would not be here writing this!

Three Excellent Articles:
Other resources on the subject:
And finally, from Vermont Only, a poem. Source: Eileen Marguet, as quoted in B.B. Woods and Bernice Barnett, Green Mountain Reflections: Stories of the Green Mountains, Halifax, VT, 1995.
It didn't matter whether your farm was large or small.
It didn't matter if you had a farm at all.
'Cause everyone was affected when water didn't run.
The snow and frost continued without the warming sun.
One day in June it got real hot and leaves began to show.
But after that it snowed again and wind and cold did blow.
The cows and horses had no grass, no grain to feed the chicks.
No hay to put aside that time, just dry and shriveled sticks.
The sheep were cold and hungry and many starved to death,
Still waiting for the warming sun to save their labored breath.
The kids were disappointed, no swimming--such a shame.
It was in 1816 that summer never came.
This post was written for the 77th Carnival of Genealogy: Disasters Our Ancestors Lived Through - to be hosted by Miriam at AnceStories. Hopefully, she will include it with the others even though it is a little late...

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Another one bites the dust...

Yep, it was The first Saturday in August, again. The Phend Family Reunion has come and gone for another year. Attendance was at an all-time low (35 or so) but those of us there certainly enjoyed ourselves! A few new faces did show up and there were descendants of three of the children of Jacob and Louisa (Fisher) Phend - John, Christian, and Henry. They came from Texas, Ohio and Illinois as well as Leesburg, Goshen, Mishawaka, Fort Wayne, Indianapolis, Auburn, North Manchester and Columbia City (all in Indiana).

After 25 years of organizing the reunion I decided that this year was the last year for me to do so. Hopefully someone will step up and they won't let it fall by the wayside, but attendance has been dropping considerably the last few years. The old folk are getting older making it more difficult for them to attend and the young folk don't seem to be all that interested. It's sad, but that's the way it is.

Regardless of how many people show up, I always consider it a success when people depart with smiles on their faces! And here are a few of those smiling faces...

1st Cousins - Josephine & Phyllis.

Husband and Wife - Rich & Kathy.

Mother and Daughter - Sunny & Dee.

Little Imp.

Third cousins once removed - Jackie and Matt
They found each other on Facebook a few weeks ago.

My brother.

Two of the three sections of family charts and photos.

The beginning. The first five generations.

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun :: My Genealogical Threes

Randy Seaver's challenge for this Saturday Night comes from Facebook. He says, "some people have been posting their '3s of Me' with information about themselves providing three responses in different categories like 'Three names I go by,' 'Three jobs I've had,' 'Three favorite drinks,' etc. You get the idea."

So our assignment is to give three responses to these questions:

* Three genealogical libraries I frequent
* Three places I've visited on genealogy trips
* Three genealogy societies I belong to (or want to)

* Three websites that help my research

* Three ancestral graves that I've visited

* Three ancestral places I want to visit (there's a theme here…)
* Three brickwall ancestors I want to research more (I prefer to call them Roadblocks rather than Brickwalls.)