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"The ancestor of every action is a thought." Ralph Waldo Emerson

Sunday
Dec052010

* NGS 2011 Family History Conference 

Another 2011 conference alert! The National Genealogical Society's 2011 Family History Conference is set for May 11-14 in Charleston, South Carolina. Check out the site for registration and travel information. April 2011 marks the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the civil war and the conference will include, but not limited to, speakers and resources highlighting this important milestone in history. On Saturday South Carolina State Senator Glen McConnell will address a general session discussing the Confederate submarine the H L Hunley, which was the first combat submarine to sink an enemy warship. In addition the conference will include over 50 national speakers covering a broad range of topics.

Click to read more ...

Friday
Dec032010

* finding graves without headstones, what happened? 

I use familysearch.org alot for record searches, and it's *free*! I have found so much information on this site.  A branch of my tree lived in the Philadelphia area circa 1850-1930 and I was lucky enough to find some death records matching my search ! These records can have REALLY helpful information, it just depends on what information was recorded. A few of the death records indicated my ancestors were buried in Greenwood Cemetery, Philadelphia and after some googling I found the cemetery, The Knights of Pythias Greenwood Cemetery. I contacted The Friends of Greenwood Cemetery, a nonprofit organization working to preserve the cemetery and it's records.

It was true!!!! They had a plot with 6 matches and for $15 they would conduct a search of their records and send me: any information they had for the plot and individual burials within the plot, maps of the cemetery, and someone would go to the cemetery for me to take a digital picture! I couldn't wait to hear back, and then the picture...The headstone is not for who I was looking for, but it is the bro of my gg grandmother!

Picture from Greenwood Cemetery

No headstone or marker for my Wrights?? I couldn't believe it! How could there be 6 people buried here without any marker? The owner of the plot is my gg grandfather John Wright (1848- 1922) and the others include: his wife (died at 45), sister (died at 30), son (died at 7), and 2 daughters (died at 1 and 57). He outlived all of them for such a long time. This made me really sad and these short lives are only a few of the deaths John endured throughout his life. The cemetery records included causes of death; diphtheria, small pox, consumption, heart disease.

I'm lucky to have this information, but it weighs heavy on my heart. I am working with my family to purchase some sort of marker/headstone for their plot. I never did find out if they had any record of an original headstone, could it be that a storm caused a tree limb to shatter the stone? Was it vandalized? John bought the plot and buried his family, was there anyone there in the end for him? At the time of his death he was living with his brother and sister in law who were also older in age and his only son was living in New Jersey. I will probably never know what really happened but I hope to gather some family and make a trip to the cemetery in the Spring when we get the marker figured out. I think it could be a good chance to connect and share family information we all have. 

Have you found yourself in a similar situation? What stories do you have from the grave?

Thursday
Dec022010

* a picture perfect family tree 

my creations!

I'm a crafter and I love decorating; when I saw the DIY ornaments using old family photo's from Sweet Paul Magazine I was inspired! A recent family tree project had been tabled and I already had pictures and labels perfect for this project. I will be using these as Christmas ornaments but I don't have a tree yet, check back for an update in a week with the finished tree. This project is not just for the holidays, keep reading for creative ways to use these family pictures in your everyday decor! 

This is an easy, inexpensive project! Materials:

  • Printed pictures of your family (any size/shape!)
  • Hot glue gun & glue sticks
  • Pipe cleaners
  • Card stock (any color/weight)
  • Glue Stick

mark the top of the photo!I wouldn't recommend using original photo's for this project, all you need to do is scan your images and then have some way of getting them printed. The pictures I had readily available were 2x3 inches but I think using pictures of all different sizes and shapes would add a unique touch. When you've learned a lesson, before I started gluing anything I marked the back of each photo with a light up arrow so I wouldn't glue the pipe cleaner on upside down! Once the glue gun is fired up simply cross the pipe cleaner in half and twist the bottom JUST ENOUGH so it stays, try to keep the knot as small and flat as you can. 

finished back with cardstock and label

 Just put a little glue on the pipe cleaner and stick it on the back. Believe it or not you could be done at this point! But I already had the labels printed up with names and dates so I hot glued a square of red card stock on the back covering the bottom of the pipe cleaner and used a glue stick to attach the label. Bonus! The hot glue and card stock gave the pictures weight and stability.

These pictures could be used in many ways:

  • Stencil or apply a tree applique directly to your wall, put some nails on the branches and hang the pictures for a unique 3d family tree
  • Get a shadow box frame and hang the pictures inside for a flexible decorative piece
  • Buy a metal rod or any sort of contraption to hang the pictures in a minimalist way

Example- I have a metal shelving unit from IKEA used for pots and pans, I cleared some space and hung the pictures with the ornament hooks. I love how this looks!

 

 

Monday
Nov292010

* family history, grandmother to granddaughter

My GGGG grandfather JJ Franks came to the United States from England as a child abt 1800. He lived in NYC, NJ, and the Oneida Community in upstate NY (more to come on this interesting topic!). He had 9 children and somehow I am the lucky recipient of a table originally owned by him! I don't know how my GG grandmother Virginia W Middleton (jj franks granddaughter) came into possession of this table but I do have her written history of the table.

1936-Letter from Virginia W Middleton to granddaughter Marjorie Middleton

"This table which is to be the property of my first grandchild, Marjorie Middleton, daughter of Wentworth and Edith Shaw Middleton; was first owned and used by her great great grandparents Josiah James and Sarah Hunt Franks, about the year 1813, afterwards by her great grandfather Benjamin Mortimer Franks and Georgianna Wentworth Franks, and subsequently by her grandfather, Thomas Middleton and grandmother Virginia Wentworth Middleton. Josiah James Franks came to this country USA in infancy in the year 1794."

Signed, Virginia Wentworth Franks Middleton

Sept 30, 1936

 

  In following the tradition, my grandmother wrote a letter passing the table down to me, her first granddaughter. 

1998- Letter from Marjorie Middleton Wright to granddaughter Abby marie Wright

April 25, 1998

"I am adding to the history of this table which was started by my grandmother Virginia Wentworth Franks Middleton. I have had the table since her death and am leaving it to my older grandchild Abby Marie Wright to enjoy in good health and hope she will be able to leave it to her daughter."

Marjorie Middleton Wright

Marjorie owned the table until 1998; 62 years my grandmother kept these treasures! Hopefully within the next 62 years I will have a granddaughter to pass along this family heirloom. I should start drafting the letter now :)

What has your family passed down?