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

Entries in my tree (39)

Monday
Dec132010

* investigating draft registration cards

I love finding a matching draft registration record, these little forms cover a broad range of information giving you a great snapshot of your ancestor. The forms vary slightly by draft registration period but all contain basic vital information, address, signature, a contact person (usually a spouse or parent), occupation, employer, physical descriptions (height, weight, complexion, hair and eye color), and any physical ailments or disabilities. You never know what you'll find.

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Thursday
Dec092010

* family history, why don't the records just match up!? 

Vital records contain key pieces of information, it's just a matter of finding them. It's easy to get excited and confident when you find a new record for an ancestor, but it's so important to check out all the details before inducting new records as fact. But even after everything checks out what to do when you find a new record completely blowing your theory?? My recent experience with conflicting and confusing information

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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!