Thursday, September 15, 2011

Scanning old letters

Written 14 Aug 1951
Tonight I scanned an entire notebook of old letters and research notes that were collected by my great-grandfather Andrew Hartley and his son Elton Hartley. Total pages scanned is about 200 sheets of paper.

Elton was my grandmother's brother. Two boxes of letters and miscellaneous documents were brought over for me to review when I was in the middle of writing our Hartley family history. I finished the book a couple years ago and I'm still organizing and scanning all the old documents that were in the boxes. I'm glad to say that I'm almost done with the scanning and will be returning the records to the owner in better condition then how I received them.

My favorites were the old letters written in response to an ad in the local newspaper for Bradford, Yorkshire, England. The ads were placed by my great-grand uncle Elton Hartley. I think it's amazing how quickly people responded to queries in the newspaper about the search for his ancestors.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

A surprise for my Mother

My mother has always wanted to be a writer. One thing she likes to write is poetry. A few years ago for Mother's Day I surprised her with a hard bound book filled with the poetry she has written over the years. I added pictures of family and friends to illustrate the poems she had written about them. That Mother's Day was one of the best I've ever celebrated with my Mom. I published this book through Cherish Bound. Love you, Mom!
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My friend passed away

Yesterday I was thinking about a friend of mine. She is a lot older than I am and I've never met her in person. I've talked to her on the phone a few times and we wrote a few letters to each other several years ago. Originally I found her while doing some research to find the descendants of Benjamin Kingman Curtis. Her name was Lois Scott. She was so kind and helpful in sharing all that she had on her side of the Curtis family. Before I met Lois, I knew almost nothing about that side of our family. Anyway, while thinking about her, I was hopeful that she would still be alive, so I decided to check the Social Security Death Index. Sadly, I discovered that she had passed away a year ago last Christmas. I felt so sad about her passing because I had recently found a new picture of some ancestors on her side of the family and I wanted to share that picture with her. Now I will never have the chance to share the photo with her. I was thinking that sharing the photo with her would be a good way to pay back (at least in part) all the kindness she showed me in sharing her genealogy records with me. I will have to try and contact her children to see if they would like a copy of the picture that I wanted to give their mother.

The best day

"Write in your heart that every day is the best day of the year." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson


"I believe in women, especially thinking women." ~Emmeline B. Wells

Quotes I Like

"Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working" ~Pablo Picasso

I like this quote: "Let us, before we die, gather up our heritage, and offer it to our children." The author of this quote is Will Durant, The Story of Civilization If we don't gather up our heritage and pass it on to the next generation, there would not be a civilization story.

"If you do the little jobs well, the big ones will tend to take care of themselves." ~Dale Carnegie

"Mama's, don't let your babies grow up to be JPEG's" ~Wendy McGee

"No cowboy was ever faster on the draw than a grandparent pulling a baby picture out of a wallet," ~Unknown

"When a father gives to his son, both laugh; when a son gives to his father, both cry," ~William Shakespeare

"With all thy getting, get going," ~Unknown

"History is the witness that testifies to the passing of time; it illumines
reality, vitalizes memory, provides guidance in daily life and brings us tidings
of antiquity" ~Cicero

"A man will live for as long as he is remembered" ~Socrates, 425 B.C.

"In an age of disposable everything, it is important not to dispose of our
stories" ~Anonymous

"The best memory is not as good as pale ink" ~Chinese Proverb

"I urge you to pursue preserving your personal history to allow your children
and grandchildren to know who you were as a child and what your hopes and dreams
were" ~Oprah Winfrey

This world is so small

The world gets smaller all the time. I am still in complete shock about the recent discovery my husband and I made last weekend. First, a little background. Sometime during the 1990's I discovered a distant cousin. His name is Mike. Actually, he was the one who found me. Mike was searching the Internet for some information about his ancestor, Benjamin Kingman Curtis. He found a picture of Benjamin in his Civil War uniform that I had submitted to the Michigan Civil War website a couple years prior to Mike's discovery. Luckily my e-mail address was still the same, so finding me was easy. Mike and I are second cousins, one generation removed. Technically speaking, this means that my father and Mike are second cousins.

Mike and I have kept in touch over the years, always sharing our research efforts about Benjamin. During the summer of 2000, we coordinated a special family reunion at the Preston City Cemetery to officially lay a headstone at Benjamin's grave to honor his military service in the Civil War. That meeting was the one and only time I've met Mike in person... until last weekend.

The occasion that prompted our second meeting was our son's wedding reception that was held in Gridley, California, home of the bride. Going from Salt Lake City to Gridley means a long drive across the Nevada desert. We drove instead of flying so we could help bring belongings back to Utah. During our road trip, we would pass right through Reno, which is only minutes away from Mike and also my Mom's brother Gene. My Mom and Dad made the trip with us, so we left a day early and made arrangements to visit with both Gene and Mike the day before going into Gridley.

We had a good visit with Gene and his wife Virginia. Uncle Gene commented that we hadn't seen each other for about 50 years. I don't think it's been that long, but it has been a long time, way too long.

Our visit with Mike was too short. One thing I wanted to accomplish was to get a copy of a picture of his ancestor, Oscar Benjamin Curtis, who was the brother of my ancestor, William Rushmer Curtis. Both men were sons of Benjamin Kingman Curtis. While I was busy making digital copies of some pictures that Mike had, my husband was visiting with Mike and looking at his genealogy on the computer in his office. That's when we discovered how small this world really is. My husband recognized some names he saw on the computer screen - Winthrop Farley and Mary Elizabeth Hastings. I was called in to view the information to see what I thought.

We identified the connection right away, Mike is a direct descendant of Winthrop and Mary [Hastings] Farley, through their son Leroy Farley (1877-1964). My husband is also a direct descendant of Winthrop and Mary, through another son, Lorenzo (1868-1916). My husband and Mike shook hands and said, "I'm glad to meet you cousin!" As it turns out, Mike and my husband are second cousins, once removed (2C 1R) through their Farley line. My relationship to Mike is also 2C 1R through our Curtis line. Every time I think about this discovery of our dual second cousin connection, I can only shake my head in complete amazement. This world is so small. We could easily walk down the street and pass by a distant cousin of ours and not even know it.