Friday, November 28, 2008

Seasons Past

December 1971 @ Grandma Wright's
[L-R : Kellie Wright, Jim Wright, Travis LeMaster, Jason LeMaster (seated)]

Christmastime is full of many traditions and memories in my family. I remember as a child going on Christmas Eve to my Grandma Wright's house in Alexandria, and then on Christmas day, after opening presents at home, we would travel to Grandma LeMaster's in Portland.

One of the family traditions that I recall from my youth at Christmastime was gathering together for a family photo. My cousins and I would gather next to the plastic Santa, who had our names written on his list, and pose for a group photo. The Santa is now at my mom & dad's, and they've tried to carry on the tradition by adding the grand kids names to Santa's list. I'm not sure when the Santa tradition started, as he is not in the 1971 photo above.

Another tradition I can recall from Grandma Wright's was the famous red punch that was a hit with the kids. If I remember correctly, it was Hawaiian Punch with ice cream. Many of the photographs from that time will show us kids with red punch smiles!

Early Christmas morning we had to eat breakfast before we could open any presents. I remember dad getting out the old Super 8 movie camera and the big light that it had. We each had to take a turn opening presents, so that everyone could see what was being opened. After everything was opened, we each placed all of our loot on the bed for a photograph that would show all of the things that we received. When we would get dressed to head over to Grandma LeMaster's we could take one or two things with us to play with.

At Grandma LeMaster's I remember a big meal with lots of cousins around watching football on television or playing games. Many times that would be the only time of the year that I would see these cousins.
Christmas continues to be a special time of the year for me, but for different reasons now. I wonder what the kid in the picture above was thinking about.
Submitted to the 61st Carnival of Genealogy :: Traditions

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Nancy Byars Power (1802-1876)

Received an email from another researcher who found my WorldConnect database and sent me an addition for my records. So many times I have been given additional information and corrections to data through postings online.

David Alsup sent me information on the death date and place of Nancy (Byars) Power, my first cousin 6 times removed. She was the daughter of John and Catherine (Heck) Byars, and died August 14, 1876 in Bracken County, Kentucky. Many of the Heck family were in this area.

This is a family that I didn't have much information on, nor would I have time to dig into, but it is nice that someone took the time to add to and make corrections to my data.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Creating and sharing memories

This weekend my daughter, Corinne, and her boyfriend, Ryan, were here from Evansville for a visit to Alexandria. Staying at her grandparents gave her the opportunity to show her boyfriend some of the highlights of the Alexandria area, and I had the privilege of going along.

One of the highlights of the tour was a visit to the World's Largest Ball of Paint, a roadside attraction that no one should miss. Both Corinne and Ryan had the opportunity to add a coat of paint to the ball, sign their names in the registry, and obtained a certificate showing that they had placed another layer of paint on the ball. Corinne even bought Ryan a T-shirt so that he would always remember the visit.

We toured the area of Orestes and Alexandria, showing them the old Orestes Elementary, the famous Oak Tree, Red Gold and the county landfill. As we came into Alexandria down Harrison Street, we showed them some of the old storefronts and stopped by the library. A trip to Gaither Family Resources to show one thriving business that Alexandria is famous for and a trip by the old ball diamonds.

As we drove, mom started talking about the old mill in Alexandria and remembering when her grandfather would haul grain into town and she would ride along. At that time the roads were all gravel. This was a memory that she hadn't shared before, or I hadn't remembered. We drove by where the old Armscamp Speedway was and she told me that her dad used to qualify the cars for her uncle to drive, another story that I need to find out more about. We drove by the old abandoned Lippincott glass factory and pointed out where the Alexandria Hospital used to be, as well as the old paper mill, etc. It is hard to believe that the town had so many factories at one time.

Memories like this need to be written down and I plan to 'interview' mom over the holidays and the coming weeks to get these types of stories written down.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

They counted him twice

My maternal 2nd-great granduncle, Jesse WRIGHT, was counted twice in the 1910 census of Monroe Township, Madison County, Indiana. Jesse (1878-1919) was the son of Joseph and Rebecca (Heaton) Wright.

On the April 15, 1910 return, Jesse was living in the Virgil S. DAY household as a roomer. Jesse was listed as male, aged 32, single, born in Indiana and both parents born in Indiana. His occupation was listed as a postal clerk for the railroad, and he could read and write.

Virgil S. DAY was the husband of Jesse's niece, Myrtle M. (Jones) DAY. Myrtle was the daughter of William Alpha and Elizabeth (Wright) Jones.

On the April 22, 1910 return, Jesse was living in the Albert VINSON household as a boarder. Jesse was listed as a male, age 32, born in Indiana with father born Ohio and mother born in Indiana. His occupation was listed as clerk in mail dept., and he could read and write.

Albert VINSON was the husband of Jesse's sister, Anna L. (Wright) VINSON.

Though I'm sure he's not the only member of my family who has been counted twice in the census, at least in Monroe Township in 1910, the count is off by at least one.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Nuggets from the verticle files

I went to the Alexandria-Monroe Public Library on Wednesday during my lunch hour and did a quickie search for more family information. My main focus was to look for the 1901 atlas of Madison County, Indiana because I had seen some of its' color plat maps of the various townships.

I quickly found maps showing the locations of family farms in Monroe and Pipe Creek townships. Will have to return to this atlas for copies of the maps and co-ordinate that will research at the recorder's office. It was very interesting to see how different the towns such as Alexandria, Orestes, Frankton, etc. appeared in 1901 versus today. At that time, there was a boom due to the discovery of natural gas and many factories in the towns.

I also took a peek at the vertical files in the library - and they are a treasure trove of unpublished information. Buried among the photos and newspaper clippings were some handwritten and typewritten histories of the town of Alexandria and the people who built it. Fascinating stuff that I will have to come back to again to dig into.

One interesting item I found was a 1964-65 typewritten directory of the First Christian Church. In it I found my grandfather, William Wright, listed as an elder and my grandmother listed as a deaconess. Now I knew that my grandmother had been in the choir, etc., but I was under the impression that my grandfather was not active in the church. When I mentioned this to my mother, the paper brought up memories of the pastor at the time, and she stated that her dad did serve as an elder - it was a rotating position. She also mentioned that the whole family was baptized in 1960, right before her brother had gone off to college, and that my grandmother had moved her membership from a church in Elwood. Mom thought grandma's church in Elwood may have been a Baptist or a E.U.B. church, she wasn't sure. I knew that the Wright's had been involved in this church for awhile, but this was about the most insight my mother has ever mentioned about her faith experience. She quickly changed the subject to other things. Will have to explore this area of research another day.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Research Trip : Allen County Public Library, Ft. Wayne, IN

On Election Day, after voting, I headed up to the Allen County Public Library in Ft. Wayne to spend the day doing genealogical research. It had been several years since I had been to the library. Geographically speaking, the trip to the library is only about an hour's drive, yet for a number of reasons I've been unable to break away and visit since they remodeled.

I was pleasantly surprised with the changes to the library - the parking garage for one was a nice addition. Previously, I remember parking a few blocks away at a fast food chain restaurant and walking a couple of blocks. I was expecting to pay to park, but on Tuesday I was not required to pay for parking. This may have had something to do with Election Day.

I arrived just before the library opened at 9:00 a.m. and quickly found my way upstairs to the genealogy section. The last time I was at the library I didn't have a laptop and I was looking forward to being able to have my database right in front of me as I searched. The reference librarian help me with questions that I had, including giving a nice map of the facility that showed the locations of all of the stacks. On previous visits, I remember the searching the enormous card catalog, filling out a paper slip to request a book, dropping it off and then having to wait for someone to retrieve the book from the stacks. Having the ability to wander around the stacks freely was a pleasant surprise.

I had tried to prepare as much as possible for this trip by limiting the family I was focusing on to the Wright and allied families of the Clermont and Brown County, Ohio area. I had already printed out a listing of several local history works from their card catalog that I wanted to research, and I eagerly dove in to my research. Although I was joined by others throughout the day, I was able to have a research table to myself, my laptop plugged in and ready to go.

I found some paydirt almost right away in the first work I looked into that showed the location of my relatives in Clermont County in the 1802 census prior to the Enabling Act that established Ohio as a state. I quickly made copies of these pages and others that I found, trying to make sure that I hit every work on my list and marking those that yielded negative research. More on this information later.

The family history stacks were another area that I was glad I could wander around. Though I had a few on my list to look into, as the day wore on and I was closing out the research on the Wright line, I decided to stray a bit from my research path and look into some other family genealogies. I managed to locate some possible further research on a line that ties into my wife's family.

One thing that I forgot to prepare for was more photocopy money. The library charges $.10 per copy, a really cheap price, and also offers you the option of purchasing a copy card where you can put the denomination you would like on the card. I did not do that this time, as I didn't know if I would use it all, nor did I know when I would be able to get back up to the library.

I didn't plan my lunch time well either, around 2 p.m. I was really getting hungry, was done with the research that I had originally come to the library to do, and decided to leave. I was conflicted in having a whole day to research in the library and yet here I was ready to leave so early. My wife was surprised when I called her and told her I was heading home early. I could have very easily grabbed something to eat and then returned to the library, but in the end I decided to head back home so I could watch the election returns. Now I wish I had just stayed at the library until it closed.

Overall, it was a good experience to get back to the ACPL and I didn't even touch on the microfilms, etc. this trip.