Ghosts and goblins ??

“They” invaded my laptop computer?!

Did “they” come with the cartoon??  Perhaps a friend perceived this was going to be a bad day when she sent the message in the wee hours of the morning? No, this “witch” didn’t “fly off the handle”  but she spent an hour on the phone with her Internet provider. It’s a mystery how I could have email (messages) but no access to the Internet.

Anti-climatic ?!

Considering the frustration experienced by your “addicted to genealogy” blogger friend, without access to the Internet, this milestone is anti-climatic. One-thousand in two weeks does not include 313 people in a new tree for a friend.

Detective Sherlock Holmes quote

Here is another message that has been gathering dust in a “draft” file.

Here is the quote (I think):

“You will not apply my precept,” he said, shaking his head. “How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth? We know that he did not come through the door, the window, or the chimney. We also know that he could not have been concealed in the room, as there is no concealment possible. When, then, did he come?”

The Sign of the Four, ch. 6 (1890), Sherlock Holmes in The Sign of the Four (Doubleday p. 111)

Cousin Leland sent this weeks ago (months ago) when I wrote about one of my “detective” Ancestry projects. I failed to “save” it and had to request it–late August.

What say you ??

There isn’t a stopping point. All hours of the day and night. Before I finish documenting the extended families identified in an obituary, “cousin” sends one or two more…


“A still small voice”  whispered “elder abuse.”

Remember when?

The following was written three years ago with the intention of submitting it to Mennonite Family History. I didn’t… but it has remained at the top of my “draft” blog messages. Lacking energy and incentive, I post it today so the reader knows I am alive (but not well). ~~ As written, no editing.


Do you remember the monster machines where we viewed rolls of microfilm? If you’re an “old-timer” (like me) you spent hours winding the spools of film. We were grateful for the genealogy library at the local Morman church (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints). You appreciated the assistance of volunteers.

Things have changed rapidly! Back then we had “land lines” and answering machines. Now people carry their “smart phones” (although I have an old-fashioned “flip” cell phone).

Do people go to genealogy libraries any more? I don’t. Like millions of other researchers,  sit in the comfort of my home, using the Internet, and document data in The “new age” researchers are missing the identification with like-minded folks “climbing the family tree.” Where are they getting their instructions?

I’m an “old-timer” reminiscing about the “old days.” Checking card files in the library, ordering books from “the stacks”; visually scanning indexes for familiar surnames.

Remember when we drove to the library in Salt Lake City, Utah, or Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, Indiana? One of my most memorable visits was Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society Library, Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Not only the library, but (on that occasion) a huge book sale on the parking lot.



Reams if paper for photocopies; three-hole binders for relevant information. File cabinets full of folders identifying family surnames. I kept it all; I’ve moved it from location to location: Lancaster, California to Brookville, Ohio. From there to North Carolina and eventually Texas. Now I’m “scanning” the pages and publishing to the Internet. Yes, for the convenience of “armchair researchers,” I’m putting the information in a “digitized library”: Digitized Library of Family History.

You don’t need to tramp the LaVerne Evergreen Cemetery searching for Brethren ancestors. You can find them with a few computer keystrokes. You don’t need to buy the book, it’s free. So many genealogy resources are digitized–and free. Enjoy them in the comfort of your air-conditioned home.

This old-lady has fond memories of tramping cemeteries. I’d travel there with my little camping trailer; I’d spend the night (in the cemetery) and start early the next morning. I’d visit with families; I’d glean valuable data.

Those were “the good old days.” There would be a sympathetic ear to listen attentively when I bubbled with enthusiasm over a recent discovery. Recently I lamented (to myself)  because I had nobody to share the delight of making a mental surname connection before it appeared on the computer screen.  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ I wrote that paragraph as an “if only….”


Past bedtime ?!

Detective at work. I had a mystery in my hands (lol) and it couldn’t wait for “the next day.” I stick with a family while details are fresh in my mind. The mother died when the baby girl was less than one month old. She was fourteen years old before her father remarried. “Who raised Ethel?”  Without success, I searched 1910 & 1920 Census records for her and for her father. By God’s grace, I found Ethel in the 1910 & 1920 Census in the home of her Uncle Cora (“yes” Cora). Like I said, “I stick with a family while details are fresh in my mind.”  Lorraine’s brain made the connection while documenting Cora’s family. Ancestry failed to produce information when I searched Ethel, and Vernon. ~~~ (Almost 2:00 AM and definitely “past bedtime.”)

Hiding ?!

Two more weeks of negative news?! I’m watching less television and spend hours on Yesterday, twelve hours “climbing the family tree.”  I’m so depressed, I don’t ride the three-wheeler; I don’t prepare a meal; I don’t get out of my nightgown!! Spending time on the computer preparing a blog message or researching extended family is my only pleasure. ~~ I’m not alone: Coronavirus and the election have caused psychological damage to numerous individuals.

Cousins ?!

This poem had me weeping. Just one more joy that comes from “climbing the family tree.”

In the year 1870 on a day so fair,
About August 14th though I was not there,
Our father and mother were united in marriage
Though they hadn`t so much as a carriage.
Two years they lived happily together, alone,
Then Minerva came to bless their little one room home,
She grew to be a little lass four years old
Sassy and stout as you still can behold.
Then came Nettie so little and frail
But no wonder, for just eighteen months and I was on the trail.
Somehow that nearness and likeness then shown
Made mother dress us like twins till we were grown.
Amzy came next that home to bless
And oh! what a blessing – a son to caress…
And methinks I can still hear father say:
`One boy is worth more than three girls any day.`
One spring morning about April five
Ella made her appearance, and did she thrive.
A big fat child indeed was she
Never a worry but always carefree.
One by one our family increased,
Keeping father quite busy our shoes to be greased.
And mother was very anxious indeed,
Trying so hard her little brood to feed.
Well this is not all for a cold winter night,
On February nine, and Reuben came in sight.
A stout and robust youngster was he indeed,
Always doing for others, was his motto and creed.
Another two years and Lovina was here.
Fairheaded and pleasant and such a little dear.
And now, they thought, surely was the family complete,
For seven indeed, is plenty to furnish shelter and heat.
But ah! no, it seems they have just begun,
For lo and behold!, here is daughter and son,
Now what in the world are we going to do
To find names suitable for these two?
I shall never forget how that storm did blow
On December seven so many years ago,
With father walking around with one on each arm
And mother watching over, so they came to no harm.
Claude and Chloea were well on their way
When Virgil appeared and decided to stay.
Now this is the baby and lucky is he
To even get his name on the family tree.
For many years our happiness blended
With that love and concern that could never be ended.
Though one by one we left the old nest
Choosing our mates as seemed to us best.
Grandchildren without number began to call
But I believe Amzy`s outdone them all,
And great-grandchildren are many now
To do for them all, we hardly know how.
All too soon the family circle was broken
And over our home came sadness unspoken.
Out mother was called and left us grieving
But in her faith we are still believing.
How soon, how very soon did Reuben follow on,
How hard to bear, how hard to think they both were gone,
And when side by side in the grave they were laid,
Their work was done, the price was paid.
Lovina was called in just a few years,
How sudden her going that left us in tears.
Her life was well spent though short it was here,
Her mission was always to fill you with cheer.
Next we stood beside our father dear.
God called and we were silent here,
He knoweth all, His way is best,
Side by side he and mother do rest.
May we who are left take courage today,
And strive to keep traveling that Heavenly way,
That some day in that sweet by and by
We all may meet in a reunion on high.

………… Ida Roose Beckner

Written for, and read at the annual family reunion
September 5, 1937 South Bend, Indiana