Reading old letters

Is it acceptable to say “I love my letters”?? For me, it is so interesting to read about activities in years past. Today, the following letter was important enough I made a special copy for a blog message. Letter written 28 Oct 1996

A recently scanned, recently read, letter refreshed my memory. I’d been saying that my computer “crashed” (in 1996) and I was so discouraged I didn’t want to rebuild the database one-by-one. Well, I read it was a “virus” that infected the computer, and the backups.

Letter never mailed Perhaps I decided not to burden Christian friends with negative thoughts? I have an enormous file folder full of details regarding my seventeen months working for Walmart (Englewood, Ohio). I hate Walmart!! (Can I be sued for saying that?) Only yesterday, I repeated a statement I’m fond of saying: “I’d rather pay one-third more at another retailer than buy at Walmart.” My recent grocery shopping, for example, probably cost more because fewer stores in that chain.

Good news!! I’m almost to the bottom of another box of family history research notes and correspondence. ~~ One box prepared to mail to Brethren Heritage Center, Brookville, Ohio.

Torn between two worlds !!

Unashamed, I confess that I have been bawling my eyes out!! I love every word of Smiles and Tears Throughout the Years; Memoirs of Arthena I. Shoup . I never met many of the individuals she talks about but I “know” them from documentation in Frantz Families–Kith & Kin. I didn’t grow up in Ohio but (“doing family history”) I visited the area. I’ve visited those farms, and cemeteries. The families were so tight-knit; there was love and concern for grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and neighbors. (My family experience was an exact opposite.)

“I was born in the wrong generation; I was born in the wrong family.” I embrace the simple lifestyle of my Old German Baptist Brethren ancestors and collateral lines. In my mind’s eye, I can see myself in plain garb and prayer covering. “Torn between two worlds.” I’ve loved the computer–and the Internet–and the modern electronics that simplify documenting family history. Old German Baptist Brethren cousins do not have the Internet, or television. Their love of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the principles of Holy Writ, resonate in their lives. No shallow Christianity there!!

God, my Heavenly Father, ordained my exact time on this earth. I have been blessed to learn of my “roots” in the Old German Baptist Brethren, and Mennonite, faith. It was indeed a miracle that I went from “no knowledge,” in 1989, to publication of Frantz Families–Kith & Kin in 1996. Three-thousand one-hundred eighty pages, in three volumes. There was much more information available but I rushed to publish while I was alive and capable. (Others had planned to publish… but died… and their research gathered dust.)

The fact that I have boxes of correspondence, and research material, is testimony to the fact that there was enough material for volume four and five. Why did I stop documenting the families in a genealogy software program? My computer “crashed” and the backups were corrupted (1996). I could not restore the fifty-thousand names and sources; I was devastated!! I did not want to start over, one-by-one.

With tears in my eyes, I express gratitude for this foray into history; thankfulness for the health to approach the scanning project (at eighty-two years of age); and appreciation for twenty-first century (modest) understanding of computers and scanners. I’m exactly where my Heavenly Father wants me!

That said, time to go back to the scanning project?! Back to adding information to the library.”

Affirmation and reaffirmation !!

It’s five PM and I want to share my wonderful experience of the day. Yes, I was “scanning” (after a couple of hours pulling weeds) and I selected a large padded envelope from a dear lady “cousin.” It was postmarked late November 1998 and, unquestionably, I read the contents at that time. However, it was all new to me today. Oh, how I loved reading the handwritten letters. Oh, how I cried as I read the Memoirs of Arthena Shoup. Because of years of “family history,” and years spent visiting in the Springfield, Ohio, area, I “knew” the families; I knew some of the homesteads.

Correspondence from Lela Landes Shoup dated 28 Nov 1998 and 19 Mar 1999

I may be in the minority but I believe preserving correspondence, and research notes, has value. “Armchair researchers” can go to and compile names, dates and locations. Personally, I love (love, love) the intimate details of narratives by warm-blooded Homo sapiens (versus impersonal giant computer with remarkable search features).

It is my prayer that the digitized library will become a well-visited site by folks researching the Frantz family and collateral lines.

Same old song ?!

Four AM; can’t sleep!!

Yesterday: Moved the car for the first time in six weeks; went shopping. Spent $100.78 for groceries. Bought a non-habit-forming sleep aid but it didn’t seem to help me sleep. Spent $16.99 at Dollar Tree for cleaning products and toiletries (but “housecleaning” doesn’t rate very high on my priority list).

Honestly, I told a friend (in an email message) that I need to be three people: One for the scanning project, one for the yard, one for maintaining the trailer home. My yard is a jungle of weeds and “stuff” falling out of the trees. The rain gauge was full… from rain this last week. More boxes got wet and contents went into the dumpster. Some items are spread out to air dry. I’m so weary of all the clutter–indoors and outdoors!! I’m so tired!!

The “new” computer must be “over-burdened” too?! It is so-o-o-o slow; it takes an exceedingly long time to process information (and I get so impatient)!! Right now, 4:44 AM: Four thousand, five-hundred, ninety-two megabytes used for the library. Granted, I’m using Windows-7 so I don’t have the newest technology. I didn’t want the “learning curve” of Windows-10!!



Three months and counting !!

Showing off the new computer on March 5, 2017.

“The clutter” has only gotten worse!! I have so little aisle space because three boxes to the left of the table with Dell laptop computer. One box for trash–but it is filling up very slowly. One box holds material I’ve scanned but put the original correspondence (printouts, etc.) in a box destined for Brethren Heritage Center. One box contains the next projects I’ll tackle one-by-one. On a positive note, the very large box, on the pallet, on the patio, is empty and en route to the dumpster. I measure success by the number of boxes, and crates, I’ve emptied. It just doesn’t “show” inside my trailer home!!

So far, this is merely the boxes that were in a storage unit “down the highway.” I have not attempted to “dig” out boxes stored in my on-site storage building. Yes, I’ve made progress but my answer to the question “How long will this take?” is “a year.”

Did I tell you, this is a juggling act? I scan… and get that “puzzle piece” in the air, then add it to the library.” Almost always, I have three computer programs open (three “pieces”) at all times. Sometimes, in an attempt to know where to file the information* (in the library), I check I usually “get lost” in the search and I’ve wasted(?) precious hours. (1) Windows-7 operating system on laptop, (2) PaperPort software handling the information between scanner and computer, (3) HP scanner, and (4) Every scanned page gets special attention. If a handwritten letter, it has to be scanned one way and I need to lift the lid of the scanner and place the letter on the “flat-bed.” When information was typed with a typewriter, is faded and difficult to read, it needs special attention. Likewise, a printout from an old dot matrix printer, being faded and difficult to read, needs special attention. I’m grateful for those folks who sent letters and printouts that will scan easily when inserted in the “document feeder.”

*Which Immigrant Frantz ancestor.

Here’s an interesting email letter I found today. To Martha from Lorraine.


The CARE Center garden

They are traveling now, but two couples (non-residents), maintained the CARE Center garden for two years. “They” gave the task to me, and yesterday was my first day on the job. At the outset, I apologize because my efforts will never match their devotion.