dee_burris: (Default)
2015-10-31 15:33
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[sticky entry] Sticky: Photographs and memories...

Photobucket
Burris clan in Russellville, Pope Co., AR, circa 1920/1921


There's a wall of photographs over my bed. I call it my dead relatives gallery, and I'm not really joking, although some of my family and friends laugh nervously when I say it.

I'm using this journal to share information I have acquired over the past several years for surnames in my family tree. The journal is "tag intensive" to make it easier to locate information and photos about specific surnames. (Tags list is in the left sidebar of the journal.)

They say you can choose your friends, but not your family. Personally, I find my family fascinating, and even more so the older I get. Sure, we have our share of archetypes - shrill, bossy women...strong "silent type" men...and the requisite number of "crazies." But hey, this is the deep South, and as Julia Sugarbaker said in Designing Women:

"...we're proud of our crazy people. We don't hide them up in the attic. We bring 'em right down to the living room and show 'em off. ...no one in the South ever asks if you have crazy people in your family. They just ask what side they're on." Like Julia, mine are on both sides.

Primary surnames researched include Ashmore, Balding, Burris, Callaway, Chapin, Darter, Duvall, Grooms, Harkey, Hayslip, Herrington, Hill, Holder, McBrayer, Meek, Parrish, Pettit, Shinn, Wharton, Williams.

All comments are welcome, including anonymous comments. You do not have to be a Dreamwidth member to comment, and may use Open ID, i.e., Google, WordPress, etc., to comment.

ETA: Most of the photos you will find in this journal were taken over 100 years ago. Regardless of their age, these photos were falling out of albums, or lying loose among family papers and I have scanned them to preserve them for posterity. Photos of gravestones appearing in this journal were taken by me.

I said all that to say this - if any of these photos are of your family members, just right click and save them to your computer. No one associated with this journal is going to chase you down to try and prosecute you for copyright infringement, as long as you don't claim you took the photo.

The written content of this journal is copyrighted. Don't use it without my written permission.


Email me at sharpchick13 at hotmail dot com.
dee_burris: (Default)
2014-04-20 08:47

Musing on death, and dying at home

I got death certificates in the mail Friday - four of them - for a great grandfather, great grandmother, and two great-great grandparents.

Fred and Eada Parrish Chapin, Victor Claude Balding, and Mary Mathilda, "Tildie" Wharton Burris.

They were related to each other not by blood but by marriage, so I can only use any similarities in causes of death as they apply to me, and other common descendants of the multiple blended families.

The years of death are 1938 (Fred Chapin and Tildie Burris), 1944 (Eada Chapin), and 1945 (Pop Balding).

And as I laid them out side by side, I noticed something else.

Three of the four of them died at home - or at the home of a child, where they had been living. (That's the multi-generational family living under one roof thing that was the rule instead of the exception until after World War II.) They were surrounded by people and things that were familiar, and even if in a small way, comforting.

And it struck me.

What a grand way to die...
The aftermath of World War II not only saw a change in the way American families lived, but also how - and where - they died.

Prior to World War II, only in exceptional circumstances did people die in hospital beds instead of in their own beds, in their own homes, or a home of relatives (frequently their children) that had become their home.

My paternal great grandmother, Tildie Burris, died on 26 May 1938 at the home of her daughter, Emma Burris Crites. Her death certificate notes that she died of chronic nephritis, or kidney disease as we would say now. It also says the doctor saw her for three days leading up to her death and she was in a partial coma. As has been noted by memories of her grandchildren, some of whom said she got "mean" in her later years, the certificate says she had senility.

The next death in the chronology was my great-great grandfather, Fred Chapin, on 29 Dec 1938. He died at Baptist Hospital of prostatic hypertrophy - a condition in which the prostate gland becomes enlarged. He also had kidney disease - a combination of which we recognize today as dangerous for older men. His doctor attended him (Fred was also diagnosed with senility) from 28 Nov 1938 to the date of his death. I'm going to guess that he was only hospitalized for part of the 32 days his doctor cared for him.

On 2 Dec 1944, my great great grandmother, Eada Chapin, died at the home of her daughter, Hattie Chapin Balding, of a heart attack. There is no note on the certificate of senility, but it does say she had arteriosclerosis.

Only a little more than a month later, my great grandmother, Hattie Chapin Balding, was present at the death of her husband, Victor Claude "Pop" Balding, when he died at home - in the same house - of a cerebral hemorrhage.
Some of those deaths were sudden, some weren't.

But I am sure now - whether I leave suddenly, or because of a lingering illness - if at all possible, I'd like to die at home.
dee_burris: (Default)
2014-03-26 20:38
Entry tags:

Note to Son

I think you already know this about me, and accept it. You know me pretty well.

I live a very simple life. On purpose. A lot of people don't "get that" about me, and assume I would should want to "do better."

I've lived in a 16' X 60" single wide mobile home for nearly 20 years. That's 960 square feet in two bedrooms. I own the home free and clear, and rent the lot.

And the answer to the curious is yes, I can afford to live in a larger home - even a larger, newer mobile home. On my own property.

But I don't want to. I love my home. There are so many wonderful memories here - of all the people who have found shelter here...either for an extended period of time, or very briefly. My garden has matured in nearly 20 years, and gives me limitless joy.

I believe there is value in growing where I'm planted.
Sometimes, I know by the looks on their faces that I am grinning at the questions I get - and offers.

Of a used but much more recent model of some household appliance. Most often, it's for a clothes dryer, since I haven't had used one for the past 4 years.

At first, I liked the savings on my electric bill. Then, I fell in love again with the smell of laundry hung out in the sun.

Then, I embraced the gift from the universe - a freely available way to provide for myself. Not just drying the laundry, but spending time outside with nature. (Yes, when it's rainy or 20 degrees, I hang the laundry in the house.)
I've also been offered refrigerators and TVs.

The fridge came with the house. It works just fine. The washing machine moved in with me. It also works just fine. I have done dishes by hand for most all of my adult life, and it hasn't killed me yet. It would be ridiculous to give up counter space for a dishwasher.

I only recently bought a 23" flat screen TV and got rid of my bulkier, 6 year old analog model. Even then, people wondered why I hadn't gotten a larger one.

I don't need a larger TV. Or more than one.

And the digital antenna is fine - I don't need cable, Uverse or satellite.

As I have gotten older, less is more. Simplicity frees me up to spend time on the important stuff.

Remember, son...whatever it is - it has to last me 20 years.
dee_burris: (Default)
2014-03-23 10:08

The Ne-Hi baseball league - here's the historic proof

About geneablogging, I have long said...

If we build it, they will come.

An email from a complete stranger in my inbox this week turned me onto historic documentation for Pop Balding's Ne-Hi League, which my Grandma Dee had often told me about, but for which she had no documentation, only her memories.

Memories of her father creating the world's first "little league" baseball league, long before the officially recognized Little League created by Carl Stotz in 1939.

Grandma Dee remembered her mother sewing uniforms. She remembered the names of some of the teams, like the Midgets and the Microbes, although I do not recall her talking about the Cannibals.

My correspondent shared some pages from the 1914-1915 and 1916-1917 volumes of Reach's official American League base ball guide (publ. A. J. Reach, 1883-1927).

And said there were photos of the team members also.

I found the Reach guides online.
I don't recall Grandma Dee saying anything about the impetus for Pop's decision to create a baseball league for little boys.

According to the Reach guide:
Mr. Balding, whose home is at 229 Rice Street, organized the league in 1913 on account of the ill health of his son. To-day his son is as healthy as any other member of the league. Mr. Balding first organized a base ball team of boys in his neighborhood. Finally a second team was organized and games played between the two teams. The boys grew tired of playing each other, and the idea of a league appealed to Mr. Balding, which resulted in the forming of the worlds
only organized "short pants" base ball league.
(THE REACH OFFICIAL AMERICAN LEAGUE GUIDE, 1916-1917, at page 393.)

That son had to be Eugene - Gene as I always knew him, and Genie-boy, as I understand his mother called him. Gene was born in 1905, so he would have been 8 at the time Pop Balding created the league. Marvin and Linky weren't born until 1915 and 1917, respectively.
For the cousins, here are scans of the pages from the 1914-1915 and 1916-1917 volumes of Reach's official American League base ball guide that discuss Pop and the Ne-Hi League. (Cousins, right click and save.)

THE REACH OFFICIAL AMERICAN LEAGUE GUIDE, 1914-1915, at page 375.
 photo R15Ne-HiLeagueInfo.jpg


THE REACH OFFICIAL AMERICAN LEAGUE GUIDE, 1916-1917, at pp 391, 393 and 394.
 photo R16Ne-HiLeagueInfo.jpg

 photo R16Ne-HiLeagueInfo2.jpg

 photo R16Ne-HiLeagueInfo3.jpg

There were photos on page 376-377 in the 1914 volume, and page 392 in 1916 volume.

My correspondent extracted them from the pdf documents and has hosted the results here. Naturally, they are a bit grainy - after all, they are images of old photos published on paper.

But what a wonderful find...
dee_burris: (Default)
2014-03-19 18:22

Remembering my Aunt Jean...

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 photo GeorgeWandLouiseBurriswiththeirchildrenBillBurrisWandaNeumannMaryAnnRutherfordandJeanLensing1969.jpg
Jean (far right) with her brother and sisters on the occasion of her parents' 40th wedding anniversary in 1969

 photo ledge4.jpg
Jean with her mother at her family home, 808 Crittenden Street Arkadelphia

I try not to claim any of my relatives as mine, because they also belong to the rest of my family.

But at the request of one of her daughters, I am remembering my Aunt Jean.

I say unashamedly she was my favorite aunt.
Her full name was Emma Jean Burris Lensing. She was born at home in Arkadelphia, AR on Friday, 12 May 1933.

She was named for her daddy’s favorite sister, the only one of his sisters who survived to become an adult. It’s the name she shared with one of her granddaughters.

When she found out I was delving deeply into our family history, she helped me out with tidbits of information and photographs. She took the news of our philandering forbear without skipping a beat, and readily agreed to take a DNA test to settle the matter of the ethnicity of another.

I asked her about her own childhood in Arkadelphia. Among other things, she told me she grew up knowing she was not “the pretty one.”

I was shocked and told her so. Aunt Jean was always beautiful to me - inside and out.

She was genuinely appreciative of the smallest act of kindness. When she loved you, you knew it, because she told you so. And showed you in some tangible way- like a little card out of the blue, just to say she was thinking of you.

Aunt Jean was all about family. One day,I asked her to tell me about how she and Uncle Tommy met. As she talked, her eyes lit up with love and memories. I always saw the same look on her face when she showed me pictures of her kids and grandkids. And her kids also included her daughters-in-law and son-in-law. She was so proud of all of her family.

She made The. Best. Christmas cookies.

One of my favorite photos of her was taken in the kitchen of her parents’ home at 9th and Crittenden in Arkadelphia on Mother's Day in 1967. Aunt Jean was goofing around with her sisters as they did the dishes after one of those HUGE meals. I’ll always think of that photo as the Burris sisters chorus line.

 photo MaryAnnRutherfordJeanLensingandWandaNeumaninkitchenonCrittendenMay1967.jpg

Aunt Jean was my go-to person for “the rest of the story” about our Burris family history. My Dad had told me about the time as a kid when he got bitten by a rattlesnake while he was fishing. Aunt Jean rode him to the hospital on her bike. When I asked her about it, she furnished a little detail Dad left out. Turns out Dad and his buddy were fishing on a Sunday, strictly forbidden in the G W Burris home.

I can only recall one instance in which Aunt Jean was visibly annoyed with me. It was a few years ago when she and I wrestled for the check at US Pizza. I thought it was a draw - that we had split the check. Imagine my surprise when I looked at my bank statement and saw that in the end, she had won that match. She had US Pizza credit back what I thought they had charged to my card.

We talked about that later. She told me then that if there were such an occasion again, I was to let her buy, and drop the matter.

There really wasn't anything else to say then but yes ma'am.

She smiled and reminded me that both she and I had inherited that mile wide streak of stubbornness known to anyone who is a Burris, marries a Burris,or happens to more than casually cross paths with a Burris. The “Burris bullhead.”
My Aunt Jean finished this part of her journey on 13 Dec 2013.

She was dearly loved,and will be sorely missed. I hope I honor her memory by remembering the past, but living in the present, by being truly appreciative of small things, and always taking the time to say,“I love you.”
She’s left us the legacy of a life well lived.

And we’ll see her on the other side.

 photo 100_6262a.jpg
Jean with her youngest granddaughter, Ava
dee_burris: (Default)
2014-02-28 10:14

Getting the scoop on Adaline Chapin...

As I said in this entry, I have been most keen to try and puzzle through the marriages and wanderings of my second great grandaunt, Adaline Chapin.

I'm suspect Addie - as she was called through most of her life - was one of the two Chapin daughters of Nathaniel F Chapin and Elizabeth Pancoast-Harris that my family disapproved of on the basis of snippets of conversation I heard as a child. I recall overhearing one conversation in particular - between my grandmother and one of her brothers, who was compiling the family genealogy. They were talking about whether to leave out two of the Chapin sisters altogether because of their behavior, or to keep them in and just call them prostitutes.

I'm betting that's because Addie and her younger sister, Essie, were married multiple times. I suspect both daughters' multiple marriages and divorces bothered their parents and siblings. And two of Essie's descendants have stated multiple times in comments to this blog that there was a fracture in the family that continued throughout Essie's life.

But now, I have to wonder if Essie took it harder than Addie did.
Addie's marriages were not really hard to document.

She married first in 1886 to George D Rouse while they were living in Ft Scott, Bourbon Co., KS, where Nathaniel Chapin had relocated his family between 1883 and 1885. Addie and George were divorced - my guess is that was in Greene Co., MO, where she married Lorenzo D Melton on 21 Sep 1904.

She was divorced from Lorenzo Melton on 11 Sep 1914 in Arapahoe Co., CO, and on 5 Oct 1915, married Charles M Mendenhall in Littleton, Arapahoe Co., CO. (I have requested the divorce records from the Colorado State Archives and am waiting for them to be mailed.)
The eldest of the Chapin siblings, Cyrus, made his home with Addie for at least 25 years.

He lived with her through all of her marriages in Springfield, MO, and Littleton and Denver, CO. In the 1880 census, Cyrus was noted to have sciatic rheumatism. I was unfamiliar with that ailment. I found it described on page 3 of the 27 Apr 1915 issue of L'Impartial, a Swiss French-language daily newspaper published since 1880.

There are very few ailments more painful than sciatic rheumatism. At first one is scarcely able to straighten up, and finally, if neglected, it gets so bad it is impossible to walk. Sciatic rheumatism is a combined form of neuralgia and rheumatism, and has been considered very hard to treat successfully...

Although it appears that Cyrus tried intermittently to work in the trade of his male relatives - as a carpenter or woodworker - mostly I found him unemployed, with the exception of any money he may have made as a notary public in Denver from 1907 to 1915.

So Addie housed and supported her brother for a great many years.
I guess that's why I found Cyrus' obituary a bit odd. His obit was how I found Addie's date of death, which I used to get her death certificate from Denver.

Cyrus F Chapin

Died at 3 o'clock this morning at the home of his sister, Mrs. Essie Lebolt Finn of 1421 Second street, following an illness of six weeks. He suffered from a complication of diseases. He was born in Bradford county, Dec. 2, 1853, and resided with a sister in Denver, Colo., until March 15 last year, when the sister died, Mr. Chapin then removing to this city. He is survived by three brothers, George Chapin of Atlanta, Ga., Fred Chapin of Little Rock, Ark., and Willard Chapin of California, and the sister of this city. Surviving also is a niece, Mrs. J.A. Boorman of Altoona, and a nephew, E C Shephard of Pontiac, Mich. He was a member of the International Bible Students' association. The funeral will be held from the Lafferty & Tobias funeral parlors on Saturday afternoon at 2 o'clock. Interment will be made in Rose Hill Cemetery. Source: Altoona Mirror, Wednesday Evening, 3 Mar 1926, at page 1.

[R]esided with a sister in Denver, Colo., until March 15 last year, when the sister died...

That sister had a name. Why didn't Essie use it? I know it's common to have to pay by the word for an obit, but Essie didn't have any problem getting that Lebolt surname in there instead of her maiden name...
Addie's death certificate says she died at her home at 2025 Clay Street (now part of an interstate system in Denver) from the flu, secondary to bronchial pneumonia.

She was buried at Olinger Crown Hill Cemetery in Wheat Ridge, Jefferson Co., CO, just outside Denver. Although she was married three times, she had no children.

And now I'd love to know the rest of her story...
dee_burris: (Default)
2014-02-12 12:09
Entry tags:

In search of descendants of John Joulious Smith...

Born 18 Dec 1924. Served in World War II with the US Engineers in the European theater on a secret war project.

I know this from a packet of old letters and documents given to me by a man who found them in the wall while he was renovating the house in Benton, AR where the family lived briefly.

Apparently, Joulious' mother (most of the documents refer to him by his middle name) was Mrs. John G Smith, or Mrs. Gib Smith, and the letters in the packet were addressed to her.

I'd love to return this packet of documents to the family...

Contact me by comment to this entry, or by emailing me at sharpchick13 at hotmail dot com.
dee_burris: (Default)
2014-02-12 11:55

Streetcars and people...

My offering for Sepia Saturday 215 are a few old postcards of streetcars.

Which I adore, particularly after the memories shared by my grandmother, Doris Balding Williams, about riding the streetcar with her own mother to shop and pay bills in Little Rock in the nineteen teens...

.

.

 photo Indianapoliscrop.jpg
Washington St. looking west from Meridian St. Indianapolis

 photo KStreetSacramentoCA.jpg
K. St., Sacramento, Cal.

 photo PennSquareLancasterPA.jpg
Penn Square, Lancaster Pa.
(I see someone had a fine dinner in Lancaster when they sent this card.)

This is a Sepia Saturday post.

Head over there to see other lovely old photos and cards.
dee_burris: (Default)
2014-02-08 09:00

The tragic end of another "orphan" relative...

I wrote about my naughty, naughty auntie recently in this post.

I have now found all of Rebecca Parrish's husbands' dates of death and final resting places. Alas, not Rebecca's...

[personal profile] rainbow often helps me out with research dilemmas, and does a fine job.

When [personal profile] rainbow commented on the entry about Rebecca Parrish, I mentioned that Rebecca's son with Ulysses Grant Bond - her first husband - was unaccounted for.

[personal profile] rainbow went to work and found a bunch of information for the 14 year old "Stevie" I found living with his dad in the 1900 census in South Leitchfield, Grayson Co., KY.
Stephen Washington Bond was named for his paternal grandfather. He was my first cousin, 3 times removed.

It's been hard to account for how he spent his life. His father didn't die until 1948, and stayed close to home. Very close to home. Ulysses Grant Bond is buried in the same cemetery as his parents, five year old daughter, siblings and grand nieces and nephews in Caneyville, Grayson Co., KY.

Stephen could have stayed close to his dad, but seems to have had some wanderlust that took him all the way across the country.

In the 1910 census, he was employed at the Hot Lake Sanitarium in Union Co., OR. Click here, and here for photos from 1940 and the time during which Stephen would have recognized the building, which also served as a hotel. This photo shows the destruction of one of the buildings in the complex by a fire on 7 May 1934.

On 12 Sep 1918, Stephen registered for the draft for World War I in Santa Barbara Co., CA. He gave his occupation at that time as an oil pipeline worker for Associate Oil Co. of the same county. He listed his dad as his next of kin on the card.

And after that, I cannot find Stephen Washington Bond - not in the 1920, 1930, or 1940 censuses, which leads me to believe that my cousin may have been what was then called a hobo.

The next time I can locate him (thanks to [personal profile] rainbow) is at the time of his tragic death on 11 Nov 1951, in Lewiston, Nez Perce Co., ID.
MAN IS CRUSHED TO DEATH IN PIT
Pensioner Perishes on Rails of Engine Turntable


Lewiston, Idaho, Nov. 11 (AP)

An elderly pensioner was crushed beyond recognition last night under a locomotive turntable in the railroad yards of East Lewiston.

The victim was identified as Stephen Washington Bond, 65. He lived in a shack about 150 feet from the turntable.

Police theorized that Bond slipped and fell into the turntable pit sometime after 10:30 last night. He was last seen alive leaving a Lewiston tavern at that time.

Lay on Track

Officers said Bond had apparently struck his head on a rail in the pit. They believe he was seriously injured by the blow but that he managed to drag himself 77 feet across the pit where he collapsed.

He lay beside the track upon which the turntable revolves as it swings around the reverse [of] the direction of the locomotives.

The table was used during the night, and Bond was crushed by the tremendous weight of the table and the engine it carried.

William Hart, turntable operator, found the body early this morning when he noticed some coins and a shoe beside the turntable. A hat and an unopened can of coffee were lying beside the crushed body.

Source: The Spokesman-Review, 12 Nov 1951
Perhaps Stephen chose to live in that little shack by the railroad because of his memories of the sanitarium where he worked in 1910. Maybe he was just very poor or anti-social - or a combination of those or other things. Telling the story of the orphan relatives is never easy.

I've asked for the necessary corrections to Stephen's Find a Grave memorial to make it more complete.

And I'd love to know more about the little boy whose mother left his life all those years ago.
dee_burris: (Default)
2014-02-05 10:04
Entry tags:

Naughty, naughty auntie...

Actually my second great grandaunt, Rebecca A Parrish.

She was the daughter of Benjamin Abraham Yeager Parrish and Minerva Hamilton, and younger sister to my great great grandmother, Eada Belle Parrish.

Rebecca was married three times.

Her first marriage was to Ulysses Grant Bond. They were married in Kentucky in 1883.

According to her next marriage record, Rebecca divorced Bond in February 1899. That's what she said on her marriage license in Perry Co., IN when she married Webster Taylor on 28 Nov 1906.
 photo RebeccaParrishBondmarriagerec.jpg


I haven't yet done the research to find out what happened to Webster Taylor.

But on 2 Jun 1910, Rebecca Parrish Bond Taylor was getting married again - this time to James A Shea.

She had shaved a couple of years off her age, and said she had been married once before, a marriage that ended in the death of her spouse in 1892.
 photo RebeccaParrishTaylormarriagerecord.jpg


I wonder if James Shea knew about Rebecca's previous marriages?

I wonder if he also took some creative license with the "facts" he gave the clerk on this marriage record?
dee_burris: (Default)
2014-01-17 09:25

For shame, Angela Harris...

I could not believe my eyes when I opened my email today and saw links to blog posts on the deliberate and willful destruction of historic records, ordered by Angela L Harris of the government of Franklin County, NC.

You can read how the events unfolded last month in other bloggers' entries here, here, and here.

I just sent an email to Ms. Harris and copied two of the County Commissioners.
By now, family historians all over the country are shaking their collective heads in disbelief and horror that you could have authorized the deliberate destruction of so many historic Franklin County records when there was a group of people ready and willing to go through all material and digitize those records of historic import without breaching the privacy of individuals still living. My understanding of the situation is that the group in question was making ready to take custody of the documents and begin the process of digitizing them when you clandestinely ordered destruction of the documents.

Your actions are repugnant and fly in the face of common sense and decency. Let me add my voice to those of others calling for your resignation. If you are unable to recognize the value of preservation of historic documents in this digital age, then in my view, you have no business serving in your current post.

It is my fervent hope that family members and/or descendants of the World War I soldier whose letter was deliberately destroyed will sue the pants off of you and the members of the Franklin Co., NC Commission in your official capacities for the willful and deliberate destruction of family papers, and win.

I hope the County Commissioners are now aware of the terrible place of dishonor your actions have garnered for Franklin County, NC among family historians, descendants of slaves, and genealogists, not only nationwide, but internationally as well.

Dee Blakley
Mabelvale, AR

Email addresses I used were:
Angela L Harris - alharris@franklincountync.us
Shane Mitchell - esmitchell@franklincountync.us
Sidney E Dunston, Chair - sdunston@franklincountync.us
dee_burris: (Default)
2013-12-31 09:03

Sepia Saturday 209: Cars and trucks...

Not horse drawn conveyances this Saturday, but the automated kind.

Walter Nathan Brandon, Sr., Ruth Balding Brandon (my grand aunt) and Walter's son, Walter Nathan Brandon, Jr. Photo circa 1932/35.
 photo 110crop.jpg


The tour bus "at Glen Cove on Pike's Peak" Co. My grand aunt Marion "Murnie" Balding seated back seat, closest to camera. Photo taken 12 Aug 1929.
 photo MurnieAug1929.jpg


The Williams Grocer Co., owned by my great grandfather, Jo Desha Williams, made home deliveries. Photo taken before the business went belly-up prior to 1920.
 photo WillamsGrocerwagon.jpg

This is a Sepia Saturday post. Head over there for other old photos and postcards.
dee_burris: (Default)
2013-12-25 09:25

Celebrating holy days

Well wishes for the season come to the cottage this morning.

Although the majority of my ancestors through six or seven generations have been Christian, I am not. During this month, the followers of many faith traditions have at least one major holy day, others more than one. My personal celebration is on the winter solstice.

No matter what your faith, I hope your holy day celebration this month finds you warm and safe, surrounded by the joy and laughter of the people you love.
I leave you with a photo of Grandma's table, where this morning I am mindful of my many blessings.

 photo Grandmastable122513.jpg


I don't know what kind of action it saw in her home, but here at the cottage for the past nine years, Grandma's table has hosted countless meals, served a gazillion cups of coffee (and not a few beers), and been a place where the people I love can kick back and feel free to laugh, cry and let their hair down.

This 64 year old table bears the scars of well loved use. I suspect it has borne witness to many secrets.

All my cats have used it for a regal perch. I manage my finances at the table, journal random musings and tarot readings in a succession of leather bound volumes, wrap gifts, complete handcrafted creations, and contemplate this journey called life.

The journey is good.

Joy to you on your holy day.
dee_burris: (Default)
2013-12-04 08:39
Entry tags:

"...and we see...the significant word Unknown..."

 photo death_film_landing.jpeg

This excellent PBS "American Experience" documentary, Death and the Civil War, discusses how the war that claimed more American lives than all other wars combined in which Americans fought, demonstrated the national crisis of what to do with all the bodies.

The Civil War was the war that struck the nation's conscience and showed the federal government that it had a duty to identify, bury, re-bury, and send home the remains of American soldiers. That pricking of national conscience was what led to the creation of Arlington National Cemetery and some seventy other national cemeteries.

The war claimed 750,000 lives. Only half of the bodies were identified and given a proper burial.

From the film:
...And everywhere among these countless graves—everywhere in the many soldier Cemeteries of the Nation, (there are now, I believe, over seventy of them)—as at the time in the vast trenches, the depositories of slain, Northern and Southern, after the great battles—not only where the scathing trail passed those years, but radiating since in all the peaceful quarters of the land—we see, and ages yet may see, on monuments and gravestones, singly or in masses, to thousands or tens of thousands, the significant word Unknown. Walt Whitman, 1865.

Little Rock National Cemetery photo aseaofunknowns.jpg
dee_burris: (Default)
2013-11-29 09:04
Entry tags:

Another lesson in gratitude...

It's not just the season or time of the year that turns my mind to lessons.

But I found it very appropriate that a very simple thing gave me a reason to pause and be grateful.

I may have had a little nudge from the ancestors.
I was going to wash my hands at my kitchen sink. It was the first time I turned on the hot water tap this morning.

I found myself getting impatient at the few seconds it was taking for the water to heat. The kitchen tap is the farthest from my water heater and it was 27 degrees when I got up this morning, so the water in the line was wicked cold.

In the instant I felt the impatience, I also felt amusement...and humility.

Because if you just look at the sheer numbers, well...

The majority of my relatives never had hot water on tap in their kitchens - or in any other room.

Heck, the majority of them never had cold water on tap - anywhere. But they had buckets.

And I was standing there starting to get impatient about a wait of a few seconds for hot water on tap delivered to me in a climate controlled home.

Shame on me.

Lesson noted.
dee_burris: (Default)
2013-11-27 10:22

Sepia Saturday 205: Maybe the moustache made the man?

I have occasionally mentioned frequently whined about my great grandmother Maxie Leah Meek's failure to label so many of the wonderful photos in her photo album.

As I initially paged through it after my mother's death in 2004, I wondered why we had so many photos of Teddy Roosevelt in our album. I can imagine that my Williams great grandparents were supportive of their President, but still, it was a mystery to me.

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 photo TeddyRooseveltfromWilliamsalbumdk.jpg


And lo and behold...one of them was labeled, like this one in the Williams family photo album.

It was that last one. It said Desha on the back of it.

That was Maxie's husband, Jo Desha Williams.

Here's a photo of the real Teddy Roosevelt.

 photo TeddyRoosevelt.jpg


As far as I know, I have no kinship to the Roosevelts.

But I believe my great grandfather was a dead ringer for one of them...
This is a Sepia Saturday post.

Head over there to look at more wonderful old photos and postcards.
dee_burris: (Default)
2013-11-21 10:03

Wedding photos...

My mother and father married on 19 May 1956.

These photos were taken in the home of my maternal grandparents, Joe Duffie Williams and Doris Geneva Balding.

.

.

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Judith Ann Williams, 1937-2004

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 photo cake.jpg

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I cropped this one. It shows a happy young couple, envisioning a wonderful life together.
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Sadly, that wonderful life did not materialize in the 23 years of their marriage, although there certainly were happy moments.

That, however, as well as my complex relationship with my parents - both highly complex people - is a subject for future posts.
dee_burris: (Default)
2013-11-21 09:10

Oops...

Not a happy camper with Family Tree DNA - hereafter FTDNA.

For two reasons.

This is the company we used to get yDNA test results for my dad. No problems with that.

With dad's permission, I made his test results available to the Burris Surname Project at FTDNA.

Have been getting matches by email for three years now. No problems with that.

And last weekend, got an email from the "administrator" of the Burris Surname Project, casually informing me that as the administrator of the Project, he had uploaded a GEDCOM to overwrite mine.

Excuse me?!?

I'm sure you can only imagine the tone and tenor of my reply to him. You'd be right.

So then, I sent a written complaint to FTDNA through their website form.

Their reply to me was just incredible...
20 Nov 2013
Hello,

Thank you for writing to Family Tree DNA. I apologize for the inconvenience of the group admin changing your GEDCOM. When you change it back do they go in and delete it again? They shouldn't be changing people's GEDCOM's if they don't want them changed. If the problem persists you can leave the group at any time.

I apologize again for the deletion of your GEDCOM, but thank you for being a customer with Family Tree DNA.

Excuse me?!?
My reply...
So the option is to leave the group, and any contacts I might get on that particular surname are hidden to me?

Rather than telling the administrator to cut that out?

Does not seem like an equitable solution to me. I'll blog about it and see if I am in the minority in my opinion.

Oh shit.

She's going to blog about it. We better actually do something.

Four emails later, the customer service guy came back and gave me the text of the email FTDNA sent to the administrator of the Burris Surname Project.

I thanked him for handling my complaint in an appropriate fashion.

And asked him when FTDNA was going to answer my other, outstanding inquiry.

About the import of my aunt's mtDNA test results from DNA Heritage, which was acquired by FTDNA in April 2011.

The response from FTDNA to that query has morphed from (email of 20 Nov 2013)...
Hello,
Thank you for your email. Unfortunately, DNA Heritage tested different mtDNA panels than Family Tree DNA does, so we cannot accept transfers of mtDNA from DNA Heritage. If would like to have your mtDNA results in our database, you would have to order an mtDNA test with Family Tree DNA.

To this one, after I would not drop the subject of the query (email of 21 Nov 2013):
Hello,
Unfortunately, we do not have DNA Heritage's mtDNA database.

Seriously?? You bought the company, but only Y DNA test results?

So all the mtDNA customers from Heritage - a company you bought - can spend more money again, to test with you?

Um, no. Thanks for that very generous offer that lines your pockets.
In case you have spiders trolling the web, Family Tree DNA, this post should be picked up within 24 hours.

I will never use your company again.
dee_burris: (Default)
2013-11-17 11:41
Entry tags:

It was not a merry Christmas in the Kindrick home...

What a hellish December of 1921 it must have been for Wahannes Bevelis Kindrick and his wife, Maud Helena Bridges.

Diphtheria raged through their home, taking two of their children.

The United States recorded 206,000 cases of diphtheria in 1921, resulting in 15,520 deaths. Symptoms include sore throat, loss of appetite, and fever. The most notable feature of diphtheria infection, however, is the formation of a thick gray substance called a pseudomembrane over the nasal tissues, tonsils, larynx, and/or pharynx. (Sourced to this website.)

Four year old W B Kindrick, Jr. was the first to die on December 5, after being ill since November 27. He was buried the following day.

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Eighteen year old Mary Estella died on December 20, after being ill since December 10. She too was buried the day after her death.

 photo MaryEstellaKindrickdeathcert.jpg


Once having contracted diphtheria, a person is infectious for two to three weeks. Did Mary Estella Kindrick help her mother nurse her little brother? Frequently caregivers caught diphtheria from their patients.


Descendancy for this family is:
Wahannes Bevelis Kindrick, son of Samuel Kindrick (1834-1875) and Matilda Jones (1833-1904). Parents of Samuel Kindrick were Jacob Fauby Kindrick (1802-1854) and Margaret "Polly" McPherson/MacPherson (1806-1875).
dee_burris: (Default)
2013-11-17 09:12

Patrick McCauley family, circa 1893

One of my Burris cousins has been very helpful with information about her McCauley clan.

She is descended from Patrick McCauley (1837-1895) and Mary Elizabeth Thoss (1854-1941).

Yesterday, she sent me a photo of the family. On the basis of my guess that Ida May McCauley was about 6 or 7 years old, I'm approximating the photo to have been taken around 1893. The McCauleys were living in Conway Co., AR at the time, and that's where Patrick McCauley died and was buried.

 photo McCauleyFamily001.jpg

Top row, L to R: Annie, Will and Linnie
Middle, L to R: Margaret, Patrick, Ollie, Mary E.
Seated in front: Ida May McCauley Burris