Aug 19, 2014

Tombstone Tuesday: Sad Little Tombstone


I found this small angel tombstone in Calvary Cemetery in Pittsburgh on our last trip there.  Not even sure how I spied it because it is almost completely hidden under a big tree.  The writing is just about completely worn off so I don't know the name.  It is a small angel with maybe a flower ? motif.  My guess is it is a marker for a child who died a long time ago.  There are no other markers near it so possibly no other family is buried here.  It just struck me as so sad.  So to whoever is buried here, rest in peace, you are not forgotten.



Jul 31, 2014

A Family Tradition Continues

 Many of us inherit or are given things from older family members.  I am fortunate to have an attic full of things from my Father's family.  But only a few of my "things" have come with stories or traditions attached.  I love to know the stories attached to my ancestor's possessions.

Many years ago my great aunt Meta gave my Father an old marble serving dish.  At least I think it is some sort of serving dish.  She told him that when she was growing up her mother kept this in the entry way of their house and it was filled with marbles.  Definitely something I would never have thought of putting in a serving dish.  I don't know why she used marbles but I think it is an unique idea.


So I have carried on the tradition.  I don't have anywhere to put it in my entryway but I have it sitting in my living room.  When my son was little someone gave him a bunch of vintage marbles which I saved (I am a pack rat like my ancestors!).  So it is filled with old marbles just like my Great Grandmother displayed it and I think of her every time I dust.  I tell my kids this story all the time so maybe it will sit filled with marbles in one of their homes some day.

Here is a picture of my Great Grandmother Meta Badenhoop Rennick--the marble lady.

Jul 29, 2014

Tombstone Tuesday - A Tree for Treacy


I found this unique tree tombstone in Calvary Cemetery in Pittsburgh a few weeks ago.  It is quite large, was actually bigger than the "real" tree I was standing against to take the picture.  While I have seen other tree tombstones this one caught my eye because of the family name - Treacy.  I assume it was pronounced "Treesy".  As my daughter said, "How cool, their tombstone is a pun". 

It was surrounded by three large flat stones with Father, Mother, and not sure how the third person was related.  For such a large stone I suspect maybe more are buried here but with no individual markers.

Jul 1, 2014

Tombstone Tuesday - An Unsual Find


Thanks to the newest batch of PA Death Certificates on ancestry.com I was able to locate Joseph Jageman, one of my husband's ancestors.  It is a rare thing for both myself an husband to find ancestors with any type of marker, let alone a huge marker along with smaller individual ones.  So this was definitely a unexpected find.

He was married to Ida Hippely and is buried with her family as is three of their daughters.  We were certainly surprised by the size of the Hippely stone.  Definitely of first for his ancestors!




Apr 17, 2014

My Ancestors On a TV Show!

Every Sunday while watching the AMC channel (I am a huge "Walking Dead" fan) I kept seeing commercials for a new series called "Turn".  I didn't pay much attention and in fact was getting sick of seeing them.  The series is set during the Revolutionary War about a group of American spies.  Then during one of these commercials I caught the name of the main character--Abraham Woodhull--from Setauket New York and almost fell off my chair.

Jamie Bell as Abraham Woodhull on AMC "Turn"

My great grandmother's maiden name was Woodhull.  I have traced her family back to to Setauket, NY.  I knew these had to be "my Woodhulls".  So off I went to research Abraham Woodhull.

It turns out Abraham's father, Richard Woodhull (also in the show) was a brother of my 6th great grandfather.  The series is based on actual facts about of group of men acting as spies for the Americans under George Washington.  I was actually amazed--I had never heard of this group of spies and there were my ancestors are - part of it all.

I have only caught the first episode but it was really cool to sit and watch what life was like for my New York ancestors in this time period.  How true this story stays to actual facts I do not know.  But I still enjoyed getting a glimpse into their lives.  It was also amazing to keep hearing other surnames I recognized from my family tree as characters in the show such as Strong, Brewster, and Tallmadge.

I have no idea what the real Abraham looked like but here is his grave memorial at Setauket Presbyterian Cemetery in New York from Find A Grave

"Friend and confidant of George Washington, Head of the long Island Secret Service During the American Revolution he operated under the alias Samuel Culper Sr. To him and his associates have been credited a large share of the success of the Army of the Revolution. Born in Setauket Oct. 7, 1750 in the original Woodhull homestead, son of Richard W. & Margaret Smith. Fifth generation from Richard Woodhull, the original grantee of a large portion of Brookhaven Town. He was a Presbyterian, occuping a "Pew of Authority" in the old church and doinig much toward the building of the new church. He was a man of integrity punctual and precise in his business relations. He freed his slaves long before they were legally free. He filled numerous important positions being Magistrate in Setauket many years, Judge
of the Court of Common Pleas 1793-1799, First Judge of Suffolk Co. from 1799-1810.

This Memorial conceived and erected by Mayflower Chapter - DAR Setauket, L. I., N.Y. - June 25, 1936"

Nov 21, 2013

My Mother's Doll A1920's Bye-Lo Baby

 The other day while standing in front of my china closet my daughter commented on how "that doll in there" terrified her.  It struck me as strange because it gives me a totally different feeling of being connected to the past.  Even when it was "officially" passed down to me when I was 5 years old I was never frightened by it but instead felt very special and was in awe that my mother actually played with a doll that had a glass head.

The doll my daughter referred to was my mother's ONLY doll when she was a child and it is a Bye-Lo Baby from the 1920's.

 I loved the family story attached to this doll.  Because the family was poor it was the only doll my mother ever had when she was a child.  My mother named her Barbara which was her mother's middle name.  I was only allowed to hold this without "help" from an adult.  But my mother played with it, a lot, when she was little.  Mom often wondered how Barbara survived all these years.  She would put it in a baby carriage and run up and down the gravel alley by her house with her friends, all the while Barbara was bouncing all over the place.  She survived many moves the family made after my grandfather died.

She does show some wear and tear.  Her head is dirty, she is missing a few fingers, and I have no idea if her clothes are original or not.  I think her "booties" are real baby socks put on at some point by my grandmother.  To me this shows she was well loved by a child.

I found the history behind the Bye-Lo Baby just as interesting.  It was originally sculpted by Grace Storey Putnam who need a way to support her young children after a divorce in the 1920's.  It was one of the first realistic looking dolls made.  Grace supposedly used a 3 day old baby as a model.  Here is a close up of her face.

Here is a picture from the day Barbara was passed down to me by my mother.  I don't remember but maybe she was a Christmas gift since the Christmas decorations are in the background.














Oct 3, 2013

Government Shut Down-Messing With My Genealogy Research

I will admit it--I had not paid much attention to the whole Government Shut Down fiasco.  I am fortunate that it has not affected my family financially or otherwise.  The worst I had experienced was listening to my daughter complain that if the government is not working then she shouldn't have to go to school and "work" either.  That was until yesterday when I came across a fairly decent free newspaper search site for my genealogy research.  I got numerous hits for the Pittsburgh Dispatch Newspaper and when I clicked on them this is what I got.

 Now I was really aggravated.  Never occurred to me this shutdown would affect my genealogy.  Then I started to realize how far reaching and damaging the shut down has become.  Not only all government websites but museums and other places are closed.  Which means the people working there are out of work until further notice.  My daughter came home from school and told me the mother of one her friends is layed off from work because of the shutdown.  Having my research disrupted is a minor annoyance compared to losing your income and benefits.  But it was an eye opener for me and made me pay more attention to the current events.  Now on to my newspaper find.

The newspaper site I found is called Elephind.  It contains papers from the US, Australia, New Zealand, and Singapore.  Many of the papers from the US I had on my list of "free newspapers".  But what is beneficial is I can now search them all at once instead of individually.  They have an advanced search to help you narrow things down.  Plus you can revise your search by years, states, and even specific papers.  Until this whole shut down thing is over you cannot access papers from the US Library of Congress but that is only a small portion of what is available on Elephind.  The website is http://www.elephind.com/ if you want to try it out for yourself.  Information found in newspapers can be priceless for genealogy especially when the site if free.