Saturday, November 29, 2008

Is Ernie the Blog Network's Oldest Blogger?

Today was the inauguration day for my Dad, Ernest Margheim, to launch his blog: "Ernie's Journeys". As I sat down to show him how he can post stories using email, he quickly grabbed a pencil and paper and started making notes as he recalled games he played as a small child. I moved away from his computer and asked him to write those recollections in a new post instead of in his small notebook. Thus his first blog post began.

I wonder if Ernie, at age 87, is the oldest blogger in our Genea-Blogger network! Does anyone know anybody older who's actively posting on their blog?
Way to go, Dad! As you post your recollections, I'll jump in when needed and help you by posting the stories you've emailed me for the last 8 years. It's the least I can do.

Friday, November 28, 2008

National Listening Day Not Needed Here

My Facebook/Genea-blogger friend Miles Meyer posted a reminder on Facebook this week that today was National Listening Day. Here's an explanation from the internet: "StoryCorps....... suggest that in addition to doing your civic duty at the mall, you record someone you know talking about their lives on November 28 -- the first annual National Listening Day".(

At age 87, my dad, Ernest Margheim, is the oldest living member in my family. He was available today if I had needed to listen to him tell me the stories from his past. But I didn't need to. I'm very blessed because over the past few years Dad has written hundreds of pages filled with his first-hand account of his life. As he's corresponded with friends by email, he's copied those emails to me, and I've printed them and filled three large 3-ring binders with them. What treasures those binders hold!

And the blessings continue! Dad has recently set up his own blog "Ernie's Journeys". He'll soon be relating many of his life's stories again to all his readers. I find it awesome that he embraces new technology and utilizes his time in retirement to save those precious facts, details and stories for us and all future descendants. And he's having fun doing it!

I'll encourage him to join the Genea-bloggers Group on Facebook. You won't be disappointed if you become a "Follower".

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Eight Things About Me

Elizabeth at "Little Bytes of Life" tagged me for the meme "Eight Things About Me". I appreciate your thought, Elizabeth!

Here are the rules:

1. Each player starts with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
2. Write a blog post about these eight things and post these rules.
3. At the end of the blog post, list eight people to get tagged.
4. Leave a comment on their blogs telling them they have been tagged.

Okay, here are eight things you probably don't already know about me:

1. I'm a college graduate with a degree in Elementary Education. I taught school until I was first married.
2. I live in a 106 year old Victorian house.
3. I'm a Kansas girl at heart.
4. I adopted my son, who's now 32 years old.
5. I've only lived in 2 states: Kansas and Colorado.
6. I also write a personal blog that is private.
7. I can wiggle my ears.
8. I love to make (and eat) homemade noodles--my favorite food.

Now I'm tagging these 8 bloggers:

1. Jasia at Creative Gene
2. Miles at Miles' Genealogy blog
3. Renee at Renee's Genealogy Blog
4. Lorine at Olive Tree Genealogy
5. Ruth at Bluebonnet Country Genealogy
6. Jennifer at Rainy Day Genealogy Readings
7. Donna at Donna's Genealogy Blog
8. Lori at Smoky Mountain Family Historian

Monday, November 24, 2008

I'm Thankful for These Marriages

At this Thanksgiving time, I have to express my thanks to these couples for their marriages. As a result of their marriages, I am who I am!

This is John and Mollie Koleber Margheim, parents of my Dad, Ernest Margheim.

In the photo above are Milo and Nannie Becker Flanders, parents of my mother Ruby Nadine Flanders.

Pictured above are my Dad and Mom, Ernest L. and Ruby Flanders Margheim

Pictured here on their wedding day are Dick and Irene Roberts Jamison, parents of my husband Larry Jamison.

I'm most thankful for my marriage to my loving husband Larry Jamison.

It's because all these people pictured above were married to each other that I am who I am today--Mary Rebecca "Becky" Margheim (Mrs. Larry C.) Jamison. And I'm very thankful!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

My Most Rewarding Genealogy Moment 2

In my last post, I related the story of discovering two of my mother's first cousins, Phyllis and Barbara, who were instrumental in advancing my research of my maternal ancestors. In this story I want to tell you how Barbara again was the key player in my second most rewarding genealogy moment.
A member of my husband's family began the study into his ancestry in the middle 1970s, nearly 20 years before I met him. She established the identity of nearly 5 generations of his family, but ran into a brick wall when she reached his Jamison great, great grandparents. She identified them as Samuel S. Jamison and wife Rachel McKern, both born and died in Pennsylvania in the 1800s. Her research stopped in the 1980s and the papers were all packed away.
By 2004 or so, I'd been married to Larry Jamison for a decade and had picked up the genealogy bug. During my first two or three years of research, I expanded Larry's ancestor tree by many generations, but that Jamison line was still the shortest branch on the tree. I spent dozens of hours scouring the internet for anything I might find on Samuel and Rachel Jamison, or any McKern family in Pennsylvania. I found nothing! I was so discouraged that I reluctantly reached out for help. Remember, I said in my last post that it was difficult for me to ask for help from others or to share what I'd found in my own research. I was very insecure about my research skills. And I did not subscribe to any web sites that offered census or vital record data. But I sent a quick email to my cousin Barbara (okay, to be proper, my first cousin once removed), who lived in California. I didn't ask her to find information for me, I just asked for advice on where to look next. With her decades of experience I knew she could offer some valuable suggestions about how to pursue this search. Within minutes Barbara emailed me in return and said she'd found Samuel and Rachel Jamison in the 1860 census for their county of residence in Pennsylvania. She emailed me the household listing. She did have the subscription to a web site that offered census images.
I couldn't believe it! I had searched for 2 or 3 years and within minutes---literally no more than 5 minutes, she had found their household and I was reading it in print on my computer screen. I ran down the stairs to the kitchen where my husband was cooking our dinner (what a guy!) and had tears rolling down my face. He asked if I was happy or crying. I said "Yes!" I was happy and crying! Barbara had found Rachel and Samuel for me.
After I regained my composure, I emailed Barbara and thanked her. She quickly offered to send me a hard copy of the census image and I accepted her offer, thinking it should go in the file as supporting evidence.
I was feeling so victorious over simply finding the residence location of this family and the listing of their household members. Barbara had sent me the names of the father, mother, and six children in the household.
It was only 3 or 4 days later that I received the hard copy of that census image in the mail. I casually opened it, thinking it was just evidence for the file folder. But I gasped when I read the listing for that household. Not only were Samuel Jamison, wife Rachel and children Mary, Angeline, Curtis, Robert, John, and Emma listed, but the final household member listed was Samuel's mother-in-law Elizabeth McPherrin. McPherrin----NOT MCKERN!
For 30 years my husband's family and I had been looking for Rachel McKern. Samuel and Rachel's son Robert was my husband's great grandfather and on his death certificate his widow, the informant, supplied the name of Rachel McFern as his mother. The "F" was recognized as a "K" and we'd been looking for McKern instead of McPherrin.
This experience taught me several lessons: (1) don't be afraid to ask for help (2) always secure a hard copy of the supporting document--besides evidence you might find the ONE secret that will break open your research, (3) it's worthwhile to subscribe to web sites that offer census records and other supporting documentation, and (4) never give up!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

My Most Rewarding Genealogy Moment

As I was pondering the topic for this post, a suggestion was given to me by one of my many Facebook Genea-blogger friends, Tina, to write about my most rewarding genealogy moment. I replied to Tina that I'd have to do a series, because my genealogy blessings have been numerous. In fact, I created this blog to record those experiences of outstanding discovery--not always monumental in substance, but collosal in spirit! So this may be the first in a series of recollections of my many rewarding genealogy moments--those events that just boggle the mind, keep us interested, and make us grateful for the help, support, kindness and generosity of others as we take this journey of becoming truly acquainted with our ancestors.
I began my search for ancestors in 2000 and worked feverishly for a couple of years on my own, with much encouragement and guidance from my husband. I grew up a very shy individual and was not comfortable reaching out to others for help or advice. Oh I sought the advice of authors in the field---I bought a lot of books on genealogy and internet research. I scoured them cover to cover. And I questioned relatives who were close by and wrote letters seeking more information from my immediate family.

Online I discovered that a couple of ladies in California had submitted quite extensive histories about my mother's side of the family. I was not raised by my mother, but by my father and step-mother. I was acquainted with my mother's parents, siblings and most of my cousins from that maternal line. I missed a lot during my childhood by not spending much time with my mother or her family. And she passed away in 1990. It was my husband who encouraged, reminded, and just plain "nagged" me into contacting those two ladies in California to inquire about their connection to "my" family. I finally gave in and wrote them each a letter--fortunately their addresses were included in that online submission. I thought, at the most, I may hear from them and determine how they were related to my Becker/Strait family. That would have been enough for me! I mailed my letters to them on a Thursday and typically mail delivery is quite slow from my place of residence, but my letters were delivered to them on Saturday! From Colorado to California in TWO days! Unheard of. Early the following Monday morning I had an email from Sharon, the daughter of one of the ladies. Without looking it up, I can recall her opening sentence. "Becky, you have struck gold!" Indeed I had. What she didn't tell me was that I found the Mother Lode! As it turns out, the two ladies (Phyllis and Barbara) that I had written were First Cousins of my mother. So they were quite familiar with her parents and siblings. The next great news that she explained to me was that they'd been researching my maternal grandmother's family for over 40 years! And what was even better !!!!!!!!! they were extremely excited to have "discovered" me and eagerly wanted to share all they could with me!
And share they did. In a matter of weeks, they blessed me with pictures, birth and death certificates, journal entries, personal letters, books, family group sheets, and stories about several generations of my maternal family members.

Milo and Nannie Becker Flanders, my maternal grandparents, below, followed by photos of parents and other family members of Nannie Becker:
"Ask and ye shall receive". I asked and all that I received truly made this my most rewarding genealogy moment! There's much more of this story that I can share, but I should do that in another post. I could call it "My Most Rewarding Genealogy Moment---at that moment".

Monday, November 10, 2008

Happy Birthday Uncle Alfred

Alfred George Margheim
November 11, 1923-March 22, 1933
At left in photo at left and front row right in photo below.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

One Good Deed Returns Another

I don't think that's really the way the saying goes, but this has been my experience this week. I've spent hundreds of enjoyable hours exploring the Find A Grave web site and have been rewarded with photos of headstones and gravesites of many ancestors. In addition to numerous photos, I've gathered vital information on them, such as birth and death dates, burial locations, even cemetery locations and occassionally have come across a wonderful obituary or biography of an ancestor. It didn't take me long, after looking around, to volunteer to photograph gravesites in my home county after I became the beneficiary of precious photos generously posted by others across the country.
This week I received an email from Find A Grave notifying me that someone wanted a photo of an ancestor's gravesite in a local cemetery, so I put a "Claim" on it, which indicated my intent to take the photo and load it on the Find A Grave site within 14 days. It's hard for me to not run out immediately to fullfill that claim when I get one. My husband went with me the next day to photograph the site and I had it on the internet later that evening. I always send a personal email to the person who requested the photo to let them know I provided the photo and I offer to email them the photo. They get an automated notice from Find A Grave that the photo has been uploaded to their memorial page, but I like to make personal contact anyway. This week I emailed a gentleman in a neighboring state and was delighted that he replied to me in a very gracious return email. As it turns out, his hometown was the hometown of my step-father. And to my great joy and surprise, he often returns to that small town, and is familiar with the local library and cemeteries. You guessed it...he offered to photograph the gravesites of my step-father's parents who are buried there. He contacted the local librarian and received by mail copies of their newspaper obituaries. Today I got copies from him in the mail!!!! And soon I should have photographs of their gravesites---hopefully they have headstones.
Do you see why I called this little story "One Good Deed Returns Another"? When I posted that photo earlier this week on Find A Grave, I thought that little story was over. But my personal email to that "requester" brought unexpected rewards! I've made a new friend, I have obituaries now that I'd have never found otherwise and may soon have actual photographs of family gravesites.
I happen to live 1 mile north of a really old local cemetery so at noon today I made a quick trip to it and photographed another headstone for someone. She didn't post her personal email on Find A Grave but I was able to leave her a public note. Maybe she'll be inspired to take a picture for someone else in return for the kind gesture. And so it goes on and on. One good deed returns another.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Happy Birthday to Us

A few days ago I was sitting with my Dad at his computer, showing him more features on Facebook. He's one of my Facebook Friends, and I think at age 87, he could be the oldest person on Facebook. We were viewing photos that other family members have posted and were remarking what a wonderful feature it is to be able to share photos so easily with relatives we haven't seen in decades.

Dad said to me "Reach that box up on the top shelf that says "Stamps'". "Stamps" I questioned? I got the "recycled" check-blank box, opened it, dug below a stack of stamps, and discovered several photos that were taken in 1930, 1940 and about 1948. Loose little photographs in the bottom of this small box filled with stamps. I had never seen any of these pictures before. I've scoured many family photo albums, have scanned several hundred family photos and put more than a dozen albums on Google's Picasa web site. But I had not seen any of these pictures before. I was delighted! Oh, what treasures hide in places we least suspect.

One of the pictures was of me and my twin brother sitting on the grass in our yard, accompanied by a small white lamb cake. Dad thinks it was taken on our first birthday, which would have been November 5, 1948. Since tomorrow is our 61st birthday, I'm sharing this picture and using this post to also wish my brother Dennis Happy Birthday!