The following is a transcript of a letter my mother, Mickey Spring, wrote to her brother, Jimmy Spring Burleigh just after Christmas in 1942. Their mother, Nellie Wilson Spring, died just a year earlier. Jimmy was sent to live with their Aunt Ethel Wilson Burleigh and Uncle Blaine while Mickey was sent to live with her Aunt and Uncle, Peggy and Clarence Spring, in Seattle, Washington. I did not try to correct spelling or punctuation nor show how smart I am by inserting [sic] everywhere there is an error.
Dec 29, 1942 6705 W Holly St Seattle Washington
Dear Aunty, Jimmy, and Uncle Blaine
Thought I would write and tell you what I got for christmas. From Daddy a swell shenille house coat, and from Winnie I got a real nice watch. Those are the most usefull things I got although the other things are nice to. Boy I sure liked that book you sent me Im more than half through already, and thanks a lot for the bath salts and crayons Jimmy Honey. Winnie and I take turns reading my book, when she lays it down I pick it up and start reading it And its the same way with her when I get through reading it. Well weve got the radio working now and I had It on all morning. Say Jimmy honey please write and tell me what you got for christmas I’d sure like to no. Im sorry I couldn’t send you a present Honey but Ill see what I can do. Well I have some more letters I should write I’m to sleepy will write more some other time.
Loads and Loads of love
PS. Im getting older now I was 12 years old yesterday.
As I may have mentioned before, genealogy research is a big hobby of mine.
This week, I discovered a couple tools to help in my research. Both of these tools are on AncestryDNA, and they’ve been there for a while, but I hadn’t paid any attention to them.
I was recently contacted by new-to-me cousin Hollie. Using Matches Map Beta, she discovered that we live only 30 miles apart. Matches Map takes the actual location from your DNA matches’ profiles and plots them on a world map. When you zoom in and click on one of the markers, you see the user name and their actual location and a link to the DNA Match. This can be a bit unnerving for some as it very easily gives users access to where you live. If that is a concern, you can change your profile location to something more generic, such as United States. The upside is that you can find cousins close to home that might be able to help with your research. In this case, it was relatively easy to connect the pieces of the puzzle and connect Hollie’s tree with mine, but it might have taken a while before I worked my way down my list of DNA matches to get to her DNA results if she had not used Matches Map and contacted me.
The second tool I learned to use while using the Matches Map and I find it much more useful. This was the Shared Matches tab in AncestryDNA. There are a lot of people that don’t have any trees connected to their DNA, or have limited family information within their tree. There are several reasons for this: privacy concerns, lack of information, maybe lack of interest(although if you pop $60-$100 for a test, you would think there would be some motivation to get the most out of it). I see these probable cousin matches and wonder who they are and how they are connected.
Shared Matches helps narrow down the possibilities. There are two ways to use this tool. In my list of 4th-6th cousin matches, I find C.P. who has two unlinked trees listed. Both of these trees have limited information and no surnames to work with. Clicking on the Shared Matches tab, I see my daughter at the top of the Shared Matches list. Curiously, my son does not show up, but that is the nature of DNA. Scrolling down the list of Shared Matches, I find a couple paternal first cousins, which halves the potential connections by eliminating my maternal cousins, and a 2nd cousin twice removed on my paternal grandmother’s side, cutting likely connections in half yet again. Now, if I want to pursue to connection to C.P. in more detail, I have a much smaller list to work through to see what, if any, family connection there is between us.
Another way to use Shared Matches is to select a close cousin from your matches list, 1st or 2nd cousins work best, then click on the Shared Matches tab. This will bring up a list of possible cousins to whom you are both related, again reducing the search parameters to the same side of the family as the cousin you used to see Shared Matches.
Note that you, your DNA Match, and your Shared Matches, won’t necessarily all share the same Most Recent Common Ancestor (MRCA). That will take more research, but now you have cut your work in half or better. Also, the Shared Match only shows 4th cousins or closer. This is both good and not so good. The reliability of DNA matches further back than 4th cousins isn’t as high as closer cousins, but it would be nice to have the option of reaching further back.
Check out this site for more information on Matches Map, and here for more information on Shared Matches, although just clicking on the gray ? following the “Shared Matches with…” line gets pretty good information on this tool.
My wife, Laura, and I just finished up a two-week vacation with our four grandkids—3 boys and a girl. We are very fortunate in that they all get along very well and are a joy to travel with. Hopefully, we left them with something they will remember for a long time.
My preferred method of travel is to wing it, making minimal reservations, and trusting to luck to discover a place to stay. That mostly works out fine for just the two of us. With four teenagers in the motor home with us, we thought it prudent to do more planning and less freewheeling.
There are several programs available to help plan trips. I use a web-based program called RVTrip Wizard. This program lets me enter my stops and waypoints, including fuel stops; calculates fuel consumption; shows a fairly comprehensive park listing across the country; and provides running total of expenses. It’s not free but at $39 per year, it is a pretty good deal.
For navigation, Google Maps on a cell phone is good…if you have service. You can download the maps, which helps. I also took along a GPS device; OK, but the maps were pretty dated for some of the areas we were in. Best was paper maps. Laura’s a pretty good navigator once see gets us located on the maps.
Even with RV Trip Wizard’s travel time estimates, we were always checking in late to the campgrounds. Fortunately, both private and public campgrounds made late check-ins very easy.
I didn’t think to plan laundry days. As you can imagine, six people can accumulate a fair amount of dirty clothes, even if some of the boys thought wearing the same t-shirt and pants for four days was their contribution to not having to do laundry. I had purchased and took with us a small (so it seemed in the picture on Amazon) portablewashing machine. The washer worked fine; the weather didn’t cooperate to give us nice warm drying weather, but we managed (with an assist from sister Susie in Iowa).
With so much to see and do, this truly is an amazing country.
While at Yellowstone we came across a herd of about 100 or so bison wandering back and forth across the road. We parked and watched these amazing animals for an hour or so. All together there are about 5,000 bison within Yellowstone. It is hard to imagine the 40,000 to 60,000 bison roaming the plains in 1800.
I was prepared to be underwhelmed at Mt.Rushmore, but as I read more and took the time to learn about it, I came to appreciate its artistry and meaning. After Mt. Rushmore, we toured the CrazyHorse Memorial. Work is not complete on Crazy Horse, but it is a very impressive tribute to one of the Native American heroes (yes,every culture needs their own heroes).
We missed the Corn Palace in Mitchell, SD. Just didn’t have time. We did see a lot of corn. While on the way to Mitchell, we stopped at the Dignity Statue, a tribute to the Native Americans of the plains of South Dakota. It is located at a rest stop overlooking the Missouri River—and it’s free.
We were expecting the Badlands of South Dakota to be unbearably hot, but it was windy and rainy. Not too surprising, really, since wind and water erosion is what formed the Badlands over the last 500,000 years.
Our eastward trek ended in Iowa with a stay at Viking Lake and a visit with sister Susie and brother-in-law Jeff. If you want a peek at what life might have been like in the early (Caucasian) settlement of the plains, you only have to visit my sister. She and Jeff have a nice garden from which they harvest and preserve vegetables; Susie spins yarn, from which she weaves, knits,and crochets beautiful items; Susie and Jeff also tend a small flock of chickens. Sure, it’s a new house and there is a truck and car in the driveway instead of a team of mules, but you can imagine…
From Iowa, we headed back home, with a stop to cool off at Roaring Springs Water Park in Meridian, Idaho. Cool off were the operative words. It was just a bit chilly for most of us. It was fun, however. I particularly liked the Cliffhanger and Corkscrew Cavern. Rattlesnake Rapids was pretty good; maybe they should have suggested a deep breath before launching down the tube.
Home at last. Grandkids are back with their parents who were glad to have some time by themselves but were even more glad to have their younguns back home.
Us? We’re busy cleaning up and fixing the motor home (Yellowstone was a bit brutal on the MH), trying to decide where we are off to next.
I’m sure we will discover something. Maybe go back and try some of those brewpubs we passed along the way. Honey, you’re driving.
Who hasn’t lamented “I wish I had a tape recorder running when…”?
I have an amazingly short memory for many things, people’s stories being one of them. It’s not that I don’t care about what people share. I do, a lot, but if I don’t write it down immediately, details start to fade and I conflate one story with another.
That is why I am so glad that I have one audio tape of my Mom and Dad, Mickie and Fred Stoe, speaking with Howard Richards about where different members of our extended families lived in the Culver and Opal City areas in the early part of the 1900s. It is so wonderful to hear their voices again.
Most of the topographic maps that I have date from the middle 1950s to the early 1960s. It would be better to use earlier land maps to find homesteads as several dams and reservoirs have been built that changed the flow of local rivers and creeks: Haystack Dam, creating Haystack Reservoir was built about 1956; Arthur R. Bowman Dam which created Prineville Reservoir in 1961; the Round Butte Dam that created Lake Billy Chinook in 1964.
A trip to one of the local historical societies should be able to produce some land maps from 1900-1950. That would make following the conversation much easier. If I find any, I will post them here.
There are several reference to aunts and uncles and cousins, but, of course, these relationships are to William or Mickie. Some of the names mentioned in this half hour tape include: Ethel and Blaine Burleigh, Sylvia Richards, Kenney, Jay Wilson, Art Richards, Aunt Hattie, Cyrus, Carl King Sr, Perry Reed and his son Jim Reed, Nellie, and Bill McCormack. I’m still trying to sort out who each person is.
there you have it. Enjoy!
Does anyone else have audio (or video) recordings to share? I would love to hear more stories.
I have been looking for 1910 Census records for Deschutes County, Oregon. They should have been available on Ancestry.com but I never found them. No matter how many ways I looked, those records just weren’t there. You all probably see where this is heading. Deschutes County wasn’t organized until 1916. Before that it was part of Crook County. I knew that many Oregon counties were reorganized over the years but I had stopped thinking and letting Ancestry.com do the work. I wasn’t asking the right question and it wasn’t giving any hints why I wasn’t getting the results I expected.
Now that I know I should be looking in Crook County, I can’t browse through Ancestry’s collection. Not a problem. Archive.org came to the rescue. I did a search and found this page: Archive.orgOregon 1910 Federal Census. This gave me images of the Oregon 1910 Census in PDF format. Good news/bad news. The files are microfilm images; no index. All of a sudden I am back in the 70s searching census records image by image, but that is OK.
I will find the information I am looking for and in the process I was reminded to ask the right questions and to not stop thinking for myself just because a program makes the work easier.
As populations grew, it became necessary to identify people with more than just one name. Sometime in the Middle Ages last names, surnames, became common. Often taken from occupations–Smith, Farmer, Miller–or physical attributes–Red,Long, Short (Green must have been a seasick sailor!), last names helped distinguish between Godwin the Miller and Godwin the Farmer, important distinctions when the government is out collecting taxes. As the practice of using last names grew, they became associated with families and clans, bonding individuals into identifiable groups.
In many cultures, the family name belonged to and followed the male line, with the wife assuming her husband’s last name and the children of the marriage given their father’s last name. This convention was far from universal, however.
Scandinavian surnames names used to be derived from their father’s first name, suffixing the equivalent of son or daughter so that surnames would change from generation to generation. I don’t have to go back too far in my family tree to find Ane Olava Nilsdatter, the daughter(datter) of Nils Johan Nilsen; or Johannes Olsen , son (sen) of Ole Johannesen. That naming convention changed when the Scandinavian countries passed laws requiring heritable names (consistent surnames passed from one generation to the next). Denmark passed naming laws in 1820, with Sweden following in 1901, and Norway in 1923. When required to adopt heritable surnames, families were not required to use any particular name. Many continued to use the name in use when the laws were passed, while others chose names associated with their farm, with their occupation,or whatever they felt would be a good surname. When Scandinavians immigrated to America, they were often at the mercy of the immigration officer who wrote down what ever he thought he heard or what he could spell. Many immigrants also chose to Americanize there names to better fit in with their newly adopted country. For a much more in depth explanation check out What your Scandinavian name ending in son or sen means or UnderstandingNorwegian naming patterns.
While researching my wife Laura’s Spanish heritage, I learned quite a bit about Spanish surnames and discovered that I have a lot more to learn. Surnames consist of two names, the first from the father and the second from the mother, occasionally connected with ‘y’ or ‘e’ (and). Traditionally, women did not change their names when they got married, although it has become common for the woman to suffix “de” and her husband’s last name. Following form, their children’s surnames would be a compound surname taken from their father and mother. Each generation the surnames would change. This method of changing surnames makes researching Spanish genealogy very difficult but once you have a person that you are sure is related and that you have the correct surname, you have a very good lead on both the father and mother. Using this form of father’s first surname followed by mother’s first surname, I’m pretty sure I have errors in my tree but these are the names that I have found and until finding more documentation, probably won’t change them.
There are other variations to Spanish surnames. Each part of the surname can also be a compound name. An example given in a Wikipedia article:
“…the parts usually linked by the conjunction y or e (and), by the preposition de (of) or by a hyphen. For example, a person’s name might be Juan Pablo Fernández de Calderón García-Iglesias, consisting of a forename (Juan Pablo), a paternal surname (Fernándezde Calderón) and a maternal surname (García-Iglesias).” (Check out Widipedia’s Spanish naming customs).
Typically, Spaniards do not have a middle name. Instead, everything before the surname is considered their given name, and that can be quite a lot. Unlike Scandinavian countries, Spain continues with their surname tradition and has laws specifying how surnames are implemented. There are some exceptions to the father-mother ordering of the surnames but any changes have to apply to all the children of the marriage. As Spanish populations immigrated to America, they encountered many of the same issues as other immigrants with the immigration officers not understanding or knowing how to spell the names they were told, that husband and wife didn’t have the same surnames, and that Spaniards had (at least) two surnames. Usually the maternal surname was dropped; sometimes the paternal surname was mistaken for a middle name and the maternal surname became the family’s surname in the US.
Post a comment if you know how other cultures did or now do surnames. Meanwhile, I am going to dig into Gaelic names and see how those differ and how they have changed over time.