Monday, June 28, 2010

Another Day Another Writing Project

Monday morning and I'm ready to write. I want to just write, as it comes from my brain and my heart and flows through my fingers. But wait.........I need direction.

Direction for where my story is going, direction on who are my characters, punctuation, spelling, and the list goes on. I admire anyone that can sit down to the computer and just let the action fall onto the page. I, on the other hand, need to make diagrams, make notes, and research everything.

You may have a great story going but if you don't have your facts straight the reader is going to catch it. At that point the reader may throw the book to the side and say. "If the writer can't reseach what he is writing about how do I know the whole story is correct."

It doesn't matter if you are writing fiction or non fiction. Get your facts straight.

I've been reading DiAnn Mills novels lately and love the way she incorporates fact with the action. I would recommend The Nile Runs Red. Good reading.

Lena Dooley also got her facts straight when she wrote Minnesota Brothers. Another good read.

I've started Bruce Judisch's second book The Word Fulfilled. Good.

Also if you are into genealogy, and you knew I'd go there, Megan Smolenyk Smolenyayk and Ann Turner wrote Trace Your Roots with DNA. It's a bit confusing at times because you have to remember who's blood can be traced for what, etc, etc, etc. But if you can figure it out, and this is up your alley, then it's worth reading.

Well you get the picture. Now I'm off to do the same.........research for my novel. Enjoy the read and writing.

Until then..........

Friday, June 25, 2010

Writing Workshop

Many of us like to write. A lot of us say. "I could write a book." But we don't take the time to do it, or we don't know how to start.

The Christian Writer's Group of Greater San Antonio is having a one day workshop to help anyone that would like to learn how to write.

July 16, 2010 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. will be a dessert reception and on July 17th 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. you will be able to select from seven different workshops to help you out.

This will take place at First Baptist Church, 1401 Pat Booker Rd, Universal City, TX. For more information go to

Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

New Death Certificates

The adrenilan was running high yesterday when I found a web site that had my ancestors death certificates. I was able to order them on line. More pieces to the bigger puzzle.

It's so exciting when you finally put all the pieces together. Like our lives our ancestors lead exciting lives, whether we believe it or not. In a way we don't think of what kind of lives they lived. Think about it.

We don't stop to consider what our ancestors they went through to travel. Today we can get in the car and travel hundrededs of miles in a day. Our ancestors did good to travel ten miles a day in their wagons.

If you look at where our ancestors went you will probably find that a few other family members went with them. My great great great grandfather went from Kansas to Oregon (at least I think he did as soon as I find his death certificate) and several of his sons went with him.

It's intriguing to watch the migration as each person branches out and goes their own way. I've found that I've lived in places where my ancestors lived and have only recently realized it.


Monday, June 21, 2010

Names Names Names

So many names to look for and so many names are the same in the family. I would guess that happed a lot back in the 1800's. It seems like William had a son William, then that William had a son named William, and so on. I guess our ancestors never realized that generations to come would try to find out who was who, where they went, and better yet what did they do with their lives.

Names that were common in the 1800's are all out dated now. Good sturdy names like Ruth, Ruby, Nathaniel, Elijah, well you get the picture. I suppose our children's children will say the same about our generation.

After you find their names, whether it's in the census or city directories, you begin to wonder where did they work, what did they do for recreation, and how did they live. Pieces to a puzzle and you have to put the puzzle together.

When you see their name in the census you see that they have listed their occupation as a farmer, blacksmith, cobbler, or banker. They could have given the dollar amount on their property if they owned property.

I've found it interesting that after finding my ancestors in the census I look for the history of the town where they lived. I've found more information on how they lived their lives.

Now back to the names..........yes I have ancestors that have very common names and they moved around a LOT. Finding them is like finding a needle in the haystack but I keep on trying. One of these days I'm going to have that ahhhaaaaa moment when I'm going to accidently run onto their name.......and it's going to be MY ancestor!


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Off On Another Trek

I opened my mail box yesterday with great anticipation hoping the death certificate would be there. With eager fingers I tore the envelope open and stared at the piece of paper. I read the first line and it was the right person. Then as I read each line it was correct to what my findings were, there was only one glitch. Mother's maiden name was "not known."

Well everything else was right so it looks like I have my great great uncle! Now to figure out why he went west and who went with him. How did they go? The Oregon Trail starts at Council Bluffs winds through Nebraska, Kearney to be exact, and onward west. He was living in Kansas so did he leave from Kansas? But I found some of the family in Council Bluffs too!

Once you've unlocked one door you are ready to run as fast as you can to unlock another door. With each door you learn something new about your ancestor. It's like opening the present you got for Christmas. You want that special something so you tear the paper off in shreds to get to the prize.

Well it looks like we're back to the drawing board. I've got to find where my great great grandfather died and why he left his family in Iowa. It's like being a blood hound.....nose to the ground.....or books.....which ever the case may be.

I'll keep you posted.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Genealogy Passions

Yes I guess you could say genealogy is my passion. I come from a generation that didn't talk about your ancestors. They weren't hidden in the closet, they just weren't talked about. My generation was brought up you didn't ask questions about family matters. What your parents said was final.

Not that this was a bad thing, it's just the way it was, back then. But it left a lot of questions for our younger generation. Even my generation, I want to know the answers. My mother and father were very hush hush about anything pertaining to family.

After I married I was too busy raising my family to think about ancestors until someone asked me to do the history on a small four room school house about to be abandonded. The history would go into a time capsule at the new school.

I didn't know where to start until someone told me to go to some of the students that went to the school at the turn of the century. You have to realize this was about forty years ago, so there were a few people still around.

I had fun talking to people and taking notes then looking for other articles in the library. When I finished I had about one hundred pages of history on the old school house. I was bitten by the genealogy bug then!

That's when I started my long road, and I do mean long road, into finding my ancestors. I started with my father's side until I ran into a blank wall. Then I switched to my mother's side, where I'm still working hard to find out where her great grandfather died. I think I may have found it and I'm really really excited. I want to get in the car to go check on the records myself. But that's another story.

I'll keep you posted because it's sooooo close!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Federal Census vs. City Directories

Yesterday I did some more know looking for that dead relative again. Low and behold I think I found him. But then I thought I found him before clear across the United States on the west coast. So who is this person I found in the breadbasket of our country. So much for a common name.

When you are researching a name like Green, Black, Smith, or White you have to double check an even triple check everything. And I do mean everything. So I thought I found my great great grandfather in Oregon with one of his boys and I've gone bonkers.....I can't wait to get a death certificate to prove that is where he died. So who is this man with the same name, and I might add with some of his boys, that I found yesterday in the city directories? There it is, a big family with lots of boys, going in every direction, and with common names!

More digging.........until then.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Death Certificates Tell It All

Looking for your dead ancestors is fun and when you find out when one has died or where he or she has died. You scramble to get the death certificate to make sure you have the right person. The death certificate not only tells you when they died it tells you what contributed to their death.

Sometimes it will give you the cemetery where they are going to be buried and sometimes it will give you the name of the morturary that took care of the services. But the big find is, and hopefully whoever gives the information has the right information, you can find out the maiden name of the mother.

Now you are ready to go off on another adventure. If you didn't know before hand where the couple married perhaps knowing the maiden name of the mother will pinpoint where they were living when the couple met.

Time and patience is your biggest ally in searching for your ancestors. You sit for many hours behind the computer screen or at your local library searching microfilm. Then when you find what you are looking for you jump for joy! You want to shout it out for everyone to hear! Then it's off again searching for more and more. It never ends...............following the meandering trail your ancestor makes.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Birthday Boy

Today is my oldest son's birthday. He is fifty years old today. Yes fifty. I'd say he was getting OLD. Where did the time go? I still remember the day he was born. How my mother took her time coming to pick me up while I paced the floor not know what was happening. At seventeen you are still trying to figure out how to keep the blemishes from popping up on your face. My husband was away on a job that would take him at least three hours before he could make it home. By four in the afternoon my baby boy arrived with a couple minor problems. His cord was wrapped around his neck,he wasn't breathing, and he had a slight club foot. The nurses and doctor were amazing working over him. I heard a small wimper and knew he was going to be alright. They put him in the incubator and he was off to the nursery. I wasn't even allowed to hold him. Four days later he was home in my arms breathing normally. At five pounds thirteen ounces he was so small. I was almost afraid to hold him, afraid I'd break him. Unlike my husband and I who had blond hair my baby had cold black hair. We both wondered where that came from!

Until he was walking I massaged his tiny foot and worked with him until he was able to walk without any problems. No casts and no special shoes. It never slowed him down.

Throughout the years I watched him grow, play baseball, ride horses, dig holes in the yard, play football, and mature into the fine man he is today. He's made his share of mistakes just like everyone else has made and like I've always stressed to him. "I pray you learn from your mistakes. Don't make the same ones twice. Learn from the first one." A good lesson for all of us.

On this special day my son I'd like to wish you Happy Birthday and many more to come. May God bless you as he has in the past. Never forget His blessings in your life.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The Mind Is A Blank

Yes you heard me. My mind is a blank. I'm sitting here ready to write, staring at the screen, and I'm having writer's block. I can be in the shower washing my hair and my mind is going over and over all the things I want to say and put down on paper for the world to read and comment on.

I drive the car and my mind is going over and over all the wonderful tidbits and cute little saying I want to put on paper for posterity.

When I lay my head on the pillow at night, all ready to end the day. my mind perks up and thousands of words come to me. I tell myself I'll remember so I don't get up and write it down,but I don't remember the next day.

Writers throughout the years have had writer's block but they press onward and upward. They go on and keep writing no matter what and finally when they least expect it they have that article, novel, or poem they wanted the share with the world.

This I will do also. I will keep staring at the screen and write from the heart because when it comes from the heart it is genuine. Readers will remember it and feel like they know you by your words.

Until then.......