Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The priviledge of having siblings....

Lucille and Harold Smith

My father was Harold Smith. He was born on August 29th in 1929. He was the only son of Everett and Lillian Smith. He had an older sister Lucille who died when she was a child so he did not have the joy of having siblings. When he married my mother, Leah Anderson, I believe that it was his plan to have a large family right from the start. Leah had come from a family of eight children and very different upbringing then my father had as an only child.

They had my older two sisters and me in the first 5 years of their marriage and a pause for 5 years. He established himself in the retail business world, first working for J. C. Penneys in Lapeer and then worked for Egglestons in Lapeer and eventually in Romeo. In 1955, the year that I was born, we moved to the Fritz subdivision on 29 Mile Road in Romeo. He was a hard working man who had gotten his business degree and helped to build the Eggleston business before moving on to work with the Mitzeldfeld's Department store in Rochester, Michigan. During his years at Mitzeldfeld's the store grew exponentially and became a very large, highly regarded and well known business in a time of small family operations and decades before the "big box stores" of today. It was a busy time with a growing family.

The second half of our family came start ed to arrive in 1960 with another daughter. I think that Mom was beginning to think that she would have a house full of girls but Dad would coax her, “ Leah I would really like to have a son.” I remember the year that my brother Mark was born, Dad had bought a model train at Christmas time. It was a Christmas gift for the new baby coming in January according to Dad. If the baby turned out to be another girl, she was going to like trains! Mark was born on January 15th and was the boy that Dad wanted so badly. It wasn't long  and Dad was teasing mom “Mark really needs to have a brother! Every boy needs a brother!” And then their family was complete with the birth of Matt in July of 1964.

And then there were six of us. He gave us the opportunity that he himself did not have. We all grew up together and were able to enjoy family experiences time six. Some times it was chaotic and but it was always fun. There was always someone to play with. There was always someone fight with, wrestle with and cry with when you banged your knee. There was always someone else to blame; “I did not do it!” but you learned quickly to never squeal on each other either. If one got in trouble, we all did! There was always someone to try on your idea with and someone to conspire with. We taught each other things we should do and things we should not do.

My Dad had the sole responsibility of taking care of his parents as they aged. Grandpa Everett had MS and was confined to a wheel chair. Dad never complained as he assisted his mother and father in those years. He made certain that they were present for every holiday and every family occasion as we grew up. This was in the day before handicap parking and wheel chair lifts in vans. It was a huge undertaking to bring Grandma and Grandpa out to Romeo or Imlay City from Detroit to participate in all the holidays, family birthdays, weddings and important family events. We helped him when we could but we were kids.

There was always a friend willing to lend a hand. A man from Church or a neighbor from across the street.  I think that he knew what he had missed out of by not having a sibling and he made sure that his children would not miss out of the experience.
My Dad did not live long enough to give us the chance as adults to take care of him. He died quite suddenly the day after his 67th birthday, August 30th, 1996. That was 14 years ago. We miss him as much today as we did the day he died.

Every time that I gather with my siblings I am reminded how important it was to my Dad that I had the wonderful sisters and brothers that I have. I am reminded how important it was to him that we were not left alone when he and Mom died. I am reminded how much they loved us and all that they taught us and how much they allow us to learn from each other. I am reminded how important as a family we are to one another. I am reminded that we must as individuals walk the path that is our own life but we do not have to walk it alone. I am reminded that they also gave us the faith in God which will always pull us through every event in our lives.

Next week my siblings and I will travel to Denmark and Norway to visit family members of my Mother’s family. We know that Mom and Dad are with us in spirit. We know that they are happy that we are getting this opportunity to meet family members who live in far away places. We will think often of Mom and Dad in the coming days and how happy they would have been to take this trip with us if they had been here. We can thank Mom and Dad for giving these six children of theirs the opportunity and the privilege of having one another.

Tombstone Tuesday - August 31, 2010

Today’s Tombstone Tuesday come from Rest Lawn Memorial Park in Kent County, Michigan near Grand Rapids. This photo was taken by a very nice volunteer Photographer named Marni Turnbull Rose through the findagrave.com website. Marni took this photo for a friend of mine Anita Maijer – Schrot who lives in Germany. She and I met through Facebook because we shared a common interest, family history and genealogy research. I have helped her from time to time do research on some of her family members who came to the US and settled in Grand Rapids Michigan. It has been so nice to meet this lady and share with her the experience of discovering who her ancestors were and where they settle.

Yesterday a wonderful lady named Deb at the Rest Lawn Memorial Cemetery looked up Anita ancestor’s burial location for me. I had called on Saturday and spoke to very nice man who told me that if I called on Monday that “Deb would be glad to look up these people and their burial sites for you.” So on Monday I talked to Deb and she was able to tell us that Albert and his wife Rekka were buried at Rest Lawn and that they buried in Section 16, Lot 14, Graves 5 and Grave 6. Albert is in grave 5 and Rekka is in grave 6.

We were also looking for Albert’s father Douwes Maijer but we were not able to find him.

Marni was lucky enough to also find two fawns peacefully napping near the graves of Albert and Rekka Myer.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday - August 24, 2010

It’s Tombstone Tuesday time again. I have missed a couple cause I have been so darn busy…I have decided to take a break from my research to see if I can break through a brick wall. Or at least take a break until I get to Norway. Then maybe I can get some information on the Norwegian side of the family. So tonight I am going to show you tombstones which are for people who are not related in any way. I have found a met a new friend thru Facebook from Germany who is also interested in family history.  She has family who came to America and settled in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  So she had had me look up some information for her family research. Last week we entered some information in Findagrave.com about her family members and requested photos of some tombstones.  A very nice researcher from the area immediately helped us out the very next day. Anita was thrilled.  So those are the tombstones for this week…

Bertha Meyer      James Meyer
1885 – 1959       1886- 1965

I am so glad that we could help my friend, Anita, find these tombstones of her family members in the Oakhill Cemetery near Grand Rapids.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Genealogy roadblock or brick wall.....

It just seems like no matter where I look, I find the same information and the same roadblock. It is time to concentrate on something else for a while but I just can’t seem to quit looking. There must be this bit of information right under my nose which I can not seem to make sense of.

Through my genealogy research I have noticed a couple of things about roadblocks or brick walls. You know how people say, “why don’t you sleep on it?” Well I need to follow that advice….and I know it! Deep down inside my heart, I know what to do. I know that the clue I am looking for is out there. I may have been looking at it for some time and not realizing that it is the key which will break the brick wall wide open. I have spent a great deal of time looking at the Smith Families from Darke County this year. And it is time for me to look at other families … OR NO Genealogy research at all.

I have learned that when I can totally separated myself from my research for a period of time, not one day, not one hour, more like weeks or even a couple of months, when I return to my search, I will always break down a brick wall. But as long as I keep looking the information stays murky at best and out of sight. Now if you are reading my blog, you have probably have experienced this as well.

Early in my research, there was so much information to be found that the bits came out of everywhere I looked. I learned something new every evening I did research and the more I found the more I wanted to know. Every piece of information brought more questions and the continued search for more people. Fifty people in my tree became one hundred and fifty which became one thousand and fifty and exponentially it has grown to near 4000 people. With that growth comes and yearning or a compulsive desire which builds on the “knowing” that the information is out there and it could be found with the next search that you make!

Then the search turn into another and another then you find another bit and the compulsion is fed and the search continues…on and on in the vast space we call the internet. Who would have guessed 150 years ago that a middle aged woman could sit in front of a piece of equipment and find the pension file for her GGGrandfather which the US government neatly packed away in the National Archives to preserve it for all time…Heck, I am sure that my Grandfather 25 years ago would never have believed it…He started all this by tell me that he born in Roanoke, Indiana when he was born in Uniondale, Indiana!

So I am going to TRY….to take the breather that I know that my search needs!!!!!

Ah…maybe next week…and for sure when I leave for Denmark on September 9th….because the PC is stay home…

Good night and good searching!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday - August 3, 2010

Willis “Ray” Smith (known as Ray Smith)was born on May 23, 1895 in Madison County, near Pendleton, Indiana. His parents were George Albert and Esta (Valentine) Smith. He was a farmer in the area all his life. He was a trustee for the Green Township for 16 years. He was on the Green township Advisor board for 12 years and during WWII sat on the selective Service board. He attended Pendleton Christian Church. He died on August 27, 1865 and was buried in Grove Lawn Cemetery in Madison County, Indiana.

He married Gertrude E. McCashland on February 27, 1918.  They had three children, Willis R, Bernard and Hugh Smith.

George Smith was the son of Branson and Emily (Kinnamon) Smith. Branson was the son of James and Susannah (Overly) Smith.