Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Step Back Seventy-Two Years

Yes, the highly anticipated 1940 U.S. Federal Census arrived yesterday (April 2), seventy-two years after it was enumerated. Images of some states are available on Ancestry.com and FamilySearch.org, but indexing is still being done by thousands of volunteers.  I indexed several Delaware pages yesterday and have been working on Colorado today.

I remember well ten years ago when the 1930 census finally became available. It is so interesting to see the names of your grandparents, parents, uncles and aunts in the census transcript. It's fun to see where they were living and who their neighbors were.  Did they rent or own? What was their property worth?  How were they making a living? 

The 1940 census is much like the 1930 with two big differences. While asked for their own place of birth, in 1940 people were not asked to give the birth place of their parents as in very census since 1880 (this is very disappointing to me).  In 1940 people were asked where they lived in 1935 (this isn't very interesting to me). 

I began indexing records several months ago when my husband and I launched our Prison stint.  We are Family History Center volunteers for the Christ of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and travel to the Utah State Penitentiary to supervise and aid inmates while they are indexing records. The record images are then put on FamilySearch.org where the public can view them. Currently the inmates are indexing marriage records from various states and Italian vital records.  They are performing a magnificent service while they are serving time. I see it as part of their penance as they try to reform their hearts and minds.

Please view this short video which appeared on KSL's Mormon Times on Sunday, April 1, 2012 at 4:00 p.m. MDT.  It is a rare look into what some of the prisoners are doing with their time (they have to earn their visits).

Welcome to the Utah State Prison!

(I am truly surprised if anyone still visits this Blog! I've been inactive for so long.)

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Cemetery Statuary

As I wander around in the serenity of cemeteries, taking photos for Find a Grave,  I'm struck by the beauty of staturary few people ever see.

These are some of my favorites, taken in the Salt Lake City Cemetery, except where noted.

The words are from the song Soul Meets Body, I Will Follow You into the Dark, and What Sarah Said by Benjamin Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie.

I want to live where soul meet body

And let the sun wrap its arms around me

And bathe my skin in water cool and cleansing

And feel what it's like to be brand new. . .

Where Soul meets Body.

Love of mine, someday you will die
But I'll be close behind and I'll follow you into the dark
No blinding light or tunnel to gates of white
Just our hand clasped tight, waiting for the hint of a spark.

I Will Follow You into the Dark

If silence takes you then I hope it takes me too
I'll hold you near 'cause you're the only song I want to hear
A melody softly soaring through my atmosphere.

Where Soul meets Body

It stung like a violent wind that our memories depend
on a faulty camera in our minds.

But I keep thinking of what Sarah said:
"Love is watching someone die."

Holladay Memorial Park

I want to live where Soul meet Body
And let the Sun wrap its arms around me!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Happy News

Whixall Chapelry, Shropshire, England

Good news comes in threes.
  • First good news: I had a new hard drive installed in my computer.
  • Second good news: I found my camera which had been lost for over a month. (It was under the front passenger seat of our car. Three of us had looked there twice each. The third time for me was the charm.)
  • Third good news: I found a CD back-up of files which I made in February 2009. Thousands of names have now been restored to my PAFs. Thousands of photos have now been restored to my photo files. My computer seems like it's mine again.
It's been a good week.

Speaking of things which were lost---

In 1998, my husband and I spent several hours driving around Shropshire, England trying to find the above Chapelry without luck. My great grandmother was christened there in 1856. It meant a lot to me to find the church.

My GGrandmother, Mary Ann Holding

Mary Ann's parents were from Prees parish in Shropshire which we found without a hitch. According to our map Whixall was just around the bend. Well, we went round several bends, trying to see over the hedgerows, but never found Whixall.

Surprisingly, when I found the photo of Whixall on the Shropshire Family History site, it looks to be out in the open without any hedgerows! We definitely went on a wild goose chase that day in 1998.

With the miracle of technology, I can visit the parishes of my ancestors online. Granted, it's not as fun as being there. I'm not tasting the fish 'n chips or bread pudding, feeling the rain "bucketing down", or sleeping in 400 year old inns, but I can visit England anytime I want from the comfort of my LaZBoy.

Now where did I put my Mouse??

What have you lost?

Sunday, June 26, 2011

A Word to the Wise

I've been trying for months now to get "into" writing about genealogy.

As a professional genealogist for thirty-five years, I should have a lot of wisdom and advice to impart. Instead, I feel drained emotionally, intellectually, physically. My zest and ambition seem to be gone. Shucks.

Genealogy has been my life, my passion. Ever seen I was a child when mom and dad told me stories about their families, I was bit by the bug compelling me to know more.

Once I when I was about twenty-nine, I was selling toys at toy parties, but I was quick to explain to anyone who'd listen, "It isn't my real job. I'm a genealogist."

One zealous mother of five spoke up, "But isn't genealogy for old people?" The comment stung, but I shrugged it off. Yet from that time forward, I felt my work in family history was less important than the work teachers, nurses or secretaries (jobs available to women in my day).

I used to tell people that if they waited until they were old to do genealogy, they wouldn't be able to read the microfilm. Fading eyes and foggy memories being only two deficits of old age. I know only too well about those deficits now (and other deficits as well).

After years of researching for other people and writing (not purposely) dry research reports, I'd like to have enthusiasm to investigate my own family history. I have compiled two families histories on my father's lines, but can't muster the energy to work on my mother's ancestral history. I had much of it done and I'd collected a trunk full of photos (which I were scanned and saved on my now defunct hard-drive). I wanted to write a wonderful history, but I don't think I can make it into what it deserves to be. Especially now that I have to re-do it all.

Have I waited until I'm too old (nearly 62--when must people get started)?

At my stage of life, I thought things would be much different than they are. With a chronic inflammatory illness (Rheumatoid Arthritis), on immune-suppressant drugs, and continual infections which completely incapacitate me for long periods of time. The drugs and illnesses leave me tired, depressed and without ambition.

A word to the wise:
  • Don't wait until it is too late to write your family history
  • Keep accurate, organized records--in case something happens to you, others might carry on your work.
  • Organize and annotate your photographs, while you still have a memory.
But most important:
Backup your files, so you don't lose everything
when your hard-drive crashes.
Don't be a big dumbo like me!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

I once had a wonderful hard drive in a very cute little laptop. It stored all my genealogy files and thousands of photographs, all neatly organized and labeled.  One day I was on my bed with my laptop on my lap. Isn't that what they are made for--lazy computing? Apparently not. Suddenly, years of work slipped from my lumpy lap to the floor and the rest is history.

Good-bye to blogging until I can afford to get a new hard drive. Hopefully, there is some one out there who can restore some of my files. PLEEEEAAASSSSSEEEE!!!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Black Country UK

Holy Trinity, Amblecote, Warwickshire, England

If you have ancestors from Black Country in the United Kingdom or if you just like looking at photos of English parish churches and tombstones, you simply must check out the following web sites:





The Black Country gained its name in the mid nineteenth century due to the smoke from the many thousands of ironworking foundries and forges plus also the working of the shallow and 30ft thick coal seams.  The area is in the West-Midlands surrounding Birmingham which became the seat of the Industrial Revolution including West Bromwich, Oldbury, Blackheath, Cradley Heath, Old Hill, Bilston, Dudley, Tipton, Wednesfield, Halesowen, Walsall and others.

I hope you enjoy browsing these family history web sites as much as I have!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Why is it we only gather at weddings and funerals?

Heather and Brad, the happy couple, with my son Wes and daughter Danielle

Weddings and funerals draw together extended families.  The one occasion is to rejoice and celebrate, the other is to mourn a loss, but celebrate a life.  Unfortunately in some families, it is the only time we have the opportunity to see nieces, nephews, in-laws, aunts, uncles and cousins who live far from us. 

We had two such occasions in our family this past year. My nephew was married on July 30, a happy occasion which brought my brother-in-law Dave to town.  He's the husband of my sister who died in 2007 and I've seen him only twice since Gail passed and he moved away. 

Dave, a great brother-in-law

My deceased brother's family also came to town for the wedding. Sister-in-law Sheryl, niece Shaney and her husband Justin, nephew Collin, niece Heather, her husband Damon and their three children. It was a joyful occasion full of love.  Our extended family continues to grow with lots of little ones (two babies born in June 2010). 

On the other occasion, we celebrated the life of my aunt Virginia Kloepfer (Jinny to me, Ninny to her grandchildren).  While we mourn her loss, we also remember and hold dear all that she meant to us, all that she gave to us. Happy memories.  But it was time for her to go.  Cancer had destroyed her only lung.  For us, it is the end of the older generation.  The generation which survived the Great Depression.  The generation which fought and survived World War II. 

Ninny shortly before her death with my cousin Kellea

My sister, her husband and I drove to Boise, Idaho on December 18 to attend the memorial service for Virginia.  It brought together my cousins and their children which, unfortunately, I had not seen for fourteen years, when we went to Boise for my uncle Dick (Virginia's husband) funeral. 

Obituary published in Idaho Statesman on December 16, 2010
Virginia Kloepfer, 81, born Virginia Watson to Percy and Fern Watson departed her loving family to accompany the heavenly choir. Her soprano voice will be missed by the choir at All Saints Episcopal Church nearly as much as her presence. Sandra Durland Kloepfer, Rick Kloepfer , his wife Charlotte and Dr. Randall Kloepfer. Loving brother, Harold (Hal) Watson and his son, Michael, and numerous grandchildren were present Saturday, December 11 as Virginia reluctantly received her goodbyes. Virginia aka "Nini" was born in Salt Lake City, Utah and grew up in Boise. She graduated from Boise High School where she met and later married Richard V. Kloepfer, her high school sweetheart. Virginia accomplished many challenges in life beyond children and grandchildren. She had multiple college degrees and worked in the insurance business, as a counselor, and an architect. She taught high school math and astrology. She competed successfully in high school and college tennis. She played golf at a high level with 2 hole-in-ones and many trophies while participating at state tournaments. Her children were deeply moved by her courage and fortitude as she continued to volunteer and contribute to her church, All Saints Episcopal, in various functions, cooking and baking. Though never timely, her death came all too soon. Those attempting to continue her legacy are daughter Sandra and her son Weston, her eldest son Rick, wife Charlotte, and their children, Ivy and Amber, and youngest son Randy, wife Beverly, and their children, Jefferson, Daniel, and Jessica. Virginia's brother Harold Watson his children Michael, Sally and Robert and the four Kloepfer nieces Carolyn, Kathleen, Kellea, and Kim. Virginia was preceded in death by her parents, her husband, and sister Jean Harlow Jackson. Memorial service will be held at All Saints Episcopal Church on Saturday, December 18th, at 3:00 PM. Celebrants, family, and friends are all welcome to share memories and condolences. For those wishing to contribute in memory of Virginia, the family respectfully requests donations be made to the Friendship Meal in care of All Saints Episcopal Church located at 704 South Latah, Boise, Idaho 83705.
Jinny's family looks at photos I took 14 years earlier in 1996 when Uncle Dick died

The Boise home where my mother grew up.
I remember it well from my childhood. The present owners have
done a wonderful restoration. Thanks. . . .

Good things happen even at sad times.  I found out (through my cousin's teenage son) that six of my Kloepfer cousins are on FaceBook!  Now we can stay connected, can view photos of kids and grandkids, can send messages and birthday greetings.  I was born to live in the cyber-space generation.

Dear cousins, it is so nice to reconnect

Happy New Year to All!