Saturday, March 31, 2007

Laugh 'til it Hurts!

To see my mother laugh is pure joy. The woman laughs with her entire being. These days the laughter comes fairly easily and passes quickly but this was not always the case.

When I was growing up Mom had very little to laugh about. Sometime after my Dad left, my brother, sister and I discovered how much fun it was to get Mom to laugh. Mostly our attempts got just a chuckle but every now and then we'd catch her just right and she'd be off.

Her entire body would shake. She'd literally double over. As she struggled to catch her breath she made a noise that simply will not translate to a keyboard but it resonates in my head as I type. And we'd laugh with her. It became a game to keep her laughing. She'd start to wind down and one of us would prompt her, "But can't you just picture ..." and there'd be a big intake of breath and she was off again until tears came to her eyes. Sometimes all it took to keep her laughing was a silly look or for us to start laughing as she started to wind down. After a bit she'd beg us to stop and leave her be, all the while laughing. At this point she'd give us "the finger."

These days I try to save up all the stories of the funny things my grandkids say and do or my crazy tales from work until my Thursday's with her. I could regale her with these tales on the phone and she'd enjoy them just as much but I would miss out!

When someone in our family gets silly or steps out of line we joke that "Mom's gonna give you the finger!" To properly give "the finger" make a fist, extend your index finger, point at the offender and shake your wrist very hard.

The followng family funnies are probably only going to seem funny to my family.

We went on an annual camping trip. Packing up was always stressful. Dad was in charge and everything had to be just so. You did not make helpful suggestions or ask questions. One year we got well over half way to our destination and he realized that he'd left the maps and envelope of money back home on the front stoop. We got to our destination, he set up camp and turned around and drove several hours home and back. For years after that whenever we'd start on a trip we'd all ask. "Dad, did you bring the money?"

When I was young something I wanted rolled under my dresser and I was quite determined to retrieve it. Somehow my head became stuck and my father had to lift it to free me. For some incomprehensible reason my family finds this story funny.

A certain lad of five was left with his grandparents when his mother went into labor. They asked him what he wanted her to have. He responded that he would like either a little brother or an octopus. In time he came to love his sister.

We used to set off little fireworks in the backyard for the kids on July 4th. One year John and a friend lit a fuse and started running backwards to get clear. They ran right into the kids wading pool.

I once found one of my children at the age of two talking into the telephone. It hadn't rung so I figured they just picked it and and started talking. I laugh now but not back when I got the bill for a call to Alaska!

The same child mentioned above loved to fish (and still does) so one year he got a new snoopy fishing pole. The rest of us were fished out for the day but he'd been doing quite well and begged to stay out on the dock a while longer while we went in to fix dinner. My heart flew to my throat when I heard the splash and we went running outside. There he was in the water. John reached down and hauled him out by the loop on his lifejacket. He'd gotten his line snagged and lost his balance. He was so proud of himself, "I didn't lose my pole Mom!"

Monday, March 26, 2007

Big Ooops!

I picked up a folder full of old family pictures at Mom's last week so I could scan them. I was quite excited to find this picture of Michael & Sarah (Wisner) Camfield. I had never seen it before. Someone had written their names right on the front of the photo which you can see. On St Patrick's day I posted the bottom picture thinking it was Rose (Graham)Camfield! (I have since edited that post.)Comparing the two there is no doubt that the second is picture is actually an older Sarah (Wisner) Camfield. Now I wonder how many other photos I have that are mislabeled. I hope in the pictures still at Mom's that I find more that are clearly labeled; especially one of Rose!

Sunday, March 25, 2007


Scanfest certainly took away the boredom of scanning. I enjoyed chatting with everyone and got 30 pictures scanned.

These two were in the batch. Both were taken in South Bend, IN, most likely between 1906 and 1919. I have copied what was written on them as best as I can make it out. (Click on pictures to enlarge)

Back row: Tillie Diffenbach, Frank Hildebrand. Verena Hack, Walter Kyser, Helen Hildebrand
Front row: Rose Berkhuner?, Pearl Camfield, Harry Helsman?, Ruby Camfield, Blanche Ireland
Taken at 318 Scott St, South Bend, Ind.

Employees of Singer Mfg Co. So. Bend, Ind. at a kide party. (Pearl Camfield back row, far right)

Friday, March 23, 2007

A "New" Diary blog

Val has been posting her grandmother's diary from the 40's at Grandma's Diary. Current entries are from her late teen years during her courtship with her future husband. There are also many pictures and Val's commentary interspersed throughout.

It is especially interesting to me as my Mom would have been just a few years older but had a much different life.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Site Revisited

Randy, at Genea-Musings, has had a series of posts detailing where and how he has searched for his Breesee line. A great idea to keep track of where he has already looked and what he found at each site or resource.

I have always made short notes in my file - nothing found at "x" site - so I wouldn't duplicate work I'd already done. This works great for static sites, no more "Oh, I remember checking here last month!"

Yesterday I stopped at Nikki-ann's where she is looking for her Great-grandfather's birth registration. In the comments I asked if she had checked the Free BMD site as I had found my great-grandfathers registration there several years ago.

It dawned on me that this was an ongoing transcription project, not at all static! Several other family members had little notes in my file that I had checked FreeBMD and not found their records.

Needless to say I started entering names in the search engine. In the last few years the index has been added to include my:

Gr-great-grandparents marriage
Gr-gr-great grandmothers death
Gr-gr-great grandfathers death

I also found leads on another Gr-gr-grandmothers death, there were several of the same name. I now need to look for some of my aunts and uncles records.

From now on my notes will include the date I checked and a reminder to recheck in the future! Randy's method of posting to his blog would include the date!

It is serendipitous that I happen to be getting some overtime this week! Now I just have to remember which of the 10-10-phone services I use to call the UK!

Sunday, March 18, 2007

It's Carnival Time Again!

The 20th Edition of the Carnival of Genealogy is now open at Creative Gene. I particularly enjoyed this month's theme of "A Tribute to Women." Again this month we have a couple of new entrants so be sure to check out the Carnival page! So many great stories and all of them enjoyable to read.

An April Fools theme for next month! Who says genealogy needs to be boring! Take a little stroll down memory lane, write down a story or two, save them until the 1st if you'd like but remember to submit them to Jasia so we can all enjoy them!

And now it's time for a Call For Submissions! The topic for the next edition of the Carnival of Genealogy will be: Funny, foolish, family! In keeping with April Fool's Day, April 1st, it's time to share those funny family stories... tell us about wild and crazy Uncle Guido, the practical joke you played on your younger brother, or the family parrot who spouted off something naughty when the priest came to visit. Share with us those stories that make everyone smile when they're told and retold, short quip or long story - doesn't matter! Write up your giggles and submit your blog article to the next edition of Carnival of Genealogy using our carnival submission form. The deadline for submissions will be April 1st (so you can make your post an April Fools joke if you want ;-)

Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Kiss Me, I'm Irish

My grandmother was Mary Kelly, her grandparents having immigrated in the mid 1800's. So you would think that I grew up with a strong sense of my Irish ancestry. Maybe even a brief mention that we were Irish at this time of year. As a child I had no idea. Family history was never discussed as far as I can recall.

I've always known that my mother's maiden name might be Irish. Some sources say the that that immigrant ancestor came from Scotland. It was always pointed out that they came so long ago that we were Americans, period. (Except for the above mentioned Mary Kelly who was always a Canadian citizen!) Until I started researching I never knew that mom's grandmother was Rose Graham, described in a brief family history written by a cousin as "dirty shanty Irish." I've learned from census records that Rose was born in Michigan and her father in Indiana so I've always wondered at this reference. I have much to learn about my Irish roots but today I'll just fix myself and Irish Coffee and celebrate the fact that I'm Irish.

Edited 26Mar07 to remove picture.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Kelly - Brief Newspaper Transcripts

The Watertown Herald, Sat., Nov 14, 1903

MARRIED - Grant - Kelley in Watertown Nov. 5 by Rev. F. P. Winne, Ulysses S. Grant and Mina M. Kelley both of this city.
The Watertown Herald, Sat.,June 2, 1906

Kelly - Olds - At the State street Methodist Episcopal parsonage, 10 William street, by Rev. Charles L. Peck, May 23, 1906, Bert Henry Kelly and Ethel Olds, both of Adams.
The Watertown Herald, Sat. Aug 15, 1908

Mrs. Wallace Olds and Mrs. Kendrick Byron of Great Bend were guests of Mrs. Thaddeus Olds and Mrs. Bert Kelly recently.

The Watertown Herald, Sat. March 4, 1911, pg 4

Mrs. Bert Kelly spent several days last week at Lacona with her husband who is express agent there.
The Syracuse Herald, Saturday, March 3, 1915, pg 87


Thaddeus Olds Buys Tract, While Lester M. Sneden Takes Hotel. Farm Near Fulton

Deeds have been recorded in the exchange of the Willard House in Weedsport, built in 1867, for a farm five miles from Fulton in Oswego county. The negotiations are in the hands of Woods, a local business and hotel broker. Property values involved aggregated more then $30,000.

The Willard House is a forty-room hotel, a combination of old and new structures, dating the oldest one back to post-bellum days.

The farm is a 175 acre tract devoted to general farming use. In the exchange all stock, tools and equipment, in addition to several substantial buildings on the land are to go to the new owner.

Of these, the stock constitutes a valuable part. There is a herd of eighteen Holstein cattle, one of them a registered bull, held ny his former owner at $2,000.

Thaddeus Olds of Weedsport buys the farm. Lester M. Senden takes over the hotel. The hotel has changed hands only three times during it's half century career. Tenants in both places have been notified to vacate by April 1st.
The Watertown Daily Times, Thursday, August 17, 1920, pg 14

Mr. and Mrs. Bert Kelly and Nr. And Mrs. Glen Cooper all of Fulton, New York, have been spending a few days with Mr. and Mrs. J. W. Kelley of 148(?) Central street.
The Fulton Patriot, Wednesday, November 23, 1927

West Granby –
Mr. and Mrs. Johnson of Adams, were Sunday guests at the Olds and Kelly homestead.

The Fulton Patriot, Wednesday, October 31, 1928

West Granby-
Carol Kelly and D. C. Hudson went to Grassybrook farm at Alden Creek recently and purchased three head of purebred cattle.

Mrs. B. H. Kelly and Mrs. W. J. Summerville and daughter, Mary, spent Saturday in Syracuse.
The Fulton Patriot, Wednesday, January 1, 1930

West Granby-
Mr. and Mrs. Floyd Olds and daughter, Shirley, spent Sunday with Mrs. Olds parents, Mr. and Mrs. T. G. Hubbard.

Mr. and Mrs. Bert Kelly entertained Mr. and Mrs. Floyd Olds, and daughter Shirley, Carol Kelly and Miss Menter on Christmas.
The Fulton Patriot, Thursday, Aug 14, 1930

Mrs Elsie LaCross entertained at a surprise shower last week for Miss Mary Menter, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Earl Menter of 215 Utica street. Miss Menter is to become the bride of Carrol Kelly in the near future.
The Fulton Patriot, Thursday, September 11, 1930

Kelly – Menter

Married – At the home of the bride’s parents, Sept. 6th, Miss Mary Elizabeth Menter, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Earl Menter of 401 Curtis street and Carroll H. Kelly son of Mr. and Mrs. Bert H. Kelly of 263 South Third street; Rev. Charles Olmstead officiating. They were attended by Miss Margaret Summerville and Erwin Menter, brother of the groom. (sic)

After the ceremony the bridal party motored to Shady Lawn Inn, Phoenix, were a wedding breakfast was served to the immediate members of the families. The couple left on a motor tour through the Adirondacks and on their return will make their home at
106 ½ West Broadway.

Mrs. Kelly is one of Fulton’s popular young women, a graduate of Fulton High School, and has been employed as a bookkeeper at the Fulton Fuel & Light company. Mr. Kelly is a paper inspector at the Oswego Falls Corporation plant.

The Fulton Patriot, Thursday, Oct 23, 1930

West Granby –
Misses Charlotte and Margaret Summerville and Mr. and Mrs. Carol Kelly spent the week-end with friends in Watertown and Adams.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Ruby Blanche Camfield

Ruby Blanche Camfield was born April 24, 1888 in South Bend, IN, the fourth of five children born to Joseph Harrison Camfield and Arazina Rose Graham. I know very little about Ruby’s childhood other than what I have gleaned from census records. Her father was a barber and her mother had been a domestic servant prior to her marriage. Her parents separated between the 1900 and 1910 census and Ruby remained with her mother.

The picture is labeled Pearl, Leroy and Ruby but looking at the picture it is possible that it is Ruby on the left. She was almost two years younger than Pearl and in many of Pearl's pictures she looks serious like this. Not pictured were her older siblings Fred and Mabel.

She attended a business school and obtained a job at the Studebaker auto factory, working her way up to office manager. She never married although I’ve been told that she was engaged at one time. I’ve never been able to learn what happen to that relationship or why she didn’t marry someone else later.

Despite being the youngest daughter, Ruby became the matriarch of the family, looking after everybody. One of her nieces told me, “She was tighter than the bark on a tree for herself so she could be generous to everyone else. The South Bend paper even wrote a story about how she was always helping everyone.” She walked over a mile each way, to and from work, to save the street car fare. Her clothes were always neat and presentable for her job but if you were to look very closely you would have found that they were also well darned. Besides being frugal she invested her money in stocks long before it was common for individual men to do so; it was almost unheard of for a woman. She gave freely to family, friends and neighbors for needed things but never for luxuries like movies or other entertainments. She helped several of her nieces and nephews financially so they could attend college. She had rows of shelves in her basement that I remember being filled with items that she had picked up at sales and stored there. When someone’s birthday came around she would go down and see what she had that might suit them. For our family, she would put a box together sometime between the summer and October, wrap everything in white tissue paper and send it off. We then had two to five months until Christmas to guess what treasures it might hold.

She lived with her mother until Rose passed away in 1931. After that she rented the upstairs portion of the house to Notre Dame students. As it was a one family house, the students would enter through her living room. Eventually someone convinced her that it would be better if she made a separate entrance. I remember visiting the house as a child. We stayed in the student apartment during the summer break. She had paintings on the walls that had been painted by her brother Leroy. On the back of each she attached a note telling who it was to go to. My mother received one that I now have, a beautiful scene of the Allegheny River. She seemed to have put thought into who would most enjoy each painting.

At Christmas time she played the part of Santa for her sister, Pearl’s, children. It seems that for years, just before Santa would arrive she would have to visit the outhouse and therefore always missed him. At Christmas the children would receive a years supply of clothing that she had picked up throughout the previous year, both winter and summer items. Her brother-in-law always resented that she provided what he could not and they never really got along, but that never stopped her from visiting. Some of their clashes may have been due to her very strong will and take charge personality.

When the Studebaker Company decided to start it’s own on premises library she studied library science on her own so that the library would be set up properly. Even though she worked for Studebaker until her retirement she never owned a car or even learned how to drive. During WWII the auto factories were switched to some type of war goods so during the war no one was able to buy a new car. When the war ended demand for new cars far outstripped production so she used her position to help one of her nephews buy a car when he returned home from the war.

She became a Christian Scientist sometime in the 1930’s. When nieces or nephews visited they were expected to attend Sunday School and services with her or mid week services if they were there then. After she retired she worked in the Christian Science reading room for many years. I still have the copy of Science & Health along with several other books by Mary Baker Eddy that she gave me when I was twelve. I briefly affiliated with the Christian Science Church in my early teens and even though I didn’t stay with that faith, I’m glad for the experience and the knowledge I gained during that time, not only about the church but about myself.

Ruby was able to stay in her home until sometime in her 90's. The last few years of her life were spent in a nursing home in Niles. She died Nov. 30, 1986 at the age of 98. She is missed by three generations of nieces and nephews.

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Carnivals and More

I'm still hopelessly behind in my reading, nevermind about my writing! I have made some progress though.

The 19th edition of the Carnival of Genealogy is fantastic with ten participants! The submissions I've read so far have been great and all so very different. I'm looking forward to reading the stories I haven't gotten to yet.

Jasia has come up with a wonderful idea for the next carnival. I hope everyone participates and that this becomes an annual event. If you'd like to add the post-it note to your blog you will find the code here, or save the image and link it back to here.

"And now comes the Call for Submissions! I actually posted the call for submissions for the next edition of the Carnival of Genealogy a couple days ago in my post A Women's History Challenge. I hope you'll consider writing a tribute to One Woman in this month of March, which is Women's History Month. It's a great opportunity to write about someone special or perhaps someone on the family tree who never married or had children and who has no direct descendants to carry on a memory of them. The deadline for submissions is March 15th. Submit your blog article to the next edition of Carnival of Genealogy using our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page."

I've caught up on Harry McFry. I think I've figured out Lillian's complicated relationship to Laurel and why she has kept one of the relationships hidden. I'm wondering just what Dacre Lawrence was up to and what happened to him? Was he the one that 'stole' the census records? Was Jonathan Harcourt a fraud, had he taken an assumed name or maybe something as yet unrevealed? Will Harry see Ana again?

I'm enjoying having the story unfold a chapter at a time and at the same time frustrated, I want to know what happens next. Are any of you reading too? What conclusions have you come to?

There are other Carnivals to check out too.

Who's That? hosted at Untangled Family Roots has some intersting family stories.

The 49th History Carnival has several different catagories and something for everyone. This edition is hosted at History is Elementary, one of my favorite blogs. Be sure to check out some of her Wordless Wednesday posts while you're there. With her Wednesday posts she challenges you to identify the picture or the artist and then follows up with more information about it later in the week. If you love history I think you'll like this blog.

I have to thank Tom Abbott at Walking the Berkshires for introducing me to another Carnival, Carnivalesque. In the 24th edition I found lots of intersting topics. As a gardener I was pleasantly surprised to find a post about a flower clock.