Saturday, September 29, 2007

What Would You Do?

I have located a distant cousin in California through the online white pages. I would be very surprised if he has ever heard of me. I have never contacted a distant relative before - in the past they have always found me through my blog or message boards.

In a situation like this would you pick up the phone and give him a quick call or would you do sit down and write him a nice old fashioned letter?

What have you done in this situation?

Friday, September 28, 2007

No Dates, No Honeymoon

Harvey Berry and Phyllis Carlisle both joined the navy in 1945. In 1946 they were both stationed at Whiting Field, near Pensacola, FL. Harvey worked in the air traffic control tower and Phyllis worked downstairs in the weather office. They would talk on the phone as necessitated by their jobs. Soon there were phone calls that had little to do with work. Harvey would visit Phyllis in her office, especially when she was working alone. She visited the tower only once, just to see where he worked. He would occasionally bring her food from the mess hall when she couldn't get away. She remembers that he once brought her cold pancakes because they were easy to carry. They never went to the mess hall together, they didn't have leave to go into town at the same time. All of their courtship took place in the weather office.

Harvey never "popped the question." Instead their conversations just somehow turned to marriage and they considered themselves engaged. They were discharged in the fall and Phyllis returned to her family in Buchanan, Michigan and Harvey to Syracuse, New York. He made a trip to Michigan to visit her family and later she traveled to New York to visit his. He found a job while she made wedding plans.

They were married at her parent's home in November of 1946. His mother, Mary (Kelly) Berry was the only relative that accompanied him to Michigan so Phyllis' brother, Bill, was his best man. Her best friend, Barbara Hausman, was maid of honor. Phyllis wore a wool pink suit and Harvey his best suit. They were married in the front parlor by the minister of the church the family attended. The ring had been his grandmother's. There were no flowers. Cake and coffee were served to the guests. The size of the parlor dictated the number of guests so the others in attendance were her parents, Daniel and Pearl (Camfield) Carlisle; her aunts, Ruby Camfield and Tamerson (Carlisle) Binns; and her cousins Clem Binns and wife Pauline, and Vera (Marsh) Edmunds and husband Tom. Her sister and brother-in-law, Vivian and David LaValle, were unable to attend.

After the wedding they took the train to Lyons, NY where Harvey had found them furnished rooms in a hotel. He worked nights as a switchman for the railroad and she found a job in Newark, NY in the accounting office of a mail order firm. They remained there a few months until Harvey's father was able to get him a position at the Staightline foundry in Syracuse, NY. At that time they moved in with his parents.

They lived off and on with his parents for several years. At one point Harvey left her in their care when he traveled to Vermont to attend photography school. From school he was recalled to active duty. Eventually they did purchase a small home of their own in Nedrow. After several years they were told that they could not have any children. The doctors were wrong and they ended up with a son and two daughters.

Harvey left Phyllis after 26 years of marriage. He moved to another state and quickly remarried. She struggled to raise her children alone. True to her original wedding vows, she never dated anyone else.

When I first saw that the topic for this edition of the Carnival of Genealogy would be weddings I was quite excited! I love weddings. My brother, sister and children all had nice church weddings followed by lovely receptions and I have albums full of pictures. But when I stopped to think about it, I realized that I knew very little about my parents wedding. My mother is more than willing to answer questions but she doesn't volunteer very much about her life. What I learned made me sad but now this chapter of her story is recorded.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Young Einstein

Science Problems a Cinch to these Young "Einsteins"
Syracuse Herald American, Sunday, April 6, 1941; page Two-C

I was looking for a newspaper announcement of my parents marriage and found this instead. He really was a very smart man. It's too bad he never went to college.

Thursday, September 20, 2007


(Actually it was The Twist and the damned hip still gives me trouble.)

There's a rumor going around that Genealogists don't have a humor gene. Janice at Cow Hampshire is enlisting volunteers to help her prove the rumor false. Check out all the great posts that have been submitted!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

War Stories

The 32nd Edition of The Carnival of Genealogy is hosted at Oral Family History Using Digital Tools. Susan Kitchens has done a wonderful job putting together this edition, Family Stories of War Time. As always there is a great selection to choose from.

I had hoped to particpate in this carnival but time got away from me yet again, so I am committing to the next edition - Weddings!

Call for submissions! The topic for the next edition of the Carnival of Genealogy will be: Weddings! Is there a cultural or religious wedding tradition in your family? Do you have a funny family wedding story you’d care to share? Did your grandparents elope? Cousin marry cousin? Is there an especially touching wedding photo in your collection? Do you think your ancestor holds the record for the most times married? Write about a wedding(s) in your family and submit it for the next edition of the COG. The deadline for submissions is October 1st. You can submit your blog article for the next edition using our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Summer of Tedium

I haven't posted simply because I haven't done anything interesting. What little time I had to work on genealogy over the summer was spent doing tedious tasks.

My main file is riddled with garbage that I've been trying to weed out. You know those gedcoms that are so easy to download when you first start and and wish you hadn't when you realize later that they are totally undocumented and often wrong? I compounded my error by downloading entire files rather than just the portions of the files I wanted. I will never eliminate them all but at least I was smart enough to record where all my information came from so I know the garbage when I see it. I also ended up with two different files for one line that I've been trying to reconcile.

I have also spent long hours at the site we all love to hate right now, downloading copies of census records that I had referenced but never copied. I do not have the space to store print copies so I have also spent time trying to figure out how to create and arrange my digital files so that I can find them again in the future. Then there is the fun of burning copies and emailing them all to myself as backups.

I also cleaned out the office so that I can find the paper copies that I do have, I even organized them somewhat.

Boring but necessary. I hope to have time to work on something new soon.