Category Archives: Family Stories

Kids and the Silly Things They Say

This weekend I dropped my youngest off at my cousin’s house to babysit. The girls are cute and lets face it, they crack me up. It’s saturday afternoon, St. Patrick’s Day, my daughter asks the oldest girl, she’s 8, how come she is not wearing any green. 8 year old replies, matter of fact, “I am NOT Irish!”

I chuckled and told her she was, we went back and forth many times and she refused to believe me. She finally asks her dad if it is true. He replies, how do I know. Terri should know. So, I explain to her that her grandma and Becca’s grandma are sisters and if Becca’s grandma is Irish, well then so is her grandma. She says ok and then proceeds to show me the dark green shorts she has on (we were sitting at a breakfast bar in the kitchen). She completely had my cracking up, because no matter what I told her as an adult, she refused to believe me.

Then she tells me she has to do a family tree for homework and it is due Monday. I offer to help her, well because I am the family genealogist and she politely tells me no, she does not need my help. So, I start telling her a few stories. Like, how I have one of our lines back to the Civil War. She asks when that was and I told her way back in the 1800’s. To which she replies, “is that when you were born?”

Excuse me, I laugh and tell her no that I was born in the 1970’s and she of course gasped and thought that was old. Kids are funny and they do not hold back on what they have to say. She made me giggle quite a bit on Saturday.

Oh, and I did get to help with the family tree on Sunday. I order some prints of family pictures and took the tree back to her great-great grandparents on one line. They needed to put together a poster board with either pictures of the family or their names.

I got a big laugh out of the instructions, the teacher had the tree flip-flopped with the woman on the right (the number 2 spot) and men on the left (the number 3 spot). I had her put her post together the correct way. Then I told her dad why I did it that way, he replied that he thought it looked wrong too and that was fine. I told him that if the teacher asks why it is backwards to make sure she knows that a genealogist sat and helped with the homework and made sure it was put together correctly.  The 8 year old cousin plans to hang her family tree in her room, once it is graded and returned. She was very thankful for the pictures I brought her and told me thank you many times. She also told me that I know lots about the family tree and that was cool.

Since we are discussing genealogy and teaching kids; if you, your school, scouts troop, home school group or anyone else you know are interested in teaching genealogy to children, please check out the new books that are being released this week by Jennifer Holik. You can find a listing of her books here.


Becoming a Mom

23 years ago today, I became a Mom. I was young, unprepared and completely in love with the little bundle the doctors put in my arms.

Snuggling with Grandpa.

In my family (on both sides), it seemed that having babies started young for everyone. My maternal grandma married and started her family at 16, my parents were the same age. So, when I had my first baby at 17, I was older than most. Yes, it was disappointing for my parents. I believe the phrases “I wanted more for you” and “didn’t you learn from my mistakes” had been used a lot through my pregnancy.

We all do things we wish we can change, but becoming a mother is not one I want to change. As my children get older, I sit back and watch what my friends and relatives are going through with their kids. I truly feel that I was meant to have my family young because today I do not have the energy to run around after a toddler. Its too exhausting after an hour, let alone a full day.

I am not by any means saying that it is ok to have kids at such a young age, I should have been older. We actually watch Teen Mom here to make sure my youngest understands how hard it is to become a parent at such a young age, and how it changes your life and not always for the better.

Anyhow, I am happy with my life and my children. I love them with all of my heart. My oldest, who celebrates her 23rd birthday today is very special to me.

Happy Birthday Brittany, I love you!

Top 10 Posts From 2011

The following is a list of the top 10 posts read at Finding Our Ancestors from 2011.

10. Wedding Wednesday – Fred and Ella Jonas Marriage license of my paternal great greandparents.

9. Wordless Wednesday, Hot Springs, Arkansas A day spent in the Hot Springs area, I captured a great picture.

8. Finding Our Ancestors Website – My genealogy website

7. 2012 Genealogy Goals – Self explanatory, just hoping I can meet them all

6.  SNGF – 16 Great Great Grandparents – Listing of my 16 great great grandparents, or cousin bait

5.  My Last Grandma – Spending the last days of Grandma’s life

4. December  3, 2009 Christmas Tree Ornaments – The ornaments that we hang on our Christmas Tree

3. Mayflower II, Plymouth Rock and the Mayflower Society – My visit’s to all these places

2. What Kind of Neighbor Are You in The Genealogy Community? – Not everyone plays nice, I hope after reading this everyone will remember to be nice to their neighbors

1. Non-Tech Vendors Not Allowed at RootsTech – The genealogy neighborhood bans together and lets RootsTech know how they feel about the slight of different companies at their upcoming conference. The good news is, as a group we were heard and the situation was rectified.

Thanks for taking this journey with me, it seems obvious to me why some of these hit the list of top 10 posts that were read in 2011. Stay tuned, in the next few days, I will be posting a Top 1o list of all time.

Motivation Monday: January Goals

Here we are, the first week of the new year and I plan to start the year off right. At the end of last month, I wrote my 2012 Genealogy Goals, I hope to break them down month by month to make sure I come somewhere close to achieving them by the end of the year.

So, for the month of January I am going to start with two of these goals.

1. Researching my Richmond line. This is the line that I seem to make the most family connections with and I want to get it straightened out. Some say that this line goes back to Thomas Rogers of the Mayflower, so I want to reanalyze all the information I have, 1 generation at a time. I am going to start by making a chart for each generation. On this chart, I plan to mark off all of the records that I can find, such as birth, marriage, death, and census, you get the picture. This will probably take me some time to do, so I want to get on this right away.

Organization – My genealogy stuff is scattered throughout my house. Some in my bedroom, some in the living room and some in the basement. I need to get it all in one are where it will be accessible at all times. To start this project off, I am going to move all genealogy into the basement (which is where my office is). That should only take me a few hours to do. From there, I need to get all books on one book shelf.  As of right now, I have a small rolling book shelf  (think wooden library cart on wheels) that will be perfect to use. From here, I want to start cleaning my one file box that I have for genealogy. Each year I pull a file and it never makes it back into the box. Some are on my desk, some in my briefcase, again I am sure you get the picture. I procrastinate.

As for other things I would like to accomplish this month are making it to the Irish American Heritage Center at the end of the Month for their genealogy meeting, I am also planning to go hear Tim Pinnick speak (I think that is January 10) and then I also have planned to meet up with Jen Holik-Urban of Family History Research, for a day at the archives and another meeting about Italian ancestry. Lots planned for the month. I will be posting on Friday’s about my progress.

My genea buddy Steph has her monthly goals up here.

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories: Cookies

This was originally posted on 8 December 2009, for the Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories.

Today, Genea Bloggers asks the following questions on the Advent Calender of Christmas Memories:

Did your family or ancestors make Christmas Cookies? How did you help? Did you have a favorite cookie?

Did we ever! I love Christmas cookies. My maternal Grandma, Ida, used to bake a few different types of cookies.

  • Spritz cookies are  small sugar cookie that is put through a cookie press and topped with candy sprinkles! These are my favorite.
  • Ice box Cookies are a small cookie as well, I believe they are a brown sugar base with some chopped walnuts in them. The dough is rolled up in wax paper and frozen. When you are ready for cookies, take them out of the freezer, unroll, cut and bake. Yummy!

After Grandma passed away the cookie making was turned over to my Aunt Betty. I would spend Thanksgiving weekend with her. We would decorate the house and start the cookie making. She also made the Spritz and Ice box cookies, but also made many more.

  • Laurie’s cookies are made with graham crackers, walnuts and brown sugar
  • Sugar cookies with cookie cutters that were then frosted
  • Rice Krispie treats were turned into little wreaths with Red Hots as the holly
  • FUDGE (best part of the holidays), there were many, many tins of fudge

My favorites to bake are the Spritz cookies and then Peanut Butter Blossom’s which have the Hershey Kiss center.

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories: Holiday Parties

This was originally post on 7 December 2009 for the Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories.

Today, Genea Blogger asks the following questions on the Advent Calender of Christmas Memories:

Did your family throw a holiday party each year? Do you remember attending any holiday parties?

Growing up we never attended any type of family party. The only affair, was the holiday itself.

As an adult, I worked for one company that always held wonderful holiday parties for the family. I truly enjoyed dressing all the kids up and showing them off for the night. There was always wonderful food, beautiful ice sculptures, small gifts for the kids and a special visit with that special man, Santa Clause!

As I have taken time to write each day for the Advent Calender, I feel that my family did not spend any time on the extra fun stuff. I hope my children will remember the times we went to the work holiday parties, because I loved taking them to it.

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories: Dear Santa

This post was originally written for Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories and posted on 6 December 2009.

Today, Genea Blogger asks the following questions on the Advent Calender of Christmas Memories:

Did you ever send a letter to Santa? Did you ever visit Santa and “make a list?” Do you still believe in Santa Claus?

I remember writing letters to Santa when I was a child. Did they ever get mailed? I doubt it. As for making a list, we absolutely made them yearly and hoped that we were good enough to get everything we asked for.

As for believing in Santa, of course I do! If you do not believe, you do not get any gifts.

I will say that while we are on the subject of Santa, I think it is great that he finally writes letters back to the kids that write to him. About 9-10 years ago, my three kids all wrote their letters to Santa and each one got a reply (postmarked from the North Pole)! How excited they were to get those letters.

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories: Outdoor Decorations

This was originally post on 5 December 2009 for the Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories.

In today’s Genea Bloggers Advent Calender of Christmas Memories our theme is Outdoor Decorations.

Did people in your neighborhood decorate with lights? Did some people really go “all out” when decorating? Any stories involving your ancestors and decorations?

Growing up in a big city, their were many neighborhoods to go and see the outdoor decorations. As for my family, we usually limited it to lights on the bushes and maybe the windows. Nothing to extraordinary or strenuous.

We preferred to get in the car, turn on some Christmas music and drive through the neighborhoods who really decorated their homes. My favorite neighborhood, is Lincolnwood, IL. They usually will get featured on the evening news. There are blocks upon blocks of lights, Santa’s (with and without a sleigh), nativaties and trees. One house in particular puts up 3 – 4 trees and makes it look like it is all one tree. The last tree is on the roof off the house and it looks like the tree grew through all the floors and out the roof! How I love driving through this neighborhood during the holidays!

Speaking of outdoor decorations, reminds me of the Christmas of 1994. My son was about 1.5 years. He was still a quiet little boy at this point. He talked, but never too many words at once. We were driving home from my parents, taking a short cut through the side streets. He was in the back seat of the car, in his baby seat, looking out the window. All of a sudden, he was so excited, he kept saying “Mama see! Mama see!” That was his first attempt at conversation. I will never forget how cute he was at that moment.

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories: Christmas Tree Ornaments

Christmas tree ornaments, how we love to go through them every year. The memories they evoke, it is one of my favorite things to do.

I originally posted about Christmas Tree Ornaments on 3 Dec 2009, and you can read this post here. So far this month, I have reposted these from posts from the past. There are a few pictures in this original post that it just made more sense to add the link to today’s post.

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories: Holiday Foods

This was originally posted on 2 December 2009 for the Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories. Since the foods of my childhood do not change, I am reposting this. I never got the recipe from my Grandma, for the beef in this post, before she passed away. I have a cousin putting together a family cook book and I am hoping he includes this because I know he has the recipe, since it was his favorite dish from my Grandmother.

Day 2 of the Advent Calender asks: Did your family or ancestors serve traditional dishes for the holidays? Was there one dish that was unusual?

I grew up in a divorced family and we split our holidays with each parent. Christmas Eve was spent with my Mom and her family, Christmas Day was with Dad and his family.  So there are different traditions on each side.

Christmas Eve at Grandma Richmond’s meant hot italian beef sandwiches. I am sure there was a ton of yummy food to go with the beef. But the beef was my favorite part! Sometimes, if we were lucky, the beef was homemade (and not from the Italian store)! I need to get this recipe from my Grandma. To this day, when Christmas Eve comes around, I crave the beef sandwiches. Unfortunately, most of this side of my family has moved away and this tradition does not go any further. Hopefully, one day when I have grandkids, I can start it up again.

On my Dad’s side, we would have the traditional dinner or turkey, mashed potatoes, corn, bread, and I am sure many other good things. Don’t forget dessert, Aunt Betty always had homemade cookies and fudge, lots and lots of goodies! My goodness, did we eat. I love the holidays and these great dinners. I am getting hungry as I sit and write this….

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