Monday, January 30, 2012

Presque Isle Bubbles

On our weekly drive around Presque Isle this past Sunday we visited the North Pier. Not one person on it. Not one fisherman. I think that is the first time we have been out there this winter where there wasn't someone braving the cold fishing.

It was a pretty dead day out there except for Mercyhurst girls running. It has to be hard running in the cold like that. Their lungs must hurt. Then we came upon some bubble makers. We stopped and watched a while. I think our blood pressure went down a few extra notches which normally happens anyway just getting out to Presque Isle. 

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

This is great! I love that we are almost having a non existent winter.

I volunteered for "Find A Grave" which is a website where volunteers take photo requests from people for photos of a relative's headstone. People that do genealogy can find these headstones full of information. You can often find birth dates, death dates, who they are married to and their children buried in the same plot by the headstone and the area and sometimes there aren't free accessible records with this info on it so it can be very helpful. Or if someone can't visit a grave for some reason or another, they can, maybe, find some kind of comfort looking at a photo. I think most are for genealogy records, though.

Some photo requests take some detective work. I tramped all over Laurel Hill the other day looking for a specific headstone. Snow covered everything and I left without a photo on my first attempt at photographing for Find A Grave. Rain melted the snow that night and I ran out again the next day. It was wet and slushy and I froze my feet off. The map they have online is hardly useful as it only shows sections, not rows or plots. There are hundreds of graves in a section. I made it my day's exercise. Find it, though, I did. I went home and immediately posted the photos and soon after got a very nice thank-you note from the person who requested it.

It will be a pleasant experience when the weather changes to summer and the birds and flowers are all out. Even in the winter it is an outing to walk and read the headstones. So much history!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Finley, He Just Fell Over Dead

These ancestry entries are just something extra right now. I'll be back to posting my about other things soon.
As I said in my last post, I was set to cancel my free 14-day free trial of Ancestry dot com.  I couldn't do it. I am so hooked on it. I suppose it is just like the people playing that silly-looking farm game on Facebook that, thankfully, I never tried or those people that play for hours on end those X-box games.I love research.

Finley is the brother of my great grandfather. I couldn't find anything much but a listing in the census when he was younger. But then I found a clue. When Finley's father died only 5 of the 7 offspring were still alive to attend the funeral. The obituary listed the 5 still alive that attended. That gave me at least a smaller window of years to  search for Finley as he was not listed as one that was still alive. By his birth date he had to have been under 30 years old when he died. I narrowed the newspaper search and then started scanning just the front-page headlines of the archived online newspapers. I figured if he died under 30 years old it would have been front page news in that little town. And there is was! Yeah!  A 1902 headline that read,
"A Sudden Summons"
"Finley McCuaig Drops Dead at the
Home of His Parents in Greenbush
Monday Night."

"A Sudden Summons and His Untimely 
Death a Shock to His Folks 
and Many Friends."

The detail they go into in these old newspapers! The family gave a minute-by-minute report of his last minutes. The whole town probably wanted to hear all the details. The article goes on to tell of his trip out west where he contracted typhoid  and recovered earlier and how his travel mates had died of typhoid. It was just packed with info. Finley was no longer just a name without any info with it on my family tree. Here is the article. I know this doesn't interest most people. But for people doing ancestry this may be the tidbit they are looking for.

Friday, January 06, 2012

Ancestry and Archives

I took up on their 14-day free trial. I have been working continuously for 12 of those days, literally all day and night, going to bed at 6 in the morning sometimes and I'll cancel tomorrow so I don't get stuck paying for a year.(editor's note: I went ahead and subscribed, I'm addicted!) I made big strides in my family tree. But there are so many dead ends because they won't release the Census after 1930. Whoever transcribes those records to digitize them has an awful job. I always look at the original record to see what I think it really says because the transcriptions are wrong about 30 percent of the time with my family. I mean, how many ways can you misspell McCuaig?  There are plenty!! Man, all my life people have misspelled my name. And the records online are no better, from M'cuaig, M'Quag to McQuiage, McQuaig, McCuaide, MacQuade, to Mackeg, Macuaig, Macaig one record even had McCusag. Going through archived newspapers up to 1922 from Mille Lacs, Princeton and Bemidji areas in Minnesota was the most fun and I pieced the pieces together and solved a huge part of the puzzle.

My grandmother and grandfather 1915

I so enjoyed reading about my grandmother's wedding write-up in the newspaper archive I found online and how my great grand-uncle was mayor of Bemidji for 3 terms. This photo was before that time as he was running for County Commissioner in this photo.It is funny because when I spotted this photo I knew our family still carries some of the characteristics of our ancestors. I see a resemblence. I emailed it to my sister who laughed and agreed. Something about the shape of the head.

I read he was not re-elected as mayor after 1916 because he was accused of being a prohibitionist (though he told the newspaper reporter he was not, just holding up the laws of the land, whatever they were.) Obviously, people wanted to drink and they didn't vote for him.  I was so into these generations of past families of mine that I couldn't stop searching for more information about them and hours went by.  One night it was 1 AM and I found some tidbit leads for more information and decided to search until 1:30 AM and call it a night and the next thing I knew a blast of wind shook the house and knocked me out of the spell and I looked at the clock and 3 hours had passed and I had no idea of it. It was like I was enthralled in a movie.

Then there was the little newspaper write-up making fun of one of my ancestors who sold his "ancient bronchos" to some poor unsuspecting guy who was clearing his land and needing a team of horses.Hmm, where they shysters?

I read about my dad at the age of 6, in 1922, taking what was probably his first ride in an automobile, a 1922 National with 10 people inside with the children. My dad's uncle bought it. What a car! I can picture them riding down the bumpy road, there were no seat belts! This would have been really a special outing because most people in those way-out towns still used horses and most roads in that area weren't paved. The newspaper used to even write about somebody visiting an aunt in another town or if someone came to town to conduct business. That was how everyone kept up with the goings-on back then. No social media needed. The guy delivering the milk often stopped and gave the newspaper the scoop of what people had told him during the day of deliveries.He knew whom was visiting whom and other gossip of the day. My 2-week journey back in time is almost over. I will miss it. My husband will be glad I'm back home.

1922 National

My relative with the National, trading it in for a Chevrolet Baby Grand.
He must have told the milkman because it was put in the paper.

Walter Patterson and his wife Lenora Steinmetz Patterson
Walt was recruited to play professional baseball but he chose Nora instead.
I don't know which team.
I was very young and they were very old but I remember
them. They were happy and laughed a lot.