Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Talented Tuesday: A Little Bit of Me

While my personality certainly comes out in the posts I write about my genealogy, I don’t often write a post just to talk about myself. I do enjoy “chatty” blogs that touch on different topics and like to follow others that share in some of my other interests such as antiques, thrift finds and miniatures. I have said before that I’m meant for many things, but I strive to keep this blog focused on family history in particular. Today I felt like posting something different. After all, I myself am part of my family history and will one day take the place for my descendants that my ancestors now occupy for me. So as I’d love to learn more about my ancestors were like, I’m writing so others can learn more about what I’m like and what my "talents" are.

I really like to go thrift store shopping and always like to see what others find in their hunt as well. Not long ago, I came home with some really nice finds and I snapped a photo of all the items I got. The cost of course was minimal, because that’s what thrifting is all about. But I was really pleased with how nice these pieces were. So here’s my bragging photo:

I wound up buying some fat candles at Wal-Mart to put in the three candle holders, but all the other items are second-hand. In between the basket and candle holders are a nice pair of bookends which is appropriate since I am a book-lover. The total for everything including the candles was less than $25. Don’t these items make for nice home accents?

Today a couple of friends and I had appointments in a larger town. We have been scheduling our appointments so that we can all ride together. We get to go out for lunch and do a little shopping afterwards on some days, too. Today we stopped at a large second-hand store and I walked out with more items than I intended, but I loved it all. The fun part is that there’s not usually a lot of cash spent either way. I have learned, too, that if something catches my eye and I can’t seem to shake the image from my mind, I should probably get it. You never know what you’ll find and you never know when or if you’ll ever see such an item again.

I did not take any photographs today but I’ll give you a recap of what I got: It was mostly books. I’m a hopeless book lover and can’t seem to say no to a book. (“It’s so cute, can I keep it?”) The titles say something about me, too. I got a couple of Christian devotionals. One is a book lover’s devotional, how appropriate is that? Then there’s a children’s book called Patchwork Quilt which addresses my interest in getting children involved in their own family history. I got a cute board book called Snuggle Bunnies because, although they’re grown, this mama once had three little Snuggle Bunnies herself. A book called Our Dreaming Mind because one of those snuggle bunnies is interested in that topic herself. A fictional historical novel of the city of Buffalo called City of Light by Lauren Belfer. I read it already, but because it’s good and historical, I want to own it (but please don’t offer me any Harlequin romance novels that are often touted as historical. Yuck!) A nice historical textbook called Nearby History which sounds interesting. And one I’m just tickled to have picked up: A 1939 Methodist Hymnal! Call me silly, but I have been wishing I could find an old hymnal for a while. It’s two loves in one, historical and theological! Oh, and I also got two pictures for hanging on the wall. One is of some children in a field near an old country church. The other is a framed metal architectural circle (similar to others I have collected which speak to me on some level). The rest of the items were some file folders and other office supply items. Again my total was less than $20 and I have some things that give me true pleasure! Just like my personality comes out in some of these blog posts, so too does my personality and interests show up in the things that I collect. Talent or not, this is a little bit of me. J

Friday, February 14, 2014

A 108-Year-Old Valentine

Well, technically it was a Christmas present, but it was given to a girl by her beau so I wanted to post it for Valentine’s Day.

I traveled down to Western Kentucky recently to stay with some extended family. It was a side trip tacked on to a trip for different purposes to Southern Illinois. I managed to meet up with a few kinfolk, but others I will have to get with on another trip. I tried very hard not to fall into the vernacular of the area and one cousin said I talk more like a Yankee now.

One of the highlights of the trip was getting a chance to see this beauty of a family heirloom:

Iva Watts Diuguid Photo Album

It was Aunt Ivy’s and given to her on Christmas Day 1906 by her future husband, Travis Duigiud. On that day, Aunt Ivy was about a month past her 17th birthday. Uncle Trav was three years her senior. They were married just over five years later on January 17, 1912.

"Presented by Mr. Travis Diuguid to Iva Watts Dec. 25, 1906"

My cousin (once removed) said that she bought it at Aunt Ivy’s estate sale after her death. My cousin actually wound up giving the album to me and it is something I will treasure. You might remember me talking about Granddaddy’s sister, Aunt Ivy, just recently. How her two little children died young and all? (That’s how they’d say it down home). You can find that post here: Sentimental Sunday: A few buttons and some cloth.

Anyway, I was touched to find a small photograph of one of those babies wrapped in tissue paper in the back of the album. It was identified on the back in pencil as Ollie Mae Duiguid. She was the first child that Ivy and Travis had who only lived about a year and a half. I am sure that to see this photograph must have pained Aunt Ivy terrible, especially after losing her second child at an even younger age. But she didn’t want to get rid of the image either, so I can imagine her carefully wrapping this up for safekeeping. I’m not sure when this was taken exactly but little Ollie appeared very healthy at the time. Perhaps it was taken on her first birthday. It actually reminds me of a picture I have of my oldest daughter when she was about a year old.  Such a sweet, innocent little child.

Ollie Mae Diuguid

Many of the photographs in the album are unidentified, but surely must be family and/or friends in the area. The ones that are identified are ones I know already. Some of them were identified by the cousin who ended up with the album. Another project will entail getting all of the photographs scanned for digital copies. I may also try to send copies around to some of the other kin and those who lived in the neighborhood still around who might help identify them.

It is a very pretty little album and I’m happy to share it with you for Valentine’s this year. 

Friday, February 7, 2014

Family Friends Friday: Ewin and Howard Lacy

Ewin & Howard Lacy

Ira Ewin Lacy was born in 1898 to Elijah Ewing Lacy and Georgia Ella Hill. He became a member of the Sinking Fork Christian Church in 1918 at the age of 20, but later withdrew his membership. He married Grace Courtney. He died in 1986 and is buried in the Riverside Cemetery in Hopkinsville, Christian County, Kentucky.

His father Elijah first married Amanda Woosley (a descendant of Samuel Woosley) and had at least three children: Omer Lacy (born 28 August 1877), Herschel Loyd Lacy (who married Ora Watts) and Dorothy Euire Lacy, born 1 December 1890 (who married Oscar Sam Malone). In addition, Ewin and Howard had a brother Ralph and a sister Mary Belle (who married L. Ellis Underwood).

Information from: History of Sinking Fork Christian Church 1893-1996 by Betty S. McCorkle.
This original cabinet card was originally in possession of Cephas Bryant (C.B.) Watts and his wife Amy Leora Hardy. The original cabinet photo is roughly 4 ¾ x 6 inches in size. There were no markings to identify the subjects of this photograph, but the names were supplied to me by my grandfather C.B. Watts before he passed away in 1995. His oldest sister was Ora Watts who married Herschel Lacy mentioned above.

Information taken from: Sinking Fork Christian Church Disciples of Christ 1893 to 1996: A History, compiled by Betty McCorkle,  published by Christian Women’s Fellowship, 1996.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Motivation Monday: Connect the Generations

Here is my old speech that I talked about in my last post:

20 October 1997
Hello, my name is Dawn Westfall. My husband and I run a dairy farm. We moved here about three years ago. We have two daughters, Amy who's 4, and Megan is 20 months. I myself was born and raised here in Florida, while my father's family is from Kentucky and my mother's is from Michigan. This is the first time I've ever done any public speaking, but I was asked to speak about something I truly love, so I thought I'd give it a try. I don't know if I can adequately convey to you my passion for genealogy (family history) -- I have a deep love and abiding respect for those who have gone before me.

I like the concept of People Enjoying People. In fact genealogy is similar to that, only we enjoy dead people - we have bumper stickers that say "I collect dead relatives". It's quite an interesting hobby, that turns into a passion for some, like me.

I started doing genealogy about eight years ago. I've always been interested in the past, probably due in part from reading Little House on the Prairie books as a young girl. When my grandmother passed away in 1989 and the family gathered together, conversation naturally turned to family history. A family bible was brought out and some other family papers. I also met relatives I never knew existed since I didn't live in the same state. From that moment on, I was hooked.

Genealogy can teach you many things - lessons in history, lessons in humanity. For instance, I learned that my grandfather was once a baby! Something I had not thought of before. By the way, today happens to be his birthday. Had he still been alive, he would have been 98, but he died two years ago, the day after his 96th birthday. Many times he would tell me that he couldn't understand why God kept him on this earth for so long, seeing as how most of his family - parents, all his brothers and sisters and his wife - had already gone. I'm probably not the only reason, but I am sure grateful that God did keep him here as long as he did because it was only in the last six years of his life that I really grew close to him.

Sometimes it's not always easy to connect to other generations (we've all heard of generation gaps). For instance, I never really knew my grandmother personally before her death in 1989. Ever since I can remember a conscious thought of her, her memory wasn't good. She probably had something like Alzheimer's, though she was never formally diagnosed with anything. She would ask me what grade I was in about five times in the course of a conversation and she was always giving my brother little trinkets from around the house, but never remembered that she had just given him something. At her funeral, I sat behind her sister, my great-aunt Ruby. While the pastor was talking, I watched as Aunt Ruby's shoulders shook as she cried. And it dawned on me then that my grandmother was once a little girl, had once had a sister, and once felt everything that I've ever felt. It truly never dawned on me before.

That's what genealogy does. It connects the generations. We all need links to our ancestors. Aunt Ruby kept things to remind her of them - one of which was a song written by her mother who died when Ruby was just four. I eventually inherited that and a wealth of family pictures some dating back to the 1860s. There is a book at the library about genealogy by G.G. Vandagriff called "Voices In Your Blood". I can vouch for that, as my second great grandmother spoke to me through the years by the things she left: behind. I've heard it said that life is lived forward, but understood backward.

You may be the only link your children or grandchildren have to the people who came before. You need to connect the generations. At the very least, I urge you to write down what you know about you and your family. You may not think anyone really cares, but they do or they will, somewhere down the line.      
One final thought about generations and connections comes from the introduction to the fictional book entitled Stranger at Stonewycke by Michael Phillips and Judith Pella. In the introduction to it there is a paragraph that says "Quietly, invisibly, the hand of God is always at work. Although we may see only a narrow individual perspective of His actions, the purpose of God goes on far beyond our limited understanding. In the Old and New Testament, God works through the generation flow of family and nation; both' sin and righteousness sow seeds and harvest fruit in succeeding generations. Jesus himself came, not as a mere individual, but as a man born into the uninterrupted flow of the history of God's people. Son of God, Son of Man, Son of David, He brought God's salvation to the world through the heritage of family, through the legacy of man's ancestry and ancient birthright as the creation of our Father in heaven. Every life is the result of a series of choices and crossroads--not only ours, but those of our ancestors for generations behind us. In the present, as in the past, each individual holds a key to the future. We stand at the crossroads of our personal histories, and the decisions we make set into motion values and attitudes that affect not only our own development as men and women made in the image of God but the choices and decisions that will face our descendants for generations to come."

Thank you.

February 1994
C.B. Watts and his great-granddaughter Amy, named for his wife

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Sentimental Sunday: The Marking of 25 Years

January marked 25 years since I first started “doing” genealogy. I was thinking about this the other day and went looking for the notes to the first speech I gave about the subject back in 1997. I was asked to speak to a group of retirees when I lived down in Florida and a member of the local genealogy society there. I could not find it the other day and gave up. I thought it would be neat to look over again because my speech gives a more precise history of my motivation to do genealogy, the how and why I started this hobby and has my thoughts on the subject down on paper already. I went looking for it among my journal notebooks but it was never there. I found it yesterday while looking to chronicle all the published articles and speaking engagements I have done over the years. Good place for it, I just had not remembered where.

I thought my original speech would be good for posterity to publish here on my blog. It’s been nearly eighteen years since then. The infant I talked of then who was 20 months old is now eighteen and the four-year-old will turn 21 soon. She brought home a book of poetry once from school which I read through. One struck me in particular and I made a copy and framed it. The author (whom I believe was Shel Silverstein) also did drawings to accompany the poems and this one in particular has the drawing of a rocking chair and a cradle. I thought the poem was an appropriate sentiment to my life. It is entitled “First” and goes like this:

An old rocking chair originally from my grandfather C.B.Watts' home
First things first
Last things last
Years pass fast.

I will post my old speech tomorrow, stay tuned!    

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Sibling Saturday: “Ray S. and Ennis”

These original tiny photographs are pasted on some type of scrap cardstock that has typed words on it. The words that can be seen say “gold filled” and “latest novelty.” The cardstock itself measures no more than 1 ¼ inch square. “Ray S. and Ennis” were written on the back of the cardstock in what appears to be the handwriting of my grandmother, Amy Leora Hardy Watts (1902-1989). She was also a member of the Sinking Fork Christian Church along with this Sizemore family.

 The boys were sons of Joseph J. Sizemore (AKA Joe P. Sizemore) and his wife Laura D. Stephens. Judging from their birthdates, the photos were probably taken around 1910.

Ray was born 19 June 1899. He married Gertha Robinson. He became a member of the Sinking Fork Christian Church in 1928 and held the office of Deacon. He died 12 February 1966 and is buried in the Riverside Cemetery in Hopkinsville, Christian County, Kentucky.

Ennis was born 15 December 1902. He became a member of the Sinking Fork Christian Church in 1918 when he was just 16 years old. He married twice: first to Lorene Smith and 2nd to Margie Hancock.  Ennis died 5 November 1984 and is buried in the Riverside Cemetery in Hopkinsville, Christian County, Kentucky.

Their father, Joseph Jordan Sizemore, was also known as Joe P. Sizemore. He was born 23 November 1845 in Christian County, Kentucky to Henry William Sizemore and his second wife, Elizabeth Parker Messamore. She was the daughter of Bayles and Nancy Parker and was first married to John J. Messamore. Joseph married Laura Diaz Stephens 6 February 1884. He died 20 February 1938 and is buried in Riverside Cemetery. Laura was born 5 May 1866 to Francis Marion Stephens and Louisa Hines. She died 19 February 1942.

Joe and Laura were both member of the Sinking Fork Christian Church. He was a deacon of the church in 1895 and Laura was a Sunday School teacher.

Information taken from: Sinking Fork Christian Church Disciples of Christ 1893 to 1996: A History, compiled by Betty McCorkle,  published by Christian Women’s Fellowship, 1996. (For more information about this book, click here.)