Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Fair Well Brother Watkins - 1 Oct 1900

October 1st found Charles Logie writing to his daughter Beatrice later in the evening. As usual, he applied his perpetual teasing and nicknames to everyone and everything including calling Beatrice “brother Watkins”. Watkins was undoubted an old boy friend or acquaintance.

Charles notes that Beatrice may move to the small town of Alpine for a short time, probably to visit with her two sisters and their families who lived there. Her teaching certificate should arrive before leaving for the visits.

The timing of mail deliveries were on the mind of grandma Logie. How regular were the postal deliveries in 1900? How long did it take a letter or package to travel 30 to 40 miles? Probably not much longer than today although the sorting and retransfer to the local post offices probably added a day or two to the total delivery time.

Oct 1st 1900

This is to certify that I Chas J. G. Logie did on Saturday Sept 29th send to your address in Salt Lake City one letter properly stamped & postman_old directed containing your Tooele certificate & dude Browns permition for you to reside in the Town of Alpine for a short space of time if you receive this letter please send us word Mother wants to Know at what time & how often they deliver the Mail at your house in one day have you seen Laura Boley She was to go to Salt Lake yesterday afternoon everything is the Same as usual we are well hope this will find you the Same. fair well brother Watkins Love to hall

C J.G. Logie

American Fork Oct 1 1900

nearly 8 O Clock

Monday, December 22, 2008

Don’t Wear That Plaid – or Else!

While working on my Scots ancestry this week, I spent a little time looking at my Scottish made ties and caps that represent the tartans of my various Scottish ancestral clans.

We all know that it is difficult to prove true ancestry to any of the famous clan surnames back to the distant past because early clans were more closely associated with tribes or commonly allied groups rather than just a family surname. Most members took on the name of their clan as their surname rather than the name of their father.

Black Stewart Clan members generally stayed together in common causes to protect their lands, families and interests. At times, some members would change allegiance to anther clan. These decisions had significantly more personal impact than swapping political parties today but did happen.

The wearing of the clan tartan was important, involving pride, allegiance, marking of territory and ideals.

Did you know that tartans were once outlawed by the English Government?

After the Battle of Culloden on 16 Apr 1746, the Duke of Cumberland earned the reputation of ‘Butcher’ because of his savage treatment of the survivors. Scotland was divided on both sides of the conflict and in an attempt to stop clan loyalties from combining and continue to fight, the English Parliament passed a law that prohibited the carrying of arms by “such Persons who have lately raised and carried on a most wicked and audacious Rebellion against his Majesty, in favour of a Popish Pretenter.”

The law also declared that no one in Scotland other than those employed as Officers an Soldiers of his Majesties Forces “could on any Pretence whatsoever, wear or put on the Clothes commonly called Highland Clothes” or in other words, Scottish Tartans.

Dress StewartThe first offense of wearing the tartan carried a penalty of six months in jail. The second offense carried the penalty of being “transported to any of his Majesty’s Plantations beyond the Seas, there to remain for the space of seven years.” In other words, it generally meant being shipped off to America.

The law was meant to disarm and humiliate the rebels who fought against the crown.

British soldiers patrolled the Scottish highlands and lowlands for years looking for anyone breaking this law.

Stories have been handed down of the brutal treatment of any law breakers.

One example was of a McKay from the far northwestern tip of Scotland being arrested for wearing his tartan. When questioned, he claimed that he didn’t know anything about the law due to the distance of his home from the population centers to the south.

As he was being hauled off by the troops, they were attacked by a large group of women who secured his release. Unfortunately, the British sent a larger contingent to find these “miscreants” and both the man and his rescuers were arrested and jailed.

Magistrates often turned a blind eye to the law when locals wore their tartans. Unfortunately, when this was discovered by the Kings men, they were arrested and also jailed for six months.

Innes_TartanThe law was repealed in 1757 when Prime Minister William Pitt chose to commission new Highland regiments to fight the French in the war with them in America. Outcry from the politicians over this decision was quickly quieted when these regiments proved their worth in battle.

In 1760, George III, became the English King and the hard-core Jacobites were put out of power. Because of the legendary actions of the Highland regiments, political opinion toward the banning of wearing clan tartans diminished.

On 17 Jun 1782, the Marquis of Graham, who was one of the leaders in the Highland Society in London, rose in Parliament and moved that the law prohibiting the wearing of the Scottish Highland dress be repealed. On 1 Jul 1782, an act to that effect received royal assent and it was again lawful for the Scots to wear their tartans.

And so, here I sit in my office, legally holding and occasionally wearing the tartans worn by my many Scots ancestors. I like some of the colors and designs better than others but that is based simply on my personal taste, not on the valor, ideals and attendant relationship they represent to any of the clans.

I love and honor all of my Scots ancestors. Equally. I am fascinated by them, their lives, struggles and amazingly tenacious ability to cling to life in a most inhospitable environment. My Scots ancestors often fought each other and my ancestors who were English kings. I wish they hadn’t had these brutal battles but because of them, I have a history of ancestors that probably wouldn’t exist otherwise.

Today, when I speak to some of the older Scots gentlemen, I usually don’t understand much of what they say, but love listening to them. As much as I’d love speaking to most of my ancestors face to face today, I’d probably have the same problem with most if not all of them. I suppose they’d feel the same way listening to my western twang.

So on this snowy December day, my best holiday wishes go to all my ancestors and because of the tartans held in my hands, especially to my Anderson, Bruce, Buchanan, Campbell, Cumming, Davidson, Forbes, Fraser, Grant, Gordon, Hay, Innes, Keith, Logie, MacLeod, McMahon, Murray, Ross, Stewart and Urquhart ancestors and the minor families who associated with them.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

The Dame and the School Marm - 28 Sep 1900

Charles Logie wrote to his daughter Beatrice about the use of a telephone and travel aboard the Utah Inter-Urban Railroad.

Beatrice was still looking for a good teaching position and Charles confirmed that she could use the teaching certificate issued by the Alpine District elsewhere in teaching positions in Utah.

Charles frequently referrers to “The School Marm” in his letters. He is usually talking about their boarder, Miss Frances Gailbraith, who was a school teacher in American Fork. Frances was born and raised in Connoquenessing, Pennsylvania. Her exploits with trouble making students and hopeful encounters with suitors never ceased to amuse Charles as will be witnessed in future letters.

interburbancar Telephones were new to the area when this letter was written and they undoubtedly had to go to the Cooperative Store in downtown American Fork to talk to Beatrice who was in Salt Lake City.

Transportation in that day was via the old Utah Inter-Urban Railroad, an electric powered train system that was replaced by highways and automobiles in later years. Now, everyone wishes the system was back in place and in service. It is being replaced by the very expensive FrontRunner system from Salt Lake City to Provo.

Charles and Rosa Logie had a new grandson, Walter, according to this letter. He was the son of their daughter, Elenor Logie Gaisford.

Charles Letter:

American Fork Sept 28/00 (1900)

Dear Lady Beatrice,

teaching_certificate_smWe received your letter this morning & was pleased to hear that you were well in regard to the Telefone. We think you did right in waiting to see if you can get that school. Miss Boley expects to arrive in the city on Sunday evening by the D & R. G. & wished you to be at the depot to receive her. Bro. Forbes saw those certificates that you have & he thinks there is no nead to apply to Brown as you already have his certificate that he gave you at Alpine. Bro Forbes says he will send you a recommend. Don’t know of any thing special. I am working every day & I have a hard time of it nights. The Dame & the School Marm are always lawing me. Well that’s all. We are well & hope you are about likewise with.

With Kind regards. To the City Bugs we say adieu & remain Chas J. G. Logie Esqr

Got a letter from Nellie yesterday. They are all well. Got the baby blessed last fast day & they call him Walter Logie Gaisford

The Kirke’s (Churches) of Bornholm Island - Denmark

One branch of my ancestry lived on Bornholm Island in the Baltic Sea for hundreds of years. The island is located east of Denmark, north of Poland and South of Sweden, covers 227 square miles and the language is a dialect of Danish called “bornhlmsk”.

Because of the small land size and remote location, residents tended to live there for many generations. Churches are called Kirke’s and on Bornholm, the design and styles are truly unique. They are well kept and I’m lucky because there are so many great Danish census and church records documenting the residents there over the past 400 years.

Of course those of us not living where patronymics were used in naming convention may struggle a little in tracing lineages.

It isn’t too difficult understanding the principle when Lars Jensen is the son of Jens Andersen who was the son of Anders Hansen. The first name of the father becomes the surname of the child. Just add ‘sen’ for the men and ‘datter’ for the ladies. It’s simple right?

Well, not always. Sometimes a location was tacked on to the name as well. An example is Hans Hansen Riis. Of course, there are many other variations in naming that existed there too, but after a few days of research, you’ll generally get the ‘drift’ of how it all worked.

Unfortunately, there weren’t too many unique first names used on the island … Hans, Jorgen, Jens, Anders, Peder, Bendt, Lars, Esper, etc. So how do you track your family when there are a ton of men with common names and you aren’t sure which one is yours?

Research takes some thoughtful reasoning. Surnames are only a clue to the father’s name. They don’t continue down through the family unless you are lucky and descend through Hans the son of Hans who was also the son of Hans and hence end up with three Hansen’s in a row. Of course that really isn’t that much help since there are a lot of unrelated Hansen’s in the area. Remember how common the first name ‘Hans’ is….. Hopefully, your ancestor had a middle name too, which narrows down the number of possibilities.

I’m sure that there is a very good method to trace patronymic lineages. I’ve read a lot of instruction books on the subject but have found that for me personally, the best way to find my ancestors is to inventory all the church and census records in the area, compare birth years and locations and then narrow down the probable candidates to a list of names, places and dates. By adding the known birth date of a child and you now have two points of reference in addition to the birth location of the child.

To the readers, if you have great hints, tips and instructions about researching ancestors who used patronymics as a naming convention, leave a note and links on this post so we can all benefit from your knowledge.

I rely on touring the ancestral locations and look for probable migratory patterns. I’ve described using Google Earth as a research tool in other postings. It is my constant companion when I’m doing research farther back in time. I plot the results of ‘probable’ or ‘possibles’ individuals and locations, save the file and add the known locations.

The visual representation helps in the quest. Granted, folks may have moved long distances back then, but usually the ‘distance movers’ are few in numbers. Most folks stayed in a fairly small radius on a map. You just need the town and parish names so you can start your search.

During the evenings this week, I’ve toured all the churches, graveyards and farmlands where my ancestors lived on Bornholm using Google Earth. Thanks to other users who have posted photos of the locations and have attached them to the database, I’ve had a grand time. Although the smells and ambiance were missing, my imagination filled in a lot of the blanks. I can still smell the fish smoke houses when I think about them.

If you’d like to take a quick tour of the churches that served my ancestors using Google Earth, click here. Once the program launches, just click on Tools > Play Tour. (Yes, I’m assuming you already have the free Google Earth program installed on your computer).

Have you created files of the birth, marriage, death and burial locations of your family yet? If not, go for it. It is easy and you’ll quickly find out how useful this tool is in your research and ancestral remembrance.

If you’d like a quick photo tour of the beautiful and unique Bornholm island and its buildings, play the video below.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Prosperity Is Kind of Small - 26 Sep 1900

Early fall in 1900 found Charles Logie and his wife in difficult financial circumstances. There wasn't much new construction or remodeling MckinleyTeddy1900occurring in Utah Valley and Charles carpentry business was slack.

He spent his days on a small project making tables and chairs for the school in American Fork.

There was a rumor of a school to be built in Manning Canyon out near the mineral mines and perhaps their daughter, Beatrice could obtain the position if she hadn't already agreed to teach at the Bingham Canyon school just below the copper mine.

Charles humor is less evident in this letter as he was undoubtedly feeling stress, yet, he wished is daughter well.

As the official curfew bell ringer for American Fork City, we can tell that he penned this letter late in the evening before the 10:00 p.m. curfew hour when he had to ring the bell. It is said that he only missed ringing it in person a few times in the several decades he had this position.

American Fork Sept 26/00 (1901)

Dear Beatrice,

The honorable Dr. Lee called in this afternoon to say that the People of Maning are going to have a School there & Lee said they want a teacher & he said there was a chance for you. They ofer 50 dols a month. There are some where about twenty children out there. About your blue hat the dame says you had better have it fixed over if she want to sell it. She could get nothing for it. Have you heared that Emma Mercer is going to Marry Dr. Styner. Send word soon what you think about this new vertion ie: the Maning yarn. Mother wants to let Lee know weather you have agreed to go to Bingham. She thinks that would be the nicest place of the two. Well I don’t know of anything new. We have the poney & dog show here tonight & last night. We did not go can’t afford it. Our prosperity is kind of small. Not much of it these republican times. Well Mother says that is all. So I may as well quit right here & now. Oh, the folks are all OK over at Mercur. I am sort of buisey just now making some cupboards & tables for the school. Have you seen Mis Styne Jensen. She called about a week ago & wanted to see you. That’s it. I’m happy to say we are well at this time. Hopeing this will find all you city people injoying good health. It is about bell time so I will wish you good night & sweet repose. We send our verry kindest Love to you all. Every one of you & remain as ever your affect Father.

Chas Logie Esqr

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Have You Heard From The Cat Charmer? - 9 Jul 1900

Charles Logie wrote regular letters to his daughter who was a school teacher in Bingham Canyon, Utah.

His unique nicknames for everyone and every event in his life display his mischievous sense of humor and make his letters even more precious to his descendants. I've retained his spellings a purposeful hacking of the English language in this transcription.

In this installment, Charles talked about the low voter turnout for school board elections, the plans to build a tabernacle in American Fork, Utah and the comings and goings of his married children and grandchildren.

It was hot in July 1900 in American Fork as the thermometer on his porch reported a temperature of 105 F in the shade.

The only photo I've ever found of Beatrice was in an old newspaper article standing by her students and have included it here.

American Fork July 9/00 (1900)

Miss Beatrice Logie

logiebeatriceYour letter came to hand yesterday, found us well. Mother got home all safe on the night of the fourth. I had a splendid time. Staid at home all alone and minded the Estate. Didn’t go over to Peats once all day. All the Bennett’s went to the Lake to spend the day & see the cranks play baseball. There is not much going on here just now. This is Election day & some are voteing for a School Trustee, John E. Buckwalter is the one selected in place of J. L. Snow. It is a verry quiet affair. I went over this morning about 10 & there was no one but the three trustees & there had only been 8 votes cast. Our beloved Brown is on the ticket for county Superendendent & there is no oppertion in our city. We had a pecular meeting last night. It seems that some of our church officials want a fine new place to hold Sunday School in & they want the people to agree to build a fine large Tabernacle & have it filed up while to accommodate the Sunday School. There was a committee appointed to make inquires about what such building would cost & how long it would take to build it. Carne Robinson & Geo. Currin have had quite a hot time about where the means was to come from & weather the people would be willing to build such a place for the benefit of the Sunday School. There was some pretty hot talk on both sides of the question. Sir Charles & Lady called last Saturday & took mother & Walter to the Lake in their fine chariot. I was busy getting ready for watering & could not go. They stayed to refreshments after they returned. Laura & Bertha are anxious to hear from you. Lee Clarke has a bran new sister came from Nebraska last Tuesday. We have not heared from Nelece yet or Libey (Grandma Elizabeth Bennett Drew). Mother says she had not seen any of the mountaineers (Alpine) yet & when any of them appear she will ask them when they will be ready to procede with that Barn. It is warm in the land thermomerter up to 105 under the poarch. I must stop for want of paper. Kind Love to Hall.

Still the same,

Chas Logie Esqr~

Upside down note on front page:

Have you heard from the Cat Charmer I have not got any answer to my letter which I wrote some two weeks since.

Embedded History

Standing in line with other fourth graders, I dropped my lunch ticket and bent over to pick it up from the floor. The fellow behind me had two newly sharpened pencils sticking out of his pocket and turned to talk to some one just as my head went down. I've had a one-eighth inch piece of lead from one of them embedded in my ear ever since.


Our grandchildren and possibly even our children don't know that story. Like my friend, grandpa Pickles, our grandchildren consider me to be ancient of days. Maybe they should. Who uses pencils and memorized trig functions in school anymore?

They don't know that I don't have much feeling in my body due to a spinal injury as a pre-teen when a car ran a red light and hit the young newspaper boy. Even if told they probably couldn't relate because they don't have any reference points in their own life experiences.

I often wonder about why my own ancestors worked in certain occupations or are listed as having certain idiosyncrasies.

My grandchildren don't realize that I am hyper-alert whenever using power tools because I watched my father slice his thumb lengthwise on a table saw when I was nine.

I've often been rewarded in my ancestral quest when opening my mind to more than dates and places. Watching for the "why's" and "what for's" is often more helpful to my research than just the raw facts.

Reading the disability statements in the Revolutionary War pension application of my ancestor gives me the hint that he probably had lead poisoning from a wound in battle slowly destroying his health. Not all fragments from the bullet were removed due to their location and the medical skills of the day.

The impact from his deteriorating health was heavily felt by his family as it became more and more difficult to manually work to support them.

A grandmother in my ancestral tree obviously died from Alzheimer's disease at a fairly young age and was said to have lost her mind in the year or two previous to her death.

I suppose family and friends referred to her as 'poor old grandma Bennett who lost her mind'. The impact on her family was substantial because of the substantial personality change and sudden dependency of the once stalwart matriarch of a large family.

Of course, our interpretation of the causes or diagnosis of problems is tenuous as we peer back through the lens looking across time, but often we can recognize symptoms and their almost certain results.

I suppose that if our ancestors looked back through the same lens at us in our day, they'd often shake their heads and using their closer to nature common sense reference points think that we are harming ourselves in our own life choices.

Either way, the time spent thinking about the events and reference points of the person in the study gives better insight into their lives, environment and personalities.

Trying to understand the conditions and lives of our ancestors make them more 'real' to us. More depth of knowledge about their stories and lives establishes a dimensional character that we can relate to and remember.

Think about your own ancestors without looking at your pedigree charts or databases first. Which individuals come to mind first? Which ones can you easily discuss when asked?

I'll bet it isn't the ones with just dates and places associated with their names. It is the ones that you've taken the time to clothe with facets of their reality and life experiences.

Don't forget to embed history and stories into an ancestors record while doing ancestral research. Even if it is only the story about a piece of pencil lead in their ear.

Friday, December 5, 2008

If Wishes Were.....


We all have certain presents we'd like to receive for Christmas but know that they'll probably never actually appear.

In 1986 I made slight detour coming home from business meetings in northern California and stopped in Angel's Camp, California to meet a long lost cousin. When I arrived, I found him teaching tennis to some youth on a tennis court, sweaty, a little winded and extremely busy.

The Diary

My cousin, Gerald Turner, had inherited two precious possessions from our common great grandfather. I asked to see David Lewis Drew's diary. He pointed toward his office and said go ahead look at them. The diary was small, about 4" x 6" and an inch thick. It was filled with entries from David's first year in California during the Gold Rush in Calaveras County. I took two photos of the pages with the little disposable camera I had purchased after my camera died two days earlier, hoping they would turn out and I'd at least have a sample of grandpa's writing. Neither of the photos were readable after the film was developed but the photo of the old secretary was ok.

I thanked Gerald for allowing me to see and handle them. During our closing remarks, I mentioned that I'd love have them if he ever decided to dispose of them and emphasized that the diary was especially precious in my opinion. He said that he'd like to see them stay in the family, shook hands and turned to greet the next tennis class that had just arrived.

Gerald died not too long afterward and I was called by his estate attorney asking if I wanted anything from his estate. I replied that I wanted the journal and would love to have the secretary. The phone was silent for a few moments and then he said that he was sorry, but that neither item was in the estate.

Where had they gone? He promised to look into it but was never able to find what happened to them. I had touched and briefly read pages in the diary. How I wish it would show up under the tree this Christmas. It is priceless to me but probably just junk to almost everyone else.

The Box of Records

While reading letters Gerald's sister, Hattie, had written to my mother, she mentioned that her mother had all of the genealogical records and documents that our great aunt, Julia Drew Tower had collected during her life including items given her by our Tirrill aunts in Stewartstown, New Hampshire.

They were stored in an old box in Hattie's mothers home. When she died the box disappeared. Hattie's letter listed the items in the box and I wished I could see and copy them. I'm sick that they were probably thrown away. Again, they were probably just trash to others, but would be like diamonds to me. I'd be ecstatic if the box and contents showed up under the tree this year. How I wish they would...

The Miracles

Walking down the hall to my office today, I stopped to look at all the large old photos of my ancestors hanging on the walls. I still can't believe that I have them.

When I was about seven, my mother took me with her to my grandfathers house. Her siblings were cleaning 'stuff' out of the old home and tearing down the old barn. The old trash wood from the barn and much of the 'stuff' from inside the home were tossed into a fire so it didn't have to be hauled off to a garbage dump.

Old magazines, clothing, stacks of family papers and other items were quickly dispatched before we arrived. My mother was disturbed that they had been destroyed before she had a chance to look through them for ancestral records and mementos from her youth. We wished we'd arrived earlier to intervene.

When were getting ready to leave, she suddenly had an idea. Maybe something was still left in the attic behind the trap door. Crawling up on the sink in the bathroom, I tipped the attic door open and crawled up into the dusty and dank attic space. I didn't have a flashlight, so I used my hands to feel around to find anything left there.

Mom's intuition was right. There were dusty old framed photos leaning against a rafter brace behind the door that you wouldn't see unless looking for them specifically. The photos were of my great grandparents and second great grandparents. Wow! I found treasure.

When lowering them down though the opening, I saw tears came to mom's eyes. She was delighted that they hadn't been burned. Eventually, she gave them to me, knowing how much I'd treasure them.

Ten years ago, my wife received a call from her great aunt saying that if she would come up to her home over the weekend she would give her some genealogy items that she would enjoy. Once again, good fortune came to our family. She received the same type of large old photos of her ancestors that I'd received years ago too.

Christmas came early when we received our respective ancestral photos. We couldn't imagine gifts of such magnificence. Treasure!

This holiday season, verbalize your own ancestral gift wishes. Some times, if wishes were .... they actually come true.

Start your list today. Dear Santa....... I want .....

Thursday, December 4, 2008

The "Oh Be Loifules" (Oh Be Lovelies) - 6 Mar 1900

Charles Logie had a nickname for everyone and about every activity in his life. The week of 6 Mar 1900 found the Logie family celebrating life and spring with son Walter playing his mandolin to entertain the family.

One of the school teachers in American Fork had died and not all of her students, the "cherubs" in Charles colorful language, attended her funeral. Charles didn't understand why folks made such a big deal about funerals. He was the undertaker and made the coffins by hand, but that was only because of his skill as a carpenter and a secondary source of income for the family.

schoolNot only was his daughter a school teacher, but they rented a room to a spinster school teacher, Miss Gailbrath, hence he frequently mentions events related to education. He loved to tease about the attitudes of young school age children, calling them the "Oh Be Loifules" or "Oh Be Lovelies" in this letter.

Charles mentions his daughters, Rosa and Annie along with comments on his son-in-law and the fact that their family were currently entertaining stomach flu.

His purposeful misspellings and hacking of the English language continues in this letter, which is transcribed exactly as he wrote it:

American Fork Mar 6/00 (1900)

Dear School Marm,

your letter duly recd & found us celebrating Logies was day Sir Walter is quite a help on those festifites as he performs on the malodien & that takes a deal of trouble off my hands. we are having some nice weather now & I expects we will have to start gardening if Spring has come to Stay our Padogones declared last Monday visiting day & they all went to Salt Lake with the exception of Cora she seems to do as she pleases since the trustees had to give her her school back old lady G_th did not seem to like her trip. She had to pay full fare & She don't want any holidays any way. there was a great parade over A. Greens funeral yesterday & there was sixteen of her cherubs absent & that upset her bowels. conciderably don't see what people want to make such a fuss about a funeral. Some of the young teachers talk of going elsewere to teach next season the school system don't seem to get along verry harmouiusly Some haw this year to mitch umbug white liver & the Cat fish had got a professor to come from Provo to teach the oh be loifules music two hours a week. the trustees have put up a notice for the citizens to meet on the 27th to arringe for building more school houses but I think we had better get out of beph before get any further involved there is not much news to write about as I write so often I am sometimes puzeled to know what to tell you. Our Rosa is down today She says they have had a visits from de la Grip but they are geting some better now. Annie & family are well Dr. Lee amuses himself prospecting when he is not too tired poor soul the vaccination was a grand fiz Kind of Poppy @_> I am writing this before dinner for I have to go visiting some of the ward with old Jimie Crooks like old man Raley & Spratley used to do. you see we are all geting stured up with a long pole since we have become the Alpine Stick by the way I think those converts of yours are pretty hard cares for I don't know where they would find their Christains if we are not but there is an old saying there is none so blind as those that wont see. now I have scribled over the usual amount of paper so I will conclude for this time. we are well at home & hope you are the same

except our Kind love & be good to your self.

I am your Affect Father

Chas Logie

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

No Passport. No Reservations.

I stopped living on a jet nine years ago and don't miss the constant hassle of airports, hotels and lost hours from home and family. The only trips I really enjoyed were those that involved family history research or visiting Disney. Why Disney didn't build a large complex in Plymouth County, Massachusetts, I'll never know, but it certainly would have been perfectly sited in my opinion..... at least in the summer....

When you don't live near the location where many if not most of your ancestors lived for generations, short visits just don't afford enough time to visit all the libraries, vital record centers, ancestral homes and cemeteries you'd like to see.

Before your research trip, you plan out everything you want to see and put a star by the things you have to see and do.

Your schedule goes exactly as planned and so there is little time required in those areas of your research again. Right?

I suppose that there is a statistical probability that is true for someone at sometime, but I probably wouldn't believe it even with proof.

In my last post, I talked about losing myself in Google Books. I didn't mention how much time I Google Earthspend using Google Earth in my ancestral research.

It is too bad that Google doesn't offer frequent flyer miles, because I'd never have to pay for a flight again in my lifetime.

I don't accomplish everything on my list when I travel on family history research trips. I always find ancestral families that lived in the area I just visited AFTER I get home. I never find all of the cemeteries and ancestral homes that I planned to visit.

What to do? Research trips are expensive. Talking momma into one more 'exciting' week browsing through dusty archives in the basements of a government buildings with walls covered by the requisite green tile is a tall order, even though she loves genealogy too.

There is at least a partial solution to my dilemma. I book the next flight on Google Earth and fly back to discover the cemeteries and buildings that I wish I'd found or known about when I was there in person.

Then I start creating pin markers for each of the locations with descriptive names and save them with descriptive file names. Soon, migration patterns emerge. They help me better plan my next research trip to the library or ancestral location.

I create multiple files that cover a variety of topics. One is completely comprised of cemeteries pins only. Another is comprised of the locations where my ancestors lived. By using different colored pins for each family, I can easily separate them into my various lineal families.

One file is based entirely on occupations and historical events. They help me understand why many of my ancestors were constantly on the move westward, often homesteading or claiming bounty land grants for military service. Yet another file shows me where the principal ports were located on the coast of New England and the number and color of pins tell me whether the ships based there were whalers, merchant or military ships.

With these maps, I have a quick visual reference that opens new vistas of contemplation regarding my ancestral quest. By zooming in, around and across the various pins, I see arenas of exploration that I haven't considered before.

Animating the burial location file allows me to visually observe migration patterns that aren't necessarily linear. Reading the burial locations in my database doesn't necessarily equate to envisioning the migration path moving west, then north, then south and even back east again. Why did they do that? Hmmmmm. It is time to rethink my research plan yet again.

I animate some of the files to help teach our grandchildren about their ancestors. They are young, but watching the flight from ancestral home to ancestral home around the world is second nature in their view of the world. They expect to have tools and presentations like this and hence pick up the meaning of what they are seeing almost immediately.

Within minutes, I have to surrender the mouse so they can run the show, explore the program and as if by osmosis, learn the interface and tools in Google Earth so they can start adding additional data points that I've overlooked or haven't considered.

The virtual world is theirs but I'm not ready to give up my seat in it. Neither should you. If you aren't using Google Earth in your own ancestral quest, download the free application today and get with it. It is easy to use and of course even if you get hung up a little, just ask your kids or grandkids to help and they'll have you up and flying in short order.

While writing this posting, Dan Lynch left a comment on my last posting about Google Books. He has written an excellent book called "Google Your Family Tree" that would be an wonderful addition to your library and research skills. Perhaps Santa will bring you a copy if you ask for it.

Post a note and let us know how you use Google Earth in your own ancestral quest. I'll bet there are hundreds of ideas that you've found that will benefit the entire family history community.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Dear School Marm - 19 Feb 1900

Charles Joseph Gordon Logie started writing letters to his unmarried school teacher daughter in 1900 offering advice, relaying stories from home and sending his love.

He was born in Chelsea, England in 1829 and moved with his parents to Sydney, Australia as a young man. He became a skilled mariner and carpenter while living there.

Logie Charles Joseph GordonFriedlander Rosa ClaraHis sweetheart, Rosa Clara Friedlander was born on the Isle of Guernsey. They married in Sydney and after their first child was born, decided to move to Utah in America.

During the voyage to America, their ship, Julia Ann, sank in the South Pacific where they survived on a tiny atoll for months. That is a story for another day and will eventually be posted here as their story unfolds.

As the son of a British government official, Charles had a classic British education. However, his sense of humor often precluded him from exhibiting it.

Enjoy his humor, English cadence, lack of punctuation and purposefully misspelled words that were used to tease and endear himself to his daughter. I've transcribed the letters exactly as he wrote them.

The first letter in this series follows....

"Feby 19/ 1900 American Phork

Dear School Marm,

We us & company reveived your interesting letter last Sunday & were glad to hear that you are well & seem to be having an all round time. well I was a young fellow my self once & I have hardley got over it yet I some times have arguments with our Pedagous about some nonsence or the other about the pup its staying too long in the passageways. some times She finds some of Forbes children in the bed room when they should be out & then again he comes noseing around & Ketches some of her darlings breaking the rules then she teachers seem to be having pecular times since Cora came back you see Cora has the laugh on all the rest of them for she would not be vaccinated & she came back to her school with flying colors & after a three weeks rest got her full pay with the exception of ten dollars that the trustees had no right to deprive her of & now the She teachers don't have any particular use for & don't want any connection with the buggar next door. well so much for school. we are having quite a rain today had to stay in side & look out. I was trying to get Walter to write to you & he said that he would pretty soon he said to ask you if you ever saw any thing of Ramsey that used to work in Mercur. Bob & Rosa was down last Saturday to do some tradeing and among other things they bought a lot of vaccine & Bob is going to do the Stabing act so I expect they will all be stumping round with teir arms in slings for a change Perry was down a whle ago & he was in a big hurrey to be operated on & probeerbly he will join Bobs medicul socierty. by the way you have not given any satisfactory account as to what has become of that Telescope that belongs to our worthy School marm it is among the posibilities that She may want it some of these days Mother says where did you find your new box the mctionanie dude don't know of any thing new even thing is verry dul out here Dunkleys folks talk of Shuting up their Store the people don't paternize them & some how their boys don't seem to want to help them. Mrs Dunkley is quite worried about their affairs. I believe Earl Started out with some more boys for Sun Shine today & Walter says he don't know what they will find & do over there. now I will have to quit don't expose yourself more than necessary & keep your feet dry. we are well & hope this will find you OK & with

Kind Love I am your affect old Father

Chas Logie

Oh yes the dame is bakeing pies pies today aint they good you bet."

I'll post a new letter each week along with associated source documents and photos to help put the 'flesh, humor and smell of fresh baked bread' on the usual skeleton of 'dates and places' that we typically see in most of our family lineage books.

Charles Logie's Letters

In 1900, my 2nd great grandfather, Charles Joseph Gordon Logie wrote a series of letters to his daughter, Beatrice, who was a school teacher in Brigham Canyon, Utah.

Like many old letters, they provide a snapshot in time about his family, important events, proclivities and opinions that convey that delicious family history detail that we all crave.

The letters came to me over circuitous routes and are very precious to me.

Other family records were inherited or collected by myself over many decades and almost unimaginable (even to me) hours of research.

Old lineage records will be added as time goes on but for now I'll post grandpa Logie's letters in the same chronological order that they were written.

I love his wry sense of humor, his never ending allegiance to the Queen and fact that he almost circled the world by the time he was thirty.

Along with his wife and baby daughter Charles survived being shipwrecked in the South Pacific. He was a carpenter, an undertaker, a curfew enforcer and a tease. I especially like the tease facet of his personality.

Many of my ancestors had similarly fascinating lives and those details along with those of uncles, aunts, cousins and friends will eventually find their way to this site.

Being a lineage keeper isn't something you are elected to do. It is something you are born to do.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Lost In Google Books

I've delved into Google Books since the first day they appeared on the web. Knowing that the collection grows continually, I set aside time every month to cruise the byways of the site looking for new attractions and new rare book shops. Window shopping never fails to result in a 'sale' during these excursions. I find titles and subjects related to my genealogy research that I would never know about without this great research tool.gbooks

Much of this long Thanksgiving weekend was spent reading the books on one monitor while I entered data in my database on a second monitor.

Yes, there were plenty of normal holiday busyness activities that could have occupied my time, but while others were out running into each other trying to find bargains, I enjoyed the greatest bargain around ... reading the pages of books I couldn't afford and probably wouldn't travel to find. No bumping. No traffic. No co$t.

Life is good.

I've added over 2,000 additional sources to my data in the past two days from the Massachusetts vital records books on Google. I've added over 500 new cousins names and information from historical records this weekend too. My family history knowledgebase has expanded measurably.

If you haven't taken the time to make your own tour through the site for a while, put it on your schedule. You may want to ask 'Santa' for some uninterrupted time to enjoy your own Google Books journey.

However you arrange for time to make your visit, don't hesitate to make it happen.

Just go to to start your journey with a keyword search. Stretch your smile muscles and kiss the hours goodbye.

I find a comfortable pair of P.J.'s to be the best attire for my own forays into Google Books Land. I think you'll find a similar attire works best for you too.

Thanks Google! Merry Christmas to all the elves toiling away in your notoriously wonderful facilities who bring so much joy to so many.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

I'll Surround Them

I started looking for my ancestor, Thomas Farrar, in 1968 thinking that finding him and his lineage couldn't be that hard.  That attitude was repeatedly slapped down .. hard .. over the next 36 years.  brickwall

You know the story in some form because you undoubtedly have 'brick walls' on your own pedigree chart.   We ram at the walls over time, sometimes with a feather-light touch and at other times with a carefully planned massive assault.  

Time goes by and we ... Touch. 

Yep, the wall is still there.  Eventually, with a shoulder down, a research plan in our case and loaded with small change, small bills and a feisty attitude, we charge off to the family history library intent on busting through the wall "this time".   Surely, it is weakened after all of the force and finesse we've used on it over the years.   That baby is coming down!

Well, sometimes we are lucky and it really does fall, but usually, we just get a bruise where our mind and shoulder hit the wall.

Discouraged?   Yep.  Sure that we'll never find our lineage on that branch?   Yep again.  Sometimes, it seems like it is going to be impossible so we shelve that branch of research knowing it will probably see the light of day again..... sometime....

A couple of years ago, I finally found Thomas listed as a passenger on a ship that arrived in New York on 3 Jul 1847.  He traveled to America from London with his brother, sister-in-law and their children.   The passenger records were finally transcribed and indexed and I Found Him!   Their surname is listed as "Fanin" on one index and as "Farren" in another, but it is him.  SailShip

Most of us think of Ellis Island when looking for our immigrant ancestors, but Ellis Island didn't fully start to function until 1892.   Thomas arrived in 1847 ... way too early for Ellis Island records.  

I knew that the records of the earlier immigration center of Castle Garden were being posted on line, so I looked for him there.  After fifty or so searches for every surname spelling variation I could think of his record was on my screen.... "Thomas Fanin".

Thomas and his wife are listed in the 1850 census in Lexington County, South Carolina living with his brother and sister-in-law's family, so I had a list of names to look for.

The first name of the "Fanin's" on the passenger list matched those listed in the census.  It was Thomas alright.   Fortunately, his sister-in-law had a unique first name .....   "Selina".   Of course, it isn't listed as Selina on the Castle Garden site, but rather as "Gelena" Fanin.  Using that hit, I looked at the rest of the passenger names on the ship with her and there they were....  Alfred, Gelena, John, Sarah, Thomas and William "Fanin".   They matched the names in the census record.

Great!  Progress.  A ship passenger record that showed he was from England.   I'd finally been able to 'hop the pond'.   There weren't many Farrar's in England in the early 1840's were there?   As it turns out, yes, there are a LOT.

More trips to the family history library produced more information about Thomas in an achingly slow process.  

I found Thomas and John's naturalization papers in the court records of Walworth County, Wisconsin.   

The headstones for his wife, son and mother in the Brick Church Cemetery in Walworth County were found thanks to the efforts of The Walworth Historical Society who had recently published graveyard records for that cemetery. 

One of the wonderful ladies in that group took photos of the Farrar headstones for me.  The photos coupled with the cemetery records told me much about the family.  Thomas' mother was named Elizabeth.   Her tombstone says she was the wife of Eli. 

Finally, something besides the surname 'Farrar' to look for in England. 

Time has passed and now, six years later, I'm still looking for Eli and Elizabeth and their family in church and government records but haven't found them.

So, I'm back making a plan and executing it.   I've done everything I know how to do in the research department other than one thing and I'm doing that now. 

I found Selina's obituary in a library in Missouri.   It said she was born in Huddersfield, Yorkshire.  Sure enough, I found a marriage record for she and John Farrar in Huddersfield.  

Were there any Farrar's living in Huddersfield and the surround area?  I guess the better question is "did any one living there have a different surname?"

There are far more Farrar's than any other common surname in the area.   I think I've found the ancestral home for my Farrar family.

None of my known ancestors are listed in the 1841 British census but since the above hints are all I have to work with, I'm going to surround all of the Farrar's in Yorkshire in the 1841 census by creating a record for each of them. 

Over time, with lots of reports and by peering in different 'windows' at the data, hopefully I'll see a pattern emerge and will be able to identify some uncles families.  From that pattern, I'll be able to find more about my ancestors in church and government records and hopefully track my direct lineage farther.

So far, I've entered 1200 Farrar's in my 1841 census database.  I only have another 12,000 or so to go.  Nothing to it.  Just time and typing.

I'm going to Surround Them and then Sift Them.   Hopefully, I'll Find Them, but if not, I won't quit searching. 

Since there are a LOT of Farrar's in England, there is no reason to run out of research opportunities for that family.

I suspect you have similar opportunities to continue your own Brick Wall research.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

My Friend - David Burgess - A Short Life

Little Did I Know....

10 May 1954 | Alpine, Utah

Little did I know that it would be the last time I saw my friend alive.

David Burgess and I sat through a youth primary school meeting that early May afternoon talking and trying to contain the wiggles of two five year old boys. We must have been successful, because the instructor didn't give us the 'eye' or say anything about our conduct at the end of the class.

In deep conversation, we found our way out of the front doors of the church and waited for David's younger brother, Kenneth, to get out of his class.

Still talking when Kenneth arrived on the scene we only nodded to acknowledge him. Before we could conclude our plan to do something together later in the week, we heard his mothers voice: "Come on boys. We have to go now."

David told me they were going to American Fork for something. I don't remember what it was but I watched them quickly walk across the street and get in their car that was parked in front of their house.

The wave of David's hand through the window as they drove away was my last sight of him in life. There is no face in my memory. Just the waving hand. He was sitting back too far in the seat to allow me see his face I suppose.

Within minutes, a vehicle driven by a tourist from Canada had run the stop sign at the intersection by Greenland's service station in Highland and broadsided their car.

Seat belts didn't exist in vehicles in 1954 and all three of the Burgess family members were thrown from the car. David's mother, Ethel, was killed when it rolled on top of her. David was seriously injured and was taken to the American Fork Hospital where he died shortly after arrival. Kenneth was also injured but survived.

All the residents of the small town of Alpine were shocked by the tragedy. Hearts went out to the young father and his surviving children.

Almost all of us have indelible memories of events or people from years past. Snapshots of that afternoon still reside in full clarity in my memory after all of these years.

David and Ethel Burgess were buried in the Alpine City Cemetery in Alpine, Utah.

How many memories, photos and old newspaper clippings do you have stored away that need to be recorded and shared before it is too late?

Jot them down. Put them on your blog, on your website, or in a binder that you donate to a library.

Someone, sometime, will be extremely appreciative of your thoughtfulness. Gifts of this nature are worth more than gold. If you've ever been the recipient of one of them, you know that it is true.

It's all just part of "Paying-It-Forward" ... Right?

Thursday, October 30, 2008

A Shovel On His Shoulder

I was out on the front lawn playing with my dog when I heard someone whistling. Looking up, I saw my great uncle Si Bennett walking down the road toward our house with a shovel over his shoulder.

He wore his old sweat stained Stetson hat, bib overalls and work boots. I don't think he stood much over five foot five or six inches tall.

Bennett_Si Dark hair, hands like knurled oak brush roots and a face with canyons on it in place of wrinkles finished the picture. One of the old-time standards could be heard coming from his puckered lips as I watched his eyes latch onto the six year old boy ahead.

Nodding to me and asking how I was this fine morning, I had to ask although I already knew the answer; "Going up on the cemetery to dig a grave Uncle Si?"

"Yep!" I don't remember who he told me had died, but he was headed up to hand dig the grave.

The Alpine cemetery is really just a big hill comprised of mostly granite sand and small round rocks that were deposited by Lake Bonneville thousands of years ago.

Digging graves in that hard dry soil was difficult at best. Si's once pointed shovel attested to that. The blade wasn't much more than half as long as it was when it was new and it was worn closer to a square nose than a 'good' digging shovel should be.

Si didn't have the money to buy a new shovel, but he cared about treating the dead with respect. Irregardless of the difficulty of opening the grave, it would be ready before the funeral party arrived that day.

I don't know how many graves uncle Si opened and closed on that hill but the count was high. He opened the graves for his parents, several of his siblings including my grandmother and grandfather, several nieces as well as many friends and town folks.

Si and his wife Alberta spent many days pouring through old burial records finding information on those buried on the hill with no markers. Over the years, they identified most of their final resting places and properly recorded them in the sextons burial records for the cemetery.

Later in life Si used to like to sit by the coal stove in the kitchen in the evenings to read and nap a little before going to bed for the night.

One evening his youngest daughter came home from a date and noted that her father must have just nodded off because the rocker was still slightly moving.

Virginia went into her parents bedroom to tell her mother about her date and to visit for a few minutes. Aunt Alberta said "Tell your dad to get up and come to bed or he'll be too stiff to get up".

Virginia shook Si's shoulder and delivered the message but received no response. Uncle Si had peacefully stepped out of his body and moved on.

Si and Alberta are buried in the Alpine Cemetery now. The records they so carefully kept are now part of the official city burial records for the cemetery. Alpine_graves_sm

Partly to honor their service, I've spent time taking photos of every headstone in the cemetery and have created records for the deceased they represent on

I saw uncle Si's respect for the dead over and over as a youth. Some of it must have rubbed off on me.

How about you? What acts of kindness have you witnessed that have become imprinted on your personalities? How many of your characteristics are rubbing off on your family and those who know you?

We all just Pay-it-forward don't we? Try to to find an act of random genealogical kindness that you can perform for someone today. It counts. Guaranteed!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

3.5 Terabytes

Not that long ago, or so it seems, I built a computer with 8k of RAM memory.  Coupled with a little cassette player, I had all the data storage in the world.  I wrote my own little genealogy program in basic and my research life was great.

Skip forward 'a while'. 

After an all night session of scanning photos and documents, I named an image and hit save only to receive an out of space error.1tb_drive3   What?  Out of space?  How could a 750 gig drive that was less than a year old be out of space?  Looking at its properties, it really was full.  All that was on it was copies of my most used databases, photo and document images.  

Full.  In nine months it was full.  I'm sure you've noticed that you are filling up your hard drives quickly too.  It is so easy to accumulate large files with the scanning hardware and related software that we have today.

My data is backed up regularly and so of course additional hard drives are needed for that task.   Backing up to Mozy is also part of the mix, but I like to have my data on site for instant access too.

With the out of space error, I ordered another 1TB drive.  It arrived a few days later I and put it to use.  Here we are 1 month later and I just noticed that it is about 40% full.  Factor in backing up the new data and I'm almost out of space again. 

Where will it end? 

My off site plan of sending DVD's containing my genealogy data to our children in rotating order isn't working with that much data.  The DVD's just don't hold enough data to make that feasible any more.  Maybe I'll start mailing 1TB or larger hard drives to them that hold just the 'important' files.

I keep 16MB memory sticks full of just the direct line data and some photos on them in our emergency kits.  I keep them updated monthly so if all of our homes fall down in an earthquake or other disaster, hopefully that much data will survive.  It's not much, but it is a starter seed.

What are your data storage plans?   Do you keep copies of your data in both the format used by your genealogical and other software today as well as it being in gedcom format and lossless formats of your images?   Do you keep a copy of the genealogy and graphics software you use on your backups along with the program keys and related passwords?  

Additionally, formats will change quickly in the future.  We need to plan for ways to restore and read our old data formats if isn't part our regular backup routine.  I've helped a lot of folks retrieve data created with old software versions.  Fortunately, we've found old versions of software that would still install on today's operating systems and were able to update the data to a current standard.  Have you thought about this problem?

So, here I am, thinking about getting more storage for my data.  Its size has grown to an 'outrageous' number and no doubt will continue to grow.  It is time to do some serious thinking about my storage and backup plan for the next five years.  Is it time to go back to tape backup?  Do I need to build yet another storage server with raid 5 or better implementation or do I just load up my Mozy account or get one from a similar company and live with the time required to encrypt and incrementally upload my data on a daily basis?

I hope you are thinking about this issue in your own backup and storage planning.

3.5TB headed for 4.5TB.   How about you?

Monday, October 20, 2008

Research Tools - Didn't You Know?

"How'd you do that?" 

I probably hear that question ten times a week and am a little surprised that folks don't already use the same tools themselves. 

You may not be using these tools in your own ancestral research, documentation and presentations but you should give them a try.  I think you'll like them.

  • Irfanview.  Other than Legacy, I use this tool more than any other.  Crop, resize, resample, tweak, massage and save your images in 22 formats with Irfanview.  Get it.  Get the plugin's too.  It's fast to load, easy to use and its free.
  • FastStone Image Viewer.  Whenever I'm working on my large collections of images, I launch FastStone.  A catalog of thumbnails is created for each directory as soon as I click on it.  The interface is a little different in that you point to each of the four edges of your screen to see the popup controls.  It is amazingly powerful.  After a day of taking photos of headstones, I immediately download them and get busy cropping and tweaking them with FastStone to post on my websites or on Find-a-grave.   Try it.  You'll love it and you won't believe it is free.
  • Skype.  Whenever I want to actually talk, text and even see my cousins and friends around the world, I launch Skype.  "Hey John.  Remember that Will we were trying to find?  I found it!.  (The expression on his face is real time.  You have to love seeing it and hearing his Ozzy "Hey mate!").  Get ready, I'll transfer it to you now."  Yep, that all happened inside of Skype.  Free.
  • Transcript.  If you go crazy transcribing all the wills, land records, letters, census records and other images like I did, you need Transcript.  Open the image in the top frame and use the word processor in the bottom frame and type what you see.  Zoom in, grayscale, inverse, rotate and otherwise tweak the image so you can see the writing better.  You never have to rotate through windows and try to remember what you've just seen.  Just move your eyes up and down a little and keep typing.  Free
  • Print What You See.  Do you ever want to print excerpts from web pages but end up having to copy, paste, reformat, etc., to do it?  There is no need with Print What You See.  Just go to the Print What You See web site, type in the URL of the page that has the information you want and click on Go.  Select one paragraph, two, ten.  With photos, without. You choose.  Forget the ads.  Forget the stuff you don't want.  Use the buttons on the left side to control the output.  Click on "Isolate Selected" and then on "Print".  Nice.  Free.
  • Evernote.  Do you constantly find information on web sites that you want to save and remember?  Do you want it available to you on any computer connected to the web?  Create a free account on Evernote.   Create a snapshot, clip whatever you want, drag and drop it, email it if you want.  Do you have receipts, seminar handouts and documents that you also want at your fingertips?  Just scan them and drag them to your Evernote account.  Now your file cabinet goes with you even on your web enabled phone.  If you want to see them on your desktop, just click on your Evernote icon and search away.  Everything stays synchronized.
  • Footnote.  Want to store and share your family photos, documents, stories and histories with others?  Create a free account or subscribe to Footnote and post, annotate, create Story and Footnote pages and spotlight away.

Do you have favorite utilities and tools that you use in your research?  Post a comment or drop me a note so they can be shared with others.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Keeping a Diary and Other Records

Since you are interested in family history, you need to be sure to keep your own living history on a regular, hopefully daily, basis.

The sad news we see today of bank failures, stock market plunges and countries falling into bankruptcy bring back memories of a very bad time in the world in the late 1920's - early 1930's. great_depression

The Great Depression destroyed many fortunes and seriously impacted the lives of millions of people worldwide.

My siblings were alive at that time, but but being considerably younger I only know about its impact through family stories. Or so I thought.

Recently, I reviewed the genealogical information my mother gave me and found an old account book that my parents and grandparents kept. The entries tell the story.

My parents had to move back on the farm when my father lost his job as a miner. The only lodging available to them was an old run down log cabin in Fort Canyon. Mom said that they spent days filling the gaps between the logs with mud mixed with straw to block out the wind.

They covered the walls of the children's bedroom with comic pages from old newspapers because they couldn't afford anything else.

Dad worked for his cousin Dewey Bennett to earn some hard cash. The account book entries tell the story for April, 1930.

Ten entries for cultivating for 8 hours a day.

One entry for hauling manure to the fields for 8 hours.

Seven entries for plowing the fields for 8 hours.

For all of this work, he was paid $42.50 of which $20.15 was returned to Dewey for rent and farm produce to eat. Another $14.30 was paid to the doctor and $7.00 for clothing. That left mom and dad with $6.85 cash to spend to support their three children for the month.

When the sheriff and posse came asking for dad's help in finding the deer poacher, he readily agreed. After a very long day, they returned home empty handed. The poacher had eluded capture. Little did the sheriff know that while my father was leading the group as far away from the cabin as possible, my mother was busy bottling the meat from the deer so her family would have something to eat.

I sincerely hope we don't see conditions like that again. Few people have farms today that can offer lodging and food in a failed economy.

Can I support my own family in similar conditions? I don't know. I hope I don't have to find out, but know that it is possible, thanks to my fathers handwritten entries in the old account book.

Do you have similar stories, old diaries, account books, family bibles, etc., in your possession? If so, protect them like they are gold, but don't forget to mine the family history 'gold' from them at the same time.