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Research Organization

I’m sure many, if not most, of you are armchair genealogist like myself. It’s a hobby, a past time, an interest that you do during spare time or when you have an itch for family history… Or when some relative calls you up to clarify their own research or a family story they heard most recently. Something will trigger you & you’re suddenly off seeking out another dead relative.

And like all of us, we have brick walls. Those elusive ancestors we can’t seem to locate, but KNOW existed. I mean they had to exist or you’d not be here, right? We spend hours pouring over records, clues, hints, & whims.

Before we know it, we have a pile of notes written on various forms of paper. Now, some of you have easily migrated into the digital era & have a wonderfully organized program you use. And though I am not even in my gray aging years, I still prefer paper that I can scratch, scribble, & make notes to my notes :) Yes, I’m one of those… Makes plans to make plans…. Makes notes to my notes. Einstein would love me! How I made it through college is amazing even unto myself :)

So now, with years of research I have massive notes & various systems. I have notebooks all over the place half full of notes. Printed copies of other hints & possibilities, not yet confirmed as true or false. Sticky notes, loose pieces of paper, business cards, etc. I even have a very organized 3-ring binder system with MRIN’s (marriage record index numbers) for each family with facts & artifacts. … And shamefully a file box with various other notes, records, etc that have not yet plugged into my researched ancestors but know these are just waiting to be added…..

Now add a few years hiatus for unexpected child rearing & I can’t find a single thing! I have no real idea where I even left off with my last research endeavor. And did I take the time to file these notes? Not since 3 military moves ago…. Soooooo…..

I started new scrap notes while “on my bum waiting another baby” & realized… I’m an OCD freak with the most unorganized research! I can spot a speak of dust a mile away & total anxiety rushes over me when the knives aren’t where they are supposed to be, but my genealogy research… Total wreck!

I did my google search & found a good article for the simple like-minded genealogists over at Tools for Genealogy Research: Keeping Track of Genealogy Notes by Beth Foulk. Brilliant! One notebook!! And the hard fast rule is that you only use the one notebook :)

So I’ve gone one step further, I have one little notebook that has pre-colored section pages. Here’s an example at Amazon. That way the brick walls I get a whim about & make mindless notes, theories, etc about are in their own colored section. Because let’s face it, you cannot have OCD without ADHD, thus I’m never working or thinking about one ancestor, family, or brick wall at a time. I need to utilize my time when I have it so if I get nowhere with one, I’ll try another.

“But what about the copies & printouts?”, you ask. Yes, about those… One, multiple file folder pocket. Notebook matches file folder. Here’s an example at Amazon, again. So I now have two complete systems because one family is so huge & has required so much research that it’s one notebook for them & one file folder for them. (Thanks Standlee lines!)

I hope this helps many of you, as it has me. Do you have any tricks for organization?


Using Cemetery Records for Evidence?

The other day my family & I went hiking here in the Ozarks up at Busiek State Park. We really didn’t do our research & just headed out on the first trailhead we could get to the fastest. Later, with the handy iPhone, I discovered that there was an old family cemetery here in the park. Well, as you can imagine, naturally we were headed out looking for this cemetery! What else would a budding genealogist do? While many people fear cemeteries, we hunt them out!

We got lost! I wish I were lying. With a 3-year-old in tow on foot & no carrier, we get lost! What a trooper that little man was! 4+ miles & and didn’t hardly whine! After another small tiny leaf covered trail & a sign that says, “End of Public Use”, we decided we would give up & head home. We were too far off the path at this point to continue to get lost as the sun was starting to fall in the sky & water was running a little low. So we very frustratedly just head back to the car.

My family actually finds so much fun in them just reading names & dates & setting things back up right if we can. The kids have a lot of fun trying to not be crave jumpers & walk around the plots that no longer hold a definitely border.

As we very tired & sore hike back to the car on the main large path we run across all kinds of college kids with big smiles. And there are artifacts all around of old rock indian bowls, most of them split in half. We never found an arrow head, but there were all kinds of little flints from where arrowheads were made in various parts of those old trails. We just keep trudging. The exhaustion was just too much to stop & care to teach more than just point it out. Low & behold, if we don’t stumble upon that cemetery on that big main path!! Carter Cemetery.

We took our rest & found energy in the cemetery. However, I noticed something odd. There were two Mary’s! Two EXACT Mary’s! Why? How?

One Mary had an old barely able to read stone in the far back corner, still standing but with a good lean to one side. The other Mary had a new stone! A brand new modern headstone. Either someone made a new stone & toss the old one off in the corner, which is highly unlikely since the old stone was in the ground rather well & most monument companies take the old ones with them when they replace it with a new one. Or the good old fashion good intention got a little confused.

While I’d love to think that the replacement was to honor Mary, I think that they misunderstood without old records to clearly draw out the plots. Some of the stones were old fashion blank big rocks! It was that poor & country of a cemetery.

However, it just reminds me of a fun story of another family historian I ran into one day doing research. He learned the value of actually keeping his census records. He had thought he had traced his family online to a plot in Texas. We was so certain that it was his family. They were great pioneers! So he went down there & erected this huge monument in honor of them with the family history all scribed out & for others to follow. What a noble act! And how great of a find would that be had you stumbled up on something like that in your research?

Long story short, he had the wrong lines connected! Once he got back home, and was looking at new information, he had crossed them by making a misguided conclusion based on family lore & not actual documentation. I can’t help but wonder if this is what happened at the Carter Cemetery.

Cemeteries are a great resource. They will remain a great starting place for many. When you have no other place to start, no connections left to ask… a cemetery can be the only evidence you have to launch your research. They hold so many great clues. But NEVER use them as absolute evidence! NEVER! I usually search cemetery records last, after I have documented as much as I can everywhere else. However, I had to start a few times with the few dates I found on a stone. You have to remember though, it was not [too often] that the deceased created their own stone. It is word of mouth. Birthdates are always fun for me here in the Ozarks. Women die younger than they were born every day! Men always seemingly don’t die until that stone is erected verses that actually death or burial date. Some of them are a year off from their death certificate.

Be careful & heed caution when using cemeteries as your evidence, or you too may be doubled in your afterlife! LOL!

Skip, skip, …Start!

I’m going skip, skip, start! Meaning I’m going to save you the long boring sad childhood story of my life, skip my dad (who in some households his name is worse than the devil!), skip my grandparents (cause one is still living & she was the reason I was so lost), & start with my great grandparents: Donald George Holmes & Ruth L. Morgan.

Donald George Holmes is the second generation to be born in Grundy County, Illinois. He was born on June 24, 1906 to Noble Henry Allen & Mae Bell [Cameron] Holmes. Donald had moved to Chicago, IL, working as a bricklayer for a building company. There he met & married his first wife, Ruth L. Morgan  around 1928. Ruth is the daughter of Charles Farneis Morgan, Sr. & Clara Turner.

They had three children in which only two survived: Shirley Holmes,born August 21, 1928, Donald George Holmes, Jr. born November 29, 1929 & died December 4, 1929, and Robert George Holmes born August 31, 1931, whom died August 15, 1990.

Ruth died January 9, 1939 in Grundy Co., IL. They had returned to Grundy Co., IL, in what appears to be a way to find help from family during her failing health. Ruth was diagnosed in September 1937 with rheumatic heart disease. She eventually died too soon from a sudden cerebral embolism; a brain embolism due to her heart disease.

In 1940, Donald George Holmes is living in Morris, Grundy Co., IL, with his mother Mae & a house servant. The surviving children, Shirley & Robert Holmes, seem to be “lost”. I can’t locate them with any surviving family in 1940. I very much would love to know what happened to them? Were they farmed out as workers? Were they sent to the orphanage? Am I missing a surviving relative who did take them, like a long lost Aunt?

The next year on April 21, 1941, Donald George Holmes married Lucille Ann Lee [sic: born Ann Lucille Lee] in Grundy Co., IL. They had one daughter, Nancy Holmes who has married to a Fister surname.

Donald George Holmes lies at rest with Lucille in Mount Carmel Cemetery in Morris, Grundy Co., IL. He died from a cerebral anoxia due to Arterio Sclerotic heart disease. He basically developed hardened blood vessels in the heart that prevented his brain from getting enough oxygen in one deadly moment.

Lucille Ann [Lee] Holmes died  December 24, 1999, in the Morris Hospital there in Morris, Grundy Co., IL, at the age of 95! Her final reason to draw her last breath was due to complications with COPD & pneumonia. 95! Can you imagine?

I have no photos to share or stories to post. However, if you do, please, please, feel free to share :)

As you can see, heart disease is an issue in my family as my grandfather, Robert George Holmes, also died from heart complications & my father has had a stroke before he was 41 years of age. Good news! My heart is like that of a well tuned athlete with actually flaccid blood vessels & extremely low blood pressure. I should live to be 100 years old!

2013: The Year of HOLMES

I’ve clearly made no time for genealogy over the last almost 2 years. Sadly, I’m going to blame my kids. :) We all know it’s completely their fault for keeping me so busy that genealogy had to take a back seat in my closet.

However, no New Year’s Resolutions have left me open to do as I want, & I want to rediscover my passion for hunting down dead ancestors!

After some thumbing back over old notes scattered & stashed everywhere, I’ve settled on my HOLMES line. It’s my own personal paternal line that is the pure reason that I can even claim roots. I don’t know my father, or his/my family. I have made a connection here or there, and in time have grown found of knowing my intelligence comes from my Holmes lineage.

I started my hunt on the HOLMES in 1996 with nothing more than a little note from my father, scratched out on a steno pad piece of paper with what little he knew. Having never met my father (& with good reason… I sadly agree now that I’m older), I had no credibility to his little tree.

When I begin my professional quest, I started here, with my own father. After being told we had “no connections to anyone around here” [Grundy Co., IL], I was shocked when I discovered my Holmes line was very thick in Grundy Co., IL!!! My little steno pad page of a tree has grown tremendously!!

I can’t wait to share it with you!

My Small Attachment to the Past in the Present

So today, as I sit here making out my Christmas card list… yes in the first of November! I was making out my list & it hit me! A genealogy kind of moment… (A little over a year after our move into the home)…

Lee, Schmidt, & Bruce. To some of you this means nothing… but for a person like me who truly believes my Grands handpicked this place for us from her heavenly place find this amazing! So she picked our home right next door to a Schmidt &  a Bruce! 2 of her siblings right here. I am probably missing Charlie somehow somewhere… But my yard is also full of Mourning Doves, Grands favorite bird.

There’s a verse in the Bible:  Acts 17:26 “He made from one man [common origin, one source, one blood], all nations of men to settle on the face of the earth having definitely determined [their] allotted periods of time and fixed boundaries of their habitation [their settlements, lands, and abodes].

I think God keeps us connected in both past & present. Here is my little piece of heaven, connected well to my roots :D


I Need A Support Group

I am in need of a genealogical support group for NON-Native American heritage BUT with relatives that believe otherwise. They are driving me to the brink of insanity. Does any one else suffer from this?

Is there such a group? Maybe it is just other serious researchers & professionals? If that is the case, maybe I just need to get myself a genealogy group & become a member. However, I’d prefer a group of Native American professionals or ones that suffer my same dilemma.

Maybe it’s an age thing, that the generation of my parents, & some grandparents, just believe that they are native American. Is that a common belief?

Maybe it’s a geographical issue that I so proudly get to suffer from… the south! That’s where many of my roots are from. Or maybe it is just anybody who has made their way into OK via what people “believe” was the route of Native Americans into OK? That’s the only common denominator that’s find linked in all these unsolicited, undocumented, un-proven claims. They had a relative/ancestor that at one time did live in OK, even born in OK.

I am rather drawn to the latter. Like any culture, once a person is surrounded by the culture, they tend to pick up their ideologies, their customs, their way of life, even their beliefs. It usually comes from our own individual fears of being rejected, that we seek to fit in & be accepted. Some people it is a “quirk”, while others take it to their core of their being & slowly start to simulate & transform into the culture opposite from their own. As a sociologist, I find it rather amazing how such a small group of peoples (Native Americans) can alter the main stream group (Modpodge Americans). Thus, those who have migrated to OK & have lived out their days have come to this idea that somehow they too are Native American.

The Native Americans have a strong grounding with their roots, their ancestors. Most can tell your lineage all the way back to what they believe is the beginning. Though their numbers are few in comparison to the United States as a whole, they are great in a smaller populous such as the state of OK. Thus the power of their culture in the state of OK is much like many of us moving to Rome. “Do as the Romans do!” Or in this case, “Do as the Native Americans do!”

I also seem to believe that a small amount of this desire to be Native American by those not born as Native Americans is due to the myths that have been spread about that “indians get free lands & monthly checks”. The rumors that spread like wildfire because of great misunderstandings in the late 1800’s – 1900’s. Thus, if the idea that, “IF I were Native American, then I would receive some ‘free’ life long benefits”. However, they still have to pay taxes, their medical care is lacking in advancements of modern-day technology, their land wasn’t free, nor is it always just one person’s own to claim but rather part of the great whole of the reservation. There is no monthly income check from the government & many are seeking the aid of welfare benefits from the US government. Though their culture is rich, their way of life is poor. Many live with multiple families & generations in a small 3 bedroom home. Going down the socio-economic ladder, their is poor, destitute, and then there is Native Americans constantly being stripped of any gain they achieve because their way of life. Thus, the only reason to claim one is Native American, who clearly is not, would be based on myths but hoping for a change for their futures & the generations that followed.

So what drives a person to claim Native American heritage? Stories they were told? Running lists of characteristics that make a person Native American?

Does anyone else spend hours chasing away “Native American” claims that just aren’t panning out? My research, heavily documented, always lands me back in England, or Germany, or Ireland… even French Louisiana… but never Native American.

1940 Census Reveal

When I heard that the 1940 censuses would be released in 2010, I was so excited! I had counted down the days until it was opened to the public…

Then 2010 came & nada… Not even an image to scroll through… I waited patiently….

Then 2011 came & they were finally indexing them… And still nothing! I was so upset & disheartened. How long do I have to wait? For a genealogist or family historian new censuses release is like crack cocaine to a junkie!

Then 2012 came with some random clippings & rough unindexed images. What is going on?

(This is where I completely set aside all genealogy research…. I had so many other pressing things to focus on…)

Of course there’s the indexing, and scanning & uploading, & I’m sure business deals.

Finally! It’s out!!! The indexed & uploaded 1940 census is open for I line viewing to the general public.

I immediately start clicking on my little leaves (hints) that has so nicely added to my trees. It turns out that the 1940 census isn’t any my hints, but rather Find A Grave listings.

Then down the family, closer to my heart-strings, I find the 1940 census for my dear Grands, Darylne Marie Buckingham Standlee.

Growing up, she told me of the very few details she could remember from her early childhood: Her father, Chester Ivan Buckingham, was a musician. They had a neighbor Mrs. Covington that sometimes helped them out.

After that, she was fuzzy about what she remembered because so many always kept telling her she remembered incorrectly, including a fourth child born unto her parents.

You can only imagine my excitement when I found this 1940 census. My Grands, the most loyal & honest person I know, was vindicated against all odds & gets to keep her memories/stories at the top of my priority list.

1940 in Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA living at 10224 Morris Street was my great grandparents & my Grands. Her father, Chester Ivan Buckingham was a musician working at a dance hall. And the wonderful neighbor she could recall, Mrs. [Hazel] Covington.

Look closely at the fourth child, Chester I. Buckingham Jr. only 3 months old…

I’m not validating the story of the youngest sibling, Chester Ivan Buckingham, Jr. being adopted out to their Uncle Maurice Buckingham, & them having his name changed to Bruce Buckingham. However, I am saying there is a missing fourth child of this family which now cannot be denied.

I cannot imagine growing up in a world of smoking mirrors, confusion, & imposes doubt. I wish my Grands was here to share this with. I’m not sure it would’ve jarred more memories that would’ve given me more solidified clues. However, Grands would be smiling from above knowing that she is not “insane” or had some confusion. There was a fourth child at one time in her family.

1951 Sun Valley Junior High

You often forget what “artifacts” you have of ones life, even when you organize them, you tuck them away in safe places. I was getting out my Buckingham binder (a rather large 3″ 3-ring binder) to start some more posts when I stumbled upon a rather great piece: My Grands (Darlyne Buckingham) year book from 1951!! It just fell out into my lap as if she knew I needed the laughs & smiles today! (God rest her soul!)

She attended Sun Valley Junior High in 1951, located in San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles City, CA. I found few links to the history:

” In April of 1948 School officials announced that “the most charming of all the new junior high schools” in the Los Angeles system would be built in the Roscoe area. The “dream school,” Sun Valley Junior High was expected to be completed by September of 1949. However, the school did not open its doors until February 1950.
Sun Valley Junior High School was built on a 14 acre tract at Valerio Street and Bakman Avenue. The new school was designed for 1200 students in grades seven through nine. The student population grew quickly resulting in the construction of the North bungalows in 1951 on Valerio and Fair Avenue. The auditorium, P.E. field, and the south bungalows were added as the student population continued to grow.
The opening ceremony for Sun Valley Junior High was on January 29, 1950. Dr. Alexander J. Stoddard, superintendent of the Los Angeles City School System explained to students and parents, “You are about to enter Americas most up to date school.” “This school has everything a school could offer for attainment of a good education.”

My Grands was in the 9th grade & her sister was in the 7th grade. She looks awkward & fashionable, and wears a smile on her face. What I loved most was learning another side of my Grands; the pre-adult side of my Grands. She apparently was friends with some really funny gals that were even apart of the drama club. Here are the autographs in her yearbook that gave me a good laugh:

“In jail they give you coffee. In jail they give you tea. In jail they give you everything but the got-dam key. – Your friend Sylvia Cradit”

“Yours till Germany gets Hungary and cooks Turkey in Greece. – Good Luck Rosann Carlucai”

“In memory’s golden casket, Drop one pearl for me. – Sharon Petty ’51”

“Now I lay me down to sleep, with a bag of popcorn by my feet, if I die before I wake, you’ll know I died of a stomach ack. – Have fun in the B-10. Ruby Shirley S’51”

The rest of them go to a “real well, fine gal!” Grands was always picky about who she kept company with & those who were lucky enough to be in her circle really thought highly of her & found her to be a nice all around person.

“Best luck to a swell girl. – Georgette Photiadis

“To a fine gal. Best of Luck. – Rene [Lorene] Orsone”

“To a very sweet and nice girl may all your days in high school be happy ones. – Dorothy Hopkins”

“Lots of Luck to a swell girl. – Shirley Decker”

“Good Luck in the B10. – Doris Willis”

“To a cute girl one of my Best friend. – Your Friend Beverly Heasley”

“May Good Luck be with you al the days of your life. – A friends forever Janet Burt”

“The Best of Luck in B10. – ??”

“To a real fine girl with a real fine personality Lots of Luck all thro life. – Dianne Bull”

“Best of luck always to a real fine gal. Your deserve it – Sonja Fraley S’51”

“To a swell bird. Loads of luck in Senior High – Aleta Harrell”

“To a real swell, fine gal. The Best of Everything to you. – A Friend Always Janie Gaines”

“To a swell gal, a real pal, have fun with Kenny. – Shirley Duggan”

“Lots, loads and a bunch of luck to a girl I have enjoyed being friends with. – Vera Bateman”

“To a real swell gal. Loads of Luck in Hi School. – A friend always Pat Steele”

“To a real fine girl. Hope you will always have happiness in the years to come. – Always Sherry Temple”

“Lots of luck to a real real cute & fine gal. – Dirt [?]”

“To a real fine sister my sister good luck in the B10. – Your Sister [Living]”

“Grands”mothered In

Some of you have been grandfathered into all kinds of great deals & business plans. I was “grandmothered” into the Buckingham line, except that I don’t get to keep any great free texting plan or free shipping or even a end of the year bonus. Instead I get an amazing grandmother, we affectionately call Grands, and I get a really amazing Great Grandmother, a little mystery & a lot of cousins :)

My Grands is Darlyne Marie [Buckingham] Standlee (1935-2007). For some of you, you just lost interest, while for the rest of you whom are still reading, here is my mini family tree starting with my Grandmother “Grands”:

Darlyne Marie Buckingham b. 12 Nov 1935 d. 17 Feb 2007
m. 17 Sept 1957
Willie Robert Standlee b. 23 Aug 1927 d. 19 Mar 1978

Her Parents:
Sylvia Bridgeford b. 28 Nov 1915 d. 26 Sep 1990
m. 13 Jan 1935
d. 1942
Chester Ivan Buckingham b. 30 Jul 1916 d. 26 Feb 1966

Chester’s Parents:
Robert Edwin Buckingham b. 23 Oct 1884 d. 31 Jul 1926
m. 15 Aug 1903
Rosa Priscilla Ogden b. 14 Oct 1883 d. 2 Mar 1962

I stop here cause this is where things get a little mysterious….and that’s a story for another post ;)

My Grands grew up in a rather dark shadow of her family history. Her life & stories have matched those of distant cousins but never with her immediate family. A lot of information she passed onto me was from her grandmother sister Rosa (Buckingham, Ogden) Mason & her cousin Edna Buckingham.

No one seems to really know why there’s such a great divide in the information between various generations & family members, or even why some information seems so “hush hush” like skeleton’s in a closet. However, rest in assurance that is not why I am writing on the Buckinghams. My interest started with wanting to know who I am & what I am made of. So I have followed some family stories only to find facts.

Believe it or not in just these three generations are a lot of amazing & incredible stories!

Speaking of, Grands had told me more than once she heard they (the Buckinghams of her family) are connected to the Buckingham Palace. She would always snicker & say, “yeah probably just a chambermaid!”

R.E.B -or- Robert Edwin Buckingham

Robert Edwin Buckingham or REB as many of us have come to know & call him.

Depending on the researcher, Robert Edwin Buckingham, comes with a rather long list of potential birth dates. I personally have just came to the conclusion he was born on 23 October 1884 in Nebraska… somewhere.

“Why?” Well, because after many attempts to find a Mr. Robert Edwin Buckingham born in 1883 has been a good waste of time & two because working backwards (remember we work from what we know to what we don’t know) you will find his marriage record stating he was one year younger than his wife at the time of marriage, as well as, his death record & his military draft card all reflect the same year consistently. With some math you come up with two conclusions:

  1. he was born in 1884 if in August 1903 he is 18. Meaning that he would be 19 in a few short months. Thus, 1903 – 19 = 1884!
  2. also if we was born in 1883 he would have had to of been a twin to the “alleged” family of claims. His acclaimed brother, Charles E. Buckingham was born 7 September 1883. There are extremely rare cases where twins are born a few days to weeks apart, however, there is no notation of this in the family stories. Also the odds stack up against this possibility.

Now, why the “alleged”, right? Well, that’s the fun part. If Mr. REB was born in 1884, that means he would have appeared on at least TWO census records with the father he claims on his marriage record, Joseph George Buckingham. He would have appeared on the 1885 Nebraska State Census & the 1900 Census. The problem is he is NOT on either census with them! How did they just miss a child? And one that would have been just a year old?

DISCLAIMER: I’ve not completely ruled out the possible sibling being only 10-11 months older…just REB is never shown on a census with the family :)

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