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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?


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!

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.

“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!”

The Year of The Buckinghams

Last year I attempted to dedicate one year to one family line (surname): The Year of Lee! This was my husband’s paternal line. Yes, I’ve thought about how much cooler this line would have been last year during the Royal Wedding events… Dang it! Lol!

I learned that even though divine intervention derailed my year, with a main goal to focus on one family line… My focus had more focus!

I discovered that when you spend a year thinking about only one line you really open yourself up for a lot of discovery. I was also finally able to go & locate various kinds of records instead of basic vitals (birth, death, census). A slow process indeed, but I learned so much!

The Lees were much fun! Though I wasn’t able to smash the brick wall down, I was able to add a little more to the story, verify family stories, & connect with another family through a lost relative ;)

So this year is The Year of Buckingham!

Over the years I’ve made a few contacts with long lost distant Buckingham cousins & using Facebook, I’ve connected with more family! Since there’s been so much interest & correspondence… I am gonna try to focus on my Buckingham line & see what we all come up with!

The Buckinghams are my maternal grandmother’s line: Darlyne Marie Buckingham, also known as “Grands”.

(See my family tab for a quick mini family tree.)

In this family we will find all kinds of stories & characters. Our “brick wall” seems to lie with my great great grandfather: Robert Edwin Buckingham, or REB as many of us refer to him. The question: “Are his parents his biological parents or does a story of English heritage hint to an unsolved mystery?”

As the weeks pass I will introduce various ancestors & stories, and hopefully you can see the process of discovery unfold.

I ask only that you feel free to share, ask questions, & help collaborate with me :) Happy New Year 2012!

Not My Frank Lee – Take 2

In the midst of potty training & the holidays, I finally got a little piece of exciting mail. I received a letter from the Mayes County (OK) Genealogy Society yesterday. A copy of the following obit & a sticky note saying they “finally got the obit”. So here reads the blurry obit…
“Frank Lee, School Land Donor, Die; Funeral Thursday
(there is no date… nice of them huh? but math says it in 1976’ish)
Frank Lee, 81, pioneer resident of Lee Square community, eleven miles
southeast of Nowata ,died Monday at 4:00 p.m. after an extended illness.
Mr. Lee came from Indian Territory in 1895 from Springfield, MO.
He was well known throughout this area, and donated the acre of land
for the building of Lee Square school, which also served as a community center
for many year. He was active in and enjoyed the local singing conventions,
many of which were held at Lee Square.
Funeral services will be conducted Thursday at 2 p.m. in the Benjamin Funeral Home,
with Rev. Harvey Hardin, pastor of First Christian Church in Chelsea, officiating.
Interment will be in the Ball Cemetery.
Survivors include the wife, Mrs. Ella Lee, of the home, three sons,
Tony Lee, Springfield, MO, Florance Lee, Beneca, MO, and Frank Lee, Bartlesville;
five daughters, Mrs. Jim McMatin, Cody’s Bluff, Mrs. Paul Milam, Bartlesville,
Mrs. F. C. Myers, MIdland, TX, Mrs. T.O. Mason, Manhattan, KS, and Mrs. Edna Grant, Wollard, MO;
one sister, Mrs. J.C. Weaver, San Gabriel, CA, and one half-brother, Guy Murray.
Casket bearers include Louis Nitters [?], Lonnie Allison, Mayden Marney,
Georger Frauenberger, Bob Cox, and Lon Myers.”
Well, I can say this is NOT our Frank Lee. Good news is that this little piece of paper saves me a lot of endless unproductive research. The above Frank Lee, buried at Ball Cemetery with his first wife Maude P[auline] Lee. The above Frank has a son Frank of Bartlesville, OK in 1976’ish who was born 1922,… our Frank Lee was born 1900 & was definitely not living in Bartlesville, OK in 1976’ish. Our times lines don’t match up at all!
The 1895 date out of “Indian Territory” jumped out at me, but they came from Springfield, MO. That isn’t what we have known to this date.
The truth is that our Neuhaus family connection moved from Milwaukee, WI to Chicago, IL, at the same time that their mysterious “daughter” would have been pregnant with our Frank Lee b. 1900. They would have had to have met in Milwaukee or Chicago before any move to OK.
My research now turns to the old-fashioned way of requesting death records from the Cook County Clerk. Both daughters & the wife of Emil Neuhaus died before him. There has to be a record of something somewhere… and a lot of Chicago papers to search. I also need to track down the correct marriage for our Herman Neuhaus & see if there is any living cousins that can give us a helpful hint :)
I am going to work this Lee year to the very end :D
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