Tuesday, May 25, 2010


SO you find the cemetery and go there.
You have the cemetery map and the plot information.
You have all the data and facts you could find.

Your there - standing at the plot - and no Tombstone :(... Maybe nothing at all but bare dirt. What a letdown is that!

DON'T GIVE UP! Get Down - start digging!!!!

I've gone to cemeteries with all my facts and maps and ect.. Camera ready, sketch pad & pencils & chalk ( I like to use a Newsprint pad with it's brown paper and I freehand draw what I see. The layout of the plot and what the stone says. As many details and I can. ) , ready and ........... no stone. You'll find that even when you take lots of pictures, you'll get home and not be able to make out what the stone says. WaHHHH! .... but stop and think.

It doesn't take long for weeds and grass to take over anything. Leaves fall ... dirt washes over and sediment grows.
I went to one plot where I was so disappointed to find NO stones. So I sat down and thought for a minute. Many cemeteries lay their old stones flat to protect them ( outside the USA too ) , many fall down over time. The 1906 earthquake in SAn Francisco, California toppled many works of art in the cemeteries. I scrounged around and found a strong dead tree branch and started scraping & digging. Way under the leaves and some dirt I found the man's stone. So then I figured his wife who wasn't mentioned on his, must have her own. So I dug around and found hers. Then I figured some children must be nearby too. So I dug around and found them.

Nature will bury them again, as they are on a wooded hill. But I got my photos and had a great time finding this buried treasure. How more disappointing it would have been, if I hadn't just sat down to enjoy the atmosphere for a little while, and thought things out.

Now I always have a few things in my car, under that back seat. Too many times I've just happened to be in the area and popped into a cemetery, with nothing to help me. So now I keep some yard gloves, a little yard tool of somekind - maybe a hand trowel or small shovel, a rough brush of somekind - a horse's currycomb is good .. especially an old one that isn't too stiff, & an old toothbrush is always my best friend.

Many times I've had to dig or scratch away dirt at the bottom of a stone. As the buildup of soil covers the bottom lines of writing. Moss, mildew & dirt fill in images and writing. Often just some good rubbing with a cloth, wipes off stuff so I can read the stone or make out the images.
Anyway, whatever works for you.

So another day down, I don't have to report for Jury Duty Summons. My fingers are getting tired of being X'd that my juror number won't be called. Now, I'm not shirking my civic duty. I've sat on juries and it seems I get the summons every other year. But - why does it seem the county picks on me. How come none of my relatives get the call? Oh well, can't fight it - altho after so many times, I have some ideas of how to get let go. Like the much older gentleman who fell asleep in the jury box, head nodding and chin on his chest, his hearing aid whistling. Like in a movie, the entire courtroom quietly looked at him at the same time and all knew what was happening. The judge thanked & dismissed him, and called the alternate up.
Too much hassle going in & out of the courthouse now with the security checkin line. I just stay inhouse for lunch and breaks. If you really want to piss off a judge, just show up late anytime. No excuse is acceptable. Got some good books to take by Lincoln Child & Clive Cussler, and my crosswords.

Happy Trails, Katiebird

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Sidetracked by BALLOU from Treasure Chest Thursday

Great Morning ALL,

Arrrrgh! Keep getting sidetracked from entering about ggGrandma Jane but she doesn't mind waiting a bit ( XX fingers - "HI, up There Grandma" :) Read Leslie Ann Ballou made the idea for 'Treasure Chest Thursday'.
BALLOU is now stuck in my head, so have to write about this and get it out.

John Bradford Tupper, my ggGrandfather. When his brother Seth, died back in New Hampshire, he invited Seth's widow & 2 sons, to come live with him & his 7 children in Graton or now called Sebastopol, California. John was a widower when his wife, Martha Douglass died.
AFter most of the children had grown and gone, John and Seth's widow - Elizabeth Kimball Tupper married.

Elizabeth was affectionately called, 'Auntie Tupper' by her large 2nd family.
Auntie Tupper's sister, was CAtherine Kimball who married, John Quincy Adams BAllOU.
This Mr. Ballou was the famous founder of the dried fruit industry in San Jose, California. He's easy to read about online.

My current relatives had lost track of what happened to Auntie Tupper. It was a tough search but I found the end of her story. Especially with some great help from my sister. & in doing so, am now happily in touch with some descended relatives of this BALLOU line. I'll get more loaded on my laptop, so I can share things about them. It's a small, small world isn't it!

Happy Trails, Katiebird

Monday, May 17, 2010

'Monday Happiness' not Monday Madness!

.I scored so hugely last week, it'll keep me going for a long time.
Back in 1960 my family lived in Arkansas and the Beville's were our good friends there. Fast forward to 1985 and my Mom is dying of cancer. After so many years we were out of touch, but I connected K Beville. She sent out to me here in California, a lovely letter and included pictures. Gave Mom some happy hours which I'm grateful for. Now over the years the letter disappeared and I couldn't find them anymore. I'd putter along at it but never found anything. Pretty Maddening when you can't find someone - Right? We left Arkansas with about 10 pictures, and 5 of them have the Beville's in them. With my scanner now I could share them.

So here we are 25 years later. Last week I visited with K Beville on the phone, YEAH!!!!!!!!!!

How did I do that?

Well, so many things are coming online now. I found the town in Arkansas has a newspaper website now, so I put an inquiry entry there. Nothing came of that. Figured before I went looking all over for them, I should make sure I had Beville spelled right. So I emailed the Police Station there and asked them if anyone there remembered the family? got a nice reply that the Station wasn't there in 1960 and so couldn't help, but suggested why don't I try the city clerk's office?

So I found the city clerk's online and emailed them with my story. Got a nice reply that a lady who worked part-time there knew the family's daughter. If I left my phone number, she'd call me when she comes in. & she did. She gave me an address, email address, home phone # & cell phone #'s. Talk about a *****GOLD MINE******.
Now when I tried one of the cell numbers it belonged to someone else. So I shot off a letter with all my contact info, just before the postal lady came. You won't believe this but K Beville called me the next day!
What a great USPS we have.
K and I were on the phone a long time, and are now emailing each other.

Maybe this worked because our town in Arkansas is so small. Hey! their growing. got 2 stop lights now & one of 'em WalMart put in. But the idea of the search should work AnyTown USA. Get out of the mindbox and think creatively. Everyplace & everyone has an address and usually a phone. I personally write letters every day off to people & places looking for information. & if they can't help - do they know anything or have any advice to give me. Do they know anyone else I might contact for help or information. I love my volunteers who have helped me & can't praise them enough.

So don't get Mad - get busy. Noone's gonna knock on your door and just hand you stuff. HOW are they gonna know, if you don't go looking. So make some new friends and learn some new stuff. Write to strangers and have some fun. Good Luck

Happy Trails, Katiebird

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Wordless Wednesday "Put A Stamp On IT!"

How can I stay wordless when I LOVE stamps so much. Stamps from Wales, UK came this week, on genealogy correspondence. I love the Darwin zoology and the other 3 made me get out the magnifying glass.

Wonder if Dr. Lister is any connection with "LISTERINE mouthwash"? Oh come on - If you haven't heard of Dr. Lister, then get cracking and learn some history. He's one of the standout Dr.s of why we have such safe medicine now.

I became a stamp nut when I was about 9, rummaging around in Grandma Alma's closet and pulled out an old stamp album. Asked her if I could have it and she gave it to me ( & I still have it ).

Went GAGA for the idea of the jigsaw puzzle shape. Made me curious about stamps in the UK, so just popped in some search words on the laptop and checked out the results. Several sites with pictures, besides the official www.royalmail.com.


CAn you say, DAVE McKEAN and NEIL GAIMAN? If you don't know these names then "I pity the fool" ( ya have to say it like Mr. T ) & IF you don't know Terry Pratchett or Douglass Adams ( sniff - sniff ) then your in worse shape than I thought. Get yourself to the bookstore right away - "Don't PANIC". My old Discworld paperback covers and Hitchhiker's covers are treasures. They switched over to a different artist and don't print those beautiful originals over here in the USA. Reminds me of the art on the Mars book covers, by Edgar Rice Burroughs. I got those when I was a kid.

Wouldn't you love to buy and use these pictures?

Many more designs and themes, ( the old red mailboxes caught my eye!) Aren't the FAntaSy ones here gorgeous?

You thought genealogy was just stuffy, dusty old files, name and dates, HA!

Happy Trails, Katiebird


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday "LOST & FOUND & LOST again & FOUND again"

Sunny California Morning Everyone,

Tombstones, This subject is a personal project near and dear to my heart. I won't even be able to scratch the surface of it all here. That will take more blogs down the road. I started my first Tombstone pictures ages ago, like 30 + years ago. When I asked my Mom to show me the family plot in the cemetery. It had been so many years since she'd been there & it took us some time looking around for her to recognize it. I took polaroids of it. Raise your hands, who remembers polaroids?
Over the years, as I've found the different people and the graveyards they are at rest in, I photographed their gravestones. And let me say I LOVE cemeteries. To me they are the best art galleries and everybody should get out to them and spend some time. They are happening places. People go now to cemeteries, and jog, walk, think, sketch, relax, hike, photograph, eat their meals, sightsee .... go for yourself. Every single cemetery office I've called or gone in person to talk with or written to, have been super helpful and friendly.

Hey, I have been a science fiction junky since I could watch TV and hold a book, and I've seen most of the worst stories about cemeteries. But being in a cemetery in real life has never once given me any creeps!

Maybe because my great GRandfather, EWM Evans, - Jane's oldest son, owned the Cypress Hills Tombstone and Monument, I feel so comfortable about it. But I think I would feel this comfortable even so.

So lost and found and lost again and found again. I had amassed a good pile of tombstone pictures on my laptop and decided to get them off to discs, which I had never done before. Of course, I lost my entire file of digital photos. Put in the newly copied disc and nothing - blank, Wahhhhhhh :( . . .
So here's a tip. If your going to try something new, do it with something you don't care about. Make up a dummy and practice with it before you try it on your good stuff.

Many I had taken, many from volunteers around the USA and many from overseas. Thank God, some I have are actual paper photos. Photos in hand - the best backup. I was crushed for months. Then told myself that if I wanted those pictures bad enough, I'd get off my depression and write to my volunteers again. Tell them what happened and beg and sob and plead - offer my first born, if they could resend things to me. Yeah! I felt stupid and embarrassed, telling them what I had done. But I wanted those photos bad enough to get over myself, so I pulled up the laptop and wrote to everybody. Let me tell you, every single person I rewrote to, felt so bad for me. Everyone has lost things with their computers & they completely understood. Some actually still had their photos for me, filed away in their computer. They just had to find which file they were in. Others were happy to go back and make new pictures for me. Some, I've forgotten who had sent them before, and I found new volunteers.

The super special, dear ones to my heart, were the ones I took when my daughters could go with me. I had snaps of them helping me clean brush off, clean up and find stones. What makes these easier to replace, is now I know where those people are, and
"Oh Darn, honey! Mom needs you to help her get out to this cemetery today".

Happy Trails Katiebird

Monday, May 10, 2010

Madness Monday - Would be easier to crack Fort Knox!

Hi Everybody,

Hope everyone had a great weekend as I had. Including hearing from the 2 best daughters in the entire WORLD. Now that I've totally annoyed them by mentioning them here, "MOMMMMM", I'll get on with it.

Madness Monday .... sounds like a cutsey title doesn't it? Like a sale at the store, bingo day of the week, whatever. Madness - we've all heard it runs in families, maybe it's inherited. Not sure I totally agree with that, but it does seem to surface thru the generations in families.

So you always heard relative X went into an institution or was kept in the attic or what? Have you just stopped with that. NOOOOOOO I never just accept the story. How are you going to get anywhere if you just think of things as brick walls. Stop thinking about brick walls. That kills your creative thinking & whoever came up with that phrase !

When you think of it as hitting a brick wall, that's like being in your car on the side of the road with car trouble. You put up the window sign "NEED HELP!", then wait and hope someone pulls over to assist you. You could sit there and turn into a pile of rust before a good samaritan comes along.

Get out and start walking .. remember good old walking! Stand in the middle of the road and make someone stop, call for help ( guess almost everyone has a cell phone or those car computers now ), light a fire, throw something at a passing vehicle and make them see you, .......... ect. START THINKING! Use your noodle. Almost every day I send letters, email or postal, looking for different information. I PICKUP THE PHONE AND CALL. What are you waiting for? Why do you think people & offices have phones? So no-one will call them? I bought my first Everton book, geesh over 40 years ago, and now with the internet I barely open it any more. So many offices and places are getting websites and more all the time.

Don't give up because someone was in an institution. My ancestors weren't always 'insane'. If you look at the records, some people were. There were also those who in todays world would have gone to a clinic for rest and therapy. They just had breakdowns, got ill and were run down, or were overwhelmed for a time. Some were old with no family, or homeless and destitute. Many institutions were like self sufficient little villages. I think the practices of gardening & farming should never have been taken out of such places. These places weren't jails. People could go visit home and come back.
Some were afflicted with senility, sometimes dangeously to other family and so were taken out of their homes. Very sad, and not even all of todays pills can help everyone.

Study up on the subject. Old San Francisco used the abandoned ships the gold hunters left in the bay, to house patients. Before the various asylums in California were built. Anything and everything can lead to records or places to look for information.

The point is no-one is going to come rushing up to your face and say, "Here is the information your looking for", and just hand things to you. You have to look - look - look and along the way like I did, happily learn a lot of history, geography, and genealogy. Even genealogy about totally unrelated families to you if that 's what it takes. Don't be an information snob if you want to succeed.

Happy Trails, Katiebird

Friday, May 7, 2010

Uncle Joe ....... So what's the big deal?

My dear penpal in Ireland, Irene, wrote to me this week,

"A dear cousin who was most interested in my family research died recently and we were so moved when we found he had chosen "What a Friend we have in Jesus " for his funeral."

Irene is the 1st person to share a personal story in their life, with a connection of Joseph, with me. Gave me a strange feeling. I never thought anything about him when I was a kid or growing up. It's only now as I'm older and starting this blog that I'm trying to look at him differently. Learning that Joseph's life is still helping people in today's world.

When you grow up knowing your related to someone - it's no big deal. There's none of that hero worship or stars in the eyes, whatever you want to call it, that people on the outside of the family circle have. You just take it for granted and don't really think about it.

"Who? Joseph Scriven. Oh yeah that guy ... he's one of my older uncles or something. Wasn't he sort of Grandma's brother or ??? " ( Kids- what do they know )

To my older relations he was just Uncle Joe, and of course that filters down to thru the kids. He was ggGrandma's brother, like anybody else on the family tree. Their only another name when you get back that far. And just like some other important names. After all he died almost 124 years ago.

So now I look at Joseph and try to see he's not just a name in the past. Some old relatives name to fill in a blank on the family tree. He is part of my family, part of my ancestry, & I am really connected to this man who is so well remembered and thought of. Who helped so many people way back then and still does today. It's an odd feeling knowing that soooo many people in the world, know about of one of your relatives. Not to learn about for a history test or just a name in a dusty old encyclopedia set- oops! I mean wikipedia . But that people think about him, actually talk about him, and he's helping them in their daily lives NOW -TODAY.

I think he would be dumbfounded, to look down thru the years, and see that his words & life, really affected people and he is so well remembered and spoken of. When so often in his own time, it seemed no-one was listening.

Thank you so much for sharing that with me, Irene.

Happy Trails, Katiebird

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Wordless Wednesday "Blogging for Dummies"

Hi Everyone,

Had a good joke on myself when I ad-libbed earlier about a dummies book. Then I wondered if there really was something like that out there. ( I'm so behind the times ) So I got onto www.worldcat.org, which I use ALL THE TIME. But that's another blog and look what I found! A great happy surpirse to find this book at several of my local libraries. I'm almost finished reading it and then someone else can use it :)

I'm still in pre-school on doing a lot of internet & blogging stuff and need every help I can find.

Happy Trails, Katiebird

Sunday, May 2, 2010

WHERE did she say Banbridge is?????

A pictures worth a 1000 words. So instead of me writing 1000 words, take a look instead.

Ask any bus driver and they can tell you, if there's 1 fly inside the bus, of the whole inside of that damn big bus, it's right in the dash area going around the drivers head. Not bothering the guy asleep in the very last seat at the back, or anyone else. Yeah, I'm a bus driver and ya know - you can't be driving down the highway with a bus full of passengers and be looking crazy swatting at a fly at the same time. I could turn on all the windshield blowers, turn on any fans near me, open the little toll booth window, and hope when the door was open, then try to shoo it out.

That's the way something was in my head about the location I wrote for Banbridge. This little thing was flying around inside my noggin. Mostly catching my eye at the back of my brain, but sometimes coming close enough to swat at.

"Hey, I think I was a little off on my description of the location for Banbridge. Hmmm, maybe I should pull up a map and take a look."

I can hear the Irish'rs groaning at me, 'tourist'. Ha! Ha! That's OK, I don't mind. I was off.
I also drew in a marker to Rostrevor, County Down, Ireland. Edward Kentish Evans, Jane's husband, came from Rostrevor.

Yahoo Ireland, tells me it's from;

Banbridge, County Armagh to Rostrevor, County Down about 20 miles & 30 min
Banbridge, County Armagh to Belfast, County Down about 25 miles & 33 min
Banbridge, County Armagh to Dublin, County Dublin about 80 miles & 1 hour 22 min

Yeah, I know these are measured for cars today, but it gives a ballpark idea of distance. You can imagine how long it would take to walk, or ride in a conveyance of some sort, by a horse or other back in the 1800's.

Hope everyone had a great Sunday, Happy Trails, Katiebird