Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Those Collaterals (siblings, etc. of direct line)

My whole purpose with writing this blog is to record and share with my cousins what I know about our family's ancestors. It is a way of organizing the papers, pictures, pedigree charts, and assorted slips of paper that came from my mother, the saver of everything. And in the case of genealogy, how glad I am that she did.

Growing up where my mother's family had lived for generations, I was very familiar with my maternal collaterals. My great grandmother's brother and sister-in-law lived close by. Their daughter, my first cousin twice removed, is the source of much of the Vorhies genealogy.

I thought I knew about my dad's side. He was born in Lake City where my great grandmother Emma Borden lived when I was young. She had a couple of sisters, Great Great Aunt Mae and Great Great Aunt Alice. They were the children of George J. DeHart. He seemed to be quite a prominent member of that community. He left Iowa and moved to Texas with his second wife and daughter ( GGrandma Emma Susan DeHart Borden's  half sister). I have written about George Jackson DeHart and found his grave in Dalhart, Texas a year or two ago. There is quite a lot of research already done on the DeHart side. The needed information for membership in Daughter's of the American Revolution traces back to Abraham DeHart. This is not new information.

So where am I going with this, you might ask. I mentioned in my Easter 2016 that I had recently received (on loan) some of my aunt's genealogy papers. I am just starting to look at them. The very first paper I read is a photocopy of the obituary of William Calahill  DeHart. I have come across that name when doing DeHart research but I would need to do a little more to confirm what I think. I think he is George Jackson DeHart's brother. And he lived in Lake City.
Who Knew? More collaterals in Lake City to explore.

The same thing has happened on Dad's side. I have mentioned in  Cousins  I knew very little about the origins of my Great Grandmother, Jennie Emily Olmstead Wright. After some late night obsessive explorations, I have found her parents. I learned that they along with Jennie's younger siblings  moved from Illinois to Sac City, Iowa.  This was about the time Jennie and her new husband, Charles Howard Wright, settled in that same community.

Who knew?

I am still amazed at the geographical closeness of these collaterals. Lake City and Sac City, both, had more ancestors and collaterals than I realized.

Thanks to my Aunt Bonnie, I now have more information on the DeHarts, the Wrights, and the Olmsteads.

My Aunt Bonnie and me.
She is so pretty, and I have a stupid curl on top of my head.

I imagine the  furtherest thing from her mind was that I would be picking up her genealogy research about 65+ years after this photo was taken.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Happy Easter 2016

Last year I wrote a post about Easter. It was a little walk down memory lane. It can be read here. Easter 2015. I hope you will read it because this is a slight continuation from one year ago.

I mention the memories of my cousin and me in our Easter dresses standing in the front yard on our farm. Oh, how I had wished last year that I had that picture to show. Well, a year has gone by, and I have run across the photo. I knew I had it, but I just didn't know where. A copy turned up in some recently obtained papers and photos belonging to my aunt whose son and daughter are in the picture with me.

Susie, Billy, Margie

And then, last summer I found another treasure. Have I mentioned I have trouble throwing anything away.  It is well known that I inherited this trait/gene/fault from my mother. I have been working on cleaning out the old farm house (not the one from the picture), but the one my parents lived in since 1969. Mom had a closet built under the stairway. It is one of those that go on forever and can store a myriad of treasures. Some of those treasures went straight to the burn pile, but others were saved. Now what to do with these saved treasures. Imagine my surprise when I came across these.

Now in a perfect world, you would be looking at a picture of the very hats my cousin and I are wearing in the photo above instead of a piece of clipart.  Yes, I found the hats. Why had she saved hats that were about 60 years old? They are in perfect condition as you would see if I could produce the photo. Oh, well. I have my post addition for next Easter. I know I will find it by then.

Enjoy your Easter Sunday with family and/or friends. And think about Easter Sunday 2017 post when you get to see the photo of the hats. Or maybe I will just share it when I run across it again. Life is short. We don't need to be counting the days until next year.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016


Someday, many years from now, my descendants might enjoy reading a clipping from the March 2016 Scranton Journal. It is taken from the 50 years ago column, but it seems like yesterday to me.

Oh, how time flies!
Remember to enjoy each and every day.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Mondays With Mary about the Wrights

As I perused the 1994 calendar journal of my mom's, I realize this was the year that my dad's other brother passed away. There were only three of those Wright brothers. The other five children were girls. Just recently I shared the information that my Uncle Gene, seventh child of Albert and Nina Wright had passed away January 25, 2016.  On February 23, 1994, their fourth child, Al, died of cancer. Uncle Al was the first of their eight children to die. The past few entries on Cousins has been about the Wrights. This seems to fit my current goal of writing about my paternal family.

Wednesday, February 23, 1994

18 degrees @ 5:20 a.m. 6 to 8 inches of new snow.
Jon out & cleaned out the yard when he fed cows.
Vern & Jon went to Jeff to sign for disaster payment
cut out & pieced a 14 in. block for Louise Hupp.
Ina & Norma called to tell us Al W. died of cancer.

Looking back two weeks to...

Wednesday, February 9, 1994
11 below at 6 a.m. down to 13 below & below 0 all day
water line to stool froze - got it thawed out- another cow froze & died.  Read & sewed off & on all day.  talked to Al & Norma
to-nite. still haven't found out what his problem is.

A few days before this must have been the first my parents knew something was wrong.

Sunday, February 6, 1994

22 degrees @ 7:15 a.m. getting
colder all day. sun shining
Ina called to tell us about Al Wright

Looking ahead in the calendar, I see that Mary and Vern ( my mom and dad) took the train to Idaho to help with Uncle Al's farm sale.  Watch for these details in an upcoming Mondays With Mary feature.

Also, I have changed the Featured Post at the top of the right hand column. Did you notice? I chose the story about Grandma Nina Wright's own words. Remember, she was the mother of Vern, Al, and Gene Wright along with their five sisters.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Sac County, Iowa

Recently, I attended a genealogical conference in Arizona. The society hosting the event had several tables of old books for sale. It is always fun to peruse old books. One never knows what might turn up. One certainly would not expect to stumble upon a doorstop sized 1914 history of Sac County, Iowa. Iowa has 99 different counties, but I am only interested in about three. Greene County, Calhoun  County, and you guessed it...Sac County.

My interest in Sac County is because this is where my great- grandparents settled around 1883 about a year after they were married. This is my dad's dad's side of the family and the one I thought I was going to write about this winter.  I have only skimmed a few of the pages of this tome.  I actually don't expect to find anything on the Wright name even though they were reasonably prominent people of the area. I learned through a recent experience with writing a county history that the residents themselves have to write, submit, and pay to be included. This was the process in the early 1900's as well.

My great grandparents, Charles and Jennie, had five children. My grandfather, Albert, was number four. My grandfather's siblings were just names to me. It took several years of genealogy work to sort them out. I knew a few stories . I knew my dad hung out a lot with his cousin, Charlie. Charlie was named for their grandfather, Charles. Cousin Charlie and his sisters were raised by their grandparents because their mother had died. I knew my dad had a cousin named Russell, who died in WWII. I knew dad had another cousin who was an only child and whose mother's name was Hattie. I thought Hattie was a cool name. I have a couple of memories of my great grandparents. And then there is my favorite story.

My mother told me that dad's grandparents were financially well off. When  mom and dad were first married in late 1941,  they went to visit dad's grandparents. Mom accompanied Grandma Jennie downtown to do some shopping. They went in and out of many different stores purchasing assorted items. She bought new sheets for one thing but I don't remember what else. Grandma Jennie carried  a large shopping bag into each store out of which she would take out a $20 bill. She would pay for purchased item or items and then, she would throw the change in her bag. At the next store, she would take out another $20 bill, pay for the item or items and then throw the change loose into the bag. This went on store after store. When mom told me this story as I was growing up she would marvel at how much that would be in today's economy. Today was not 2016 but sometime in the 60's. And now I say, I wonder how much those twenties would be worth today.

Oh, the wonders of the internet. I found a site to help me answer the question about which I just pondered.  The answer: $20.00 in 1941 had the same buying power as $335.50 in 2016. Wow!

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Charles and Jennie Wright Famiy

I have another genealogy conference under my belt. It was well organized and very informative.  One of the jokes (I always remember the jokes) suggested if you really want to learn all there might be to know about your ancestors, you should run for political office.  I might suggest that posting a blog might accomplish the same goal.  Below I have a couple of pictures of my great- grandparents and their five children. Please let me know if I have misidentified anyone.
Youngest child is Amos. Seated is Albert. Flora, Byron, and Hattie are in the last row left to right. Grandpa Charlie and Grandma Jennie also seated.
Many years later, they are in a similar arrangement. Amos, the youngest, is to the right of Grandpa Charlie. To the left of Amos, is Flora, Byron, Hattie, and Albert. Grandma Jennie is seated between and Grandpa Charlie and Albert.

Below I am repeating these pictures in a larger size. They will go off the page, but might be better for closer observation.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Uncle Gene

On Saturday, March 12, a memorial wake was held in Cody, Wyoming for my Uncle Gene. I am, of course, very sad to not be there.  I do want to acknowledge this day and send love to all those who were as blessed as I was at having him be part of our lives.

His obituary was included in the post I wrote called Wednesdays With Wrights Again.  Click the highlighted title to follow the link.

Friday, March 11, 2016


No one is sick. I did get your attention though, didn't I?

It was another paper sorting day recently, and I came across something to share. I have noticed several bloggers in the blogosphere are retired teachers.  I have cousins who are teachers and many friends who have spent time in the classroom. Of course, all parents have undoubtedly experienced this as well. I think everyone will enjoy this poem. Also, now I have another piece of paper to throw out and can find this writing again on my blog whenever I want. Life is good. And Spring is coming.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Wordless Wednesday is Speechless

For anyone who knows my dad, you know he is terrified of water. Just terrified. So, imagine my shock at uncovering the following pictures.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Chickens...a memory

To this day, I hate chickens.  If you have ever had to use a stick to dig the chicken poop from between your toes on a summer day when you were a kid, you understand.  In my childhood, chickens didn't come from cellophane wrapped packages in the meat section of the grocery store.  Chickens ran freely around our farm yard with the single purpose of terrorizing me.

It was my job to help gather eggs.  I hated the job because I hated the chickens. They scared me.  Mom would tell me just to shoo them away. But she was big, and I was little.  I didn't seem to receive the same respect from the fowls as Mom did.

One day when were about to leave to go into town I was sent to see if there were any eggs in the chicken house.  As I came walking back from the orchard and the chicken house toward civilization, I noticed in the corner of my eye, the big old rooster and his frightening beak running directly toward me.  Decision time.  He was too close to outrun and in my imagination I felt him pecking at the calves of my legs.  I carefully lowered the egg basket to the ground (smart enough not to let the eggs break), put my face into a slight indentation on the ground, covered my eyes and began to scream.

Mom heard my screams from inside the house and came running.  She said as she rounded the shed, all she could see was me on the ground with the rooster pecking at my head and blood flying everywhere.  Dad was a step behind her with the shotgun.  Mom ran toward the attacking rooster, shooed him away from me and Dad opened fire on the culprit.  Evidently he killed the beast with the first shot, but kept pumping the gun.  Mom shouted that they could use the rooster for stew but she said by the time Dad emptied the gun,  there were only a few feathers left.

The part of the story which always warmed my heart was that Dad emptied the gun of all the shot into that rooster who had attacked his little girl. Oh, how he must have been angry to react as he did. Upon reading this story, my editor and husband, said anyone who had hunted with Dad knew he always emptied his gun at whatever he shot. Hmm. Maybe my special memory is just a little flawed.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

March 5, 2016- Blogiversary

I have learned while surfing around in the Blogsphere that bloggers often make mention of their blogiversary - which is the day their blog started.

Thus, I would like to announce that today is my 1st blogiversary. My first published post was on March 5, 2015 and is titled Getting Started.  Recently, Blogger added a new feature called Featured Blog. It can be found on the right hand side of the screen. Readers can go there to re-read this first post if interested. Those who receive email posts may not be able to see this feature. I hope you will take some time to check out the blog itself (www.margietolsdorf.blogspot.com)  and view this feature along with the others I will be mentioning. This first feature blog is the very first writing I posted one year ago. I will be changing this feature blog from time to time, but I will alert you when that happens. 

After a year, I have created a jumble of posts about my dad's family, my mom's family, my husband's family, my travels, my treasures, my photos, my mom's calendar, etc., etc. The jumble just keeps twisting and turning. Of course, one can go to the blog archive on the right hand side of the screen and find any one of the past year's 170 posts. Too much work for most casual readers. Some future family genealogist might dig through it all, but most readers are not going to do that.

I have tried to find a way to help readers find a particular reading that has to do with their surname or other interest. I thought I had found it when I created the Index Page. Have you ever tried it? The Index Page is a tab at the top of the blog. The tabs are Home, Photo Album, About Me, and Index Page. The Photo Album has been neglected, but the Index Page is full of information. It is a stationary page that just sits there unlike regular posts which pile up one on top of another somewhat like placing one piece of paper on top of another.

The second feature on the right of the screen is called Search Cousins.

Again, I believe these can only be seen from the actual blog. The right hand column is cut off when reading a post in email.

Call me a slow learner, but as I am goofing around, I realize what a great feature this is. Suppose you are a cousin on my husband's mother's side of the family. A post about the Bordens, my father's maternal side, is not of much interest to you. But by using the Search Blog window, one can insert Reeder and the posts with that name will come up.  This along with the index should get you to your surname of choice whether it be Augustus, Wright, Tolsdorf, Grisso, DeHart, Phillips, etc. Information on these surnames is not equal at this time. Genealogy is a slow process.

The next features show:

Geneabloggers- This takes the reader to an online community created by Thomas MacEntee. My Cousins blog is listed in this community under Genealogy Blog Roll.

Translate - I am happy that I included this feature since I have had responses from places like Spain, Poland, Ukraine, etc.

Follow by Email - I believe this is a feature used by several of my regular readers. It makes my ramblings easily accessible and readers don't have to remember to go to the site.

Between the featured posts, search blog window, and blog archives, you should be able to consolidate the posts that feature your particular branch of your particular tree.

Blog Archive This is where my almost 170 blog entries are stacked one on top of the other like a pile of papers. The last dated entry is always the one on top.

(Click on colored words to go directly to the example)

I continue to learn new features on the Blogger Platform and to try different ways to present our families' stories to whomever might be interested. Often I share part of my mother's diary calendars on Mondays With Mary. Wednesday is a good day for a short post featuring a photo like this one from last week. And even though this is a genealogy blog, it is my blog to post items of interest to share  and also leave a little of myself on these pages for my grandchildren to know me better.

Thank you to all my readers on this -  my first blogiversary.  I hope you will stick around for another year.  Thanks for reading.