Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Fearless Females - Advice

March 30 - Did you receive any advice or words of wisdom from your mother or another female ancestor?

Sure.  Wouldn't be a Mom without giving advice.  Nothing really sharable here.  Didn't always follow the advice, but usually did.  Sorry, not much more I can make of this particular blog prompt!

Wordless Wednesday - Alta May Day

Mrs. Estel E. Dillman, Alta May Day. Hand colored.

Wordless Wednesday – a great way to share your old family photos! Create a post with the main focus being a photograph or image. Some posters also include attribute information as to the source of the image (date, location, owner, etc.). Wordless Wednesday is one of the longest running “memes” in the blogosphere and is an ongoing series at GeneaBloggers.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday - Rudolph & Margaret (Grus) Grunloh

Rudolph Grunloh was born 01 Nov 1834 in Oldenburg, Germany.  He married Margaret Grus, who was born 02 Feb 1836 in Loeningen, Oldenburg, Germany.  The two of them immigrated to the United States prior to 10 Oct 1873, when their first child Johanna Grunloh was born in Avon, Stearns County, Minnesota.  Rudolph and Margaret homesteaded there.  They were some of the early pioneers of that part of Stearns County.  They are buried together in the old Saint Benedict's Parish Cemetery, Avon, Stearns County, Minnesota, which is a stone's throw off of Interstate 94 tucked into a little copse of trees.  Their stone is in excellent condition, clearly readable, which is not the case for a number of other stones in that cemetery.

Rudolph and Margaret (Grus) Grunloh, old St. Benedict's Cemetery, Avon, Stearns County, Minnesota.

Tombstone Tuesday – To participate in Tombstone Tuesday simply create a post which includes an image of a gravestone of one or more ancestors and it may also include a brief description of the image or the ancestor. This is an ongoing series at GeneaBloggers.

Fearless Females - Trading Card

March 29 - Create a free Footnote Page or a Genealogy Trading Card at Big Huge Labs for a female ancestor. Some of you may have created your own card back in September 2009 following Sheri Fenley’s post over at The Educated Genealogist. This time, the card is for your female ancestor. Tell us about who you've selected and why and then post a link to what you've created.

I took the Big Huge Labs route and created a trading card for my paternal grandmother, Alta May Day. She was the grandparent I knew best, the one I got to spend the most time with.  She's the one who got me on the family history track.  She's the one who left us copious written memoirs and pictures, arranged by date in albums, so that we can remember who came before us, and what their lives were like.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Maritime Monday - Navy Log Pictures Pt. 2

Stock photos of pretty much every US Navy ship have been available since photography became popular.  My grandfather included a bunch of pictures of various classes of ship in his Navy Log.  I'm curious to know if he just grabbed pictures of any ships he came across, or whether these are all ships he personally saw and sailed near?  I'll never know, as he died in 1982, well before I knew this log book even existed, and before my own stint in the Navy.  These pictures are great for history buffs who are also military buffs, as you can see some vintage machines that have been scrap for many decades now.

I mentioned last time that Naval Aviation was getting started?  Actually, these are from 1927-1030, so Naval Aviation was well underway, but the planes are still the vintage pre-WW2 biplanes made of fabric over wooden frames, very limited in range and payload.  Three other pictures in the logbook are the USS Lexington (CV-2), USS Saratoga (CV-3),  and the USS Langley (CV-1).  The Langley was the first aircraft carrier, being a converted collier (USS Jupiter AC-3).

 On a lighter note, sailors love their comics.  This is as true today (or when I was enlisted, 20 years ago) as it was back in my grandfather's day.  Here's a sampling he included in his log book:

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sunday Obituary - Michael Hengel


Michael Hengel, of Route 4, St. Cloud died Saturday evening at 5:50 after a week's illness. He was born in Rockville, son of Mr. and Mrs. Math Hengel, now deceased, March 20, 1871.

Mrs. Hengel (Catherine Undersander) and the following children survive, Michael Jr., St. Joseph; Victor, St. Cloud and Albert, Gertrude and Alma at home. There are five grandchildren surviving and Joseph Hengel, Staples, Math, Hayward, California; John of St. Cloud and Mrs. D. J. Kostello, Minneapolis and Mrs. Mary Eichers, Cold Spring, are surviving brothers and sisters.

The body will be at the farm home and funeral services will be held in the St. Joseph church Tuesday morning at 9:30. Rev. Maurus Ferdinand, O.S.B. will officiate and burial will be in the family lot in St. Joseph.

Mr. Hengel was a member of the Holy Name society and the Men's society of the St. Joseph church.

Sunday’s Obituary – if you have obituaries of family members and ancestors, consider posting them along with other information about that person as part of Sunday’s Obituary. This is an ongoing series developed by Leslie Ann at Ancestors Live Here.  (Blurb shamelessly stolen from Thomas McEntee at Geneabloggers!)

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Count the Surnames

It's Saturday Night - time for more Genealogy Fun!

Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to:

1)  Go into your Genealogy Management Program (GMP; either software on your computer, or an online family tree) and figure out how to Count how many surnames you have in your family tree database.

2)  Tell us which GMP you're using and how you did this task.

3)  Tell us how many surnames are in your database and, if possible, which Surname has the most entries.  If this excites you, tell us which surnames are in the top 5!  Or 10!

4)  Write about it in your own blog post, in a comment to this blog post, or in a status or comment on Facebook.

NOTE:  If you can't figure out how to do this in your GMP, use the Help button and search for "count persons" then follow directions. 

Here's mine:

Well, I must admit to being somewhat dismayed that I could not discover a way to achieve this with my GMP (Genealogy Management Program).  I use MyHeritage's Family Tree Builder as my main GMP.  Not only could I not find a way to do this, the help file didn't have any information I could find on how I might do this either.

So I cheated.  I exported a current GEDCOM file, and imported it in the free version of Legacy 7.   It took me a couple of minutes of looking, but I finally stumbled on the very easy method of clicking on Help, and then General Information.  Up came a little box with a number of statistics, including number of unique surnames.

It turns out I currently have 5944 individuals from 1722 families with 1192 unique surnames.  I couldn't find details like a Top Ten or anything.  It's possible those things are in the Deluxe version.

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History - Sweets

Week 13: Sweets. What was your favorite childhood candy or dessert? Have your tastes changed since then? What satisfies your sweet tooth today?

I like chocolate.  I have since I was a kid.  Adding caramel makes it even better.   Milky Way?  Yeah, buddy.   But there used to be a candy bar called Marathon.  Basically, a ropy pattern of caramel, flat, coated in chocolate.  Yum!  Rolo is another treat, no way I'm rollin' 'em to my pal, they're MINE! 

A lot of people like baked goods; cake, cookies, bars, etc.  I don't dislike them, but I'm not wild for them either.  Girl Scouts don't get my money, I don't care for any of the cookie varieties they sell around here.  If there's chocolate chip cookies, I may eat a few, but other varieties don't interest me. 

Fearless Females - Education

March 26 — What education did your mother receive? Your grandmothers? Great-grandmothers? Note any advanced degrees or special achievements.

My mother has a four-year college degree.  I know, because I helped her to get it.  Actually, she did all of the hard work, I just proofread a couple of letters.  The problem is, apparently a waiver for a class or two got misplaced, and another class she should have had her freshman year was no longer available when her schedule allowed.  In any case, she believed she had graduated, and even received a diploma, but the diploma was now missing after 40+ years, so she had no proof.  To top it off, the college had changed names and moved to another city, and old records hadn't been computerized. Well, we wrote back and forth with the college, and eventually they did accept her record plus some courses she had taken since, and awarded her an official degree.

My paternal grandmother (Alta May (Day) Dillman) who was born in 1910 actually had the benefit of a full high school education.  Many kids at that time were only in school through about 8th grade.  

Thursday, March 24, 2011

How Do You Follow Blogs?

Note: There's no new content here, only a question: How do you follow blogs? 

Do you read them as separate websites, one by one? 

Do you follow blogs using a reader such as Google Reader?

Do you get your blogs on the go with a smartphone?

I am somewhat curious as to how you read my blog.  I have enabled the mobile template for Blogger, and tested it using an Android-based smartphone.  It seems to be working fine, so if you have one of those gadgets, you might want to give it a whirl. 

I tend to follow blogs using Google Reader, as it aggregates all of my reading choices in one spot, making it very convenient to follow a larger number of blogs.  On the other hand, I do miss out on some formats of items in blogs that don't translate well to the Google Reader format.  Then I either have to choose to visit the blog directly to get the content as intended by the writer, or do without the specially formatted material and hope I didn't miss something important.

Before Google Reader, I visited each blog I wanted to read directly.  This has the benefit of getting the material as designed and intended by the writer, but has the drawback of needing to manually visit each blog separately.  It takes longer.  It's not as convenient.

Please take a minute and leave a comment letting me know how you read my blog.  I'm wondering if I need to pay more attention to mobile formatting, or if I should be more alert to formatting that doesn't work with Google Reader and other similar aggregators.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - Ida May (Thurston) Day

Ida May (Thurston) Day 1909.

Wordless Wednesday – a great way to share your old family photos! Create a post with the main focus being a photograph or image. Some posters also include attribute information as to the source of the image (date, location, owner, etc.). Wordless Wednesday is one of the longest running “memes” in the blogosphere and is an ongoing series at GeneaBloggers.

Maritime Monday - Navy Log Pictures Pt. 1

Yes, it's late.  But here it is, a Maritime Monday post on Wednesday!  I'll be posting more material from my paternal grandfather Estel E. Dillman's Navy Log.  Today I'm including a couple of pages of the pictures he had in the album.  Here's the first:

Coast Guard Cutters, 1927, New York City.
You should be able to click on these for the full size page, but I'll warn you now even as JPG files they're over 6MB for each full page scan.  These Coast Guard cutters in New York City are something Estel would have seen while in port on his own US Navy destroyer, the U.S.S. Sloat.  How do ships get funny names like Sloat?  Usually they're named after famous or important people, either in the Navy or strong supporters of the Navy.  Wikipedia has an excellent little article on the USS Sloat including a brief history of operations.  This particular ship was named for John Drake Sloat.

1920's Navy Activity
Some examples of early Naval Aviation are included in this selection.  Also, note the lower left image captioned "A Panama Mule".   These were diesel locomotives on tracks along the length of the Panama Canal that were used to tow ships through, rather than have them attempt to navigate under their own power.  Estel transited the Panama Canal on board the USS Sloat on a couple of occasions, and it is likely he took that photograph. 

Maritime Monday – Post about anything to do with the sea: ancestors who were sailors, shipwrights, fishermen, or coastguards including images, records and links. Maritime Monday is an ongoing series created by Ros Haywood at the GenWestUK blog.   (Blurb shamelessly stolen from Thomas McEntee at Geneabloggers.)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

My Ancestors Lived Here

My Ancestors Lived Here
Make yours @
Make yours @

 Kudos for a good find, and thanks for pointing this out goto Randy Seaver of Genea-Musings!

Big Huge Labs has a bunch of stuff to do and try.  One of them is a Map Generator which allows you to specify places which it colors in, and sets up with some HTML code you can paste in your blog or other webpage.  It has US and World maps.  You check each country or state you want colored.  Easy!

My Ancestors Came From Here
Make yours @
Make yours @

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Fearless Females - Brick Wall

March 20 — Is there a female ancestor who is your brick wall? Why? List possible sources for finding more information.

As I mentioned in my Lunch edition of Fearless Females, India McQueen is my brick wall female ancestor.  She was born in1886 in Louisiana, and died 31 Jul 1912, location not known to me.  She married Oscar Holt Williams in 1902 in Louisiana and had two sons, Omar Holt Williams and Dallas Williams. There's great confusion around her family at that time, and almost no documentation of any sort, just an entry in a Bible for which I was able to locate a transcription online.  Here's a portion of the transcript, which is pretty long in its entirety:

Howell Kirke Williams born 24 November, 1872 died 18 Feb. 1960 (married
 Clara Perkins) Williams
Oscar Holt Williams born 15 April 1875, married India McQueen Williams.
 She died July 31, 1912 Havel
Willie Edwin Williams born 6 October 1877, died 2 April 1878. d.y.
Claudie Williams born 7 August 1880 died October 21, 1942 married Beverley
 Walter Reames, born 1880 (He married 2d. Nannie Redmond, no ch.)
I have found Oscar and India in the 1910 Census:

Name: Oscar Williams
Birthplace: Louisiana
Relationship to Head of Household: Self
Residence: Police Jury Ward 6, Tangipahoa, Louisiana
Marital Status: Married
Race : White
Gender: Male
Immigration Year:
Father's Birthplace: Louisiana
Mother's Birthplace: Louisiana
Family Number: 219
Page Number: 12
  Oscar Williams M 34y
Spouse India Williams F 33y
Child Omer Williams M 6y
Child Dalas Williams M 3y
William T Smith M 26y
Frances Smith F 16y

"Omer" should be Omar Holt Williams, my maternal grandfather, and "Dalas"should be Dallas.  I have no idea who the Smiths are.  

The problem is, I can't find India in any census with her "parents" John and Mary Ellen McQueen.  I've heard it speculated that she may have been an adopted child, but she should still show up on census pages.  I can't find a birth record for India, either.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Genealogisms!

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Contribute to the Genealogisms Dictionary

It's Saturday Night - time for more Genealogy Fun!!!
Randy Seaver of Genea-Musings is at it again...

Your mission, should you decide to accept it (and, really folks, turnout has been pretty light these last two weeks) - is to:
1)  Recall that some genealogists love to make up new words to define what we do or where we are... we want to make a"Genealogisms Dictionary" so that we all understand what we're writing about.
2)  Make up one or more words that deal with some aspect of genealogy - they could start with genea- or ancest- or end with -ology (we don't care), and then define the word for us.  
3)  Submit your genealogisms(s) as a Comment to this blog post, or write a blog post of your own, or in a Facebook status or comment (please let me know if you do this in a comment here).
This is an assignment in fun that would seem tailor made for me!  However, I must admit, I've never indulged myself in this manner in anything related to genealogy.  That said, I'll have a go and see what I can come up with.  You can let me know what you think in the comments below, or add your own.
  • Genea-phantom - those people in your tree who you know existed, family history has always treated as a given, but when you go looking, you cannot find a shred of evidence they ever existed.  Also known as Census-dodgers.
  • Ancestanchor - that one person in your tree that EVERYTHING seems to point back to, or revolve around, or in some other way involve.
  • Divinecestor - an ancestor that appears to have been created out of thin air, no parents or other family involved or existing
  • Halfcestor - an ancestor who is a half-sibling to one of your direct ancestors, for which plenty of documentation exists, when you can find nothing on your direct ancestor. Even better if the half-sibling is female!  Related: Stepcestor, for when the sibling is adopted.
  • Geneapiphany - That moment when you realize that despite a total lack of results for years or decades, you've just stumbled across convincing evidence in your files for one of your brick walls that you've had forever.  Usually accompanied by facepalming.
I think that's enough.  If I try for any more, it's just going to get silly.  Contribute your own!

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History - Movies

Week 12: Movies. Did (or do you still) see many movies? Describe your favorites. Where did you see these films? Is the theater still there, or is there something else in its place?

 I didn't see many movies, but I did see some.  My parents took me to things like Herbie the Love Bug, various Disney movies, etc.  G-rated stuff that came along occasionally.  I started going to movies by myself in the mid-late 70's.  One of the first, of course, was Star Wars.  During the initial run, I watched it seven times.  Since you couldn't rent it on video, that was a lot of screenings!  I saw it at the Paramount Theater in downtown St. Cloud, Minnesota.  The Paramount is a historic old style theater built in 1921 as the Sherman Theater in grand style, with 1,700 seats.  You can read more about the theater here.  It's been renovated and continues to serve as a venue for live performances of all kinds.  Oh, and Han shot first!  Mr. Lucas needs to quit revising his films.

Even that early, I was very interested in science fiction.  I also saw Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Flash Gordon (the 1970's campy version) and Logan's Run.  I also saw Star Trek: The Motion Picture in the theater when it was released.  It's gained a reputation as a horrible film, but at the time it was the only new Star Trek since the end of the original series in 1969, and fans were rabidly wild about it.  I enjoyed watching it, although I do agree it isn't the best of the franchise.

Lately I haven't been watching many movies at the theater.  It's too expensive with tickets being exorbitantly expensive, not to mention concessions, and having three kids to pay for as well...  We tend to watch movies at home, as we have a relatively nice entertainment center that does a decent job.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Fearless Females - Shining Star

March 18 — Shining star: Did you have a female ancestor who had a special talent? Artist, singer, actress, athlete, seamstress, or other? Describe.

My shining star female is a living relative, and so I can't say too much as I've not asked her permission.  All I can say is that she was a beauty pageant contestant and did quite well in them, and at one point she looked remarkably like Farrah Fawcett in her heyday.  

Most of my family's females tend to be everyday ordinary folks, special to the family, but not widely recognized for any particular skills or abilities.

Fearless Females - Ladies Who Lunch

March 16 — If you could have lunch with any female family member (living or dead) or any famous female who would it be and why? Where would you go? What would you eat?

Yes, this post is late.  I'm trying not to make this a habit...

Wow.   So many choices!   I'm going to cheat slightly and go to lunch twice.  

The first would be Maria Elisabeth Eva Legrand.  She was born about 1760 in Niederweiler, Rhein-Hunsrueck-Kreis, Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany, and died before the 1830 US Census of Harrison County, Indiana.  

Why?  She's the female immigrant ancestor of my Dillman line, being married to Johann Michael Dillmann on 14 May 1785 at Saint Leopold Church, Vienna, Austria.  The newlyweds then left virtually immediately for the New World.   I would really love to learn about her world, why she immigrated, about her parents, and about her in-laws!  I have almost nothing on her in-laws, and I would love to extend the line further back.  And finally, I like her name.  It sounds almost aristocratic.

The other lunch would be with one of my brick walls, India (McQueen) Williams, my maternal great-grandmother.  She was born in1886 in Louisiana, and died 31 Jul 1912, location not known to me.  She married Oscar Holt Williams in 1902 in Louisiana and had two sons, Omar Holt Williams and Dallas Williams. There's great confusion around her family at that time, and almost no documentation of any sort, just an entry in a Bible for which I was able to locate a transcription online.  I'd really like a few answers about her family.  And maybe some southern hospitality?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Fearless Females - Six Word Memoir

March 15 — Write a six-word memoir tribute to one of your female ancestors.

Alta May (Day) Dillman: Mother, grandmother.  Encouraged this family historian.

Alta was, of course, my paternal grandmother, and the one who by far did the most to encourage me to continue her work on the family history.  She handed me her research near the end of her life.  She took endless pictures throughout her life, arranged and labeled them in photo albums, and then used those albums to write her own memoirs, which she left for the family.  If any one of those pieces were missing, my progress and continuation as a family historian would be in doubt.  I am standing on the shoulders of a giant.  I only wish she was still here to see what I've found.