Thursday, September 4, 2014

Two Sisters In Kansas - Part 2, Topeka Relatives

          Alice had reported that "she lived in Uncle Henry's house" while she was attending Washburn College. "Uncle Henry" was Henry Halbert Wallace, who by the time the two sisters arrived to attend college, had resided at 1515 College Street in Topeka for more than twenty years. He lived there with his younger (by four years) sister, Emma W. Wallace. Both Henry and Emma Wallace were born in Northfield, Ohio to William Wallace and Mary Morrison.  According to the Northfield, Ohio 1850 Federal Census, William Wallace was a thirty two year old "merchant" and, like his wife Mary, had been born in New Hampshire.  The census shows that Mary was twenty six and her son Henry was four years old. Emma, born in September, 1850 came along too late to be listed on the census report. There is no data describing the nature of William's career as a merchant nor anything to provide a clue why the New Hampshire native decided to settle and start a family in Ohio. According to the marriage record of William and Mary, the young merchant was already residing in Northfield but returned to New Hampshire in 1845 to retrieve and marry his bride in her home town of Langdon, NH.

     Ten years later the 1860 Federal Census for Langdon, New Hampshire reveals that Mary has returned to her birth state and resides in the home of her widowed mother along with thirteen year old Henry and nine year old Emma. Sadly, like her mother, Mary is a widow herself although the exact timing of William's death is unclear. Family history records indicate William died but do not clarify when. Whatever the exact date, his passing was certainly at a young age; born around 1818 he couldn't have been older than forty two and might have been much younger than that, perhaps even in his early thirties. William's sister, Emeline was young when she passed away at the age of fifty, suggesting the possibility of congenital factors causing their deaths. The average life span of Americans in the mid 1800's was about forty two but not necessarily because people aged more rapidly than nowadays. Rather, shorter life spans were influenced by risks associated with farm and industrial accidents and also because health care and nutrition were limited in comparison to today. 

     So by 1860 William's death had left Mary a widow. His sister Emeline's death in 1861 left another Langdon citizen a widower, a farmer and lifelong resident of Langdon by the name of John Currier. In the 1800's marriage could be inspired by love and romance and mutual attraction. But it could also be inspired by mutual needs beyond companionship and procreation. Running a farm in that era was no easy task and more hands made the workload more manageable, especially the hands of a hard working wife.  In 1863 widow Mary Morrison Wallace became the wife of John Currier. Brother and sister in law by marriage, both now widowed by the death of their spouses, they became husband and wife.


      John's two children from his first marriage were grown and gone by the time he and Mary wed. Mary's son Henry was seventeen and her daughter Emma was almost thirteen. It is not known if Henry joined his mother at the Currier household in Langdon or not. What is known is that somewhere around 1867 Henry relocated to the state of Kansas. The approximation of his arrival was calculated from his 1929 obituary. There is no approximation required to pinpoint Henry's location in 1870. The Federal Census Record for 1870 in the township of Dover, Kansas shows twenty three year old Henry Wallace residing there as a farmer owning real estate valued at $1200 and with a personal estate valued at $900. Whether some or all of his wealth was inherited from his late father is unknown.  But he seems to be comfortably settled on his own farm at the age of twenty three. 


     Back in Langdon, NH Henry's sister Emma is nineteen years old and listed on the census with her occupation described as "at home" on the farm owned by John Currier. Her mother, Mary, is listed with "keeping house" as her occupation. Enumerators compiling the census reports were given detailed instructions on how to list occupational information. For example, "Women keeping house for their own families or for themselves, without any other gainful occupation, will be entered as 'keeping house.' Grown daughters assisting them will be reported without occupation." The "at home" notation on Emma was a term the enumerators were supposed to reserve for "children too young to take any part in production." If interpreted to the letter, Emma might possibly be considered a nineteen year old slacker hanging around the house while her mother did all the work. That seems unlikely as we'll come to know Emma as anything but a deadbeat later in life. Nevertheless, the inappropriate classification for Emma's work creates some doubt on other entries by this enumerator. John Currier is listed with real estate value and personal estate value amounts. Why is Mary listed with real estate value of $1700? Does she own real estate other than that owned by her husband John Currier? Her first husband never showed owning real estate on any census reports. Or should this value have been listed in column 9, for personal estate? Mary's mother, Olive Morrison, is residing with the Curriers and has a personal estate value of $800 listed. On the 1860 Federal Census Report when Mary resided with her mother, Olive had real estate value of $500 listed and personal estate value of $2000 while Mary had no values listed. So the entries on the 1870 report are somewhat confusing. Not so confusing is the fact that John and Mary, after both having two children in their first marriages have now had a child together, John M, (for Morrison) Currier, age six years old. So Emma (and Henry in Kansas) now have a half brother.  

     In 1875 a Kansas State Census for the township of Mission in Shawnee County reveals that Henry Wallace is residing in the same household as his sister, Emma W. Wallace. Henry is now calling himself, "H.H.Wallace" and all documents from 1875 forward list his initials and surname accordingly. He is listed as a farmer but the values of his real estate and personal property have diminished by $200 and $300 respectively. Not too much credence should be made of these drops in value since they are not professional appraisals by any means, just approximations. Emma is listed with the occupation of, "teacher." Both are listed with birthplace of Ohio but there is a puzzle created by the Kansas Census category, "Where from to Kansas?" Emma's entry shows New Hampshire. Henry's shows Massachusetts. This is certainly possible but there is no documentation besides this entry to explain why and where in Massachusetts did Henry come from. Possibly enumerator error but that's just one possibility and there's nothing on the report to suggest incorrect data. Just as possible is that Henry might have had a reason to be in Massachusetts. Without evidence to the contrary we should just accept it as part of Henry's history.

    All records show that Henry and Emma Wallace as of 1875 are brother and sister residing in Kansas. Their mother and half brother are back in Langdon, New Hampshire. In time these demographics will change but the foundation has been laid to explain how two New Hampshire sisters, Emma and Alice Currier, found their way to Topeka, Kansas to attend Washburn College in the 1920's. 

                    Next: Part 3, Sorrow In Langdon



Thursday, August 21, 2014

Two Sisters In Kansas - Part 1, Far From Home

I suppose it could be said they were out of their element but I'm not sure if either one of them felt that way. Two sisters from New Hampshire attended college at Washburn College in Topeka, Ks during the late 1920's. Emma Currier, the oldest, was born in 1906;  her sister Alice was three years junior in age.  Both were born and raised in rural New Hampshire in a small village called Alstead, a hefty 1400 + miles from Topeka.  Both of their parents had demonstrated their interests in education in their own careers. Marshall Currier had worked as a teacher in rural schools in Alstead and neighboring towns while their mother, Florence, had trained and qualified as a nurse. The two sisters were thus encouraged by the examples of their parents and, most likely, spurred by parental advice to continue their educations beyond the high school level. Years later Emma confided to her daughter that although she had graduated from high school, her father felt she needed more schooling in order to qualify for and attend college. Marshall Currier arranged for his oldest daughter to attend Northfield School For Girls in Franklin, Massachusetts to help prepare her for furthering her education. Prep school must have worked to her advantage because Emma enrolled as a freshman at Washburn in the Fall of 1926. She was twenty years old. Alice was admitted the following year at the age of seventeen, apparently not in need of anything more than her high school education. 

     Washburn College (now called Washburn University) was a small liberal arts college with ties to the Congregational Church. The Curriers of Alstead, New Hampshire did have affiliations with Universalist and Congregational churches back home but that's probably not what influenced the two sisters to attend a college so many miles from their home. More than likely the draw was, quite simply, family connections. And family connections might have gone beyond "home-away-from-home" accommodations; the relatives residing in Topeka were, it turns out, rather distinguished citizens of the State Capital of Kansas, holding positions with local government.  If nothing else, their prominent political service to Topeka may have lent credibility to the admission applications of Emma and Alice Currier.
Alice Currier
Emma Currier 

It is not known what Emma and Alice might have anticipated about what their lodging with family would be like. But many years later Emma shed some light on the matter with her tales of  housekeeping chores, some of which were rather distasteful, that she was required to perform. She had to work in exchange for her room and board. If Alice had the same types of responsibilities (they resided in different households) she apparently did not voice the same disdain; her only comment of record was to say that she "lived in Uncle Henry's house while she was attending Washburn College." 

Besides parental encouragement and their family connections in
Kansas, there was something else that may have left an imprint on Emma and Alice that affected their decision to attend school so far away from home. You would think that young girls from rural New Hampshire might find relocating to the middle of the country to be a daunting proposition, even with relatives in place to greet them. But if you were a young girl from rural New Hampshire and you knew that your mother had trekked (actually, she went by rail) across the entire country from New England to California when she was single and in her mid-twenties with the intent of finding her way to the Klondike to check out the gold rush in the Alaskan frontier? In that case you might have a different take on the challenges of moving away from home, about being bold young women and thriving in a new environment, and what parental expectations you might need to try to live up to.  Florence Webber was an adventurous young woman when she started her journey west around 1897. When she reached California she received some very wise advice and revised her travel plans. She decided to undertake training as a nurse in Los Angeles. Nevertheless, her legendary courage displayed during her road to a career in nursing had to have made a big impression on her two daughters. Had they not taken advantage of a college education in Topeka, they surely would not have lived up to the standards of  at least one legendary woman in the Currier family; their mother! 
Florence (Webber) Currier

Next: Part 2, Topeka Relatives

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The Road To Topeka Calls

          This is my mother's college yearbook picture taken in 1930.  She attended college in Topeka, Kansas from 1927 to 1930.  She earned a bachelor's degree from Washburn College (now called Washburn University) with a major in English and a minor in Music.  She was born and raised in New Hampshire but went to Washburn because her family had relatives there.  I posted a blog in November, 2011 entitled, "The Kansas Connection" that described the family connection between New Hampshire and Topeka, to include some stories of my mother's school life. 

     Next month I plan to drive to Topeka with my wife to take a firsthand look at Washburn and some of the places where my mother resided while attending school. I've done the research to determine the addresses and have seen photos of them on Google but I want to see and photograph them myself.  Some of the stories I've heard about her Topeka experience indicate that she didn't just kick back and relax in the homes of her relatives but had to do housekeeping chores in order to earn her keep.  One of her biggest complaints was that at one point she was required to clean the bathtub in a house where a resident who may or may not have been a relative, used the same said bathtub as his personal spittoon!  She didn't care for that particular assignment. 

     Anyway, I also hope to visit the cemetery where those relatives are buried and to the library to see what records I can locate regarding their lives in Topeka. From Topeka the plan is to perform a hook slide back east as we head toward a vacation on the Vineyard again. Hoping to visit relatives on the way in Nashville, Saint Louis, and Cincinnati.  We'll keep the visits short and hope nobody asks us to scrub out their bathtub!

     Wait. Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh......Did you hear that? I did, it's the road calling! ROAD TRIP!!!!! And my search goes on. 

Monday, June 9, 2014

Hey, Batta Batta!

     Went to a baseball game the other night; Tampa Bay Rays vs. The Boston Red Sox.  The game was played at Tropicana Field, the domed stadium in Saint Petersburg. Our community offers tickets and bus transportation to various entertainment venues including sports events like this one. The bus transportation is a big plus as car parking can be a hassle at the Trop. The bus drops and picks up passengers at an entrance about the same distance as a toss from center field to home plate. And since we grew up in Massachusetts we selected a Red Sox game for a touch of nostalgia with our roots, although neither my wife nor I are what you could call Red Sox fans unless 1) they are playing any team other than the Rays in a playoff game, and 2) I don't remember the other reason why I would cheer for them.  We've resided in Florida for twenty five years now so we've bonded with the Rays, the Bucs, and the Lightning. Sam's mother came to the game with us and she just cheers for whoever we tell her to root for. So we all cheered for the Rays and they won by the score of 1 to 0 with a walk off hit with a man on base in the ninth inning. 

     This was probably the first MLB game I've been to in twenty or so years. I think the last one was with my buddy Mike when he was visiting and we went to a spring training game in Lakeland. But this was a nice night with decent seats at a good price. We were on the second level, just close enough to recognize the players but far enough away that we didn't have to watch them spitting. And the Trop is really nice on a warm muggy evening with air conditioning; Sam was cold as usual but she's always cold so that's nothing new. 

     I could have put this post on my other blog, "JD's BLAHS"  but I just felt putting it here on "MY Search..." made more sense because going to a baseball game after so long an absence brought back a lot of memories that I associate with the game. Unlike Garrett Morris' Spanish speaking Dominican player, I can't always say, "Baseball been berra berra good to me!"  No tragedies or anything but some things about the game just fell into place in my life to make me way better at being a spectator than being a player.

     I must have been six or seven at the time but I recall coming down the stairs in our home and seeing my father and my older (by six years) brother walking out the front door together. My brother had the "family" baseball glove on his left hand. Our house was furnished with two baseball gloves, one a fielder's glove and the other a catcher's mitt. I'll have more to say about those later but for now suffice it to say  that spotting my brother with half of our household's baseball gloves in hand, so to speak, sparked my interest. I thought maybe I could grab the catcher's mitt and join them. I didn't notice they had no ball or bat. I just saw the glove,   assumed there was going to be some baseball activity, and I wanted to be part of it. I shouted out to my father (I knew my brother would ignore me just like he ignored everything else I did or said), "Hey, Daddy, can I play too?" Sadly, for me anyway, my father explained that he and my brother were heading to Boston to see a Red Sox game. Obviously, I wasn't invited. I was very disappointed mostly because the two of them were doing something exciting together.  And exciting because "going to a Red Sox game" meant a 90 mile drive from our home in West Springfield, easily a few hours drive.  And this was some time before the Mass Turnpike was built so the travel would have been a slow meandering easterly drive on US-20.  I think my father judged me a little young to really enjoy a few hours in the car followed by sitting through nine innings of baseball.  Probably a good decision on his part but I didn't think so at the time. 

     The fielder's glove my brother took with him that day was a five fingered affair with padded fingers and nothing but a thin layer of dark crinkled leather in the "pocket" where the ball would go in the act of a proper glove catch. In retrospect I think the weathered old glove, with absolutely no webbing, was designed for and had a long history of use in softball games. I know on the few occasions where I caught a hardball the pain on my palm was excruciating. Probably worse than no glove at all!  It looked like a big brown Mickey Mouse hand. The catcher's mitt was of the same vintage, I imagine somewhere from the 1930's or 1940's. Huge thick padding around the entire circumference of the thing but with a pocket worn brown and thin with use. Either one of these gloves forced the user to utilize two hands to make a catch. Two hands was the only way to trap the ball before it bounced out. The mitt would be okay for a softball with enough padding to prevent a direct assault against the palm of your catching hand. But a hardball?  No way, not without pain anyway!

     My father was a big Red Sox fan and therefore, a big fan of batting legend, Ted Williams. I remember riding in our car whenever  there was a game being broadcast on the radio, my father insisted on tuning in (to radio station WBZ as I recall) to listen to the entire game. When Ted Williams was up to bat those of us who were passengers in the car knew to be quiet so my father could get the full report on Ted's performance. When my father finally deemed me qualified to join him on a trip to Fenway Park it was like I had graduated from being a kid to being a man. His faith in me might have been a little premature. Oh, I liked watching the game alright but I was just as impressed with the ambiance; "the wall" (as it was called then, before it was tagged, "the green monster"), the score board in the wall where game stats were posted by hand (as far as I know, they still are) was memorizing to me as I wondered what the view was like from left field, was somebody actually paid to handle that job? and how could I qualify to do it? The crowd's falsetto "bweeoop" up the musical scale when a towering foul ball traveled high behind the plate and the subsequent "beeooh" on a descending scale in time with the ball's fall down into the netting and the bat boy's success or failure in catching the ball as it dropped out of the net. And food?  Fenway Park was a place you could buy a bag of peanuts and crack open the shells and leave the husks on the and delicious!  My biggest Fenway regret (and perhaps just as big for my father) was probably the time I asked him to take me back into the concession area to buy me a hamburger. I didn't want a Fenway Frank, I wanted a burger and you could only get that by leaving your seat and going back into the interior of the stadium.  We had been standing in line at the concession stand for what seemed like a long time when we heard the crowd outside erupt into loud cheers. Turns out we had missed Ted Williams at bat and he had slugged another ball to the great pleasure of the spectators. I don't know if he hit a home run or an RBI or whatever, but it was a successful at bat for Ted and a major disappointment for me since my desire for ground beef had caused my father to miss out on seeing his baseball hero perform his heroics. My father never said a word about it but I knew my pestering him to buy me a burger had robbed him of a great baseball experience. Not one of my fondest memories but it's locked in to my brain cells, nevertheless, as not a berra berra good memory.   

     Another not so berra berra good memory was my tryout for a little league team.  I had what turned out to be the misfortune of forming friendships with some pretty athletic guys. Guys that, in time, would go on to successful high school careers as varsity baseball players. At twelve years of age or so I had no idea that my baseball talent was not of the same caliber as my friends because we always had so much fun playing sandlot varieties of the game. There was no competition involved in those pick up versions of baseball; just fun and camaraderie of young boys and banter about the major league players like Ted Williams, Mickey Mantle, Pee Wee Reese, and Jackie Robinson. We knew of them from our collections of baseball cards accumulated with flat, sometimes stale but always delicious bubble gum slices. Some of my friends told me about the little league team that was forming up and encouraged me to try out with them. All the prospective players met at the team coach's home one evening and listened to his optimistic plans for forming a winning team. I was pretty impressed with the coach's rah rah attitude and dreamed of baseball glory along with all of my friends.

     My father contributed to my dreams by buying me a new baseball glove, the "Alvin Dark" model,  inspired by the (at that time) famous shortstop for the New York Giants. I didn't know much about him but I knew the glove was a massive improvement on the old family Micky Mouse version of a baseball glove. The glove had a web between the thumb and index finger! No more hard-balls crushing into my palm. And, get this, a leather string running from the web through all the fingers down to the little finger. This was a real glove. And it came with a cardboard 45 rpm record with Alvin's recommendations for how to use the glove.  I remember the scratchy recording of his instructions to stand with feet spread shoulder width apart on "the balls of your feet" and that's all I remember except for my initial confusion about balls on my feet...I had never heard of such a thing. Anyway, now I had a real major league glove and was ready for the tryouts. Or so I thought until the first cut was announced and I was on the cut list. The coach told me it was because I had missed too many practices, which was true as some of the practices conflicted with my trombone lessons; my father would never let me miss the trombone lessons he was paying for. But I sensed that the coach was just being polite.  It didn't take too many practices for me to see that my skills were not on the level of most of my friends, despite my possession of the Alvin Dark model baseball glove. I was a little heartbroken at the time but I got over it. One of my schoolmates called me shortly after and asked if I wanted to join him and some other kids who had not made cuts on various teams to join a team that, the way I understood it. was a "no cut" team for us losers. That didn't sound appealing to me so I passed. One of my friends that did make the original team told me they played the "loser" team once and trounced them so badly they had to cancel the game because the other team couldn't get anybody out. I'm kind of glad I missed out on that fiasco.

     The trauma of being cut from the team pretty much ended my baseball playing career.  I still managed to attend a few more games with my father at Fenway. When I was working in New Haven my sales reps would arrange for excursions to Yankee Stadium with our customers. But as I grew older I never developed a desire to play the game anymore. The Alvin Dark glove disappeared somewhere along the line. In the early 1980's I did agree to play in a company game of softball where we formed up teams of our drivers vs. those of us in management. I don't recall the score results and didn't much care because in the course of the game with me serving as catcher, one of the opponents stepped on my big toe running to home plate and I ended up losing a toenail as a result.  Baseball, again, was no way near berra berra good to me. Broke my adolescent heart and came pretty close to breaking my adult big toe. No fond memories there I gotta' say. 

     Besides the memories of attending games with my father I had one very pleasant experience with baseball in 1977 in Maine. Not as a player, of course, but in my accustomed mode of baseball spectator, this time at a little league game where my son was playing. Don't ask me how he managed to develop baseball skills, certainly not inherited from me, but as the only one of the eight year old players on his team who could consistently throw the ball over the plate he won the starting (and ending) position of pitcher. One of the opposing team batters hit a line drive directly at my son's head. My son ducked and put his gloved hand up, just as much for protection from being beaned as an attempt to catch the ball. But catch the ball he did with a resounding "smack" sound loud enough to be heard in Mudville. And the pitcher's father had tears in his eyes. Maybe he had the Alvin Dark glove but I can't say that for sure. I just know I was awful proud of my son and happy for his success. And quite content to remain a spectator for the rest of my life. 




Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Gripped Again

     About two years ago I read a book called, "The Perfect Nazi" and the book gripped me. Couldn't put it down.  The writer, Martin Davidson,  researched his grandfather's past to try to determine why his grandfather would have been involved with the vicious Nazi Party. His grandfather would not talk about his experiences after the war so it took thorough investigative work to create a perspective of his grandfather's life in post WWI Germany and how his grandfather willingly joined and thrived in the infamous military regime with his coming to manhood in lock step with the origin and growth of the Nazis.  It was the research that pulled me in. The book inspired me to write my own investigation of my grandfather. I had some unanswered questions about my father's father that I wanted to study as closely as I could in search of answers.  In five installments on this blog from April to June 2012 I posted "My Grandfather's (Sort Of) Secret Past." 

     Now I've been gripped by another book, "The Lost" by Daniel Mendelsohn. I've only gotten through one chapter but I can tell already I'm going to lose a lot of sleep with this one. Mendelsohn describes his Jewish family history as it relates to their origination in the Ukraine centuries earlier and specifically researches the deaths of one family, that of his grandfather's brother, in the Holocaust. The writer's interest was peaked at an early age when older relatives would cry upon seeing him because he resembled his grand uncle so closely. 

         Mendelsohn weaves his research with his childhood observations, interaction with his grandfather,  documents and photos in family files, through a  detailed  historical explanation of Jewish history, holidays, and beliefs. A tapestry of mystery, history, and tragedy. Like Davidson, Mendelsohn hides nothing.  Even family secrets and rivalries, some of which contributed to the circumstances in which family members died, are laid bare. 

     I don't see this one inspiring any blog research of my own. So my searching will go on...right after I finish this book.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

School's Out

My "Write Your Own Life Story" class is over. It was an interesting course, taught at a branch of our local community college. We had to write stories every week based loosely on a suggested topic and then read them aloud in our once a week class to our instructor and classmates. No grading other than the instructor correcting syntax and spelling. And there was no criticism from classmates allowed but if anybody had a story that sucked, the critique of silence was sometimes deafening. I wan't the youngest in the class, maybe the lower 25% in age but, duh, you wouldn't expect very young people to have an interest in writing a life story when their life is just beginning! That's what I figured, anyway. Ages ranged from high fifties to mid eighties. Some of the stories from the older ones were pretty interesting. We were limited to six pages maximum, double spaced Ariel, font twelve. With my motor-mouth typing and vast knowledge of Microsoft Word, it didn't take long to fill up six pages so it was not only a creative writing effort, it turned into an exercise in editing, too as I had to keep condensing to stay within the limits. 

Our teacher was 83 years old. She could talk your ear off and did so many times. Our two and a half hour weekly class almost always extended to three and a half, largely because she had a ton of comments to make. But she was good. I learned a lot. And wrote seven stories about my life which I can use as a start for my memoirs. One thing I'm going to miss about the class is the forced deadlines. I was pretty faithful about writing at the beginning of the week and finishing up editing by Wednesdays in preparation for the class on Fridays. Now that we have completed the course, I'm still writing but without that deadline schedule my writing production has slacked off. I'm weak and undisciplined, what can I say?

Our teacher also exposed us to writing groups in the area.  Some of us attended a reading by local authors who belong to a writer's group sponsored by our local library.  And a local church was auditioning local writers for a presentation of stories to be read later this month, called "In Their Own Write."  I saw the advertisement in the paper seeking writers to audition but didn't think my little six-page glimpses of my life were appropriate. My teacher persuaded me otherwise. So I auditioned and will be reading one of my stories along with about ten other local writers on April 25th. That should be interesting. 

So, as predicted last January when I announced I would probably not be posting much since I was going back to school, I have pretty much put genealogy research on the side for the last three months.  I've made a few stabs here and there on my files but, obviously no posting here in this blog.  One genealogy related event that took place in January is my cousin from Arizona sent me the two fifes that belonged to our great great grandfather, John Currier of Langdon, NH.  John enlisted in the Union Army in October, 1861 and was discharged in November the following year.  He enlisted as a musician and was promoted to "Full Principal Musician" after one month of service. He must have been pretty good playing the fife to serve a whole year with musician as his military occupational specialty. 

Anyway, I'm attaching photos of the fifes on display in my office. I have some "horseshoe nail" hooks on order from Amazon and plan to display the fifes on the wall of my office along with shelves to display the two daguerreotype images I have of John in his military uniform. 

Along with these items I also have about twenty of John Currier's diaries from 1865 through 1883. I feel so privileged to have these pieces of John's life. I'm hoping my memoirs will give one of my descendants the same pleasure. 

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Back To School

It has been three months since I've posted anything on this blog.  It's not because I haven't done any genealogy research but it's true that I've done very little. We moved into our new home in Sun City Center and all the details that are involved with that are the only real excuse I've got for not doing much research. What I have done was mostly reactive work...answering inquires from other members of that question links between our family trees. And the website itself frequently emails me with "hints" that are computer generated to alert me that information has come up that may be of interest to my tree. So the little bit of research I've done has been quite random and, therefore, not anything that I would be interested in posting. 

I still go back from time to time onto to see if any thing new has come up on the subjects of my blog postings...Edwin Martin Currier, my grandfather George Johnson King, and my maternal grandmother's siblings, Rollin Farquhar Webber and Lenora Webber.  Once in a while a hint comes along or I think of something related to the subjects that I might not have considered before so when that happens I'm back on the website trying to dig out more information. The investigation part has a lot to do with what is fun about genealogy for me. But that's not to say I don't appreciate a helping hand from my ancestors. The diaries of my great great grandfather, John Currier, have given me a wealth of information to help my investigation of the Currier family during the mid 19th Century. And my grandmother, Florence (Webber) Currier wrote a memoir of sorts in a letter to her daughter, Alice. Documents like these don't eliminate investigation but they help clear a path, so to speak, to enhance research of family history as well as verify information.  My grandmother Currier, for instance was born in Maine, lived and worked in Massachusetts, and lived and died in New Hampshire. She was also listed on the 1900 Federal Census in Los Angeles, California. Her memoirs explained why she was in California and verified for my family history records that the census data was indeed my grandmother. 

Soooooo, I'm going to offer similar assistance to my heirs. I'm going to take a course offered at a local community college designed to help me to write my life story.  Don't get in line for tickets to the movie yet. The completed work might have some issues with mundanenes that Hollywood producers could find troublesome. Anyway, over the course of the next eight weeks or so I'll give it a shot to see if I can clear the path a little for whoever in subsequent family generations decide they want to do a little genealogy work. Hope I can make it a little easier for them.