Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: View Outside the Kitchen Window

These purple flowers and the bush they are attached to have been growing outside my parent's kitchen window for as long as I can remember. It flowers year around, though I have no idea what type of plant it is.
Privately held by Leah (address for private use), CA, June 2009

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Crossing My I's and Dotting My T's

I think it is a fact of life that as a genealogist, deciphering people's handwriting can give us fits. To this day there are some letters written by my great-great-grandfather that I can't for the life of me make out. Even more frustrating is to find an old family picture that has been labeled but the handwriting is so illegible that you can't make out if the inscription says "My Mother" or "Mr. Mather." And don't even get me started on census returns... Whenever I come across a particularly difficult bit of handwriting I usually curse and ask myself if anybody (including the person writing it) could make out what it says. I've often wondered how those people could get away with such atrocious handwriting and if they gave any thought to whether it was readable or not.

Well I had my chance to eat crow the other day when I realized that if anyone were to try and read my handwriting who didn't know me, they'd be more than a little stumped. For one, I always write in cursive. I love cursive, I love the loops and swirls and elegance of it and it makes me sad to learn that it isn't being taught in some schools anymore (an increasing trend from what I hear). I think the fact that cursive is a dying art will make it difficult for future genealogist who aren't aware of or use the style of writing. But, I can't and won't bring myself to print unless I have to. I think in cursive, that is where the personality of the writer comes through and is another of the reasons why I love it and (usually) love reading it. There is my great-grandpa Berger who wrote in a long, lean style, sparse on flare but fluid and clear (which I think is fitting given that he was a minister). Then there is his father, also a minister and Union chaplain during the Civil War. Their writing is similar but the elder Rev. Berger's style is far more academic and befitting the era in which he lived (late 1800s). Then there is my father's handwriting which I love, but I think will be a bear to try and read if you aren't used to it. His handwriting matches his quick mind, a mix of print and cursive that you can tell was written in a hurry and with ease. My maternal grandmother has the best handwriting of anyone I known as well as the prettiest. I still have all the cards and envelopes she ever sent me because the handwriting is so beautiful, full of loops and seamless. She is also the first one asked to sign or write anything festive or important because of her great style. Indeed, I think I get my interest in penmanship from her and over the years I've enjoyed playing with her old penmanship books, trying in vain to replicate her style.

However, it is this "personality" in my handwriting which is another reason why I feel sorry for future generations trying to figure out what on earth I'm trying to say. My lowercase f's are unlike anybody else that I know of and my capital j's and h's aren't anything to write home about either. But even though my handwriting is "unique," I know what I am trying to say and so do the people around me, the people that know me and are used to my writing style. I also know what they are saying in their writing and can understand their style because I'm used to it. I think that is probably how it was for our ancestors. Though their writing can make us a little mad at times, it must have been perfectly legible to them and those around them otherwise they would have changed it. And, though it can be a bit illegible at times, it is always full of personality and I think that is worth a little something (even though we have no idea what they are trying to say). Even though I can't always read my ancestor's words, I like to think that I can tell a lot about them based on how they wrote. I can see my grandmother's whimsy and playfulness in her writing with its exaggerated, high cursive style. I can see my great-grandfather's excitment over a new job and my great-aunt's exhaustion from having to run a full house. I like to think my personality or what I am going through at that point in my life, be it happiness or sadness, comes through in what I write and I hope that even if future generations can't understand the words, they can at the very least get a sense of the person behind them.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

SNGF: Good Genealogy Luck

This week's challenge from Genea-Musings is:

"1) When have you had a dose of good genealogy luck? What document or resource did you find just by happenstance or chance? By being in the right place at the right time? By finding a family history treasure in your family's attic or basement? By finding a helpful document or reference without even looking for it?
2) Tell us about it in Comments to this post, in Comments on Facebook, or in a blog post of your own."
I got a bit of "genealogy luck" the other day when I was in Yreka. My mother and I went to the Siskiyou Co. Historical Society's Museum with the intention of just looking around and learning a little about the area. Genealogically, we had no reason to go there and hadn't planned on doing any research there. Then, by chance, my mother asked the docent if he knew anything about the town Klamathon. My Wellons family lived there when they first came to California in the 1890s. The town, along the border with Oregon, was a booming lumber town which burned down in 1903. My mother had remembered seeming pictures of the place when she went to the same museum years ago and wanted me to see them also. Well, the man led us to a back room and pulled out a binder and then flipped it open to Klamathon. While we were sitting there looking through the pictures I noticed just how big the back room was and saw a row of filing cabinets each one labeled "A-C," "D-F," etc. It piqued my interest so I asked the docent if they had anything on individual families and before I knew it he was handing me a folder which contained my Wellons family's "pioneer record" as well as a great story about the family's time in Kentucky. Then he started pulling out old issues of the Society's yearly publication, "The Siskiyou Pioneer" and before we knew it we were leaving with about a dozen photocopied pages and two books FULL of Wellons family information. Oh, and to top it off? We happened to notice later that on the backs of several of the Klamathon pictures was written "courtesy of John C. Wellons" or "donated by J. C. Wellons." This particular John C./J. C. Wellons was the brother of my great-grandmother! Then, as we were pulling out of the parking lot we happened to notice that the genealogical society for the area was right behind us (sadly they were closed at that time though we have a reason to go back now!).
All in all, it was a great genealogy day- and to think, we almost skipped the museum! This just goes to show, when you visit a local museum or historical society don't be afraid to ask if they have any genealogy records or information on local families! Talk about good genealogy luck!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: California Summer Nights

View from my backyard, taken in late June at 9pm.
The ONLY thing I like about summer is that the days are so long...
Picture privately held by Leah (address for private use), California, June, 2009

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Siskiyou Co. Adventure

Well, what can I say about my trip which turned into a "genea-vacation?" First I got loads of yummy records, pictures and stories and second I LEARNED HOW TO USE A MICROFILM MACHINE! I haven't been on that many "genea-vacations" and this last vacation wasn't supposed to be one either but since we were so close to all those marvelous, tantalizing records, I couldn't resist and dragged my mother to Yreka (when she would have preferred to spend the whole vacation on Mt. Shasta) for an afternoon. But, one must begin in the beginning so here goes...

For anyone that doesn't know, we went to Siskiyou County, which (surprisingly to us) was only a three hour drive. My mother and I stayed in Dunsmuir but spent most of our time in Mt. Shasta City/Sisson and Mt. Shasta itself (don't worry, I took enough pictures to fill a couple years worth of Wordless Wednesdays). My great-grandmother, Georgia Wellons Berger was from the Yreka area (the north side of Mt. Shasta, near the Oregon border) and before her marriage taught school at some of the various communities around Mt. Shasta, like Weed. So one day during our vacation, we went driving around all the little towns that we'd heard so much about but have never seen. Yreka was especially eventful and I found some wonderful genealogical goodies there! Although Yreka is the county seat, it still has a small town feel. I was especially amazed at how tame all the wildlife is in the area. When we went to Evergreen Cemetery, the largest one in the area, it was a real trip to see deer all over the place, laying around the headstones to keep cool.

Next we went to the Yreka Library where the librarian very kindly (and patiently) showed me how to use the microfilm machine. I'd used a microfilm machine before, but have never set up a reel or taken one off, or really just used the machine without supervision before. It is really addicting looking through those reels though, I was a little surprised about how much fun it could be. I mainly looked for obituaries, but census records and California documents were also available for viewing.

We also went to the Siskiyou Historical Museum and Society Building (which we found when we drove up was next door to the area Genealogical Society!). As much fun as the museum was to go through, it was even more fun and a pleasant surprise to find that the "pioneer records" were kept there. People who came to the area before a certain time (I think 1900) were applicable to be in the "pioneer" files for the area and my Wellons were there as well as a story about their life in Kentucky before coming West! The Society also publishes an annual book, the Siskiyou Pioneer and we were excited to find the Wellons family in a couple issues (which I was able to buy!).

All in all it was a successful and enjoyable trip. I'll post some more about my finds later... as well as pictures!

UPDATE: I was just looking for online information about the Historical Society and found this great blog! Anyone who is interested in Yreka or Siskiyou Co. should definitely check it out!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Family Traditions NOT to Pass On

Well, well, I go away for vacation for a couple days and apparently all heck broke loose! Genealogy Wise went down for awhile, I guess there was a contest there that made a big mess and now one of my favorite blogs is gone (Hill Country of Monroe County). Since so much time has passed since these events happened and I'm so late to the party (or should I say wake?) on this one (and for other reasons) I'm not going to write about any of it except to say that I'll miss Hill Country and I still like Genealogy Wise.

So instead I'll write about something that doesn't have anything really to do with genealogy but can maybe manipulate into something about warped family traditions (I'm creative that way). For some reason everyone in my family has suffered an inordinate amount of broken toes and I think today was my turn. It is like some strange tradition that every year someone in my family breaks a toe and I'm just a little surprised the "curse" hadn't reached me before. It really is my own fault though (note to self: next time wear shoes when going out at dawn, half-awake and PO'd to feed the crowing chickens). And to all my neighbors, I'm sorry if you woke up around 6am to a stream of expletives coming from the general vicinity of my yard...

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Genealogy Wise and Other Odds and Ends

I just finished reading a marvelous post by Greta which was real food for thought for me. It really made me think of how Genealogy Wise has impacted me since joining last Wednesday. I also have time constraints and "real life" things which demand my attention as well as a vacation I'm leaving on today*. I've also noticed that I've had to make some sacrifices for Genealogy Wise, though (for the time being at least) these sacrifices aren't a big deal.

Facebook was the first casualty of Genealogy Wise though I haven't left the site. Since about January (which was also about the time I started to get into blogging... hmmm...) I've had a diminished presence on Facebook and unlike a lot of people in the genealogy community, genealogy isn't something I discuss on Facebook (mainly because it isn't an interest to most of my "friends" there). I go on the site about once or twice a week to keep my hand in and keep in touch with relatives and friends on there but for the most part I don't need Facebook and that revelation (at least to me) is why I haven't been on it as much. Most of the people I want to talk to I can e-mail, call or text and in most cases, meet face to face with. There are only a few (mainly relatives) which I keep in touch with through Facebook out of necessity. That is why relegating Facebook to an hour or two on weekends isn't such a big deal.

Genealogy Wise has also had an impact on my research time, which (might surprise some) is also not a big deal. When I was 13 I'd been on a genealogy high for two years. That is two years of constant research, organizing, discovering and and pretty much devoting most of my free time to genealogy. It was a wonderful time in my life because I learned so much about my past, my heritage, my family, myself and the history of this country. But guess what else happened? I got burned out on genealogy. So one day I just logged out of Ancestry, took all my binders and research and put it all in the back of my closet. Then guess what happened? About six months later, I got the itch again and went back to researching! This has pretty much been my pattern, I research and research until I've felt like I was burnt out and had no other places to go. Then I would walk away from the research and without fail, come back to it reinvigorated and enthusiastic a few months later. I've found that that pattern works for me and it allows me (when I'm in a research free period) to organize and re-evaluate work, catch up on sourcing and correspondence, step back from my genealogy and look for other avenues of research and investigate other, related fields like identifying pictures, brushing up on my history knowledge, learning about the places where my ancestors lived (I once spent a whole month just reading up on Rochester, New York) and (my personal favorite) studying maps (I've always been obsessed with maps but that is for another post...) and boundary changes in areas of genealogical relevance to me (Eastern Kentucky is especially interesting to me).

Right now, I'm in a "research free" period and, with the exception of one or two tantalizing new databases, will probably stay in that phase for awhile. That is why it isn't such a big deal to me (at least for now) that Genealogy Wise has taken over the time I usually allot to research.

The only thing Genealogy Wise has gotten in the way of is my reading. Since joining I've managed to read all of ten pages in my book (Lady in the Lake by Raymond Chandler!) which is completely unacceptable for me, ;)

As for Genealogy Wise itself, I'm enjoying it as much as ever though I'm still afraid someone is going to get mad at me about all the groups I've made! I've even met a new "cousin" through the site! I think once I'm more accustomed and used to Genealogy Wise I'll probably start to tapper the amount of time I spend there (another reason why I'm not very worried about the long term affects of the site on my free time). I also think once I get back into the "research mode" I'll put Genealogy Wise on the back burner (because when I am in the "research mode" nothing else genealogically seems to matter). You can find me on Genealogy Wise here and these are the groups I've made- join or check them out if you are interested:

Llywelyn Genealogy (Including All Surname Variations)
Scott Genealogy
Mason Genealogy
Hudson Genealogy
Haley Genealogy
Southern New York Genealogy
Wood Genealogy
Western Pennsylvania Genealogy
Webb Genealogy
Rose Genealogy
Northern New Jersey Genealogy
Central New Jersey Genealogy
Long Island Genealogy
Mott Genealogy
Northeastern Ohio Genealogy
Shinn Genealogy
Jackman Genealogy
Indiana Genealogy
Italian Genealogy
Swiss Genealogy

(all surname groups include all known surname variations)

...Boy have I been busy!

*I'm hopeful this will be a genea-vacation but I won't hold my breath because my traveling companion (my mom) isn't as obsessed with genealogy as me and to this day doesn't understand why I always have to include cemeteries and courthouses in all my travel itineraries. I'll be up north in Siskiyou Co., mainly at Mt. Shasta until Friday. Since my Wellons and Webb family lived in the area I especially want to check out places of relevance to them including:

  • the "Klamathon ruins"
  • Yreka points of attraction (where my Wellons bunch moved to after Klamathon burned down in 1903)
  • the Hornbrook cemetery where my Webbs are buried
  • Evergreen Cemetery where my Wellons are buried
  • the Yreka library for some obituaries
  • the Yreka courthouse, although I already have most of the vital records I'm after from there.
  • Dunsmuir, Fort Jones and Weed places that are mentioned in letters and memoirs that I have
  • Montague where I still have cousins
  • and if we're really ambitious, I'd like to make it to Keno, Oregon where my family lived before coming to Siskiyou Co. I especially want to go to the cemetery there and find my great-grandmother's baby sister, Fleeda Leone Wellons, who died when she was a few months old in 1886.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Allen Cousins

I had actually been thinking of doing a post like this for awhile and have made some changes to my website which are kind of similar, then I saw this post and it really inspired me to do a post of the first cousins of my great-great-great-grandfather's (John Grant Allen) children, Joseph James (my line), Irma, Hazel, Lucille, Charles and John. My ultimate goal is to hopefully find someone who has information on John Grant's parents, Joseph and Elizabeth Clemens/Clements Allen. All I know about Joseph is that he came from Scotland to the US (probably Pennsylvania) in the 1840s and the scant information I've got on the Clemens is that they came from Ireland, also around the 1840s.

Grandchildren of Joseph Allen and Elizabeth Clemens/Clements:

John L. Allen (7 Feb 1877, Youngstown, Mahoning, OH-
21 Aug 1951, Youngstown, Mahoning, OH)
[son of James Allen (July 1850, New Castle, Lawrence, PA- 25 Apr 1924, Youngstown, Mahoning, OH) and Martha Evans (1 June 1851, Weathersfield, Trumbull, OH- 29 Apr 1921, Youngstown, Mahoning, OH)]
Grace Allen (Osborne) (16 Feb 1881, Youngstown, Mahoning, OH-
7 Mar 1952, Youngstown, Mahoning, OH)
[daughter of James Allen and Martha Evans]
James Allen (21 Oct 1884, Girard, Trumbull, OH-
18 Jan 1944, Austintown, Mahoning, OH)
[son of James Allen and Martha Evans]
Charles Henry Allen (18 June 1873, Niles, Trumbull, OH-
13 July 1942, Niles, Trumbull, OH)
[son of Joseph T. Allen (ca. 1852, New Castle, Lawrence, PA- 3 Mar 1918, Niles, Trumbull, OH) and Margaret Murray (1852, New Castle, Lawrence, PA- 10 Mar 1890, Niles, Trumbull, OH)]
George Richard Allen (22 June 1875, Weathersfield, Trumbull, OH- aft 1944)
[son of Joseph T. Allen and Margaret Murray]
Mary Elizabeth Allen (Sechler) (26 Dec 1876?, Niles, Trumbull, OH-
8 Feb 1943, Leavittsburg, Trumbull, OH)
[daughter of Joseph T. Allen and Margaret Murray]
John Willis Allen (10 May 1878, Niles, Trumbull, OH-
5 Mar 1932, Caro, Tuscola, MI)
[son of Joseph T. Allen and Margaret Murray]
Joseph (T.?) Allen (30 Oct 1881, Niles, Trumbull, OH-
10 Aug 1917, Warren, Trumbull, OH)
[son of Joseph T. Allen and Margaret Murray]
Anna Allen (Shepardson) (3 June 1880 or 1882, Niles, Trumbull, OH-
20 May 1944, Warren, Trumbull, OH)
[daughter of Joseph T. Allen and Margaret Murray]
Louis Allen (9 Dec 1885, Rolland, Isabella, MI-
6 Oct 1965, Niles, Trumbull, OH)
[son of Joseph T. Allen and Margaret Murray]
Frank William Allen (20 Mar 1888, Blanchard, Isabella, MI-
19 Jan 1956, Warren, Trumbull, OH)
[son of Joseph T. Allen and Margaret Murray]
Emma Evans (Baker) (1 Aug 1873, OH-
27 Nov 1927, Youngstown, Mahoning, OH)
[daughter of Mary Allen (2 Jan 1855, Pittsburgh, Allegheny, PA- 30 Apr 1940, Girard, Trumbull, OH) and Thomas J Evans (22 Oct 1854, Evansville, Trumbull, OH- 1 Mar 1930, Girard, Trumbull, OH)]
Lilly Grace Evans (Miller) (circa 1875, OH-aft 1940)
[daughter of Mary Allen and Thomas J Evans]
Robert Thomas Evans (29 Nov 1876, OH- aft 1940)
[son of Mary Allen and Thomas J Evans]
Elizabeth "Bertie" Evans (Walters) (Aug 1879, OH- aft 1940)
[daughter of Mary Allen and Thomas J Evans]
William J Evans (Apr 1881, Trumbull, OH- aft 1940)
[son of Mary Allen and Thomas J Allen]
Ella P Evans (30 May 1890, Hazelton, Mahoning, OH-
11 Mar 1923, Girard, Trumbull, OH)
[daughter of Mary Allen and Thomas J Evans]
Joseph James Allen (7 Apr 1891, Wyman, Montcalm, MI- bef 1950, MI)
[my line, son of John Grant Allen (18 May 1869, Niles, Trumbull, OH- 27 Sep 1955, Jackson, Jackson, MI) and Marion Wood (Feb 1871, Summit, Jackson, MI- aft 1936)]
Irma S. Allen (Davis) (21 Mar 1892, Blanchard, Isabella, MI-
23 June 1971, Manistee, Manistee, MI)
[daughter of John Grant Allen and Marion Wood]
Charles R. Allen (25 Dec 1893, MI- Feb 1964, MI)
[son of John Grant Allen and Marion Wood]
John S. Allen (1 July 1896, MI- 18 Apr 1968, Jackson, Jackson, MI)
[son of John Grant Allen and Marion Wood]
Lucille V. Allen (10 Dec 1900, MI- 31 Mar 1915, Manistee, Manistee, MI)
[daughter of John Grant Allen and Marion Wood]
Hazel Ruth Allen (Peterson) (14 Aug 1903, Manistee, Manistee, MI-
27 July 1932, Manistee, Manistee, MI)
[daughter of John Grant Allen and Marion Wood]
So, in all (as far as I've been able to discover) there were 23 grandchildren of Joseph Allen and Elizabeth Clemens/Clements... hopefully one of them has descendants who know something about Joseph and Elizabeth.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

GenealogyWise (or is it Genealogy Wise now?)

So, I bit the bullet and joined yesterday (I wasn't going to because I knew I didn't have the time for it). The site is actually a whole mess of fun and I'm having a hard time tearing myself away from it (just what I was afraid of!). Unlike some, I won't be leaving Facebook because of GenealogyWise mainly because genealogy has next no presence on my Facebook page to begin with. I do think I'll be spending more time on GenealogyWise, at least for now, just because I can't seem to NOT find things to do (and hours to waste) there now!

I think GenealogyWise has a lot of promise and I have been having fun creating groups, mainly based on geographical locations where I have roots. The only problems I've been having are that it seems like I have to CONSTANTLY re-sign-in and the site has gone down once or twice (I think this is due to how quickly it is growing). I joined Facebook back in 2006 when it was in its infancy and really simple (with none of those annoying third-party applications!) and this new GenealogyWise reminds me of that old Facebook which, I think, might be another reason why I like it so well. It is also why I'm a little worried about GenealogyWise turning into the present incarnation of Facebook, especially since applications (though there are some good applications, I'll admit) can also be found on GenealogyWise. It'll be interesting to see what direction GenealogyWise goes in in the long run, but for now I highly recommend the site and if anyone out there is thinking about joining I highly recommend that too (or at least go check it out!).

You can find me on the site here:

Friday, July 3, 2009

A Childhood in Books: Part 4

I had my fair share of favorite authors growing up but none more so than Scott O'Dell. From the time I turned eight up until I started Jr. High School, I adored Scott O'Dell. It all started when my mother and I went on vacation and my school librarian recommended The Serpent Never Sleeps as a good book to take with us. I actually don't remember the book very well, in fact all I remember about it was the weird cover (it was a bunch of green and blue swirls which I guess were supposed to be a serpent). Apparently (from Amazon) the book was about Pocahontas, but any way... my mother was wayyy more interested in it than I was and I really had no desire to read any more of his books. Not long after, however, my school held it's annual "Battle of the Books" and Island of the Blue Dolphin was on the list. I read it and then I think I re-read it about a hundred times. It was my favorite book for years and I use to feel so proud about reading it because I thought it was an "adult" book. We use to go to Angel Island a lot when I was a kid and I think that was part of the appeal of the book for me (because I always pictured Karana living there even though I guess Catalina was the real inspiration). After Island of the Blue Dolphin, I read Zia (which was a sequel), Sarah Bishop and a couple others but I wasn't as crazy about them as Island. Then during a school book fair I found Sing Down the Moon and Thunder Rolling in the Mountains and adored both of them. I loved the style, the characters, the themes- really everything in those Scott O'Dell books. When I think back to the happy times in those last years before adolescence, I think of reading Island of the Blue Dolphin and Scott O'Dell.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

A Childhood in Books: Part 3

I read a lot of book series when I was growing up, and I mean A LOT. I was never really into the "popular" book series though (I had to force my way through the first Harry Potter book, couldn't STAND Laura Ingles Wilder and wouldn't give Goosebumps or Animorphs the time of day). My mother would read the Jenny books to me when I was little (they were also her favorite books from when she was little) and I loved reading (at first my mom and I would alternate) the Betsy-Tacy books (Tib was kind of a buzzkill though...). We also read The Bernstein Bears and Curious George. I remember loving some of those, especially the one where George had to go to the hospital because he swallowed a puzzle piece (my mom is a nurse so I was obsessed with hospital books for a time)! The Serendipity books were real favorites, I think because of the illustrations (similar to the whole "Precious Moments" artwork) and The Grumpling was my favorite (they all had morals to them and I think that one taught table manners).

The first series I read completely independent were the Boxcar Children books. I remember everyone I knew at school absolutely LOVED them but I was always kind of "meh" about them (the characters would obsessively talk about food and that drove me crazy). I also use to get together with friends and read the Arthur books (the show was good too!) and we'd also read the Amelia's Notebook series.

When I got a little older I loved the Usborne Puzzle Adventure books and Nancy Drew (Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase was my favorite!). I also really liked the American Girl books, especially Addy (though I had the Samantha doll and my mother always said I looked like Molly). I think the Addy books were the best written in the series and it was also through those books that I learned about the Civil War. My all-time favorite book series, however, were the Dear America books. I remember my mother giving me Across the Wide and Lonesome Prairie (about the Oregon Trail) and I read it in one sitting. My favorites were The Winter of Red Snow (about Valley Forge) and Standing in the Light (a girl abducted by Indians). I also really liked A Line in the Sand (about the Alamo) and I remember feeling really rattled by So Far From Home (about the Lowell Mills and Irish immigrants) because it was the first time a character I had grown to like died in the book.

One special series I grew up with were the My Book House books by Olive Beaupre Miller. They were my grandmother's when she was a girl in the early 1930s. Whenever my mother and I would go visit her, I got to read them. Then a few years ago, she gave me the series which I now keep will all my dearest books.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


I haven't blogged in a bit because I've been concentrating on some reading projects I've got going on right now but thought I'd get back into the blogging swing of things and introduce myself (something I never really did) as per Thomas' suggestion.

My name is Leah, I am 21 and I am from Northern California. I started this blog as a way to keep track of my research back at the end of September of last year. I've been on Facebook since day one but never really thought to look up groups related to my passion (genealogy) until last summer when I joined the Genea-Bloggers Facebook group. I kind of fell out of blogging for awhile (thanks in no small part to the holidays) and then when I came back to it I looked at the Genea-Bloggers group again, found their website and other great genea-bloggers and that's about when (February of this year) I really started to get into blogging about genealogy (something I still love!).

Outside of genealogy, I am a student and am close to earning degrees in History and English (though I also hope to do something in Political Science and French). I haven't decided if I want to go on to graduate school or not yet, but it is a possibility. In my spare time (which isn't much outside of school and work) I like to read (right now I'm working on the 1001 list, a fairly daunting task!) and I also like to travel (genea-vacations are the best!), cook Italian food, eat Italian food, watch TV (Antiques Roadshow is one of my favorites and it is a big dream of mine to be on the show- or at least go to one of their appraisal events) and movies (I like "classic" movies best of all, my all-time favorite is The Best Years of Our Lives).

Since starting this blog it has turned into more than a research journal and really focuses on everything and anything genealogy related that catches my attention, like my different projects. Right now I'm working on some family history books, a family recipe book, a one name study on my Jackman family, and I'm also toying with different ideas as to overhauling my genealogy website. I also love SNGF, a weekly challenge/meme from Genea-Musings, and like to do genealogy research on my favorite authors.

As far as genealogy goes, I am mostly interested in (and mainly blog about) the western United States and the "Rust Belt" which is where most of my family is from. Northern California, Michigan, western Ohio and eastern Pennsylvania is where I focus my research but I also have family from Iowa, Kentucky, New York, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Maine, Indiana, Illinois, Colorado, Kansas, Massachusetts and some other states. Ontario, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia are Canadian provinces which I am genealogically interested in also. As far as Europe goes, I'm interested in Germany, Denmark, Switzerland, Great Britain, Ireland, and Italy. My main family surnames are listed on the side-bar of my blog but I'll repeat a few here too: Shinn, Croad, Lapiccirella, Daccia, Berger, Allen, Healey (Haley), and Wellons. If we share any surnames please do contact me!

If you are reading this from the Jamboree in Southern California then just know that I am extremely jealous (maybe I'll make it to the event next year) and that the Genea-Bloggers group is the best and well worth joining! I love getting comments and e-mails (you can also friend me on Facebook, the link to my profile is on the sidebar of this blog) on what I post and also love discovering new genealogy blogs so if you have one or are thinking about starting one, you've already got one fan right here! Cheers and happy ancestor-hunting!

A Childhood in Books: Part 2

Brambly Hedge books by Jill Barklem

In addition to being some of my favorite books, they were also ones my mother was fond of and we were both breathtaken by the wonderful tales and images. The beautiful illustrations are the main attraction, indeed, I remember looking at the pictures and feeling transported to the magical world of those little field mice. I was sad to see that some of these books are out of print because they really are special. My imagination would go into overdrive when I was reading these books and there aren't a lot of stories I can say that about.

Ant and Bee by Angela Banner and Bryan Ward.

These were some my favorite books and also some of the earliest I remember. I practically learned to read with this books which actually got me into a little trouble. Because the books are British I would often try and stick a u in words, like "colour." There were so many gems in the series that I have a hard time picking a favorite. I also remember them so vividly, due in large part to the charming illustrations I think. Ant and Bee Go Shopping, Ant and Bee and the Secret and Ant and Bee and the ABC are the three that come to mind first and I would probably say those are tied as my favorites. I actually reread them not too long ago and was as charmed by them now as I was when I was little.

Busy, Busy Town by Richard Scarry

I wasn't a big Dr. Seuss kid but I was obsessed with Richard Scarry when I was little. I watched the TV show, I had the merchandise, I ate up the books. Will and Pig Won't and Busy, Busy Town were two of my favorites. Again, I think it is the illustrations that drew me to them but the cast of characters were also great. Unlike a lot of books, these really held my interest and I can remember spending hours reading and rereading them. And yes, Lowly Worm was my favorite character. The show intro can be found here, I can't believe I still remember the theme song!