Saturday, December 12, 2009

Holiday Birthdays, 86 COG Pt. 1

Prompt: The topic for the next edition of the Carnival of Genealogy will be: The Other Holiday Happenings! Often times December to mid-January birthdays and anniversaries get over shadowed by the Christmas/Hanukkah/New Year holidays. So we're going to shine a spotlight on those family members and ancestors this time around. Select one or more December to mid-January birthdays and/or anniversaries on your family tree. Write a short tribute to or memory of those birthday guys and gals and write a toast to the anniversary couples. Share it in the COG!

I have been meaning to participate in the COG ever since I first learned about it, nearly a year ago, but I always either didn't have something to post or I let the deadline get away from me.  But this time the moment I read the prompt, I knew I had to participate in this one.  The prompt is something near and dear to my heart because you see, I'm a Christmas baby.  In fact, there are a good number of people in my tree (past and present) with birthdays or anniversaries around Christmas and New Years.

I know many people with birthdays around Christmas and New Years hate that they have to share "their day" with arguably the biggest holidays of the year.  Personally, I love that my birthday is December 28, it is exactly three days after Christmas and exactly three days before New Years and I wouldn't have it any other way.  When I was little I always had to have my party either the week before my birthday or a week after because none of my friends were in town on my actual birthday.  I also got my fair share of birthday presents wrapped in Santa Claus paper and Christmas/Birthday cards but that never really bothered me.  I love that I can put my birthday presents under my Christmas tree, that I never had to spend my birthday at school, that I almost always know what I'm getting for my birthday (it is always the one item on my Christmas list that didn't turn up Christmas day) and that there is always tons of yummy leftover foods and treats to snack on.  It does make for one hectic week starting with Christmas Eve (which is almost as big a deal in my house as Christmas) and ending with New Years, but it is also the most enjoyable week of the year because it is filled with presents and parties and friends and family and celebrating.  I wouldn't have my birthday any other time of the year and I've never understood people who hated their December or early January birthdays.

Which brings me to my grandmother and the million other people in my family tree who were born on December 8th.  I have no idea why that is such a popular birthday in my tree but it has gotten to the point where you could literally not know when someone in my family was born and guess December 8th and you'd be right.  Seriously.  And in addition to all the birthdays on that day there are another hundred anniversaries that also happen to be then too.  What is it about December 8th?!  Now, I don't really consider that close to Christmas but if you ask anyone in my family who was either born or married then they'd tell you it was so I'll bow to their good opinion and say that it is close enough to Christmas to count in this instance.  The odd part is that my grandmother has never liked her birthday.  She told me a story once about how when she was a little girl she was reading a magazine that advertised birthstone rings.  Her favorite was the Sapphire so she lied and said her birthday was in September when she sent away for it.  Now, being the daughter of a minister, this lying was a pretty big deal to her.  I don't know that there were any consequences for it but she certainly felt guilty even though she got the ring she wanted.

Some of my other ancestors who qualify would be Sarah Elizabeth Hudson Wellons (3 Jan 1816) and Heman Doyle (31 Dec 1809/1811) who are both brick walls for me, oddly enough.  I know a bit more about Heman so I'll write about him. He was born in Vermont to a mother from Connecticut and a father from Ireland (1880 census) and (this is just speculation on my part) they probably moved to Rochester, New York at some point.  Heman married Alzina Jackman (a Monroe Co., NY native) and they lived in Rochester where Heman was a lawyer.  I don't know much about these early years and he is hard to find on census records (his name is always misspelled) but thanks to I know he was living in the Pittsford, New York (which is in the Rochester area) in 1839.  Alzina and Heman had three daughters, Mariah Adelaide, Rhoda Melissa and Frances P.  I think Rhoda Melissa died young because she only shows up on family documents and no census records.  When news of gold in California hit the east coast in 1849 Heman and his future son-in-law came west.  Heman became a farmer but also continued to practice law and served as a probate judge, justice of the peace and first district attorney in Carson Valley, Nevada.  He and later Alzina lived in Nevada as well as San Joaquin, Calaveras and El Dorado Co., California.  He died of typhoid on 11 Sept 1881 and is burid at the Woodbridge Masonic Cemetery in Woodbridge, CA.  Below is the only picture I have of him:

If anyone knows anything about Freemason attire, I'd love to know what rank he was.


  1. Very interesting blog post and photograph. Are the two in the post wearing Masonic symbols?

  2. Yes, that is Masonic "garb." Sadly, I know nothing about the Freemasons so I couldn't say what and why they are wearing what they are. I think the sashs differ by the rank you are and the skirt things are something everyone wears as a reminder of the original mason craftsmen. Freemasonry is something I really ought to learn more about, seems like everyone in my tree was or is involved with them...

  3. Thanks for sharing your neat COG post. Yes, freemasonry has quite a history. Many of our American founders were members and there are even conspiracy theories rampant!
    Does that make it more interesting?

    Bill ;-)


Thank you for commenting!