Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Looking for Ethel

Just a very quick post to tell you I changed my mind about posting family research here. I decided to create a separate blog for it. Check it out:

Monday, May 10, 2010


One of the interests my grandmother and I shared was family history. When she was still fairly sharp-minded and spent only her winters in Texas, we would compare notes on new things we'd learned over the summer. I had an membership, so I was able to go searching for a paper trail when she brought me a new name.

For the last five or six years, I've not had the funds for an Ancestry membership, and Gramma's memory wasn't reliable anyway. So my genealogy files got shuffled around, and those facts in my head got pushed to the back.

Weekend before last, mom found some boxes of photos in the garage, so as I have time, I've been sorting through them and scanning them (such as the one of North Madison School third-grader Marjorie Ashley at right). It's a slow process, but interesting. And finding photos of ancestors got me thinking again about genealogy.

So last night I went searching for those genealogy files, and scrounged up the backup DVD from the kaput computer that has JPG image files of a lot of Census pages and whatnot (from when I DID have an Ancestry membership). Spent a couple hours past my bedtime looking through what I had, rediscovering a few facts I'd forgotten, finding again the pile of questions and notes I'd written to myself.

For anyone who's interested, I intend to periodically share research and photos here on my blog. Once I get what I have organized and make a list of what I need to look for, I'll get a two-week trial membership to Ancestry and see what else I can find.

Here's one of the notes I wrote to myself several years ago:


The information Gramma gave me from Aunt Judy says that Solomon Ashley married Sarah Swang Sampler in 26 Nov 1829. So by the time the 1830 Census was taken, they'd been married all of six months. However, in the 1830 Census, Solomon has three kids under five years of age (two boys and a girl), and two between the ages of five and ten (a boy and a girl). Both he and his wife are of thirty and under forty. SO, we can only assume that this was not the first marriage for at least one of them.

ALSO, that same information from Judy has that Elkanah Ashley married Sarah Jordon, daughter of Charles Jordon and Rebecca Hill. However, in the 1850 Census, Elkanah is indeed married to a Sarah, who is 20 years old, and they have a one-year-old son. Right next door, the next family on the census, is Charles Jordon and his wife Rebecca, who have a 20-year-old daughter Sarah LIVING WITH THEM. Unless she's in two places at once, the two Sarah's are not likely the same person. Mucking things up is the marriage record I have from FamilySearch, which may or may not be reliable anyway. It says an Elkana Ashley married a Sarah Jourdon in Ashtabula county on 2 Jan 1848. The record supposedly comes from a film.

Sure enough, I looked at the 1830 and 1850 Census images. The 1830 Census shows exactly what I wrote in my notes. I wish I had the original marriage record. Will add that mystery to my list of things to look for with my two-week trial... The 1850 Census indeed shows Sarah is living next door to Sarah (screen shot below). So either her parents gave the census-taker the names and ages of ALL their children (perhaps they thought living next door was close enough to living with), or it's not the same Sarah.
*****UPDATE: I looked further down the page and saw that there was also another Elkanah Ashley (age 23) living with Solomon Ashley. After some further digging, I've figured out that the pair on lines 6 & 7 are not the right Elkanah and Sarah Ashley. How weird is that? Almost identical ages, identical names, living within yards of each other on the same street. I don't know about the marriage record on that. *****

I found a few other weird things I don't think I'd really noticed before, but I can share those another time :)

Monday, April 12, 2010


My grandmother left this mortal existence on Saturday, April 10, 2010, at about 6:45 pm, three weeks shy of her 80th birthday.

It's an odd thing, mourning the death of someone who 'died' years ago. Her body was with us, inhabited by a bitter, angry old woman; my Gramma was long gone, stolen away by Alzheimer's and dementia. I've been mourning her loss for years.

I ask this honestly: How do you mourn the death of someone who didn't know who you were, but resolutely did not like you? Who was so mean to your kids in the last six to eight years of her life, but who once gushed to her friends about her great-grandchildren? How do you cope with the conflicting feelings of distant sadness and not-so-distant relief?

I'm sad that she's really gone, and I'm relieved that she's at peace. No longer burdened by a failing body and mind.

But more than that, I'm relieved that my mom can now be at peace. My mom sacrificed so much to care for her mother. Countless times, through various accidents and injuries, she brought her own life to a halt to sit by her mother's hospital bed. For the last two years (or more) my mom has gotten very little sleep thanks to the baby monitor in Gramma's room and Gramma's nightmares and seizures and sometimes habit of getting up in the middle of the night and heading out the door. My mom gets migraines which I think are stress and sleep-deprivation related (though she disagrees). And that's just the stuff I saw. I don't even want to think about the personal hygiene stuff, or the seizures, or the incontinence, but my mom was there to deal with it all. Now she can truly sleep at night, knowing that Gramma is receiving the Ultimate care.

On Thursday I was able to spend the day at Gramma's bedside. To see her in so much pain, unable to articulate even where she hurt, crying out at the slightest touch or disturbance... it was sad. That Alzheimer's can reduce a once proudly stalwart woman to the demeanor of a whimpering infant is... scary.

The funeral is this week in Ohio. I can't afford to go. Which is a little frustrating when I think about it. I want to go and celebrate who she was with people who have little knowledge or appreciation of who she became. I want to be reminded of the wonderful Gramma she used to be, so that those memories can usurp the more recent ones. I want my kids to learn about the woman she was from other people, because they have no memory of a nice Gramma.

But we'll say goodbye here in Texas. Look at pictures. Bake some pizzelles. I'll do my best to remember for my kids. And think about/pray for family gathering in Ohio. (We love you!)

In writing this post, I went back through this blog, reading about other times I wrote about the loss of my Gramma:

The chaos and healing of her car accident in June 2006

Mourning the loss of my 'real' Gramma in December 2008
Once again remembering (and missing) the lost Gramma in November 2009

If you have a good memory or two of my 'real' grandmother, please feel free to share in the comments :) I would appreciate it.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Go go gadget vinyl cutter!

Okay, so I'm very excited. Shutter Muse Studio featuring a Brush and a Beverage is going to happen, and I'm getting closer every day! I've had to start keeping a notebook of ideas so I can keep track of them all.

On Saturday, my Silhouette SD electronic cutter arrived. It's similar to a Cricut except that it hooks up to a computer rather than cutting from cartridges. I'd been wanting one for a couple of years, largely because you can cut your OWN vector designs on the Silhouette. So in my research for opening a storefront, I priced custom vinyl lettering for the door and for my truck, a custom cut sign for the inside, a banner for hanging outside, some yard signs, and various other little items. Total cost: More than if I bought the Silhouette and did all that stuff myself. Yay!

So today I was installing all the software on my laptop (turned out to be quite a chore because of Windows 7 compatibility issues, but I think I got it worked out), and all the while, my brain was spewing out more ideas, particularly for the Brush and a Beverage aspect. Being a multimedia artist, I intended to use more than just brushes and paint to create our projects--to use unconventional painting implements and/or create our own, to incorporate fibers and beads into the pieces, perhaps decoupage or stencil. Being able to cut multiple custom designs from any paper I wish, or from acetate or vinyl, opens up a huge ocean of creative possibilities!

I'm excited!

Friday, January 01, 2010

Hello 2010

I think I'm about recovered from our trip to Alabama. We got home yesterday around 2:30, and at around 8:00, I cozied up in my bed with my DSi to do some sudoku puzzles...

...and woke up sometime after 2:00 am, light on, quiet house. What a boring reveler I am. Got the year off to a good start by staying in my pajamas all day.

I like my sister's idea of setting goals for the year (rather than making resolutions) so I'm going to steal it. It's good to have goals.

Here are my goals for the year (list a work in progress *grin*)

1. Clean out the garage so I can park my truck in it.

2. Either create a photo studio in my newly-cleaned garage, or find studio space elsewhere.

3. Expand my business so that it can actually pay some bills.

4. Tear up the carpet in the living room and finally put down resilient flooring (and repaint in there, too).

5. Finish some of the projects I have going. Like afghans

6. Two words: Clean. House.
Short list, lofty goals. We'll see.