Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving Memories

Thanksgiving is a time of sharing and getting families together. I can remember many of them, usually at my Dad's parents' house. They would invite Mom's parents also as they lived in the same town for quite a while. Grandma was a great cook and never tired of all the family and friends who would show up. She always seemed to have left overs so prepared a lot of extra food. Her dressing was different and one time my cousin just point blank told her it was sloppy. It was always runny, never dry. The day after Thanksgiving Grandma showed us all how to shop. She was a pro at shopping.

After my Mom's parents moved to eastern Nebraska, we spent several Thanksgivings with them. While things were more simple with only six people at the table, Grandma still cooked up a storm. She was from the south so it wasn't unusual to have many vegetables along with pickles (always home made). Grandma made the best dill pickles ever!

The day after Thanksgiving was Husker football in Lincoln, Nebraska. Mom and Grandma would usually stay home, but Grandpa, Dad and my brother and I would go to the game. What fun to be part of the crowd and feel the surge of energy from yelling on the Huskers. We very seldom came home sad that the Huskers lost.

One time we had a different Thanksgiving. We spent it with friends who had three children. They lived in the country and it was great fun running all over the place. Dad and his friend went pheasant hunting early on Thanksgiving morning and the day after. Spending Thanksgiving with friends is great, but not as great as with family. Mom says that is because we are all blessed with family and that is why she loves doing genealogy.

Whether you spend Thanksgiving with family or friends, it's a time to share and be happy. Whether you have sloppy dressing or dry dressing, it's a time to be thankful for everything you have. I hope you all have a great Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

School Days and Genealogy

Mom was and still is always studying. It's history, geography and, of course, genealogy. I don't think she has ever quit going to school. Now I take my daughter to school and Mom sometimes picks her up after school. While she waits Mom reads...genealogy magazines or books. Never a idle moment without genealogy!

When my brother went for his first day of school, Mom forgot to get him after school. She claimed she was busy preparing food when the teacher called to ask if somebody would please come and get him. I think she was probably knee deep in a genealogy problem, enjoying the fact that she was minus one kid for more than half a day. When she got there to get him, he was sitting with the teacher on the steps of the school, crying. He let her know that she had forgotten him.

Sometimes she would drag us off to cemeteries and then dispense strict orders that we were not to tell our Dad that she had spent hours in the cemetery. They were not exactly playgrounds, but they were just that for Mom.

For Mom it's genealogy 24/7 and she's zealous about finding ancestors and relatives. If somebody was born, they had a mother and father and she's bound to eventually find them. I just hope she doesn't forget my daughter at school. As long as she can take her genealogy goodies with her perhaps she won't.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

The Girls (Grannies) Go to Wyoming

Mom, #1, and Aunt Cheri, #2, of the team of You Go Genealogy Girls are off again. They are going back to Wyoming and even though they would like to head the car, aka Lil' Red, toward Salt Lake City, they are heading north to Sheridan. The Family History Expo is being held there July 17th and 18th.

A little over a week ago Mom was getting ready for a day-trip to cemeteries in eastern Nebraska. She sprained her knee just a few feet outside her door. That landed her in ER and ended her cemetery trip. Good thing she didn't do it in some abandoned cemetery in the middle of no-where.

Aunt Cheri has been entertaining her son and his family of eight children for almost two weeks. Mom reports that she calls from the peace and quiet of her computer/genealogy room but occasionally there are knocks on the door and response of "go away" or "be quiet out there."

Will the Girls be ready for this trip to Sheridan? If it pertains to genealogy...and it does...they will be ready. Mom is doing physical therapy for her knee and using a sexy, floral cane just in case. Aunt Cheri will probably need to take a wig because she's pulling her hair out. With eight grandchildren ages 17 to 6 months, it is difficult to not pull your hair out. All said and done, she loves every one of them. Tis just challenging at times. Mom wants to be out walking her mile a day, but finds it challenging to just get to the mailbox and back. She says it is like looking for ancestors...just another challenge in her life.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Genealogy or Motherhood or Both

Mom began doing genealogical research on the family before she became a mother...actually before she even married Dad. Stories she tells indicate that she would work on her research when my brother and I were napping or in bed at night. She never missed a stroke, but her time was somewhat limited for genealogy.

When I was about eight months old Mom began working on a family genealogy for the Amsberry reunion. That was before computers, so she set the typewriter up in the living room on a card table, along with her paper and notes. To entertain my brother for close to an hour, without interruption, she cut out strips of paper and had him color them. After that he could make loops and a chain which he seemed to never tire of doing. That allowed Mom to be a mother and a genealogist. A eight month old is a bit different, so when it came time to feed me she learned how to balance me on her feet under the table and rock me while I drank my bottle. She would type away on the Amsberry genealogy notes.

Of course, there were the trips to visit relatives, to cemeteries and also to allow Mom to research in libraries. My brother and I both had chicken pox practically at the same time. He was about 7 years old and I was about 4 years old. After we had healed up, Dad took Mom to a library that had a genealogy section and told her to spend a few hours and he'd entertain us. Mom had definitely earned that free time!

Mom worked when we were in high school, but she still found time to write and column on genealogy and history for the local newspaper. She would stay up until the wee hours of the morning working on her writing and genealogy. I think that's why she doesn't need as much sleep as some people. When she and Dad moved to Iowa in 1996, Mom was having health problems and was diagnosed with cancer. After surgery in May of 1999, she was declared free of cancer. She's a ten year survivor.

By 2000, Mom and Dad had moved back to Nebraska. Where they were living meant that Mom had to travel quite a ways to do research. That didn't stop her. She had internet and from time to time she'd do some traveling. In 2004 Dad was diagnosed with cancer. After numerous operations, chemo and radiation, it was apparent he was not going to be a survivor like Mom. He left us on 26 June 2007. during those three years, Mom took care of Dad without any help. Their vacations were to hospitals. Mom never complained about not finding time for genealogy. She'd think about it, read genealogy periodicals in the hospitals and doctor's offices and try to do some research from time to time.

A few days before he passed away, Dad told Mom that he wanted her to resume her genealogical research after he passed away. Mom has done exactly that, but she still juggles that with the title of Mother and also Grandmother.

Monday, May 11, 2009

The Girls Head West

Mom and Aunt Cheri (The You Go Genealogy Girls) are packing and repacking, getting ready to head to Salt Lake City. Mom leaves here in a few days. Every time my Mom goes somewhere she has to pack and repack several times. The first on the list is the laptop computer and her genealogy research items. Of course, she can't go anywhere without several pairs of shoes, normally at least five pair. She says that she is only taking two pair of shoes to Salt Lake City. I can't imagine why she doesn't need more!

According to Mom, Aunt Cheri packs everything imaginable. Maybe she'll take the kitchen sink. She will also be heavy on the genealogy items, but light on the shoes. Mom's the shoe fanatic. While Mom crams things into a couple of bags, I'm sure Aunt Cheri will have many bags of this and that. Then comes the them stuff all that into Mom's car, Lil Red.

While the girls are gone, I am in charge of watering Mom's plants, inside and outside. Also will be in charge of making sure everything is okay in her townhouse. I will bring in her mail and advise her on the phone if she has anything that looks important in the way of genealogy mail.

Uncle Geoff does the housework (maybe) and takes care of Aunt Cheri's plants while she's gone. He also is known to call or e-mail her asking for money. As if the girls could send him money when they are traveling! There won't be extra money as they plan on spending all they have on photocopies and genealogy books. Mom may also conveniently buy a pair of shoes. Way to go girls!

If you want to know what the girls are up to, follow their blog, The You Go Genealogy Girls. They will find time to chat on that and fill you in on what they are doing. I will have to read it also...just to get my laugh for the day.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

A Grandma Named Irene

Some time in our earlier years my brother and I used to call her Grandma Rene, which was our endearing phrase for Grandma Irene, our paternal grandmother. We didn't grow up in the same town where grandma and grandpa lived, so visiting was a treat.

Grandma kept a box of toys in one of the bedroom closets. It wasn't the normal toys, more like junk, such a old necklaces, odds and end and a few of the usual toys. Nobody seemed concerned that they might not be safe and we never choked on anything and didn't end up with lead poisoning, just lots of fun.

Our cousins would come to Grandma's house to play. We had several cousins of various ages and when there would be family get togethers, the house was full to the brim. Out would come the toy box and everybody would step over toys and kids. My two children never grew up with cousins...they don't know what they missed.

Grandma Rene was the best cook. She didn't stop with one of two things to eat. When the stove had several pots bubbling away, she would go to the phone and invite more relatives to come to eat. Later in life she began loosing her eye sight. Some of her meals ere interesting and we were not sure what we were eating.

One thing that Grandma excelled in was making home made noodles. She would add them to chicken in a huge pot and then call the relatives. There were always leftovers to go around. One day Mom asked for her recipe. The she watched her roll out the noodles. When Mom got home she decided to make home made noodles. They were like eating cardboard. Mom asked a neighbor what she thought went wrong as she had followed the recipe. The neighbor said she had left out a tad bit of baking powder. The next time Mom made noodles they tasted like Grandma's noodles! One day she commented to Grandma Rene that she had left out the baking powder in the recipe. This was followed by giggles from Grandma.

She told us that she learned to make home made noodles from her mother, Grandma Pearl. I wonder where she learned to make them. Pearl was only fourteen years old when her mother died. Maybe she learned young.

Grandma always told Mom that she was proud of her genealogical research on the family. She said if it wasn't for Mom she wouldn't know much about her family history. Thanks Mom! And thanks Grandma Rene for making my childhood interesting.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Grandma and Cemeteries

As if growing up with a genealogy Mom wasn't enough, my maternal grandmother enjoyed going to cemeteries. She and Grandpa lived in York, Nebraska for many years. That's in the eastern part of the state and west of Lincoln.

If Grandma knew we were coming for a visit, and it wasn't winter, she would almost always have a cemetery she wanted us to visit. Sometimes they were only visible from the gravel road, far too difficult to walk up to. Sometimes they were churchyard cemeteries and sometimes they were cemeteries at little towns. She always found them. Then we would visit the cemetery in York where she would have us drive past numerous graves of relatives.

One time Grandma was very excited to show us a "new" cemetery. Well, it was new to Mom and I'm not sure how Grandma figured out where it was located. Grandma put on a long sleeve shirt to protect her arms from bugs and briars and then donned her big straw hat. You could spot her a long ways off in what Mom called her "cemetery garb."

Off we went to the Lincoln Creek Cemetery in York County. It is a pretty cemetery and not difficult to reach and walk around in. Mom had been looking for the grave of Dad's great, great grandfather, Henry Eberhart. He actually died in 1878 in Kansas, but all the family had been living in a around York County, Nebraska. Grandma walked around and around in one area of the cemetery, stopped and said, "This is where he's buried." There was no stone, no nothing.

Later Mom found a plat map showing the Henry had actually purchased lots in that cemetery before his death in 1878. So...who knows...maybe he's buried there. After all...I was brought up that Mom and Grandma were always right!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Blogs in the Family

Everybody loves blogs! My Mom has added a new blog which is Nebraska Roots and Ramblings. My Aunt Cheri has added a blog, Those Old Memories.

Naturally Mom's blog is about doing research in Nebraska. Check it out! She said she'll post information on genealogy collections in Nebraska, tips about doing research in our state and a whole lot more! Her latest post contains a link to a You Tube video which is really great.

Aunt Cheri's blog will feature things that interest her historically and genealogically, family experiences and just fun things. She has a lot of nice photographs, but that's expected because she does photographic restoration.

As if that isn't enough to keep the two of them busy, they have a team blog, The You Go Genealogy Girls. Now that's a fun one. Wait until you see the header of the blog. That's Mom's car traveling across it, burning rubber as the two of them head off in pursuit of relatives and ancestors. Looks like they are loosing some of their things, too. Mom better slow down and Aunt Cheri had better pack better

They will be blogging about their research, their experiences and all the fun things that happen along the way. Mom says they will blog while in Salt Lake City in May. That should be interesting!

Join all of the our genealogy blogging!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Those Girls

The girls (grannies) are at it again. Aunt Cheri visited Mom for a week in February. They did non-stop genealogy. Mom has to get Aunt Cheri up in the mornings because she is a night-owl. Then Aunt Cheri is prowling around reading computer and genealogy books half the night. Eventually they both get in sync. In February they even managed to take my daughter and I out to eat dinner, and the chatter was completely genealogy and their efforts in trying to find people, alive and dead.

Aunt Cheri is returning in a few weeks. The You Go Genealogy Girls (grannies) are presenting the March program for the local genealogy society. Mom uses a Mac and Aunt Cheri has a PC. Ok...that's just another way they are different besides their night/day routine. Their program will be a power-point presentation on available software for the Mac and the PC. It's not a case of who will win or who has the best power-point presentation, but rather how much they can talk about in one hour. You go girls!

April...that's when spring returns full force to Nebraska. But, it can also be a time for a snow storm or two in Nebraska. The sandhills cranes have arrived early this year, so perhaps we'll have and early spring. Then the You Go Genealogy Girls will out in full force. Mom has a genealogy seminar she is presenting after Easter. It's a one day affair...another non-stop genealogy function.

May... those girls are really off and running! The first weekend in May is the Nebraska State Genealogical Society conference. Mom will pack up her little red car and head to the panhandle of Nebraska to meet Aunt Cheri. They will fill three of four days with genealogy lectures, get-togethers and meetings. I am sure everybody will know the You Go Genealogy Girls are there!

Mom returns home for a little over a week and really packs up the little red car. She will drive to Cheyenne, Wyoming where she'll stay at her nephew's house and meet the other You Go Girl...Aunt Cheri. They will do Wyoming research in Cheyenne and then set out after a few days for Salt Lake City, the mecca for genealogists. I'll let you know what the car looks like loaded down with the girl's "stuff." Mon will e-mail me the details. They have been working all winter on their packing list!

Salt Lake City is for genealogists like Las Vegas is for serious gamblers. Those girls (grannies) won't come up for air. Mom will be up early in the mornings to walk and get ready for a full day at the library and then nudge Aunt Cheri to get out of bed. They seem to strike a happy medium in their personalities and habits, both of which deffer.

Stay tuned for more episodes about the You Go Genealogy Girls. They have agreed that Mom is #1 girl and Aunt Cheri is #2 girl. They may differ in some respects, but they can also agree!

Sunday, January 11, 2009


From an early age I was taught the importance of family. Fortunately I had two sets of grandparents and remember my great grandfather, George. I barely remember my great grandmother, Opal (my father's grandmother). My father had a brother and sister which is not considered a large family by any means, but throw in cousins and nieces and nephews, it seemed to swell.

My January birthday usually falls in the midst of the worst weather in Nebraska...snow, wind, and frigid cold temperatures. Occasionally mother nature surprises us with a breath of fresh air, only to throw us back into the Nebraska-tundra of winter. With this uncertain weather, my grandparents very seldom came from out of town for my birthday.

That was okay, because we had one big celebration in March. My paternal grandfather, Freddie's birthday was on March 9th and my paternal grandmother, Irene's birthday was on April 3rd. They were married on March 20th. My Aunt Cheri has two boys, Daniel and Jason, and their birthdays are March 12th and March 18th. How many more could we add to March? My maternal grandfather, Bob, was born March 31st. My great grandmother, Opal, was born March 12th and my Aunt Stella was born March 31st. Okay, so March was THE month.

Sometime when the weather man reported descent weather, we would get together for a family dinner in March. Because of the size of the group, we would usually have it in a special room at a restaurant. Sometimes everybody would be together in Grandma and Grandpa's house. There would be a lot of smiles, a lot of visiting and for us kids, a lot of playing with cousins. Always there was a special cake. Most importantly it was a time to realize how thankful we were for relatives...our family.

As my brother and I grew older, these get togethers became more difficult. My brother was in college, I was married. But we tried and we did manage to get in our March celebration. I can remember a cousin commenting about my brother driving from Iowa to the panhandle of Nebraska in March for our usual birthday party. He said, "he really does love his grandparents." It was a natural...we had plenty of love to go around for everybody.