Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Wordless Wednesday....the Mother-In-Laws!

The Mother-in-Laws...

Alma Guinee & Eva Hanaway


Digital Photo owned by P. Taylor

Monday, January 26, 2009

Monday Memories, Roses are red...violets are blue?

Digital photo owned by P. Taylor
Flower grown by P. Taylor too!
January, 2009

I certainly appreciate the blogging prompt, although I am sorry to say that I cannot recall who to give the credit to. So, here is my Monday memory.

My grandmother Lucy, had a real green thumb. She could make anything grow. Her yard proved that. The flower beds in the front yard was filled with roses. The driveway was lined with tulips, daffodils, and more roses. The back garden had all types of summer flowers; zinnias, carnations, gladiolus, bachelor buttons, and so many more. Spring and summer celebrations always included a freshly picked bouquet from my grandmother. Thanks to my grandmother, I too love all kinds of flowers.

My favorite flower grew inside her house. Lucy grew African violets. All shades of African violets, pink violets and purple violets, even violets that were almost blue. They were beautiful. She would keep them in her kitchen window and in her basement windows. She had NO problem taking a broken stem and putting it in a small clay pot filled with a little black dirt and in a couple of weeks that stem was growing into a really nice plant. I was not alone, everyone loved her African violet plants. She was always giving people "starter" plants with simple directions; give it some sun and don't water it a lot!

I can't tell you how many of those "starter" plants she gave me. Tons! I followed her directions. Give it some sunshine and a little water. It didn't matter. I always killed my little "starter violet." You can imagine the guilt I had too. It was embarrassing for me to keep asking for another plant and then within a couple of weeks it too was dead.
This went on for years. To cheer myself up, I would buy a really nice mature African violet plant from a store. I had one condition-it had to be blooming! I would beam with happiness and pride. I had an African violet that looked beautiful, for a little while at least. Then the inevitable would happen, the blossoms would shrivel up and die, then one leaf would fall off, followed by more. The plant became a little dried up mess or turned yellow when I watered it too much. Why was growing an African violet so hard? I gave up. Who needed a pretty flower anyway?
Last year my beloved grandmother must have looked down from heaven and thought I had suffered long enough. Not expecting much, I bought an African violet plant from Wal-Mart and put it in the south window of my home. I watered it a little and gave it some African violet FOOD. Plants need food too. I looked at it everyday. It didn't die. In fact, it started looking bigger and better. So, what did I do? I went out and bought two more! I watered them and gave them some African violet food too. This past November a little miracle happened. MY three African violet plants bloomed! Yep, you read right...and the best part of all...they are still blooming!
I know I didn't do this all by myself...Lucy is watching over and guiding me. She picked the right time in my life to make sure that when I got up in the morning I would see something beautiful. So, thank you dear grandmother for passing down to me an appreciation for beautiful flowers. And thank you to my Mom (who never really had much of a green thumb but loved flowers!) for teaching me to never give up when I failed at a task.
So, thanks for the memory and the lessons! My three little African violet plants sure are a pretty sight!

Friday, January 23, 2009

And one more makes how many?

In 1994 I attended the 25th class reunion from my grammar school. That evening I was awarded a "prize" for having the most children. You see I have adopted all of my children. One of the gentlemen at my table (who I had a MAJOR crush on in the third grade) made a comment about me having my children "the easy way." Needless to say, I immediately straightened him out about how difficult it is to adopt a child, especially being a single parent, and that the entire process can be challenging to say the least.
That being said, I am very happy to announce that I have once again adopted a child. Well, actually my son is a teenager and I couldn't be any happier! He is a great kid, wonderful athlete, and a terrific son. Each adoption brings many wonderful feelings, the most important-how blessed I am to have these children in my life! I can't image how boring and empty my life would be without my children in it.
The beginning of the year we were asked to state our resolutions for 2009. What were we going to try to accomplish that we have either been too busy to work on, or just putting off? Well, my resolution is to attempt to start a family tree on each of my children's birth parents and their birth families. Not an easy task I know. When I adopted most of my children I received very little information about their birth parents. I learned the birth parents names and ages and some medical history but not much more information. Illinois still recognizes "closed" adoptions. Illinois will not share any information on the adoption. Nothing. When my children turn eighteen years old they can register with one or more of the national adoption registries and perhaps find their birth parents that way.
Currently, three of my children still remain in contact with their birth families to some degree which benefits all of us. Unfortunately for three of my other children (all siblings) finding out any information about their birth families and locating them is proving very difficult indeed.
I continue to be amazed at how much you can love these children who come into your life at different times for many different reasons. All looking for someone to love them and take care of them. Believe me, I get so much more back in return. I truly am very blessed!

P.S. The answer is seven!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Wordless Wednesday, Let it snow!

January, 2009

Kaylee & Dakota

Digital photo owned by P. Taylor

In their glory!!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Oh what a night...

Last night I actually found myself with no obligations...I didn't have to cook, the kids had their homework done (no school on Monday), and chores were done. I had some time to do what I wanted. Of course, you know that meant working on my genealogy.....
For the past year I have been working exclusively on my Ball and Sommer relatives and have met with a little success. Thanks to a distant cousin who contacted me I also have the names of my gggreat grandparents. However, I ran into a lot of brick walls and then I got discouraged. This time I picked a different family to work on.
My father, Norbert Wozniak was Polish, so I have a lot of Polish relatives. Unfortunately, I have very little information on their history. I do know the names of my fathers parents -Steven and Cecilia (Sawicki) Wozniak, his father's parents -Joseph and Mary (Ziolkowski) Wozniak,and his mothers parents -Louis and Stella (Wieczorek) Sawicki. Thanks to the census records (and longevity) I also have the name of a paternal great great great grandmother - Regina Polus.
So, I decided to work on my Sawicki family history. It is my hope to some day connect with a cousin or two. After reviewing the information I already had, I began working with some free online databases; Cook County Genealogy, Illinois State Archives, Social Security Death Index, and the Polish Genealogical Society of America. I discovered the dates of quite a few marriages, births and deaths of my relatives. Using the Chicago Tribune Historical Archives database from the public library that I work at, I was able to access obituaries that confirmed the death information that I just discovered. Not only did I find out funeral home information but also church and cemetery information. In a number of cases the obituary also gave me the names of siblings and grandchildren! The obituary definitely confirmed the information I had gathered.
I wasn't done yet. It was almost midnight when I accessed Heritage Quest from home (using my local public library) and played around with the census records. Imagine my delight when I added a number of names and addresses to quite a few of my relatives to my family tree program.
Wow, I could hardly keep my eyes open any longer but I was in my glory! I actually met with some success in discovering and confirming some of my Polish relatives. I was definitely doing the genealogy dance!! Oh what a night I had....

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Wishing for a WARM Wordless Wednesday....Priceless

Photograph Privately owned by P. Taylor
Winter, 2009
January, 2009
Below zero temperatures...
Blistery cold winds...
Black ice...
Frozen fingers...
Wet feet...
Ice covered highways...
Five inches of snow on side streets...
Photograph privately owned by P. Taylor

Mackinac Island, Summer 2008
Glorious sunshine...
Warm weather...
Soft breeze...
Okay, so this post is really not wordless, but it is a Wednesday and I am really wishing for warm weather!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday

My Grandmother Lucy Hanaway Guinee's tombstone
Wheatfield Cemetery, Wheatfield, IN
Photo privately owned by P. Taylor

My Great Grandparents Eva and Albert (Bert) Hanaway's tombstone
Wheatfield Cemetery, Wheatfield, IN
Photo privately owned by P. Taylor

My Great Great Grandfather Jacob A. Hanaway's tombstone
Wheatfield Cemetery, Wheatfield, IN
Photo privately owned by P. Taylor

Drive Route 49, about 25 - 30 miles south of Valparaiso, Indiana and you will find the Wheatfield cemetery. It really is a nice drive from Valparaiso to Wheatfield. On the way you pass through Kouts, Indiana where one of my favorite country stores is located. The Willow Tree Garden. Of course I make a point of stopping by and saying hello to one of the owners- Carrie who has become a wonderful friend. Drive a little further south and you will come to Wheatfield. The cemetery is along both sides of Rt. 49. The land where the cemetery is located now used to be farm land, which is evident by the surrounding corn fields on the east. The community of Wheatfield is small but quite a number of my living Hanaway relatives still reside there. I usually make the trip to the cemetery each season and decorate the tombstones of my grandparents and my mother too. I try to decorate the tombstones with plants and small decorations, and the best part is they are always there when I return. Nothing is ever stolen!
It is comforting to know that so many of my grandparents are laid to rest in the same cemetery.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Blogging prompt, week one--Another favorite picture...

Myself, my father Norb and
Grandfather Steven Wozniak
circa 1956
Photo privately owned
by P. Taylor

Oh thank heavens for a years worth of blogging ideas....thanks to those who worked on this project! Week one post your favorite photo and talk about it. Okay, here it goes...

So, here is yet another one of my favorite pictures. I was almost one year old when this picture was taken. A three generation photo! That makes it special and a FAVORITE automatically! Here you see my father holding me and his father standing next to him. A couple of weeks later my father would be in the hospital with a broken collarbone and then two weeks after that I would be in the hospital. Poor Mom, she was about seven months pregnant with my sister! Talk about stress!!

Both my father and grandfather enjoyed gardening as is the evidence of the beautiful roses against the house. My grandfather died in 1959 when I was not quite four years old, so this picture means a great deal to me!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

104 Tidbits of my Genealogy

The list should be annotated in the following manner:
Things you have already done or found: bold face type
Things you would like to do or find: italicize
Things you haven’t done or found and don’t care to: plain type

Belong to a genealogical society.

Researched records onsite at a court house.

Transcribed records.

Uploaded tombstone pictures to Find-A-Grave.

Documented ancestors for four generations (self, parents, grandparents, great-grandparents) .

Joined Facebook.

Helped to clean up a run-down cemetery.

Joined the Genea-Bloggers Group on Facebook.

Attended a genealogy conference.

Lectured at a genealogy conference.

Spoke on a genealogy topic at a local genealogy society.

Been the editor of a genealogy society newsletter.

Contributed to a genealogy society publication.

Served on the board or as an officer of a genealogy society.

Got lost on the way to a cemetery.

Talked to dead ancestors.

Researched outside the state in which I live.

Knocked on the door of an ancestral home and visited with the current occupants.

Cold called a distant relative.

Posted messages on a surname message board.

Uploaded a gedcom file to the internet.

Googled my name. (aka The Ego Search)

Performed a random act of genealogical kindness.

Researched a non-related family, just for the fun of it.

Have been paid to do genealogical research.

Earn a living (majority of income) from genealogical research.

Wrote a letter (or email) to a previously unknown relative.

Contributed to one of the genealogy carnivals.

Responded to messages on a message board or forum.

Was injured while on a genealogy excursion.

Participated in a genealogy meme.

Created family history gift items (calendars, cookbooks, etc.).

Performed a record lookup for someone else.

Went on a genealogy seminar cruise.

Am convinced that a relative must have arrived here from outer space.

Found a disturbing family secret.

Told others about a disturbing family secret.

Combined genealogy with crafts (family picture quilt, scrapbooking).

Think genealogy is a passion not a hobby.

Assisted finding next of kin for a deceased person (Unclaimed Persons).

Taught someone else how to find their roots.

Lost valuable genealogy data due to a computer crash or hard drive failure.

Been overwhelmed by available genealogy technology.

Know a cousin of the 4th degree or higher.

Disproved a family myth through research.

Got a family member to let you copy photos.

Used a digital camera to “copy” photos or records.

Translated a record from a foreign language.

Found an immigrant ancestor’s passenger arrival record.

Looked at census records on microfilm, not on the computer.

Used microfiche.

Visited the Family History Library in Salt Lake City.

Visited more than one LDS Family History Center.

Visited a church or place of worship of one of your ancestors.

Taught a class in genealogy.

Traced ancestors back to the 18th Century.

Traced ancestors back to the 17th Century.

Traced ancestors back to the 16th Century.

Can name all of your great-great-grandparents.

Found an ancestor’s Social Security application.

Know how to determine a soundex code without the help of a computer.

Used Steve Morse’s One-Step searches.

Own a copy of Evidence Explained by Elizabeth Shown Mills.

Helped someone find an ancestor using records you had never used for your own research.

Visited the main National Archives building in Washington, DC.

Visited the Library of Congress.

Have an ancestor who came over on the Mayflower.

Have an ancestor who fought in the Civil War.

Taken a photograph of an ancestor’s tombstone.

Became a member of the Association of Graveyard Rabbits.

Can read a church record in Latin.

Have an ancestor who changed their name.

Joined a Rootsweb mailing list.

Created a family website.

Have more than one "genealogy" blog.

Was overwhelmed by the amount of family information received from someone.

Have broken through at least one brick wall.

Visited the DAR Library in Washington D.C.

Borrowed a microfilm from the Family History Library through a local Family History Center.

Have done indexing for Family Search Indexing or another genealogy project.

Visited the Allen County Public Library Genealogy Center in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Had an amazing serendipitous find of the "Psychic Roots" variety.

Have an ancestor who was a Patriot in the American Revolutionary War.

Have an ancestor who was a Loyalist in the American Revolutionary War.

Have both Patriot & Loyalist ancestors.

Have used Border Crossing records to locate an ancestor.

Use maps in my genealogy research.

Have a convict ancestor who was transported from the UK.

Found a bigamist amongst the ancestors.

Visited the National Archives in Kew.

Visited St. Catherine's House in London to find family records.

Found a cousin in Australia (or other foreign country).

Consistently cite my sources. (As of 1-1-2008 my New Year's resolution that I KEPT!)

Visited a foreign country (i.e. one I don't live in) in search of ancestors.

Can locate any document in my research files within a few minutes.

Have an ancestor who was married four times (or more).

Made a rubbing of an ancestors gravestone.

Organized a family reunion.

Published a family history book.

Learned of the death of a fairly close relative through research.

Have done the genealogy happy dance.

Sustained an injury doing the genealogy happy dance.

Offended a family member with my research.

Reunited someone with precious family photos or artifacts.

Well, there you have it! I have quite a number of tasks ahead of me to attempt in 2009.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Who Are You?

Well, after taking some time off from blogging due to the extremely busy holidays, I'm diving in head first for 2009!
I suspect these people in this photograph are possibly my Wozniak or Wieczorek relatives who resided here in the Chicago area (or maybe they were just visiting?) around 1890-1900. I wrote about them before my unknown ancestors, so now I am asking for your help in identifying just exactly who they are. There are and were many Wozniak and Wieczorek Polish immigrants residing in the Great Lakes area at the turn of the twentieth century. I know that my Great Grandparents Joseph and Mary Wozniak were married in Poland prior to their immigration in the late 1800's, so perhaps it is one of their family members. This is one of many brickwalls I have in regards to my Polish ancestors. My aunt owns the original and I've asked if she knows who these people are but she has no idea and there are no notations on the back of the photograph. Any help or suggestions would be greatly appreciated! I really want to start 2009 off on a great note! Thanks

The Family

The family. We were a strange little band of characters trudging through life sharing diseases and toothpaste, coveting one another's desserts, hiding shampoo, borrowing money, locking each other out of our rooms, inflicting pain and kissing to heal it in the same instant, loving, laughing, defending, and trying to figure out the common thread that bound us all together. ~Erma Bombeck

Genealogy Pox, author unknown


SYMPTOMS: Continual complaint as to need for names, dates and places. Patient has a blank expressions, sometimes deaf to spouse and children. Has no taste for work of any kind, except feverishly looking through records at libraries and courthouses.
Has a compulsion to write letters. Swears at mailman when he doesn't leave mail. Frequents strange places such as cemeteries, ruins, and remote desolate country areas. Makes secret night calls and hides phone bills from spouse. Mumbles to self. Has strange, faraway look in eyes.


TREATMENT: Medication is useless. This disease is not fatal, but gets progressively worse. Patient should attend genealogy workshops, subscribe to genealogical magazines and be given a quiet corner in the house where he/she can be alone.

REMARKS: The unusual nature of this disease is that the sicker the patient gets, the more he or she enjoys it!