New Year Resolutions, 2013 Edition

New Year Resolutions, 2013 Edition.

Every year I make a number of New Year resolutions, and every year I flake on some but go on to accomplish others.

This year I am hoping to increase the odds in terms of accomplishing these particular resolutions by creating a plan of attack in terms of completion, keeping myself more accountable through publishing said resolutions, and reappraising the list throughout the year, making adjustments when needed. Mid-year resolutions, anyone?

Here, then, is my list of resolutions, as is, for January 2013.

Taxes. (January)

Bicycling for exercise. (February)

Reconnect on a regular blog schedule. (February)

Go through clothes: donate/storage/keep. (February)

Renew genealogy focus. (February)

Get back to querying “101”. (February)

Convert VHS tapes to DVD format. (February)

Map out route for road trip this summer. (March)

Edit “$$” and prepare query. (March)

Clear 2nd storage unit. (April)

Reorganize garage. (April)

Application for organization. (April)

Return to edit and work on “Blank”. (September)

Organize pictures into albums (all boxes). (September)

Hang plates, or store. (September)

It’s a long list, but with enough lead time, I should be able to at least start each step in the month indicated. Some categories will take a few days to complete. Some will take a few weeks, others a few months. Some of these goals are from last year, but with better organization (and every year I improve in that category!) I am aiming for a better completion rate than ever before!

DeWolf Family Genealogy

DeWolf Family Genealogy

My DeWolf line starts with Anna Elizabeth DeWolf, born 1836, Erie County, Pennsylvania. She married William Gilliland in 1859, in Boone County, Illinois. She died in 1912, and is buried in a cornfield with William in Curtis, Nebraska.

Anna’s parents were Putnam DeWolf, born 1803, Washington County, New York, and Anna S. Randall, born 1802, Erie County, Pennsylvania. They were married in 1831, Erie County, Pennsylvania, by a circuit-riding Methodist minister. Anna S. died in 1872, and Putnam in 1877. Both are buried in Boone County, Illinois. I know Putnam served as a constable in the area, and also as a blacksmith for a few months in the Civil War.

Anna Randall’s origins are murky. Some indications are that her parents could be Stephen Randall and Cynthia Wells, but as most accounts have Stephen passing in 1801, most are against this parentage, despite Anna possibly being born posthumously. I was in favor of the Stephen/Cynthia prospect, until I looked closer at Putnam and Anna’s marriage date: 1831. At 29, Anna was either a very old maid…or she had been married before. A new theory, therefore, is that she married one of the Randall sons of Stephen and Cynthia first, then Putnam later. Something to work with, anyway. Actually, though, any Randall son might have been a spousal possibility.

Putnam’s parents were Putnam DeWolf, born 1774, possibly in Granby, Connecticut, and Hepsibah Gates, born 1784, Rutland County, Vermont. They married in Rutland County, Vermont in 1800. I cannot figure out what happened to them, but the best guess at this stage is that Putnam, Sr. died after 1850 in Schuyler County, New York, and that Hepsibah died about 1869, location unknown. I would love to know more about these two, but I am sure information must be very limited. If I can find out for sure where and when they died, that may bring me closer to the answers I am looking for.

I am planning on stopping in Boone County on my way through this summer, which apparently has a fantastic genealogical society that I am looking forward to checking out. I would like to find out more about my DeWolfs in this specific geographic area, but also a couple of other family lines, as well.

New York and Vermont are in the plans, too, in the hopes that local research will provide more data than I am finding online.

If this is your line, shoot me a comment, and let’s compare notes!

Celebrating the New Year, part 2: The Evocative Side of Things

This is a post continued from Celebrating the New Year, part 1: The Crashing Bore, published 9 Jan 2013.

So, after shaking off the  disappointment of London, we boarded the train New Year’s Day, and headed for Paris. The train trip was beautiful, seeing all the sunshine on the snow on the France side, and riding under the Channel was really a thrill, knowing we were traveling underwater. As January 1st is a holiday, we went straight to our hotel, had dinner, and called it a night.

The next morning we were up early, and headed out…into the biggest mess I have ever seen. The date was 2 January 2002, and it was the very first day that France was on the euro. What a tangle! Every business was trying to exchange francs for euros, and it was confusing enough for the Parisians…it was insanity for this small group of Americnas just trying to buy a cup of coffee or a croissant. Each transaction was bedlam. When you paid in euros, you got back francs; when you paid in francs you got back euros. Everyone was so confused and trying to go fast enough that there wouldn’t be a backlog of business, so naturally there were problems. Every purchase was a little different, and sometimes the shopkeepers cheated us (totally by mistake) and sometimes they cheated themselves (also by mistake) just because the exchange was so complicated. The poor shopkeepers were very apologetic, even as they were quickly becoming so frustrated with the situation. In American terms, it went something like this: the rate of francs to dollars was 7 to 1. But the rate of euros to dollars was 2 to 1. That should have made it easy: just figure everything was 50 cents per euro. So if something was priced at 4 euros, it was actually costing us 2 dollars. But trying to keep up with the exchange of dollars to francs to euros was a nightmare for everybody. Did I mention that everything was still priced in francs? No one had changed their signage over yet (francs would still be an accepted currency for some time before they fully switched). What a zoo. Still, that’s a New Year I will never forget…evocative, indeed!

Celebrating the New Year, part 1: The Crashing Bore

I’ve been lucky enough to spend New Year’s Eve in many different locations: near to home; across the country; and on other continents. The fireworks display over such varied locales as The Strip in Las Vegas, The Champs-Elysees in Paris, and Times Square in New York City is always brilliant and exciting, no matter where we are.

The most unexpectedly boring New Year also turned out to be the most evocative…for a variety of reasons.

The boring part was…London. I am pleased to see that London has now joined the rest of the world in welcoming the New Year by setting off fireworks. But in 2001/2002, they did no fireworks, fanfare, nothing. We had brought a number of teenagers with us on this trip to visit the theater district, see a few shows, and enjoy the festivities, not realizing that the festivities themselves would be nonexistent.

We all had a great time, visiting museums and places of historical merit, attending a couple of musicals, etc. but we were all looking forward to seeing the New Year celebration, London-style. We went down to Trafalgar Square, as that is the area events involving pomp and circumstance often take place, giving ourselves plenty of time to find a section where we could all stand together. We had plenty of company…hundreds of fellow revelers were there already, and as the hour of midnight approached, so did many, many more people, soon totalling in the thousands. Plenty of policemen were on duty, as well, keeping us all organized neatly behind metal stanchions. As the hour approached, the buzz of excitement continued to grow, as expected. But then someone asked a nearby policeman about the fireworks. No fireworks, was the response. But what was going to happen? Nothing, was the answer. But, then why were all of us here? His surprising response was that he and the rest of the police force had no idea why. That no sort of celebration was scheduled, and in fact not even planned, and yet thousands of us showed up every year, much to the police’s dismay, and so they were obligated for safety reasons to show a presence and make an effort to keep us all protected…from ourselves. But why we had arrived in the first place was a total and complete mystery to them.

In disbelief, we all stayed well past midnight. But it was true. Nothing happened. Absolutely nothing. So, in a confused, whispering mass, we all drifted away and back to our homes and hotels, quite tired, a little befuddled, and very disappointed.

This post continues in Celebrating the New Year, part 2: The Evocative Side of Things to be published 10 Jan 2013.

Blogging Goals

3 January 2013.     (or 3-1-13)

Today begins the second calendar year, but just the ninth month of the Wordsmith Magic blog.

Besides the obvious scheduling and planning, if I’m gonna keep to a specific set of goals for writing, I will definitely need material to write about.

My plan is to more or less schedule the next six months of blog entries. If I have a calendar and an outline, that should carry me through the end of May. Travel Buddy and I are planning to take off on our next genealogical adventure around the end of May, which will provide me with plenty of material for the rest of 2013. Now that I have a vision and a plan, I am hopeful that I will not have the same “holiday struggle” I did this year. Now that I know what’s real….            🙂


Dashiell Family Genealogy

Dashiell Family Genealogy

My Dashiell family runs through my paternal grandmother’s side. My grandma’s grandmother was Louisa Dashiell, who was born in Nashville in 1849. She married John Oscar Scarborough in Davidson County, Tennessee, in 1871. I do not know the location of either one of their graves, but Louisa is supposed to have died in 1883, and John Oscar in 1937.

Louisa’s parents were John Snyder Dashiell and Barbara Shaw Graham. Barbara was born in Scotland in 1816, and came to the US with her siblings. She and John were married in Davidson County, Tennessee in 1830. John was born in Baltimore, Maryland, (1807) and was evidently a prominent citizen in Nashville: steamboat captain, grand master of Freemasonry, mayor, etc. He is buried in Nashville (died 1887). I am hoping to locate he and Barbara (died 1856), as well as Louisa and John Oscar, this summer when we are in the Nashville area. More information on either would be most welcome.

John Snyder’s father was Levin Dashiell, born 1767 in Maryland, died at sea in 1807.

I wish I knew more specifics. For example, Levin was a sea captain, and John Snyder was a steamboat captain. Was sailing more or less a family skill, then? John Snyder was born the year his father died, so he didn’t learn the skills from Papa. Was it coincidental that he went into the same field of work?

I am working on establishing a connection between Levin and his parents. A couple of sources indicate his father is James Dashiell, but I don’t feel the sources are strong enough, so the search continues.

If this is your line, drop me a comment and let’s compare notes!