Technology Changes

We all have horror stories with the ever-widening transformations technology has wreaked throughout our individual lives.

Yes, technological advances have made our lives easier and, let’s face it, often even more fun. We can all point to the wonder of the cell phone and the marvelous ability to contact a friend or family member for help, or even just to say hello, from the car, the zoo, the supermarket. But we also all know somebody who has dropped that same technological wonder right in the toilet, at one point or another.

The concept of being able to go to the video store and pick out a movie and bring it into the comfort of our own home was breathtaking. Now that we can stream videos on the TV, laptop, or cell phone and watch them just as easily, we hardly notice. We have totally accepted without as much as a blink, the ability to watch movies at any time almost anywhere. Yet, not so long ago, my VCR constantly blinked 12:00, as my inability to learn how to set the clock dominated the LCD display.

Now that we have cell phones, laptops, and an i-pad, we have also added a router. I don’t pretend to have the knowledge of how a cell phone works. Well, I understand a cell phone. What I don’t get is how that same phone can operate as a computer. I have decided to make peace with pretty much all technology I don’t understand by simply referring to it all as magic.

Flash drives are an amazing wonder to me, too. I understood floppy discs, at least in concept. I even grasped flash drives, at least when they first came out. About a year ago, I stopped being able to comprehend how such a little thing can possibly hold the sheer amount of information that it does (and will do, as the capacity grows in later models).

Thankfully, most technology has become more and more user-friendly as we’ve expanded. Otherwise, I’d have to do more than just call it magic. I’d have to outright hire a magician.

Gilliland Family Genealogy

Gilliland Family Genealogy

My first Gilliland is Eliza Jane Gilliland, born 1861 in McHenry County, Illinois. She married Lewis H. Jones in Ogle County, Illinois.

Her parents were William J. Gilliland and Anna Elizabeth DeWolf. William was born in County Armagh, Northern Ireland in 1836. Anna was born in Erie County, Pennsylvania, in 1836. They married in Boone County, Illinois in 1859. I do know William came into the US through Quebec, and that he was in New York for a time before coming to Illinois. What I do not know about either the Gilliland or DeWolf family is how they came to Illinois. Forever, I believed they came through Pennsylvania, then Ohio, then Indiana, until reaching Illinois. And maybe they did. But a couple of years ago someone pointed out to me that many people actually came to Illinois via the Great Lakes route (basically up and over Michigan). This is a completely new piece of information to me, and I wish there was a way to find out which way they did come. As both families settled just outside of the Chicago area before William and Anna married, I tend towards the Great Lakes route. But I can only conjecture at this point. Anna and William died in 1912 and 1925 respectively, and are buried in Frontier County, Nebraska in the middle of a corn field.

William’s father may have been Samuel Gilliland, born in Edinburgh, Scotland. He is in the right place (McHenry County, Illinois) and the right age (1798-1887) to be William’s father, and many genealogists have accepted him as such, but no proof as of yet.

That’s all I have on our Gillilands. Since they have direct connections to two countries (Ireland and Scotland) it may be that an international search is all that will turn up definitive data. But I am hoping some more details will come out when I visit Illinois this summer. I have heard wonderful things about the Boone County Historical Society, and can’t wait to check it out!

Preparing for the Road, part III

Keeping a journal.

I like to keep a journal while traveling, particularly when it’s for an extended period of time. For one thing, it helps with remembering details like where we stayed, or what we ate, that get kinda fuzzy as the years pass. For another, it helps with recalling what happened in what order. Did we go to Richmond first, and then Charlottesville? Or the other way around? This isn’t important in general, but when I’m trying to match photos up with descriptions later…it can be an enormous project. I created a photo/scrap-book years ago, where I alternated photos with text I photocopied from the original journal. I added in admission tickets, etc. and then had great details directly connected with the pictures.

But journaling while traveling runs in my family. My grandma kept a journal, and her aunt did as well. It definitely makes for fun reading nowadays…not just learning where they went, what things cost, and how long things took, but also how they talked, some descriptions having gone by the wayside in today’s world.

This trip, I’m realizing it will be easier to keep two books: one as the regular journal with the day-to-day minutiae that will be the foundation of memories for the future; and the other just to got down ideas for future blog entries or even writing projects.

Egg Gathering

I spent lots of time in the country as a kid. Summers, holidays, and weekends were spent out at my grandparents’ place, where we learned how to care for animals, how to ride horses, and how to amuse yourself for hours with nothing but your imagination.

I know I completely took this childhood for granted at the time. But through the years since, I have been grateful for the wonderful adventure that it was.

So I was completely taken aback when a woman, who was talking about gathering eggs from chickens, casually stated that I would be “too young to know anything about that.”

At first I was insulted. I have gathered many, many eggs! Then I was confused: don’t people still own chickens? And those that do, don’t they have to gather those eggs?

But then, after dismissing the woman’s comment, I found myself thinking about the thousands of children who never have gone to gather even one egg. Who may not even ever have wanted to, and in fact, many probably wouldn’t want to, but who never even had the choice.

Makes me appreciate even more so how lucky I was to have the experience I did. Kinda feels more like wool gathering, though….

Gardenhire Family Genealogy

Gardenhire Family Genealogy

This line is a family we have not been working with long. As a result, the information here is limited, and pretty much lifted right off of If this is your line, leave a comment if you are interested in connecting with Travel Buddy.

The most recent Gardenhire of this line is Elmira Gardenhire. She was born in 1817, in Overton County, Tennessee. She married Solomon Holford in 1834, but I don’t know where. Solomon died in 1844, but I do not know when Elmira died. I also do not know where either of them are buried. Did I mention information was limited?

Elmira’s parents may have been Adam Gardenhire and Ailsa Tippett. Ailsa was born in 1792 in Rowan County, North Carolina. She married Adam in Roane County, Tennessee, which was where Adam was born. (Ailsa’s parents, Erasmus Tippett and Lucy Bierling evidently died in Roane County, Tennessee, which bears out the idea they all came there from North Carolina.) Adam and Ailsa both died in Overton County, Tennessee, Adam in 1851, and Ailsa in 1873.

Adam’s parents were Jacob Gardenhire and Margaret Thompson. Jacob was born in 1730 in Pennsylvania. I do not know where or when Margaret was born. They married in 1768, but I do not know where. Jacob and Margaret both died in Overton County, Tennessee, Jacob in 1824, and Margaret in 1855.

We are planning on a visit to both Overton and Roane counties this summer…but if you have further information to help us fill in some holes in our research, please let us know!

Preparing for the Road, part II

We’re in the midst of the chaos that is route-planning, now.

All the available maps have been pulled, all the atlases (yes, we have several…doesn’t everyone?), and we have a large map of the United States folded back so the Eastern half is visible.

We’re busily organizing the paperwork, the lists, the chores, which all need to be completed before we take off. Some have already been addressed, such as new tires for the truck. Others will be handled eventually, like restocking the trailer with all our favorite spices, and such sundry items as sunscreen lotion, lawn chairs, and aspirin.

We have a couple of generators that we need to be reeducated as to their care and performance. We need to go shopping for a few needed items.

But by and large, we’re basically set. Our new KOA card just came in, and our Good Sam is up to date.

I do need to finish up the genealogy paperwork so we can move on. I’ve finished all the Family Name Sheets, and am finally nearing completion of the State Sheets. I expect to have this done in a couple of days.

Then we can finally get to the task of dotting the maps of where we need to go. Once we’ve done that, we literally connect the dots following the roads, and we have our route!

To Save a Mockingbird

I had the oddest experience the other day.

It’s springtime, of course, and the birds are careening all over, some building nests, others tending the hatchlings. As often happens this time of year, the lighting outside was fairly dark, with lots of low-lying, heavy dark clouds. This increases the odds that some hapless bird is going to fly right smack into the windows, which inevitably happens once or twice a year, anyway.

Sure enough, that morning inside the store several of us were standing around talking when the telltale thump of Spring’s latest victim shut us up. Looking out the windows, we saw a mockingbird, lying on the ground, wings outspread, as though still in flight. As we stared, he periodically jerked and spasmed, his little legs kicking out, and making futile attempts to flutter his wings. We continued to watch through the windows for a bit longer, hoping he would soon right himself and fly away. But that didn’t happen.

My chief concern was that he was right in front of the glass doors, which meant a customer walking in or out could easily step on him, ending any thoughts of a happy ending. But I was also concerned that he seemed to be tiring, the jerks and sharp movements lasting less and less time, and happening with less frequency. So, I stepped outside, picked him up, smoothed his wings down, and set him upright in the palm of my hand.

I expected him to either fly off immediately or struggle against me, but he did neither, instead sitting absolutely quiet in my hand.

So, we just waited there together. I was concerned because he kept half closing his eyes, and again, because he didn’t seem to find the situation at all odd.

As we waited, I was struck by the impossibility of standing there with a live mockingbird in my hand. I love watching them, with their jaunty tails and variety of sounds. Long ago, in high school, there was a mockingbird that serenaded me several nights a week with a huge repertory. But I never pictured myself holding one.

As time passed, another mockingbird chirped at him, and he stood up for the first time in my hand. Then, a few minutes later a car drove by startling him and he jumped to my finger, like a pet parakeet. I expected him to fly off then, but he didn’t.

Then he started turning his head to look at me, like he hadn’t considered me before. That was when I first wondered if he had been temporarily blinded. It would explain why he was so docile.

Shortly after, he did fly off, after spending roughly 30 minutes with me. Though I hope it doesn’t happen again, I really did enjoy the experience. I also hope the rest of his Spring is much less uneventful.

*update* This is actually funny…I was checking out a local bird book, and it turns out the bird I had resembled the mockingbird, but wasn’t one. It was a curved-billed thrasher. That beak is really distinctive, and the eye color is really prominent, too. I couldn’t change this posting’s title, though. “To Save a Thrasher” just doesn’t have the same ring…!

Fletcher Family Genealogy

Fletcher Family Genealogy

My grandmother’s mother was Mary Lavina Fletcher, born 1881, Rule, Carroll County, Arkansas. She married George Scarborough in 1900, Arkansas.

Mary’s parents were Richard Jabez Fletcher and Frances (Fanny) Brawley. The Brawley line was covered in an earlier blog. Richard went by Richard or Jab or JB at different points in his life, making it that much more challenging to follow him. Richard was born in 1855, Coffee County, Tennessee, and married Fanny in 1880, Carroll County, Arkansas. He and Fanny have rough, handmade markers in the Rule Cemetery in Carroll County, Richard dying in 1921, and Fanny in 1922.

Richard’s parents were Reziah Fletcher and Lavinia Pinkston. Reziah was born in 1826, Warren County, Tennessee. I don’t know when or where they married. They both died in Coffee County, Lavinia in 1860, and Reziah in 1886, but I do not know where either of them were buried.

Reziah went by Rezi, as well, and at least a few other researchers are referring to him as John Reziah, though I have yet to see a single source indicating this as fact.

Reziah’s parents are most likely Elijah Fletcher and Lydia Jarvis, though evidence is so far proving elusive. Still, more and more data is published every day. Maybe I’ll learn more about the Fletcher family this summer.

Is this your line, too? If so, leave me a comment, and let’s compare notes!

Preparing for the Road, part I

Our road trip this year involves Travel Buddy, myself, and a 24′ Hi-Lo travel trailer. We’re a number of weeks away from departure, but as the days flow by, a number of preparations and decisions are being made and implemented as we go.

Our purpose for this trip is primarily genealogy. Along with the hours of research on the Internet, we also prefer to visit all sites in person. But we also enjoy visiting historical places, and stopping to visit friends and family whenever practical and possible. Thus, we will be visiting a great number of states this time: 28, in fact!

We are tentatively budgeting three months for the trip, which gives you a pretty good view of how fast we’ll be moving. We’ve been to all these states before, we’re just headed to different towns, and sometimes new counties we have not visited previously.

Prior to our departure many chores, paperwork, and miscellaneous crap must be completed. As the day gets close, we are becoming more and more excited! We generally take one big trip a year, but due to unavoidable circumstances, our travel plans had to be canceled. This makes us all the more ready for whatever adventures 2013 has planned for us on the road! No matter how much advance planning you do, with a road trip this size you really have to roll with the punches. Two years ago, we were in Kentucky, listening to the weather radio because of a tornado warning. That warning turned into an actual tornado watch for five counties in particular. Travel Buddy turned to me and asked if I knew those five counties. Sure, I said. Those are the five we were going to visit today! As so often happens, Man plans, God laughs. So we try to keep a sense of humor and our eyes on the goal…but smelling a few flowers along the way never hurt anything, either.

New Year Resolutions, 1st Quarter Update

As part of my newfound skills (or great luck) in meeting organizational goals for the year, I am posting a few entries throughout 2013 describing my progress in completing my New Year resolutions.

Here is the list I posted earlier, with a 1st quarter update (see? All kinds of organization happening!):

  • Taxes. [Yep, totally completed and filed long ago. Also went much smoother this year, which was a great bonus.]
  • Bicycling for exercise. [Umm…bought the bicycles…and even rode them. Once. We’ll get back to it.]
  • Reconnect on a regular blog schedule. [Totally behind on this one, but getting caught up all the time. Finding all sorts of crafty ways to catch up on posts, too.]
  • Go through clothes: donate/storage/keep. [Nope, not yet. But a box is ready to pack for storage when it happens.]
  • Renew genealogy focus. [THIS is the main reason I am behind on so many points. Most of my time has been devoted to this…which will directly pay off this summer.]
  • Get back to querying “101”. [Good grief, I am a long way away from getting back to this. Afraid it’s just not gonna happen until the fall. A whole re-prioritization will happen mid-year.]
  • Convert VHS tapes to DVD format. [I had hopes of starting this up again a couple of months ago. Still think it might happen before the summer.]
  • Map out route for road trip this summer. [Super close to this goal. A bit more paperwork needed, and then it’s on!]
  • Edit “$$” and prepare query. [I don’t see this happening before the fall, now, but we’ll see.]
  • Clear 2nd storage unit. [It’s still April…and most of the ducks are in a row. This could definitely happen.]
  • Reorganize garage. [Again, still April. All that’s really needed is for the storage to be completed, and we can tackle the garage. One to two days, max. Not full days, either.]
  • Application for organization. [Unless we suddenly have scads of free time in May (and that could happen) this will have to wait until fall, as well.]
  • Return to edit and work on “Blank”. [LOL. Seriously? What was I thinking? With two other writing projects ahead of this one, I’m thinking early 2014 at the earliest.]
  • Organize pictures into albums (all boxes). [Probably will start this on schedule.]
  • Hang plates, or store. [No doubt.]

Over all, I’m actually pleased with the progress. Some things haven’t happened yet, but others have, and I’ll take the successes where I find them, thank you.