Travels Through Kansas, 2013

Kansas was somewhat disappointing in terms of research, but still interesting.

I was looking for an ancestor’s grave in Reno County, and not only didn’t find it, but nothing in his small village was left from his time period in 1885.

Drove to another village (Indianola, Shawnee County) that had completely disappeared.

So, I tried to focus more on the beauty we were seeing….wheat fields, those amber waves of grain that we so rarely see at home, were everywhere, rippling in the breeze. The wonderfully tall green trees stretching up to the sky in many, many more places than I imagined.

Finally, in Wyandotte County, I found two of my ancestors: my great-great grandparents, John Dalton and Mary Phillips, who I didn’t even know were buried in Kansas until a couple of years ago, were exactly where they were supposed to be. Somehow, when you finally manage to find ancestors and connect with family across the generations, it just feels special.

I may never come back to Kansas, but now I know what isn’t here…and what still is.

Oklahoma Travel Pics

Oklahoma 1 Oklahoma 2

I can’t say that I would ever have an interest in storm chasing. For one thing, I have zero interest in being up close to any weather action, the closest being that I do enjoy sitting on my covered porch, watching a good old thunderstorm develop…from miles away.

But after we drove through both El Reno AND Oklahoma City on the same afternoon (both beautiful sunny days, by the way) and then headed out of town as the dark clouds began to gather…well, all of a sudden we were in one of the worst rainstorms either of us has ever seen. Sheets of rain coming down so hard we pulled over…along with several other vehicles, including a couple of semis. Then after the rain let up, we got back on the road only to be hit with progressively larger hail! So, we pulled over again, along with everybody else. Finally, things looked better, so we headed out again, but the clouds were so strange looking, I took these pics through the windshield as we drove out of the storm. Much later, we found out that not only had tornadoes hit both OKC and El Reno, but that they were being described as “a tornado wrapped around another tornado.” I’m guessing that’s what we were on the outskirts of, and no closer…thank goodness.

McCleary/McLeary Family Genealogy

McCleary/McLeary Family Genealogy

This family began as McLeary, but transitioned to McCleary. Basically, they were McLeary in Pennsylvania and North Carolina, but McCleary in Tennessee and Texas. This is not exact, though.

The most recent McCleary in this family line was Samuel S. McCleary III. He was born in Madison County, Tennessee, in 1819. He married Mary Jane Tomlinson in 1839. Samuel and Mary both died in Fannin County, Texas, Samuel in 1858, and Mary in 1901. They are buried in Honey Grove, Texas.

Samuel III’s parents were Samuel McCleary II and Elizabeth Smith. Samuel was born in 1779 in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina. He and Elizabeth’s death dates are unknown at this time, but they both died in Tennessee, Samuel before 1850, and Elizabeth after 1850.

Samuel II’s parents were Robert McLeary and Abigail McDowell. Note this is the last generation in this line that used the McLeary name vs. McCleary. Robert and Abigail were born in 1736 in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. They married in 1764, Mecklenburg County, North Carolina. Robert died in 1791, and Abigail died in 1805. They are both buried at the Steele Creek Presbyterian Cemetery in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Robert’s parents were Andrew McLeary and Isabella. Isabella’s last name is unknown at this time. Andrew was born in 1707 in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. He died in 1748 in Lancaster County. This is as far back as the McLeary family goes at this time, but it is believed the McLearys are from Northern Ireland. The McDowells are from County Antrim, so it could be true!

If you are related to this line, let me know, and I’ll give you the email of a cousin. Then you can compare notes!

Travels Through Oklahoma, 2013

Oklahoma was a great place to go looking for old addresses. While at the library searching  for birth announcements on microfiche, it was really interesting to read the ads, comics, and articles from decades ago.

I was reading one paper published in the late ’30s, prior to America’s involvement in World War II. It was fascinating, and more than a little eerie, to read an editorial strongly against America going to war, claiming World War I had been bad enough, and what was the big deal about Hitler, anyway? Scary, scary stuff. I hope that editor felt really foolish in retrospect.

On the way traveling through the state, we drove right through El Reno and then Oklahoma City, just ahead of the tornadoes there. Naturally, we didn’t realize it at the time, but we ran into a huge storm on our way north, that in hindsight must have been the outer edge of the tornadoes. An incredible downpour turned frightening very fast, as sheets of rain fell so fast and strong that the visibility on the road turned to zero. We pulled off for a time, joining a number of others, but then got back on the road when the rain seemed to let up. But next was the hail. We pulled off again with scores of others as the hail grew larger. Luckily, it never got larger than dime-sized, but it was especially loud and scary in the truck! Then, we were on our way once more, but we kept one eye out on the ominous dark clouds…I truly have never seen anything like it.

Texas Travel Pics

Crossing into Texas.

Crossing into Texas.

This is a picture I took a couple years back on the return home. It’s one of my favorite pictures, and so I decided to begin this year’s trip with a starting shot of Texas.

Texas 1

This is a great old-style drug store that still serves great hamburgers, milkshakes, ice cream sodas, etc. The fried pickles were some of the best I have ever had.

Texas 2

I love the fields of wildflowers…they are so vibrant! I was surprised to see these blooming so late in the year, though. Usually the sun has scorched them all by now….

Ladd Family Genealogy

Ladd Family Genealogy

My connection to the Ladd family is what I would consider a weak link. I hope to find more information this summer that will strengthen this connection, and maybe fill in some holes.

My closest Ladd is Mary Ladd, who was born I don’t know when or where, and died I don’t know when or where. Not a very auspicious beginning, is it? I do know she married Cyrus Jones in 1818 in Penobscot County, Maine, so that may be where I begin my search for the elusive Mary.

Daughters of the American Revolution information indicates that she is a part of the New Hampshire Ladds, and maybe she is. But the information was submitted so long ago, even the DARs may not accept it as proof any longer (requirements are much more strident these days, as they should be). I am hoping to find more information either in Maine, New Hampshire, or possibly even in DC at Constitution Hall, the DAR library.

So, I know Mary is a Ladd…I’m just not sure if she is indeed in this particular branch of Ladds. I’ll go ahead and post what I’ve got now…and I’ll do an update later, as necessary.

Mary’s parents, therefore, may be: Simeon Ladd and Lizzie Hines. Simeon and Lizzie were born in Rockingham County, New Hampshire, Simeon in 1757, and Lizzie in 1761. They married in the same county in 1774. Simeon and Lizzie both died in Kennebec County, Maine, in 1823. As Mary Ladd Jones’s son, Cyrus Jones, Jr. was born in Kennebec County, Maine also in 1823, it seems entirely plausible that this Mary Ladd may really be their Mary Ladd. But time will tell. I hope.

If Simeon is Mary’s father, then her paternal grandparents would be Paul Ladd and Martha Folsom. Paul and Martha were also born in Rockingham County, New Hampshire, both in 1719. They married and died in the same county, marrying in 1741. Paul died in 1783, and Martha died in 1804.

If you are related to this family (and especially if you have proof of Mary’s parentage either way) please drop me a comment. I’d love to hear what you know of this family.

Travels through Texas, 2013

Texas is a great place to do genealogy research. Lots of folks share our passion, and plenty of information is just waiting to be discovered.

Things I have noticed in particular on this trip:
1. The prettiest grave markers are often the hardest to read.
2. Genealogy Research centers can be goldmines of data…and not just for the state you are researching.

For example, the black and white striped granite tombstones resist weathering really well. They hold their shape and edges, and if you run your fingers over the writing, you will be impressed with how deep the carving is even a hundred years later. But as for reading the inscriptions…forget about it. The rose-colored granite that was used to build the state capitol in Austin is a popular choice for tombstones, as well. Very attractive…but also very difficult to read.

Genealogy centers are a wealth of information. Just this past week, we spent a day poring over just city directories. Back in the day, directories not only included addresses…they also listed occupations, marital status, education status, all sorts of goodies. After learning the different addresses everyone lived at different times, we had a great time driving up and down streets checking to see which were still standing after 80, 90, 100 years. Of course, many had been torn down long ago…and some more recently. But many were still standing, which was fun to see and picture our relatives living there, so long ago. In a few cases, the street names had changed, which the genealogy center was able to help us with very quickly.

All in all, a very productive couple of days. We will have different experiences in other counties and states, but this is what we found on this particular portion.

The Art of Cocktails

The art of mixing cocktails seems to be all but lost.

There are a few boutique lounges where you can order old-timey drinks such as Singapore Slings, Old-fashioneds, and the like.

Books are available that provide detailed recipes so you can mix your own. A quick search on the Internet reveals many sites and apps that have recipes, as well.

But the concept of mixing up a pitcher of one drink to serve to all seems to have vanished. And unless you are willing to invest in all those different liquors and mixers, which will become very costly very quickly, you’re out of luck.

Most bars only serve the fruity, sweet and sour, easy mixes that the masses swill down without savoring. Your average bartender has never heard of a Rusty Nail, let alone know how to mix one.

I guess as society advances there are many things that fall to the wayside as we instinctively make room for greater, more mass-produced things.

I just miss the old school cocktail hour where you could sit and talk quietly to a few friends, and relish the moments of calmness and civility. People weren’t trying to get drunk…they were just being social.

I know these places still exist. They’re just getting tougher to find. To those of you who understand what I mourn, I raise a glass. Cheers!