May 17, 2015

Grammy's Grand Girl

Incredibly beautiful people!!!

May 3, 2015

Dixie High School AFJROTC Awards Night

At Dixie High School's AFJROTC annual awards program Friday night, May 1, Commandant D'Arcy Grisier of the Marine Corps League Detachment in St. George, presented certificates to two deserving cadets.  The Detachment also supplies the latest two names on the large plaque that hangs in the AFJROTC building on campus.  234 cadets with family and friends packed the auditorium.

Ivan Cataluna, our 2014 Honor Pup, mopped up awards at the program with his scholastic abilities.  What an amazing young man he is.  As a senior, he is headed for Dixie State University next year.  We also learned of another Pup entering the Marine Corps.  There were several other Devil Pup graduates who received honors:  McKenzie Simmons (2013 Pup), Cole Cutner (2014 Pup), Saxten Tesch (2012 Pup) and Jack Wright (2014 Pup).  Honors were also received by at least three of the current 2015 candidates. 


Lt. Col. William C. Toole, Devil Pup Liaison Rep who has worked with many of the AFJROTC students for the past 8-1/2 years, was given the first annual Special Veteran Appreciation award (along with free passes to Red Cliffs Rifle and Pistol Range).  The Devil Pup program has made a huge difference in the AFJROTC program as well as the lives of many Dixie High School cadets, evidenced by the parents who make it a point to thank Bill and the ring of cadets surrounding him when he is on campus.  

I was in on the surprise for Bill.  The SMSgts had asked me to meet with them without Bill a couple weeks ago to discuss giving him an award that he would like and use – not just another plaque.  Bill has always given out the Marine Corps League certificates and checks to a couple cadets but he had asked the current Commandant to do that duty this year.  So we thought we’d just be spectators – until Col. Whicker of the AFJROTC program (in order to get him on stage) asked him to be a presenter for another veteran who couldn’t make it.  Bill accepted and was on the stage with several other veteran heads, the mayor, the guest speaker, etc.

Since he knew he was to be on the stage to give an award, Bill wanted to know who it was for ahead of time.  Not only were the names a closely-guarded secret, he didn’t need to know because the announcer gives the name, the veteran walks out to center stage, the SMSgt comes over with the certificate and hands it to the veteran while the student walks up from the audience.  The student then accepts the certificate, the student and veteran presenter shake hands, salute each other, and turn to the audience and pose while the photographer takes their photo.  There was no dialogue except that of the narrator.  But Bill kept trying to find one of the SMSgts to get some information, and I kept telling him not to worry, he didn’t have to have a name.  Then we saw the program and he actually DID have an award to give for another veteran presenter who couldn’t attend.  But once Bill saw how the process was going and that he was far down on the list (there were 28 awards), he relaxed.  And, as it turned out, the award he ended up handing out was a special award because it went to Jackson, a young man from church whose dad is the head usher and we’ve interacted with him several times, although he never became a Devil Pup because of too many other commitments.  

Jackson and Lt. Col. Toole

 Jackson and his dad, Guy.

The large percentage of awards went to former Devil Pups and this year’s Devil Pup candidates.  Anyway, Bill then thought his part was over after he handed out Jackson’s award.  After all 28 awards were given, Col. Whicker then announced that they were starting a new award, the Special Veteran Appreciation award.  He called Lt. Col. Bill Toole, which surprised Bill.  However, his Marine Corps training kicked in, he walked up to center front stage, stood at attention and saluted facing the audience.  

 The packed auditorium (234 cadets, parents and families) went crazy and gave him a standing ovation.  It was very moving.  Col. Whicker came out and gave him a special framed certificate with shooting range free passes taped in an envelope on the back while the announcer read a short piece about how much Bill has done for the AFJROTC program through Devil Pups.  

So glad I was there to see it and capture it on film.  The official photographer will have the best photos, but I still got these in poor photo lighting.  Bill SO deserved this.  Pretty special evening for both of us.

Apr 14, 2015

Lost obits

I've been going over some ancestor files once again to see if anything new has popped up in my newspaper sources.  Some I find; some I don't.

I'd love to find the obituary for William M. McCabe (1885 - 1951), born in West Bloomfield, Ontario County, New York, married Margaret O'Connor O'Toole about 1923 and died in Rochester, New York in 1951.  I have a very brief death notice but no obituary.  He is buried in Canandaigua with his family at FindaGrave Memorial #123806832.  Bill McCabe was my husband's step-grandfather - the only grandfather he knew.

Another ancestor, from an earlier time, is John Farnum (name later spelled  Farnham).  There are actually three John Farnums in a row that are elusive, as well as their ancestor Ralph Farnum:

Ralph Farnum (married Elizabeth Holt).  He was born 1633 in Rochester, Kent, England and died 1691 in  Andover, Essex County, Massachusetts.  He was my 9th great grandfather.

Ralph's son, John Farnum (married Elizabeth Parker) was born 1664 in Andover and died in 1729, also in Andover.  

John's son, John, usually seen as Farnham, who married Joanna Barker, was born 1684 in Andover, died in 1762 in Andover.  He does have a FindaGrave memorial, but no obituary so far.

Next in line is John Farnham, born 1711 in Andover, died 1786 in Andover.  John married Sarah Frye.  He is in the Old North Burying Ground in Andover, Essex County, Massachusetts and his FindaGrave Memorial number is 13999583.  This John was my 6th great grandfather.

My 5th gg was Daniel Farnham.  I have nothing but a beginning and an ending for him:  1741-1814 and a wife's name of Lydia Porter.

Alfred Farnum (back to the "um" again) begets Sarah Farnham (back to "ham") who married a Riley and begets my 2nd great grandmother, Angeline Riley, shown elsewhere in this blog. 

Anyone have an obit for any one of these ancestors?

Mar 12, 2015

11 Mar 2015 - She's 18!!

I know all grandparents say this - but it really doesn't seem possible she is 18 already!!  I was there at her birth and it seems like a couple years ago.  Here she is in 1997 at our home in Danville, CA:

And then there is now - on her way to college in the fall!!

Happy Birthday, my awesome Gracie Girl!

2015 Mar - Another Computer Crash

The computer gremlin got me again!  Apparently I've had too many genealogy programs open at once along with several news archives and word processing programs - without saving enough.  This from a former word processing trainer!!  Wow!  I won't be ignoring that anymore.  Found a super computer geek by the name of Lee Weese who did the impossible and saved the hard drive, fixed all kinds of errors and set me on the straight and narrow.  Fortunately I had good backups, so I don't believe I've lost many files.  Find him at
Rent@Geek.  Thanks, Lee!!!!

Jan 27, 2015

My New Genealogy Angel

Genealogy Angel Kim contacted me about photos of my Parks ancestors that were in her possession.  What a surprise and what a treat since these were photos we've never seen.  These are my great aunts and great grandmother:  Olive, Nettie, Lottie and Cora.  As for the second photo, we believe it is Lottie with her mother and my grandfather, Arthur Parks - the only baby picture we have of him.  Great grandmother is Mary Catherine Ortman Parks  Thank you, Angel Kim!!

Jan 15, 2015

A Cousin Finds a Coffin!

One of the wonders of genealogy is finding awesome cousins!  I, of course, have the best cousins!  Recently Cousin Eileen from Wisconsin was having trouble with her e-mail and, not finding my e-mail address, went to my blog to locate me.  Seeing my Coffin mystery, she put her awesome sleuthing skills to work and came up with Aunt Sybil!!  Thank you, Eileen!!  Here's how it turned out for Sybil Coffin, born September 1867 in Michigan to Isaac and Jeanette (Richardson) Coffin.  She married my 2d great uncle, John Washington Burrill, in Minneapolis in 1889.  John Wesley Burrill was born to them in 1891.  After a move to California, participating in the Yukon Gold Rush, John was killed in a cable car accident in 1898.  He is buried in Cypress Lawn Memorial Park in Colma, California.

With an 8 year old son, Sybil married on 20 Sep 1899 John William McDonald in Colusa, California.  John was a widower with three sons, William Andrew who was 13, John Lovett who was 6, and Royal Rozell who was 5.  They lived in Arbuckle, Colusa, California where John was a laborer in a warehouse.  The marriage did not survive.  Sybil filed for divorce, the divorce being final in March of 1906.  Sybil became a housekeeper for a farmer by the name of Alonzo B. Metsker as shown in the 1910 U. S. Census.  In 1911 there is a news notice of real estate transfers of property from Sybil and her son to an Ella Feize of San Francisco property on Edinburgh Street.

And this is where Cousin Eileen comes in.  She located a marriage of Sybil McDonald to Clifford  Clarence Martin on 1 Dec 1913 in Vancouver, Washington.  Sybil had relatives in Oregon and may have moved north after 1910.  Clifford Martin was 31 and a native of Oregon, and Sybil was 46 at the time of their marriage. They lived in Brownsmead, Clatsop, Oregon, where it appears they had 43 somewhat uneventful years until Sybil's death on 24 Sep 1956.

I trust that Sybil's years with Clifford were happy years for the two of them.  The Grim Reaper came to visit and disrupt those happy years on 12 Feb 1916 in Boring, Clackamas, Oregon when Sybil and John Burrill's son, John Wesley Burrill, died of pneumonia, one day shy of his 25th birthday.

One mystery remains to be solved.  In the 1910 census while Sybil is a housekeeper for Alonzo Metsker, there is a Lawrence H. McDonald living with them, age 3.  He is noted as a "ward."  His age would indicate he was born about 1907, possibly making him a son of Sybil and John William McDonald.  He was not related to Metsker which may be why he was enumerated as a "ward."  I've not yet found Lawrence in later documents, making him the unsolved part of this puzzle.

To sum up Sybil's life, she lost a husband in 1898, her mother in 1900, her father in 1906, went through a divorce also in 1906, and lost her firstborn son in 1916.  I try to remember Sybil's trials when I think I am feeling bad!!

According to a FindaGrave entry, Sybil is buried in Twin Oaks Memorial Gardens in Albany, Linn County, Oregon.  Thank you, Eileen, for your awesome sleuthing in putting the final pieces of this mystery together!

Jan 13, 2015

Bill's Been Pinned!

"We honor veterans" is a program designed to thank veterans and their families for their sacrifice and service to our country. Journey of Hope Hospice in St. George and our local VA partner coordinate to begin better understanding the complex end of life care needs of veterans. Through discussion, life review and special "pinning ceremonies," we work to ensure that the contributions and extra needs of this special group are recognized and respected. Bill has been on the advisory board of Journey of Hope Hospice, has taken the training necessary to work with veterans and has done much to raise the awareness of hospice in Southern Utah.

A touching part of the program is the pinning ceremony. It’s a "thank you" for service to our nation. Bill was presented with a special  pin as a token of thanks and gratitude.  The ceremony took place at the Ivins Nursing Home.