Sunday, October 9, 2011

Family visits

Recently I have made two trips to visit an Aunt and Uncle of mine.  I am ashamed to say that I have only visited them twice since they moved backed to Maryland in the early 2000's.  It is not that we live that far away.  Before I moved to PA. it was just a 2 hour drive, now it is 3, but still it is shameful.  When you take a look at our lives today, we are all so busy, at least that is what we tell ourselves.  Most of us aren't that busy that we can not set aside time to go see family, we are just too selfish to do so.  Instead of making the time while our relatives are alive and we are able to enjoy being with them, we wait until they are dead and go to their funeral.  We then reminisce about the person that we haven't seen for who knows how long.  Isn't it strange how all of a sudden our busy lives stop and we have time to go see our relative who has now passed away?

I am ashamed to say that I did not visit another Aunt, my Father's sister, the way I feel I should have.  I fell into the "I have a lot going on" syndrome and time just went by.  So much so that the first time I saw her and my Uncle after a long period was during the last days of my Mother's illness.  They came to stay with my Dad so he wouldn't be alone in case Mom passed away while I was out of the house.  Mom passed in 2007.  I think I saw my Aunt Nody and Uncle John one time after that.  I was making plans to go see them at the beginning of September during the Labor Day holiday in 2009.  Did I mention they only live an hour from my home?  Before I called to let them know I would like to come and visit, my Aunt Nody suddenly took ill.  She was diagnosed with cancer in her throat.  I talked to her twice while she was at the hospital.  I told her I was getting ready to pay her a visit before she got sick, but I will come see her when she gets home.  On the second phone call she told me that there's not many of them left (my Dad had 4 brothers and 2 sisters, 2 brothers and 1 sister had already passed).  My Aunt didn't come home from the hospital as fast as we thought.  She had to due chemo, so I told Dad I would go see her at the hospital.  He told me no, my Aunt didn't look good and I should wait.  My Aunt did come home, but she passed away the following day.  On September 22, 2009, just 3 weeks after being diagnosed with cancer, my Aunt Nody, my Dad's sister, was gone.

I have taken my father on these trips to visit my Aunt Inge and Uncle Paul.  Dad is 82 now.  His brother, my uncle, is 67 and has had leukemia for 9 years.  I feel with Dad getting up in age and my Uncle's health, they should visit as much as they can.  I told my Aunt Inge my new theory is the next time I see someone is not at a funeral.  I want to make the time now and see people while they are still alive and can spend time with them and talk to them, hear the family stories, then pass on what they have told me and what I knew about them.

I did learn that my great-grandfather Leander or Lee as he was known, was a really mean man, but his wife was the sweetest lady.  Makes you wonder about the 17 kids they had.  Guess things were different back then.  I have also learned things about one of Dad's other brothers.  He was very tight with his money.  I mean very tight with his money. 

I wonder what the next trip will bring?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

I thought I should post a chart of my ancestors back to my great- grandparents, at least that far for now.  It is always good to have that picture so we can understand where a family member stands in relationship to oneself. 

Saturday, September 10, 2011

You know you're a genealogist when...

I know other blogs have started with this same title and this week I found out how true it is for me in my own way.  Six years ago when I moved into my house in Pennsylvania my office was located in the basement.  Two reasons for this.  There were only two bedrooms in the house, one of which my husband and I slept, and the other which doubled as his office and a small guest bedroom.  My basement office, though at times lonely and cold since it was unfinished did have more room for all of my research.

Over the years our basement would take in small amounts of water during very heavy rain storms that were controlled by towels or just having the water run into the floor drain.  How we chose the only corner of the basement where water never seeped into the house was pure luck.  As my husband said recently, it was like sacred ground where no water went.

Recently, Hurricane Irene came through the area with lots of wind and rain.  Somehow the basement didn't take on but a trickle of water.  On the heels of Irene came Tropical Storm Lee which dumped 5-7 inches of rain in such a short period of time to already saturated ground that the basement took on more water then in the past.  Towels were of no use to keep the water contained.  After almost 12 hours of trying to control the water leaking into the basement exhaustion just took over for the day.

On the second day, after the first hour of cleaning up the water that came in overnight and headed for the floor drain, I heard gushing water.  Imagine my panicked surprise when I saw gushing water in the sacred ground of my office where no water previously went!  I called my husband on the phone breaking down as I almost yelled into the phone, "there's water gushing in thru the wall in my office area, I have to get my genealogy out!"  Then I hung up on him.  Running up and down the steps for the next two hours grabbing everything off the bookcases that had anything to do with my research, photo albums, documents, and books.  I never knew how much I had that was so important.  I was lucky in the fact my computer had been taken up to the third floor the day before the basement had first started taking on water.  I didn't care about any bookshelves, my desk, file cabinet, nothing but genealogy. know you are a genealogist when you let your furniture get damaged/destroyed over loosing your genealogy realated items.

My kitchen, dining room, and living room are a mess now.  There were other items grabbed after the important things mentioned.  I did save a large bookcase which now resides in my kitchen along with a smaller bookcase.  A third is laying on the floor of my living room.

At first when all of this was going on and complete exhaustion set in I thought things were really bad for me.  Then I saw the destruction and devistation of many Pennsylvanians not an hour north of me who have lost everything.  It made me put things into a much needed perspective of how fortunate I am to still have everything I have.  I do know someone who's home was flooded and at this time they haven't been able to assess the damage to their items, but they are sure they have lost all of their valuable memories of photos and other items that just can not be replaced.  I didn't loose my things, but I can relate after the panic I went through when I thought I was going to loose my things.

Remember, safe guard your valuables.  Be prepared for the unexpected.

Oh, at least no boulders can come loose from a hillside and roll into my house like what happened to my Grandmother (see The Boulder Story

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Boulder Story

     I remember hearing my Dad and his brothers and sisters talk about a boulder that rolled down a hill into their house.  Dad always said it was a big boulder.  I guess I thought it was like the "big fish" story or the "I walked 6 miles to school in the snow, barefoot, uphill both ways" type of story.  That is until I found these two articles from the Portsmouth Times in Ohio.
     When I read this article and finally saw how large the boulder was, my grandmother, the Mrs. Joseph Hacker in the story, was very lucky she wasn't killed.  My Uncle Richard, who we always called Uncle "Reds", was also a very lucky little boy.  My father, Raymond, was playing in the side yard, and another Uncle, Bob, was on the front porch.  Good thing my grandmother was unharmed.  Her and my grandfather went on to have five more children.

     If you read my previous post on Edward Funk being killed in the gas station hold up, my grandmother who narrowly escaped being killed by the boulder, is Edward Funk's daughter Mae.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Edward Funk, owner of New Boston, Ohio filling station murdered

My great-grandfather Edward D. Funk
I had grown up hearing the story of my Grandma Hacker's father being killed in a filling station robbery.  In the past 2 years I found newspaper articles online that detailed the hold-up, the death of my great-grandfather, the search for the killers, the trial, and the execution in the electric chair of both men.

On October 21, 1924, while Edward Funk was counting up the money at the end of the day, Lindsey Traylor, aged 20, entered the filling station to rob my great-grandfather.  He was shot three times killing him at age 53.  Lindsey Traylor's accomplice was 28 year old Jason Adkins.  Both men were tried and found guilty, and were put to death in 1925.

Jason Adkins

Lenzy Traylor

Photos of Jason Adkins and Lenzy Traylor were found online at: Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction Ohio Executions - 1925