27 February 2013

Wednesday's Child--Phyllis Lee Baker

So, Geneabloggers has themes for each day of the week. As it is Wednesday, they have a few options for posts. When I saw Wednesday's Child however, I instantly thought of a little girl in my family named Phyllis.

Phyllis was a special little girl. She was diagnosed with leukemia, which would eventually take her life. She was only 4 years old.

Phyllis is in the pink on the left, with her sisters Grace (middle) and Judy (right)

I can't imagine having to spend time with my child in the hospital as she's dying from a disease that medical science can't cure even now--let alone then. But just look at her. She's smiling and playing with other children like the little heroine she is.

She lived more of her life in 4 years she had here on earth than many of us do with much more time.

26 February 2013

Google Maps

So I've been working on a project in Google Maps/Google Earth that is making my genealogy efforts very interesting. I decided that I needed a new, more visual way to view my ancestors and their placement in history, and I thought one of the best ways to do this would be to lay it all out on a map.

To give you a preview it looks something like this:

I've mainly been tracking down all of the burial and cemetery information I have stored away in hundreds of files all across my computer. And after some recent golden finds on FindAGrave.com, I've had tons of incentive to map out all of these cemeteries. I've only just begun.

Then I had a great thought. In RootsMagic 6, I'm able to color code my direct line ancestors in order to help me remember at a glance which side of my family I'm working on. My father's side of the family is red, and my mother's is blue. I realized I could use matching color pins in my map to make this project even more effective in laying out the history of my family.

Then I decided to take it to the next step. I can also map out all of the local historical societies in the areas close to where my ancestors lived. My dream one day is to visit all of these places where my ancestors lived, and I want to make those trips as productive and well-planned as possible. I don't need to wander aimlessly around small towns trying to figure out where I am or where to go. I can plan it all out virtually before I even get in my car to make the trip.

Seeing the city names on a map has already helped me to see how easy it would be to correct and fill in much of my missing information. One feature to look out for in Google Earts is that it displays the county boundaries, while Google Maps does not. However, I find Google Maps easier to use overall.

As my ideas continue to expand for what this map can turn into, I'm also wanting to add custom color-coded place markers. This website has fabulous icons, which you can also customize to your color preferences. In order to use them, I need to have them hosted to the web so they have a URL. However, I'm having trouble getting them to work in Google Maps. But for the sake of posterity, here they are for you to see:

 These here would be great for historical societies, archives, any sort of places that keep records that you want to remember.

These here represent cemeteries. They have a few more options there, including one for a Jewish cemetery. And all of these can be customized to whatever color you can define with a hexadecimal color coder.

These would be good to represent libraries.

These here are called Memorial, but I think they look like headstones.

Like I said, I've been having trouble getting them to upload into Google, and once I do they don't display. I plan to keep working at it until I get the results I want. This map is going to be an amazing tool, and I'm looking forward to continually adding to it as my research continues.

22 February 2013

Time Lord

I love Doctor Who. I love Genealogy. And now, I can love Doctor Who's David Tennant as he romps about doing genealogy.

(If you thought him messing with the skull was good, it gets better!)

20 February 2013

Way Back When...

The house on Wasena Avenue--the house that is to my mother what my grandmother's house is to me.

(Is that a milk box on the porch? Yowza!)


As I have previously mentioned, my grandmother's house is a special place to me and to my family. It has been the place of gathering for three generations, and that time is quickly coming to an end as my grandmother does the unthinkable.

She is selling her house.

She has been using it as an opportunity to give away many things which are priceless to our collective memory and identity as a family. I won't mention everything she has placed into my possession, but I was the proud recipient of her bedroom furniture.

We drove down last Friday night to retrieve it all, and the house was oddly empty. The pictures were missing, much of the furniture was already packed or given away, and it wasn't the same place I remembered. I didn't dwell on that too much because I was  eager to get the truck packed before it got too much later/colder.

My fiance and I loaded the truck easily, and the last piece to go into the truck was the headboard. As my lovely handyman was detaching the headboard, I sat on the edge of the bed and reminisced about that old house. My grandmother and I spoke about the memories we had--the time my sister whacked her head on the bathroom sink and had to get stitches, the hideous yellow color my father painted her bedroom, and how I remember vividly that my great-grandmother snored loud enough to wake the dead. All the time, it didn't strike me at all what was about to happen. I was so happy to be in a place so familiar to me, and finally getting this item of business off the to-do list, that I missed what was really taking place.

It was only once we were on the road again that I realized that this visit was the last time I would be inside of that house. The last time I'd see that stained glass window with the purple crest in the middle. There would be no more Thanksgiving dinner at that dining room table with the broken chairs. No more creepy closet in the front bedroom that, to this day, I am too afraid to open. No more enormous black grate in the floor where the "heat" comes out at a temperature that never fully registered as warm.

I will miss everything about that old house, and because of what it meant to me I'm glad I managed to keep a few pieces of it for myself. My fiance and I don't have a place of our own yet, so he's keeping the furniture with him until we can put it into a house of our own.

It isn't easy for me to make peace with the changes--the reality that I won't ever go back to that house. But I understand now how important it is to pass on the best we have to our children and grandchildren, the same way my grandmother did with me. It's a lot like giving someone furniture. She took the best care of everything she owned, and now it's my turn. And I know that I will never look at that adorable yellow furniture without think of the woman who has given me so much more than that in every imaginable way.

17 February 2013

The Doctor

"Is this how time normally passes? Really slowly, in the right order?"

09 February 2013

Jim Carrey

"Maybe there is no actual place called hell. Maybe hell is just having to listen to our grandparents breathe through their noses when they're eating sandwiches."

05 February 2013


This is Callie May Fenity's mother, Annie Rorer Fenity. When my great grandmother was born, they lived in Whittles Depot, Virginia. Her husband's name was Pomp Fenity.

This is the only thing I know about her. I have never been able to locate or confirm anything else about this woman.

Where would you start?