Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday: Lafayette Cemetery #1

I'm vacationing in New Orleans this week. I love this city SO MUCH! I've been here a few times now, and I always feel at home. As in, this could be my home. Well, if it weren't for the dreadful heat and humidity in the summer... Anyway, given the kinship I feel with N'Awlins, it dismays me that I somehow have absolutely no ancestors from anywhere in Louisiana. How did that happen??

Since I don't have of my own ancestors here, I thought I'd share with you some other people's dearly departed. We just visited the Lafayette Cemetery #1 in the Garden District. If you ever come to NOLA, you must visit the hauntingly gorgeous above-ground cemeteries. This is one of the most beautiful. There's so much history in this one large city block. I could spend hours here, looking at each and every inscription and gorgeously sculpted statuary, and never get bored.

Here are some of my favorite monuments to those Louisiana souls who have passed before us:

Location:New Orleans, LA

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sentimental Sunday: Bartram Cousins

I've always loved this photo! It's of my mom, Rebecca Elizabeth Bartram, her siblings and some of their cousins. My grandpa, John Bartram, was one of 17 kids, so there were a lot of cousins in Mom's generation. This isn't even the half of them!
L-R: Charles Frager, George Frager, Jackie (Frager) Partain, Brenda (Bartram) Cairo,
Clay Bartram (little guy in front), Jim Bartram, Becky (Bartram) Brittain Santos,
Patty (O'Neal) Pasini, Bob Bartram (in back), Sharon (O'Neal) Pasini,
Delbert Smith (in back), Georgianne (Bartram) Hammes, Don Bartram
The picture was taken in Sunol, California, at the ranch owned by Grandpa John's sister, Grace, and her husband Carl Zwissig. Grace and Carl didn't have their own kids, but their nieces and nephews spent a lot of time out at the ranch.

Cousins have always been an important part of my life. My sister, Cindy, and my cousins (Debbie, Leslie, Dee Dee, Glenn, Vikki and Stacey) were my first best friends. We spent a LOT of time together: either just hanging out at each others' houses or going with our parents on many memorable adventures. When I see pictures like this, and hear the stories my mom and her siblings and cousins tell about their childhoods spent together, I can tell where we all got our love of family.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Follow Friday: March 25, 2011

There have been a lot of really fantastic posts on the genealogy blogs this week, and I'd like to share a few of them. Please check out these blogs and send 'em some love!
Heather over at Leaves for Trees was on a roll this week. I enjoyed her Sorting Saturday post, where she shares with us her ingenious document record log as well as her Tuesday's Tip on how to set up an Ancestor Military chart. Awesome! My favorite, though, was Thursday's post on Genealogy ADD. Why? Because I suffer from it, too!

Marian at Roots & Rambles posed an interesting question: If you were a ghost, which room would you haunt?

For Military Monday and Women's History Month, Deb from Adventures in Genealogy wrote about Anna Ella Carroll, an unsung military genius of the Civil War, who happened to be a woman. 

Over at Leaves Of Heritage Genealogy, I learned what it means to "Close Your Eyes to What You Know" in order to open your mind to other possibilities.

I've been inspired by Amy Coffin at The We Tree Genealogy Blog to help digitize every surviving estate inventory for Colonial and Charleston South Carolina from 1732 to 1872, as well as Bills of Sale from the same period. Why is the Restore the Ancestors project so important? Because it also helps to restore the histories of a group of Americans who have been overlooked for generations -- slaves -- and allow their descendants to search some of the few records that may exist for them. 
Thanks to my fellow family historians who have kept me entertained and informed all week long!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Treasure Chest Thursday: Dad's Elephant Matchstick Holder

This cute little elephant is an old matchstick holder that my dad, William Lee Brittain, purchased when he was a teenager. He was on a roadtrip with his mom, Edith Vivian Hunt Brittain, and grandmother, Jessie Luetta Halstead Brittain, from California to Oklahoma sometime in the mid 1950s. Grandma Edith and Grandma Jessie were both from Oklahoma, and they were headed there to visit family.
Along their way to Oklahoma, Dad picked up this little souvenir to bring to his dad, Woodie Leroy Brittain. Dad ended up with the elephant again as he grew up and, after he passed away in 2003, my Mom thought I'd enjoy it. It's ceramic, and the bottom is stamped with "Made in Japan."

Here's a picture of Dad, Grandma Edith and Great Grandma Jessie on their road trip. It looks like they were having fun!
Edith Vivian Hunt Brittain, Jessie Luetta Halstead Brittain, William Lee Brittain

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Wedding Wednesday: Happy 73rd Anniversary to Grandpa John and Grandma Donna Bartram!

Mr. and Mrs. John Bartram
March 26, 1938
Reno, Washoe County, Nevada
This Saturday, March 26, would have been the 73rd anniversary for my maternal grandparents, John Bartram (1911-1987) and Donna Marie Madsen (1919-1966). In honor of this momentous day, here are some of their wedding photos and their marriage record.

Grandma and Grandpa met at the Livermore Rodeo in 1936 when Grandpa was an exciting rodeo performer and Grandma was a 16-year-old rodeo queen. They were married on March 26, 1938, in Reno, Nevada. They didn't live in Reno, but it seemed to be the fashion in those days for many Northern California couples to trek over the Sierra Nevada mountains to get hitched. Not only did my grandparents get married in Reno, but so did my parents and a couple of sets of aunts and uncles.

They raised four children together: Clinton James (Jim), Brenda Rae, Rebecca Elizabeth (Becky - my mom) and Clay John. From all accounts, they were a lively couple. Grandpa was a handful (to put it mildly!), and Grandma did her best to wrangle him and the four kids. They lived around the Tri-Valley area (Livermore, Dublin, Pleasanton).

John and Donna, with their friends, Doug and Marie Kennedy
Grandma and Grandpa were married until Grandma Donna passed away in 1966, mainly from complications from a terrible car accident in 1959 (which left her brain damaged) as well as diabetes, leaving my Grandpa John heartbroken. He never remarried, and he often confided to my sister and me how much he missed his Donna. I love looking at these photos of them in happier times.
Marriage record from Washoe County, Nevada

Monday, March 21, 2011

Tech Tuesday: Fun With My New Flip-Pal Scanner!

Say hello to my little friend!
I like presents. A lot! So, I went ahead and treated myself to a sweet little gift last week: a Flip-Pal Mobile Scanner. I think I'm in love!

The Flip-Pal is a compact, cordless mobile scanner that runs on AA batteries, stores scanned images on a memory card (like the one in your camera) and can make high resolution (600 or 300 dpi) scans from just about anywhere. It's small -- the flatbed will hold a 4"x6" photo or document -- but it comes with software that allows you to seamlessly stitch together much larger documents. Just this weekend, I had fun scanning and stitching my old 4-H camp photos, and they looked fantastic:
Five separate 4"x6" scans that were seamlessly stitched together to reassemble one 8"x15" photo
Scanning the large photo. It took five scans, with some overlap, to get the whole photo. 
Then, the Easy Stitch software stitched them all together into one picture right on my laptop!
It also has a patented flip-and-scan technology that allows you to scan photos, large and small, in photo albums, scrapbooks or even picture frames without having to move or otherwise disrupt the photo. All you have to do is remove the lid from the flatbed, flip the scanner over, place it on the original and hit the green scan button. There's a see-through window at the bottom of the scanner that allows you to frame the original photo for a perfect scan.
Scanning photos straight from the scrapbook is SO EASY! See the handy dandy viewfinder?
It's ridiculously simple to use, and doesn't even need to be attached to a computer:
  • Place your photo/document on the flat bed (or flip the scanner if you're working on a larger document or album/book).
  • Push the green button to scan.
  • Take your SD card from the scanner and insert it into its slot on your
    computer (or you can use included USB attachment if your computer doesn't have an SD slot)
  • Then, edit, upload or just enjoy your newly-scanned images!
You can place a photo directly onto the flatbed scanner, or remove the lid and
turn it over to scan larger documents or photos in albums.
There were a few things that hung me up when I first jumped into my scanning project with the Flip-Pal:
  • At first, the batteries that came with the scanner appeared to be DOA when I tried using it. The nice customer service person, Charlie, gave me several reasons as to why this might have been. Turns out, I needed to set the date/time on the scanner in order for it to work. That did the trick!
  • Charlie also mentioned that, if I'm doing a lot of scanning (which has been the case!), I might want to invest in rechargeable batteries. I think I'm going to do that since, in the long run, it will be easier on both my pocketbook and the environment.
  • Initially, I wasn't able to read the supporting documentation or get the Easy Stitch software to work. I had a hunch it was because I was using a Mac, and these were geared toward PCs. I was right, and it was an easy fix. I just headed over to the Flip-Pal site and downloaded the proper software to work on a Mac (for free, of course).
I have to note that the online customer service folks at Flip-Pal are quick, helpful and friendly. They claim that they will return email requests within 24 hours, but Charlie got back to me (twice!) within minutes, keeping my scanning downtime to a minimum.

Now, I find myself constantly combing my apartment for more photos that I can upload to my genealogy files (or use to terrorize my Facebook community). I plan to bring my Flip-Pal to my mom's house this Easter so I can scan photos from her old albums. I'm thinking I could even bring it with me to libraries and historical societies to scan (with their permission, of course) documents that would be difficult to scan in a regular flatbed scanner.

Care to purchase a Flip-Pal as a gift for yourself or someone else?
Comes with:
  • Four AA batteries (installed)
  • 2GB SD memory card (installed)
  • USB to SD adapter
  • Stitching and color restoration software
  • Window protector sheet
  • Quick Start User Guide
  • One-Year limited warranty
Note: I am not affiliated with Flip-Pal or any of its partners in any way, shape or form. I'm just a new fan!

Military Monday: Solomon J. Ishmael in the Civil War

Document showing
he mustered out
May 31, 1865
It seems that most of my Civil War ancestors fought on the Confederate side. That makes sense since a good portion of my Dad's family came from the Southern states. I do have a some ancestors who fought in the Union Army. Solomon J. Ishmael, one of my paternal 4th great grandfathers, was one of them.

Solomon Ishmael was born November 14, 1817, in Kentucky to Robert and Mary Adams Ishmael. He was married first to America Manning, and they had six children (including my 3rd great grandmother, Serena Jane Ishmael) before she died in 1860. He married Elizabeth Martin in 1861 and they had six children together.

Muster roll showing
illness event
Solomon was a Private in the Missouri 23rd Regiment Infantry Volunteers, Company B, under Captain Nash. He enlisted on July 25, 1862, in Trenton, Missouri, and mustered in at Hudson, Missouri, on August 31, 1862. He was 44 1/2 years old (not a spring chicken in those days). He was mustered out on May 18, 1865, near Washington, D.C.

According to the various muster rolls, Solomon contracted small pox in around February 1864, and was in the hospital in McMinnville, Tennessee, until at least after the muster roll dated January 14, 1865. His regiment was guarding the Nashville and Chattanooga Railroad at McMinnville from December 1863 to July 1864, so that fits in the right timeframe. While he was ill, his company saw much action, including the Battle of Peach Tree Creek and the Battle of Atlanta in Georgia. It appears that he was eventually well enough to rejoin his regiment at some point, as he was mustered out near Washington, D.C, at the end of the war.
Muster roll with
personal details

His Civil War documents also give us some personal details about Solomon:
  • He was a farmer.
  • He was born in Nicholas County, Kentucky (which is corroborated by census documents).
  • He had grey eyes and brown hair.
  • He was 5'10" tall (or 6' 1/2", depending on which document you look at) and had a medium complexion.
  • He was not able to write his own name, and made his "mark" on documents where a signature was required. 
  • He was generally healthy when he enlisted: he'd been vaccinated, his organs were all "sound and perfectly formed," he was not a drinker and he'd never had "the horrors."
  • He enlisted for a period of three years. 
  • Oddly, several of the documents noted his age as 35, 42, 44 or 45 years old. In truth, he was between 44 and 47 years old during his time of service.
  • Prior to joining the Union Army, he had been enlisted in the Kings Regiment of the Missouri State Militia.
Another fascinating little tidbit I discovered while researching Solomon's stint in the Union Army: his recruiting officer was his daughter's, Serena Jane Ishmael Rooks, father-in-law: another of my 4th great grandfathers, Samuel E. Rooks. Yes, I'll be researching Samuel's military history next!
Form for Examining a Recruit
Declaration of Recruit
Volunteer Enlistment Form. Also includes signature of
his recruiting officer, Samuel Rooks
(another of my 4th great grandfathers)
Solomon died on December 19, 1894, and was buried in Black Oak Cemetery in Marion Township, Grundy County, Missouri. His tombstone is inscribed:
77y 1m 5d. "Rest soldier, rest. Thy warfare o'er. Sleep the sleep that knows no breaking. Dream of battlefields no more, days of danger, nights of waking." Co B 23 Mo Inf.
Pension record
Here's how I'm descended from Solomon J. Ishmael:
Solomon J. Ishmael/America Manning >
Serena Jane Ishmael/Thomas J. Rooks >
Mary Jane Rooks/Frederick Harmon Brittain >
Andrew Lee Brittain/Jessie Luetta Halstead >
Woodie Leroy Brittain/Edith Vivian Hunt >
William Lee Brittain/Rebecca Elizabeth Bartram >

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Sunday Obituary: Thomas J. Rooks 1837-1919

Here's the obituary for my paternal 3rd great grandfather, Thomas J. Rooks. He died on June 25, 1919, and this appeared in the July 3, 1919, edition of the Humansville Star-Leader newspaper in Humansville, Missouri. Thomas and his wife, Serena Jane Ishmael, were the parents of my great great grandmother, Mary Jane Rooks Brittain.

Humansville Star-Leader,
Thursday, July 3, 1919

Thomas J. Rooks was born in Indiana, August 12, 1837, died at the home of his youngest son, F.M. Rooks, near Humansville, June 25, 1919, at the age of 82 years, 10 months, and 13 days. He was married to Miss Serena Ishmael Jan. 19, 1860, to them was born ten boys and two girls of which seven sons and one daughter are still living. His wife preceded him to the grave Oct. 3, 1914. He joined the Baptist church in 1906 but he had professed religion and been a member of other churches since young manhood.

Funeral services were held at the home Wednesday conducted by Rev. B.A. Hensley. Interment was the Burchett cemetery.

The Burchett Cemetery is also known as the Molder Cemetery. Both Thomas and Serena are buried there.

Here's how I'm descended from Thomas and Serena:
Thomas J. Rooks/Serena Jane Ishmael >
Mary Jane Rooks/Frederick Harmon Brittain >
Andrew Lee Brittain/Jessie Luetta Halstead >
Woodie Leroy Brittain/Edith Vivian Hunt >
William Lee Brittain/Rebecca Elizabeth Bartram >

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Treasure Chest Thursday: Great Grandpa Louie's Candy Dish

I'm lucky that I got to know my maternal Great Grandpa Louie -- at least for a few years. Lars Hansen Madsen was my mom's maternal grandfather. As I've already written about him, he was born on September 24, 1893, on a farm called Bakkegaard in Risemark, Ærø, Denmark, and in 1908 he immigrated as a 14-year-old boy to Livermore, California. There, he met and married Johanna Bruhns and they raised three kids: my grandma, Donna Madsen, as well as their other daughter, my Aunt Rae, and their son, my Uncle Lloyd.

Since I was such a youngster while Grandpa Louie was still around, I don't have a lot of memories of him. I do remember delighting in his heavy Danish accent and that he was always very kind to us kids. And I think he delighted in having us around. Another thing I always remembered was that he had the prettiest little lidded porcelain candy dish, with two gorgeous and delicate gardenias on top, and that's where he kept his stash of butter mints. My sister, Cindy, and I inherited a powerful sweet tooth (perhaps from Grandpa Louie?), and we'd spend at lot of time with that candy dish whenever we visited him, admiring both its fragile beauty and the deliciousness it held inside.
Grandpa Louie passed away on May 8, 1971. I was only six years old, but I old enough to be sad to lose him. Mom inherited the candy dish and, growing up, it was always on display in the house and often filled with mints. Every now and then, Mom likes to gift Cindy and me with something that was special to her and to our family. A few years ago, I lucked out and got the candy dish. WooHOO! I kept butter mints in it for awhile, but never for very long because, well, I can't resist butter mints. Now, Grandpa Louie's beautiful little porcelain candy dish is the PERFECT place to store my small collection of double-pointed knitting needles. I'm sure he wouldn't mind. =)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Wedding Wednesday: Jacob Harryman & Catharine LaFavre - 1826

I love it when I get genealogy documents and information in the mail. It's like Christmas to me! Today, I was tickled when I reached into my mailbox to find an envelope from Morgan County, Indiana, containing the 1826 marriage record for my 3rd great grandparents, Jacob Harryman and Catharine Lafavre. Jacob was 25 years old at the time, and Catharine was a mere 18 years old.
Here's what it says:
Jacob Harriman to Catharine Lafavre: 

Be it Remembered, That on this 13th day of July A.D. 1826, the following Marriage License was issued, to wit:

State of Indiana, Morgan County, (???)
To any person empowered by law to solemnize marriage, Greeting:

You are hereby authorized to join together as Husband and Wife Jacob Harryman and
Catharine Lafavre, and of this, together with your Certificate of Marriage, make
due return, within three months, according to the laws of the State of Indiana.
Witness: Geo H. Beeler, clerk of our said Morgan
Circuit Court, and the Seal thereof, affixed at the Clerk's
Office in Martinsville, Indiana, this 13th day of July 1826

Geo. H. Beeler
Clerk of Morgan Circuit Court
Be it further Remembered that on this _____ day of ______A.D. 18__ The
following certificate was filed in my office, to wit:

State of Indiana, Morgan County, (???)
I, _______________, hereby certify that on the _____ day of A.D.
18__, I duly joined in marriage ____________ and _____________
by authority of Law and a License from the Clerk of the Morgan Circuit Court.
Given under my hand this ____ day of ______ 18__.
(It was also noted, in handwriting, that the couple was "of age.")

The clerk at the Morgan County courthouse was really nice and helpful when I ordered the document (as most clerks seem to be, especially in Midwest). She gave me a heads-up that, while Jacob and Catharine made the trip to get the marriage license at courthouse on July 13, 1826, they didn't bother to go back and have the marriage certified (hence, the empty part of the record on the bottom...). Of course, I immediately wondered if that meant they were never actually married. However, the clerk informed me that, apparently, this sort of thing wasn't entirely uncommon back in the early 1800s: it's possible that they couldn't afford to make the 80-mile trip back to the county seat (either in time and/or funds), or they just didn't realize that they were supposed to do that after they actually got hitched. Or, maybe they just couldn't be pained with the details!

Didn't seem to bother them much: they still raised nine kids (including my great great grandmother, Margaret) and lived a long life together. They were each 69 years old when he passed away in Indiana, Jacob on February 1, 1871, and Catharine six years and a day later, on February 2, 1877. 

Here's how I'm related to Jacob & Catharine: Me > Rebecca Elizabeth Bartram (mom) > John Bartram (grandpa) > Alice A. Veale > Margaret Harriman > Jacob and Catharine Harryman. I'm told the Harryman/Harriman name change happened due to a misspelling on one of the census documents, and it just stuck for that side of the family.

Monday, March 14, 2011

One Lovely Blog Award -- And, I'm Blushing!!

Imagine my surprise when I saw a message on today's blog post from Kathryn at Kathryn's Quest nominating me for the One Lovely Blog Award! What a sweet gesture. I've been blogging only since January, and I've found the genealogy blogging community to be amazingly encouraging, helpful and just plain nice. Thanks again, Kathryn -- you've made my week!!

According to Kathryn, we are given very few rules for accepting the award and here they are:
1. Accept the award, post it on your blog together with the name of the person who granted the award and their blog link.
2. Pass the award on to 15 other blogs that you’ve newly discovered.
3. Remember to contact the bloggers to let them know they have been chosen for this award.

I'm new to the genealogy blogging community, and still discovering blogs that inspire and energize me. Here's my list (not quite 15, but all worth a visit!):
Thanks again to Kathryn, and all the other genealogy bloggers out there, for your kind encouragement!

UPDATE: Thanks to Heather over at Leaves for Trees for also nominating me for this AND the Ancestor Approved award. What a great blogging community we have!

Military Monday: Bill Brittain in the US Navy

William Lee Brittain, 1942-2003
My dad, William Lee Brittain, was in the United States Navy from 1960-1966 (the last couple of years were as a reservist). He was proud of his service and, from some of the pictures we've seen, he had a pretty good time, too.

He served aboard the USS Pictor, where he was a machinist and traveled to Japan, Okinawa, Hong Kong, The Phillipines and Hawaii. He also served aboard the USS Scamp, a nuclear-powered submarine. For at least part of that time, he was based at Hunters Point Naval Station in San Francisco. Here are some photos and documents that tell about Dad's time in the Navy.

Dad's Armed Forced ID card. I think he looks a little like
Elvis in that picture.
Bill Brittain, the guy in the middle with the black eye...
This is my favorite picture from Dad's Navy days. From what I recall of  Dad's stories, they were in some port in the Pacific and, apparently, they'd had a pretty rough night. Note the black eye on Dad. The other guys weren't looking too spiffy, either. 

Dad didn't talk all that much about his time in the Navy, but when he did tell stories, they were usually about his good times. He and I were both a little tickled to find out that one of his Bay Area haunts when he was stationed at Hunters Point was also a bar I liked to frequent in my younger days. Like father, like daughter!
Those Navy boys sure knew how to have fun! This was taken during
his time on the USS Pictor, and was likely somewhere in the Far East.
The USS Scamp is the submarine that Dad was stationed aboard

Some of the crew of the USS Pictor. This was the "M" division.
Dad is standing behind the guy in front who is second from the left. 
Some of Dad's memorabilia from his Navy days: the yearbook
from his time on the USS Pictor, and a statue of the USS Scamp
Dad's Honorable Discharge certificate

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Sunday Obituary: Claus Schlichtmann, 1831-1899

Claus Schlichtmann was my 3rd great grandfather on my mom's side. He was born in 1831 in Hanover, Germany, and sailed to New York on November 10, 1862, on the ship Teutonia. Not long afterward he sent for his family, including his wife, Anna, and my great great grandmother, Christina Schlichtmann Bruhns, who was just a baby when they made their voyage. They finally they came to California, living for a short time in San Francisco before they settled in my hometown of Tracy, San Joaquin County, California. He was a well-known and well-liked farmer in the area and was a member of the Order of Druids in San Francisco. He voted with the Republican party.

Claus died at the German Hospital in San Francisco on July 5, 1899, at the age of 68. Here is his obituary in the July 7, 1899, edition of the San Francisco Call newspaper:

The obituary reads:
SCHLICHTMANN -- At the German Hospital, July 5, 1899, Claus, beloved husband of Anna Schlichtmann, and father of Claus, William and August Schlichtmann, Mrs. John Bruhns, Mrs. John Krohn and the late Mrs. F. Genzen, a native of Germany, aged 68 years.

Remains at the parlors of Theo. Dierks, 957 Mission street. Remains will be shipped to Tracy, Cal., this day (Friday), at 8 o'clock a.m. for interment.

When I read this obituary, I immediately thought of the hardship that Claus and his family must have gone through when he became ill and needed to travel to a hospital. Today, Tracy is only about an hour's drive from San Francisco. But, back in 1899, that had to be a difficult journey for a sick man. Think about it: they didn't have our cars, freeways or bridges back then. So, they likely traveled to the German Hospital in San Francisco by horse-drawn carriage over dirt roads. They had to travel over two hilly passes in the heat of the summer (it gets well over 100 degrees in the San Joaquin Valley in the summer, although it was likely nice and cool and foggy in SF at that time). I'm guessing that there must have been a ferry to get them from the East Bay to San Francisco. Otherwise, they would have had to skirt the bay around San Jose and then come all the way up the peninsula to SF. Easier said than done in those days!

The other thing that caught my eye in the obituary was the name of the hospital where Claus died: the German Hospital. I live in San Francisco, and I had never heard of that hospital. When I did a little research, I found out that the German Hospital, as you might surmise, served the German population of the area. It was built in 1854, and was the first public hospital built on the west coast. It sat on the site where Davies Medical Center now sits: at the corner of Noe and 14th Streets. It's an easy walk just up the street from my apartment, and I now think of Claus every time I'm near there!

I wish I could find a picture of Claus. He sounded like a lovely man who was adored by his family and respected by his community. And he had that pioneer spirit that I admire so much in my ancestors. Here's to Claus!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Sports Center Saturday: Rodeo!

John Bartram, 1911-1987, bronc rider extraordinaire
We tend to think of athletes as football/basketball/tennis players, swimmers, runners and the like. We had athletes of a different sort in my family: bull riders, bronc riders and steer ropers. Let me tell you, these were tough guys! Rodeo is a hard sport: it takes some serious skill and determination to stay on an angry bull or bucking bronc for a full eight seconds and, even if you do, you run the risk of serious injury or even death. Steer roping is no simple task, either, especially when you're trying to rope a wily steer from the top of a moving horse. But the family and friends I knew who competed in rodeo events were passionate about the sport. And they excelled at it. 

I've already written a bit about my Grandpa John Bartram and his brother, Dutch. Here are some pictures and newspaper articles (thanks to Google News!) that detail their rodeo prowess.
June 2, 1934. Berkeley Daily Gazette
This one documents when Grandpa John
broke his back.

June 1, 1937. San Jose News
Ray "Dutch" Bartram was a winner
at the Madrone Rodeo

August 10, 1937. Lodi News-Sentinel
Both Grandpa John and Uncle Dutch
did well in the steer bucking and
steer roping events.
I don't know anything about this picture. He looks
just like my Uncle Jimmy (his oldest son) in it, though.

At the Rowell Ranch Rodeo in Hayward, California.
Grandpa John and Uncle Dutch both worked for Harry Rowell
in the 1930s and 40s.
Hard to believe anyone can stay on a bull for a full eight seconds.
These guys were true athletes!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Follow Friday: Here's what I've been reading this week

I've been following some great blog posts this week, and wanted to share them with you. Please check out these fantastic genealogy blogs, many of which inspire me each week.
  • First of all, a HUGE congrats to all the blogs that were included in Family Tree Magazine's 40 Best Genealogy Blogs for 2011. I especially want to congratulate my cousin, Jennifer, over at Climbing My Family Tree for being named one of the best new genealogy bloggers of 2011. Jen and I met online last year while researching our shared 3rd great grandparents, and her blog inspired me to start writing about my own ancestry. Yay, Jen!!
  • Karen, at Genealogy Frame of Mind, is a woman after my own heart. She shares my fascination with the census and wrote a post chock full o' tips on how to research these amazing documents. Definitely worth checking out.
  • Cheryl, from Have You Seen My Roots, is another of Family Tree Magazine's top 40 bloggers (congrats!). This week, in honor of Fearless Females Month, she shared her mom's recipe for Fastnachts. Turns out I'm not the only one who can't resist deep fried dough!
  • I'm a sucker for Civil War history, and Randy Seaver over at Genea-Musings has been keeping me informed and entertained with his newly-acquired Civil War Pension File for his 2nd great grandfather,  Isaac Seaver.
Thanks to all of my fellow genealogy writers for a great week in blogging.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Those Places Thursday: Bartram Farm in Herefordshire, England

Quite a few years ago, one of my mom's cousins from Kansas sent some photos to me, including pictures of my great great grandfather, John Bartram's, farm in Llanrothal, Herefordshire, England. It's called Wern Farm, and she was lucky enough to visit it on a vacation to the UK. Here's a picture of the farm as it was many years ago, as well as how it looked when Jeanette got to see it on her trip.

At the time of the 1881 UK Census, John was living at Wern Farm with his wife, Esther, and his family, including: their son, Joseph (my great grandfather); their daughter, Louisa; Louisa's husband, Amos Beavan (who was listed as a "Gardener"; Louisa and Amos' 4-year-old son, William; Louisa's 10-year-old son, Arthur (from a former relationship); and a servant named Anne Mitchel. Great Grandpa Joseph left England for Kansas shortly after the 1881 census (within a couple of years, anyway). Here's a picture of the family at around that time. Don't they look happy? =p  
Standing: Louisa, Joseph, Sarah Ann (another daughter)
Sitting: John, Arthur, Esther