I have this humongous tub of documents and notes and pictures that I haven’t yet digitized, or entered into Legacy, or blogged about.  I can’t ever seem to get caught up with all of the cool things I’ve found, but I know that I really need to get it done – otherwise I’m going to spend a lot of precious time backtracking, searching for things that I already know.

On Christmas Eve, while my kids were busily playing with their new toys (they each opened one present early), I spent a few hours scanning in documents.  Honestly, I barely even made a dent in the pile – but it felt good to at least start sifting through all of it.

Among the documents in this pile was a will for my husband’s 3rd great-grandfather, James H. Leonard (1796-1892).  It’s been sitting there for at least five years. :(

Well, now it will see the light of day and be posted for the world to see!!!  I’m only transcribing the actual will, below the images.

Do you have any important documents that haven’t seen the light of day for years?  Share them!!!

The last Will and Testament of James H. Leonard of the Town of Newfane in the County of Niagara + State of New York.

I, James H. Leonard considering the uncertainty of this mortal life + being of sound mind and memory do make and publish this my last Will and Testament in manner + form following that is to say:

First, I give and bequeath unto my two sons Dewitt C. Leonard + Henry B. Leonard + unto my daughter Eliza Jane Sawyer the sum of two hundred dollars each, to be paid to them from the proceeds of the real or personal estate I should be possessed of at the time of my decease + to be paid to them within a reasonable time after my decease for their use forever.

Second, All the rest and residue of my real + personal estate not herein before given + bequeathed after payment of debts, funeral expenses + e I give unto my five children Dewitt C. Leonard, Henry B. Leonard, Eliza J. Sawyer, Roxanna Spencer, + Maria Peck to be equally divided between them, that they share + share alike for their use forever and I do here by constitute and appoint Augustus B. Kendall of the Town of Newfane, sole executor of this my last Will and Testament hereby revoking all other heretofore made wills by me.  Witness my hand + seal the twenty eighth day of May in the year of our Lord one thousand and eight hundred and eighty.

James H. Leonard (Seal)

The above instrument consisting of one half sheet of paper was now here subscribed by James H. Leonard the testator in the presence of each of us + was at the same time declared by him to be his last Will and Testament + we at his request signed our names there to as attesting witnesses.

Anthony McKee residing in Newfane Niagara County NY
Martha A. McKee residing in Newfane Niagara County NY

  • Cherie Cayemberg - January 9, 2012 - 6:03 am

    I’m so glad to hear that you got some time to scan documents. I need to get on that as well. I may try to commit just one hour a week on it and see where I get. Even if it’s after the boys get to bed! :)ReplyCancel

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This is definitely not a very informative obituary, but it’s an obituary nonetheless. Peter Sanchez was a brother to my great-great grandfather, Frederick Sanchez-Tereso.

This was a clipping pasted together with other obituaries – I believe it was probably in the Sigourney, IA newspaper.

11 Oct 1888

Peter Sanchez died at his home near Ollie, Sunday, Oct. 7th, with consumption.  Mr. Sanchez has been sick for some time, but his sudden departure was unlooked for so soon.  He was buried Monday.

  • Wendy - January 8, 2012 - 5:52 am

    “unlooked for” — now there’s an expression!ReplyCancel

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It’s that time again – time to shop through the ages!!  This time, we’re shopping through the 1904 Sears, Roebuck, & Co. catalog.

Let’s begin with some men’s clothing.  I tried to get some “working man’s” clothes in there along with the business attire. Most of my ancestors were farmers or manual laborers, so I’m sure they weren’t in suits and ties on a daily basis.

And the boys.  The little sailor suit on the right makes me smile.:)

And on to women’s clothing.

And the girls.  Don’t the waists look kind of low on these dresses?

What were the babies wearing?  They were absolutely drowning in their outfits, weren’t they?

And on to random things that I found amusing in the rest of the catalog…

Dancing floor wax – “sprinkle it on the floors and the dancers will do the rest”!

The reversible rag doll – “two dolls in one”.   It says that it’s “one of the biggest selling rag dolls ever placed on the market.”The Rosetta Stone of the early 1900’s!  Foreign languages taught by graphophone.  You could learn French or Spanish.I thought this pack of celebrity playing cards was interesting.  The cards show “portraits of world renowned celebrities of the stage.” and had gold edges.A cure for the opium and morphine habit.  I wonder how many people were actually addicted to opium and morphine in this time period.  How horrible.:(I thought this was kind of neat – you could put a photograph on a watch case or dial.  Have any of you had one of these treasures passed down to you? I believe that I might have a few of these postcards – of a family farm and some elementary school pictures.  They seem to have been really popular in this time period.Looking for something to do?  You could make a burlap rug!A set of solid silver salt cups, in a leather case.  Those who ordered this must have had some extra money to spend.Have any of you ever seen one of these railroad attachments before?  I had never heard of this, but it makes sense.  In a time when there were very few good roads for bikes, you could have a nice smooth ride on the rails.  I would be a bit concerned about a train coming though!Look at this Viaticum Cabinet or Sick Call Outfit.  I am assuming this is to give Communion to those who are unable to attend church.  Please correct me if I’m wrong.  Have you ever come across one of these in an antique shop?Here are some Communion sets.Many of us have ancestors who were members of societies.  I thought that these rosettes were neat – they actually attach to buggy bridles.  Kind of like the bumper sticker of the day.:)I can’t imagine living 100 years ago – without toasty vehicles and homes.  I would probably want to wear a “throat and chest shield” too!Oh. My. Goodness.  How could anyone type with one of these contraptions??I love the bangs!  I wonder how real they looked.I had never heard of wax cylinder records before, have you?

Isn’t this a gorgeous selection of earrings?

Well, that’s it for this edition of Shopping Through the Ages!!  See you next time, when we shop through 1905.

  • Wendy - January 7, 2012 - 6:40 am

    I like the pocket typewriter — 1904 texting.ReplyCancel

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I always love the New Year.  New beginnings.  A fresh start.  Out with the old.

And while I didn’t set any resolutions, I did make some goals.  I already posted my genealogy goals here.

I have a few personal ones too – one of which is to participate in the Bataan Memorial Death March this coming March at White Sands, NM.  I’m not doing the full march of 26.2 miles – I just don’t have enough time to get myself into that kind of shape.  I am, however, doing the “honorary” march of 15.2 miles.  Still not a walk in the park, but I think it will be doable for me.

So, what am I doing when I have a free moment now?  Walking and walking.

If there is someway to do genealogy research while out on the walking path, I’d like to hear it!  I have some podcasts on my iPod that I can listen to, but I think that’s about as far as I can get with that.

The plus is that when I get home from walking 6 or 8 miles, I just want to sit on the couch for a while.  And while I’m sitting on my couch I CAN do genealogy.  So, maybe I’ll have some extra time for it after all!:)

I’m interested in hearing if any of you have every done the Bataan Memorial March before.  Or even more if you have a relative that was in the actual Bataan Death March!!

And on to this week’s favorite finds.

And, as always, a few pictures from this past week…

We went on a hike to Aztec Caves in the Franklin Mountains State Park here in El Paso.  It was only 1.5 miles round trip, but with 5 kids, a steep incline, and a bunch of icy spots near the top of the path, it felt like much farther!  And I”m telling you – going down was SOOOO much harder than going up.

We made it though!And if you want to know the story behind this bizarre photo, you’ll have to read this post on my other blog.:)

  • Lisa F - January 6, 2012 - 5:41 am

    What a great goal. I look forward to hearing more. 15 miles is no small feat. When I trained for the half-marathon I only found podcasts feasible. I once tried tweeting while running but even on the track it was a bit too sketchy.ReplyCancel

  • Cherie Cayemberg - January 6, 2012 - 6:11 am

    Thanks for the mentions, Jen. It was a good week for me on the blog. Envious of Heather…my family doesn’t even have a swamp names after them!

    Oh, and Andy is being a bit dramatic isn’t he? ;) It’s a good photo though!ReplyCancel

  • Heather Wilkinson Rojo - January 6, 2012 - 8:04 am

    Thanks so much for mentioning my “Swamp Yankee” story. I’ve been getting a lot of humorous comments on my blog, and especially on Facebook. Comments are the best part of blogging, don’t you think?ReplyCancel

  • Sierra - January 6, 2012 - 10:56 am

    Your goal inspires me to go on a long walk today! Lisa’s comment above gives me the idea to catch up on some Genealogy Gem Podcasts while I am walking. Thank you!ReplyCancel

  • Michelle Goodrum - January 6, 2012 - 5:17 pm

    Thanks for another shout out this week.

    Still chuckling over the bread…priceless!ReplyCancel

  • Jenny Lanctot - January 7, 2012 - 8:55 am

    Good luck on your 15 mile goal! I’m still trying to make it just walking past the fridge :)

    As for “research” while you’re walking, you may consider just taking a tape recorder to make notes to yourself while listening to podcasts or webinars (you know you’ll have ideas popping into your head the whole time!), so you can remember to do those things when you are sitting comfortably on your sofa!ReplyCancel

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I don’t know if you recall the problems I’ve had trying to get the Civil War pension record for John Edwards, my 3rd great-grandfather.

You can read about my ongoing saga here and here and here.

To put it short and simple, he died in 1931 and his records aren’t in the National Archives along with the majority of the Civil War pensions.  The first time I tried getting his pension packet was about 8-10 yrs ago – and to no avail.  I tried again a few times over the years, getting very discouraged.  This past January I got serious about it.  I made a lot of phone calls to a lot of departments I didn’t know existed.  I finally was told that the records were with the VA and not NARA.  I put in my request and got a confirmation that they received it.  And then I waited and waited and waited and waited some more.  I tried calling the VA a few months back – have you ever done that before?  Suffice it to say that I didn’t get through to anybody and I had just about given up on ever getting my hands on these records.

On Christmas, my mom called and said she’d received a package the day before – from the VA.  (I put her address on the request since I knew we were moving and didn’t know if it would be forwarded to me!).  I now have his entire pension packet – and it was FREE!!!

The best Christmas present EVER!!!

I will be sharing some of the things I’ve discovered from the records in the coming weeks.

Have any of you gotten Civil War records from the VA before? 

  • Wendy - January 5, 2012 - 7:30 am

    Way to persevere!ReplyCancel

  • Heather Roelker - January 5, 2012 - 11:10 am

    It’s a banner day at Jen’s house! How very cool. I didn’t even realize that the VA maintained some Civil War pension files, although I suppose it makes sense. Have fun digging through your file!ReplyCancel

  • Nancy - January 5, 2012 - 4:39 pm

    Oh, how exciting. I’m eager to see what you received — I hope you’ll share it. My great-grandfather’s file arrived in December and I’m just now having a thorough look. The photocopies were not in order and it is hard to tell which papers go together as one document. I posted a bit about it last night and will continue to post and share some of the documents.

    I hope you find lots of great information after your long, long wait to receive the file. Like Heather, I’m surprised that his file was with the VA instead of NARA. You are some persistent lady! Good for you.ReplyCancel

  • Debi Austen - January 6, 2012 - 8:48 am

    How exciting – I can’t wait to hear what you find!ReplyCancel

  • Cherie Cayemberg - January 6, 2012 - 9:54 am

    Oh, Jen, that is so exciting! I know you’ve been trying and waiting for a long time! I can’t wait to hear what you find out!ReplyCancel

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