I have been so incredibly busy lately, but it’s been a good busy.  I have to admit that I as much as I dreaded our move to El Paso, this has been one of the best tours of my husband’s Army career.  While the terrain isn’t my style – I’m more for water nearby and lots of green foilage – the people I’ve met here are wonderful.  I think I’ve made more friends here than all of our other duty stations combined.  What this means is that I’m constantly busy with outings and social events and I have to admit that it’s been really nice to be busy doing fun things.  December is always a very busy month anyway, and it seems like we have a party to go to every day or two.  I haven’t had a lot of time for genealogy or blogging this week – but I did manage to spend my snow day (yes it SNOWED in El Paso) scanning in some documents, which I will be posting this coming week.

And on to this week’s favorite finds:

  • I’ve really been enjoying everyone’s Advent Calendar posts. I loved Heather Kuhn Roelker’s post about Santa Claus - he kind of creeped me out as a kid too.
  • I don’t think I have any famous artists in my family tree – or if I do, I sure didn’t get those genes.  I draw stick people – and not very well!  I loved the post Mini Bio: Carrie York, Minneapolis Artist over at GeneaMania.  It would be nice to have some of these family heirlooms!!!
  • The 112th Edition of the Carnival of Genealogy is up at Creative Gene- and it’s all about “An Old Fashioned Thanksgiving“. The next edition is “A Charles Dickens Christmas” and submissions are due by January 1st.
  • Tonight’s edition of Geneabloggers Radio is entitled “Genealogy Gift Guide”.  Maybe I should make my husband listen to this one?  He’s always saying that I’m SOOOO hard to buy for and I don’t believe it.:)
  • Marian had some great tips on preparing for a genea-trip.  I confess that I’ve made a few not-so-prepared trips and have wasted precious time.
  • Heather Rojo of Nutfield Genealogy had a great post about Pearl Harbor – with precious interviews.  and we got to hear the final twist to “My Dad’s College Paper”.:)

And a few pictures from my week…

Yes, this would be the miniature snowman my daughter made with our inch of snow.:)  He is now living in our freezer in front of the ground beef, because all of our snow melted.

Have you ever tried to get a family photo done??  I’ve been so busy taking pictures of other people’s families these past couple of weeks (everyone wants Christmas card pics), but I finally decided that I needed to get a picture of my own family.  I set up the tripod and put the timer on.  It was easier said than done.  What a comedy of errors!!  Trying to get 7 people to look at the camera all at one time – with no one actually behind the camera- was interesting.  Which do you think we should put on the front of our Christmas card??:)

Yeah, I think we might be trying this again!

  • Cynthia Shenette - December 9, 2011 - 7:44 am

    I LOVE all of the photos! My absolute favorites are the one at the very top with you and your husband, and the one with your daughter and the cell phone. That one is just screams teenager! Happy Holidays!ReplyCancel

  • Randy Seaver - December 9, 2011 - 10:00 am

    I like the last one best. The top one is good too…it’s hard to get 7 people to smile at once, eh?ReplyCancel

  • Jenny - December 11, 2011 - 1:47 pm

    I love all of the photos, but the first one is best. It’s practically impossible to get everyone to look at the camera at the exact moment. But the first shot seems to capture everyone’s lovely happy spirit!

    Or, Shutterfly lets you select a card that will accept several photos. You could include a couple of the photos with this story! I would love a card like that!ReplyCancel

  • Jacqi - December 12, 2011 - 11:39 am

    Only a family historian would have a daughter who preserves her snowman in the freezer!

    The pics are great! The first one is great, but so are the others. I’d say go for a card app that allows more than one shot. Don’t worry about getting the perfect picture with everyone coordinated and smiling. Candid is best!ReplyCancel

  • Dee - December 18, 2011 - 7:56 am

    I like all of them, but the first one and the last one are my favorites. Which one did you choose?ReplyCancel

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Philip Thornton was my 3rd Great-Granduncle – brother to my 3rd great-grandfather, James Patrick Thornton.  They were both born in Ireland and immigrated to Illinois.  James moved on to Hubbard, Nebraska in later years, but Philip stayed in Alton.

This was one of the treasures I found in Philip’s probate records.  He owned a grocery store in Alton, Illinois.

It was neat to see his letterhead, even though it seems to have been crossed out for the purpose of this letter.

I looked on Google Maps to see where the store was located. It looks like Belle Street may have moved a little bit over time – and that a residential area is where part of Belle Street used to be. Looking at the corner of Belle and 16th streets, it doesn’t seem like this was a very busy urban area. It must have been a country store. There are a couple of structures there on what was the corner – I wonder if one of these could have been the store??  Probably not, considering he was a grocer in the 1870’s-80’s time period.  The building is most likely long gone.


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I love it when I find a document that has my ancestor’s signature on it.  There’s just something about knowing that they were the one that wrote that.

I was happy to find these signatures in a probate packet for Sophia Ross Pottgen (my 4th great-grandmother).  It was dated 1877.

Joseph Padgen, Kate Harris, and Louisa Thornton (my 3rd great-grandmother) were her 3 children.  James Thornton was Louisa’s husband and Philip was his brother.  They lived in Alton, Illinois – not too far from St. Louis, Missouri.

It’s always interesting to me to see the different ways that Pottgen is spelled – and it makes me wonder if this is the reason that I have a hard time finding them.  Besides being on both sides of the river (in the St. Louis area and in Alton, Illinois) the name also seems to have been spelled in various ways: Padgen, Potgen, Poettchen, Poettgen, Pottgen, Patkin, Podgen, etc.

  • Cherie Cayemberg - December 10, 2011 - 8:02 am

    I agree! It’s so special to find those signatures. I haven’t found many, but those I have are certainly meaningful! What a great post idea, Jen!ReplyCancel

  • Kathy Reed - December 22, 2011 - 6:48 pm

    I still get a thrill when I see the very familiar handwriting of my Mom and Dad. With the lack of emphasis on handwriting, I wonder how long this will be part of our collective memories?ReplyCancel

    • Jen - December 22, 2011 - 10:46 pm

      It’s exciting, isn’t it? There’s just something about the fact that they actually WROTE that. :) It’s neat to have something tangible from an ancestor.ReplyCancel

  • Liz - January 1, 2012 - 2:00 pm

    I love finding signatures of ancestors. It is really fun to make a family tree with the signatures. I have a signature book from the 1880s that I really MUST scan and post.ReplyCancel

    • Jen - January 1, 2012 - 2:04 pm

      What a great idea of making a tree of their signatures!ReplyCancel

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What a busy week!  I didn’t get much genealogy done this week, because I did 5 photo shoots!! My computer time this week was spent editing photos instead of doing research.  I’m not a professional photographer (far from it!) but I have been taking family photos of friends in my neighborhood – mostly for Christmas cards.  It’s been a lot of fun and I’ve gotten the chance to get some practice on people that actually want their pictures taken.  My kids have learned to run when I pull out the camera.:)

I fully intend on actually blogging and researching this week!!

On to my favorite finds….

  • Have you checked out Historypin?   It’s so fascinating to me.  I’d love to try adding a few of my pictures to this site!!  Have any of you done this yet?
  • Registration is open for the 2012 NGS Conference in Cincinnati this May.  I would really love to go, but we’re going to be preparing for a move in June and my husband is in class – which means I have no babysitter for a week.  Last year’s conference worked out perfectly for me  – we were in the middle of a move from Savannah to El Paso and it happened to be in Charleston.  Perfect timing!  This year, not so much.  I think I’ll have to hold out for another one, closer to home and at a more convenient time.:(
  • I’m really enjoying reading everyone’s Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories posts.  I might jump in here and there throughout the month as I feel inspired.
  • Greta is going to be posting an ornament a day instead of the advent calendar (since she already participated for 2 yrs).  I love collecting ornaments from different places we’ve lived and am excited to see what treasures she has on her tree.:)
  • Heather Rojo, of Nutfield Genealogy, posted a treasure in her father’s college paper on the Underground Railroad in MA.  
  • I loved the old picture of school recess in Copperopolis over at Family History with Lineagekeeper.  Old school pictures mesmerize me for some reason.  And I love to say “Copperopolis” – what a fun name!:)

And a few pictures I’d like to share from our trip to the zoo this week (it was warm enough for T-shirts!)…

  • Carol - December 2, 2011 - 7:28 am

    Photos are fabulous. I could only dream of taking such beautiful photos.ReplyCancel

  • Heather Wilkinson Rojo - December 2, 2011 - 3:23 pm

    Thanks for listing my post about Dad’s college paper. I’ll be running a series of four posts, and the last one has some surprising genealogical serendipity related to his tour of the Underground Railroad stations!ReplyCancel

  • Greta Koehl - December 2, 2011 - 6:46 pm

    Thank you for the mention. I absolutely love your photos, and the zoo trip photos this week are simply fabulous!ReplyCancel

  • Nancy - December 2, 2011 - 8:02 pm

    Your photos are beautiful. You must be a professional photographer, huh?ReplyCancel

  • Jen - December 2, 2011 - 10:35 pm

    Thanks guys! No, I’m not a professional, but I might like to do it professionally someday. Everyone in my neighborhood has asked me to do their Christmas photos this year and so I’ve been busy taking family pics these past few weeks – it’s a lot of fun!!
    Heather – I’ll be looking forward to reading your next posts!!ReplyCancel

  • Jenny - December 4, 2011 - 1:43 pm

    Hi,

    Great post, fantastic photos! I especially love the first one, that bird is really something, and the shadow he creates really adds to the photo! Good work!ReplyCancel

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I can’t be the only genealogist that gets excited when there is a marriage in the family, right??  Well, my sister has been married for a few years now, but I’ve recently started researching my brother-in-law’s family tree and I’m so happy to have some new names to be looking for!

I thought I’d do a short post, listing some of the new last names I’ve added to my searches….

MONTAGUE

BOTTARINI  (Italian roots, something new for me!!)

JOHNSON

HOLLAND

KNIGHT

LEACH

RICHMOND

COUCH

BRETT

WHEELER

 

 

  • Amy lee - December 6, 2011 - 3:31 pm

    So you claim your Thornton lines doesn’t tie into mine… yet.. LOL! But I am curious on your Couch line… been working on my “suedo brother’s” line & he is Couch… he can go back a full5 generations on all lines…ReplyCancel

    • Jen - December 7, 2011 - 9:10 am

      I have very little information on the Couch’s so far – Rosalind Couch was born in Willapa, WA in 1921 and her parents were Roy and Bertha Couch. That’s what I’m starting with. :)ReplyCancel

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