Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Z is for Zebra

These are zebras. One day someone will find this picture in a stash left by me. Maybe a grandchild will find it but more likely a great grandchild. It will not be a yellowed copy but one that is found online. I don't know how it will work then but I assume anything that is out on the Internet will be retrievable.

If you are like me, there are tons of pictures you have saved that are not identified. Just like all the old photos I have, some will never be named. The same could happen with the zebra picture.

What does this picture tell you? The zebra's are enclosed in a large paddock. Some are under the tree so we assume it's cooler there. There are trees in the background and it looks like a savanna. It looks like it might have been on a safari somewhere. Without knowing where this is, assumptions can be wrong.

The picture is full color and has been changed to make it look older. The zebra's are in Riverside County, California. They are owned by one of our neighbors who has a horse ranch where he raises thoroughbreds. I don't know why he has the zebras but when we first saw them, we were surprised. We pass them twice a day on the way to baseball practice and games and we can't afford to leave town much less go on a safari.

I am guilty of not identifying my photos. Thinking about it, I don't want to leave a mess behind for someone else. Today's genealogists and family historians are making inroads into the past left for us to find. We can make it easier for future historians so when they find my zebra picture, they will know it was taken in Riverside County, California in 2014.

Family history has many facets. Not only are we on the hunt for facts, we are totally delighted when we find pictures. One of the most amazing moments are when we find unexpected treasure in the way of photographs. 

My grandfather was a photographer and took lots of pictures. My mother was never without a camera. In fact, her Master Degree was in Audio/Visual and it was an exciting time in 1967 when technology was blooming. 

My cousin in Tennessee found a treasure trove of photos he didn't know he had. It was an exciting week as he sent the scanned photos to me and when I went to Tennessee, he handed me a CD with them as well. 

Cousins I find online also share photos and yesterday another one found me. We are now sharing photos of my Aunt Ruth, her grandmother. 

One of the problems with all these photos is the way they are organized. I read a post by James Tanner who had a useful suggestion. Here is the link to his article "Let the computer do its work of organizing your genealogy". Taking his advise, I started organizing my pictures. It is AMAZING. They don't appear to be in order but all of them are searchable. It is going to take a long time to go back and rename my photos and documents but in the end, what a time saver!

His way of handling documents is simple. Create one searchable file with documents named so they can be found by person, place, date or event. The computer does the work, why reinvent the wheel?  

The A to Z challenge ends today. It has been fun and a challenge but now, I'm looking at tomorrow. Tomorrow is the day that I start of the real challenge of cleaning up and identifying my own photos so when my grandson does the A to Z challenge years from now and adds pictures, he won't have to wonder who these people are or where they were taken.

Thanks you for reading and commenting on my posts. It has made the challenge a joy and I have had a very good time reading and learning about others. Big Smile!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Y is for Anneliese Yuenger (Pulvermann)

Big Anneliese is what she was called even after I surpassed her in height and weight. As I mentioned in my first post on the A to Z, my name is Ann Eliese. My mom named me after Anneliese Pulvermann, her best friend. They met in college and the friendship continued until their deaths. Everyone should have a Big Anneliese in their lives. I was blessed to have her and I loved her so much.

Anneliese was born in Hamburg, Germany on July 12, 1915. Her parents were Paul and Anna Pulvermann. I heard stories of the reasons she left Germany and her arrival in America but I don't know how true they are. I do know she applied for Naturalization on June 14, 1948. She entered the United States in 1943, coming from Canada to Vermont and was living in Colorado when she applied for the Naturalization. That is where she met my mother.  

Big Anneliese was a brilliant woman who raised three remarkable children. She did it without the help of her husband (Warren Yuenger) who may have been present physically but had no time for his family and often didn't even acknowledge their presence. My brother and I always thought he was a spy. In Santa Ana, he lived in the lowest level of the split level house and only came up to eat. I don't think that he ever spoke to me and only remember him talking to my dad once. He was a very strange man and a bit scary. 

Our families spent a lot of time together. Big Anneliese was a teacher and even our playtime was also a time for learning. I can say that much of my curiosity about things came from her. 

Her mother, Anna Pulvermann, (always called Mrs. Pulvermann), gave me a little blue plastic covered notebook when I was about six. It was my first diary and I still have it. Mrs. Pulvermann traveled between East Germany and America. It seemed to me that she spent more time in Germany but that may not be correct based on a notarized document she wrote in 1960. She was also an interesting woman and independent as well. 

Big Anneliese passed away on April 22, 1999 at the age of 82. She outlived my mom by 11 months. I think that in life, we are only given a few people who remain a part of our lives forever. Those relationships are precious. 

Anneliese's younger son named his first daughter Anneliese. He named his second daughter Ruby, my mom's name. How very sweet to know that Anneliese and Ruby are still together. 

Monday, April 28, 2014

52 Ancestors - Week 18 - Lydia Grubbs 1816 - 1881

Lydia Grubbs is the mother of James Madison Yeakley. I don't know much about her yet but two people have contacted me. One of them is a 2nd cousin on my Dad's side of the family. She wrote to me to share some letters and then informed me that we are related on my mom's side, specifically Lydia Grubbs. I am trying to figure out the relationship. Another person just contacted me and said we had Lydia Grubbs in common and is in the process of sending some info that she has.

It is probably not a stretch to see how we might be related on both sides. The Yeakley family was from Rheatown, Greene County, Tennessee. They migrated to Oklahoma and then to Texas. My dad's side of the family is Rhea and the story (still questionable) is that John Rhea founded the town. The problem is that almost all of the men were named John. None of my dad's family lived in Rheatown but it wasn't that far from Hancock County. Tennessee not only had a Rheatown in Greene County but a Rhea County. Rhea County was made famous by the Scopes Trial.

Lydia was born in Rheatown, Tennessee on May 31, 1816. She married George O Yeakley in 1832 and had six children. She died on November 18, 1881 in Gainesville, Texas at the age of 65. Find a Grave has a write-up on her life and death. Her grave wasn't found until 2010 and then they discovered her daughter-in-law, Margaret Shearer is buried next to her.

X is for Xerox - Hat's off to the early genealogists!

Xerox might be a strange topic for family history but my mom left me xerox'd copies of records and it does figure into genealogy.

From the "About" website, I have copied the first paragraph.

"In 1937, the process called Xerography was invented by American law student Chester Carlson. Carlson had invented a copying process based on electrostatic energy. Xerography became commercially available in 1950 by the Xerox Corporation. Xerography comes for the Greed for "dry writing"."

My mother loved the Xerox copier and as a true Renaissance Woman, embraced the technology with open arms. It made it easier for her to make copies when she traveled collecting family history. In fact, the first copy of my birth certificate is xeroxed.

Family historians and genealogists who have put the time in tracking our families have worked with all kinds of media. They tramped graveyards, hauled books off shelves and spent hours looking at reels of microfilm.

Hat's off to these people who did all the work so I can sit comfortably at my desk and find all the records they discovered. While I tramp graveyards, pull books off shelves and study microfilm, these people set us all on the right track so we know what graveyards to tramp, which books to pull and the roll numbers on the microfilm to ask for.

Technology changes and we adapt to new things. The early folks took notes, gathered information on giant computer printouts and xeroxed copies. Today, I just hit print and the information is at my fingertips. We are blessed to have the Internet but a big thank you goes to all of those who have come before. They not only did most of the work, they shared what they learned and made it available for us.

Friday, April 25, 2014

W is for Ruth Linda Wadley - my best friend

Not an ancestor but my best friend who died at age 15. I have written about her before so I will not cover it again other than to say she died much too young and I still miss her. If you want to read the story you can find it at Death of a Friend

We met in 1953 when we moved into the new neighborhood in La Puente, California. We were three and my brother was a year old. From the moment we met, we were best friends. We were never apart except for sleeping. Ruth was the adventurous one and if we got in trouble, it was probably something she instigated. We went to grade school together and Junior High. Her family moved to South Gate when we started high school. Our parents used to take us back and forth so we still spent time together. 

The houses were really new in this picture. There are no fences or grass. 

I suppose by this time her parents are gone but she had two sisters, Patty and Dorothy and two younger brothers. I don't know what happened to them after her death but I wanted to share these pictures in case they are out there to find them. 

Ruth Linda Wadley was born on February 3, 1949 in Los Angeles, California and died on April 24, 1965. She was buried at Rose Hills Memorial Park in Whittier, CA. 

V is for Viola Ruth Yeakley - Aunt Ruth

When I was 2 years old, Aunt Ruth came to visit. Of all my Texas relatives, she was the only one with a strong Texas accent. By the time she left, I could sing, "Jesus Loves Me" but I always sung "yay-yes, Jesus Loves Me". 

Viola Ruth Yeakley was born on May 28, 1911 in Archer City, Texas. She was the oldest daughter of Marvin and Ellen Yeakley and was seven years old when my mom (Ruby) was born. 

Aunt Ruth, photo taken by her father. Wasn't she adorable? 

Ruth and Ruby, taken by their father in 1921. My mom was three and Aunt Ruth was ten. 

She married Marcus Edward Edmonds on June 2, 1929 at the age of 18. They had four children, three girls and a boy. Marcus passed away on August 7, 1955 leaving Aunt Ruth a widow at the age 44. She never remarried but spent the rest of her life getting an education as a RN and traveling with her children and grandchildren. 
Not the best picture of Uncle Marcus but the only one I seem to have. Marcus is on the left, my dad is next to him and Dubbie (my cousin) is on the right. The adorable child (obviously not happy about something is me at about age 5). It would have been shortly after this that Marcus passed away. I am almost certain this picture was taken at Fern Dell Park at Griffith Park in Los Angeles. 

Aunt Ruth loved to travel and we made two trips with her to Washington State to visit my Aunt Lola but most of the time, she came and stayed with us. Sometimes she would bring her grandchildren and I just reconnected with one of them. We are sharing pictures and stories. 

Aunt Ruth could be really silly and so she makes it as a favorite all-time aunt. She would also sometimes side with me instead of my mother which was even better. None of my other aunts would buck my mother. 
Ernie (my dad), Ruby (my mom), Uncle Don, Aunt Vivian, Aunt Marie, Uncle Jay Dee, and Aunt Lola in the back row.
Aunt Ruth and Uncle Johnnie seated in front. 
This photo was taken in May 1991. Aunt Ruth wasn't feeling so well and was sometimes depressed. It is the last picture taken of the five remaining siblings. Aunt Ruth passed away on October 39, 1991, at the age of 80. She was a major presence in my life and her passing left an empty spot that only she could fill. 

Thursday, April 24, 2014

U is for Unknown, Abigail

Unknown is a problem. Unknown is a challenge. Genealogists deal with unknown. What's interesting is that they are not really unknown. They do have family attached so generally it's the name that's missing.

Unknown, Abigail      1600 - Warwickshire, England     1627  - Jamestown, James City, Virginia, USA

She was born in 1600 in Warwickshire, England and died in 1627 in Jamestown. She is my 10th great grandmother and was married to Daniel Lucye. It says they both died in 1627. That's a clue.

Unlike those who came before me, I do have access to the Internet so it's the first place I went. Daniel Lucey, Lucy, Lucye comes up in a search. He immigrated to Jamestown, Virginia on the "Susan" in 1624. It is assumed that Abigail was with him since he married Abigail, "the tanner's daughter about 1617. He was the youngest son of Timothy Lucy. He died owing Richard Kingsmill 500 pounds of tobacco. The website I found has other details of the family in England. Today, I am not going to worry about the accuracy of the data, only that Abigail Unknown was a wife and mother and lived a tragically short life.

There are other unknown's in my tree. Unknown's are a challenge that can't be left alone. We may never know their last names but that doesn't stop any of us from trying to find the answers.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

T is for Territory

Territory is an interesting concept. It can mean many things but in this post it means where my family settled.

The Yeakley's came from Pennsylvania and settled in Tennessee. Eventually, some of them migrated to Texas where they put down roots.

The Rhea's settled in Tennessee and put down roots.

The Yeakley's lived in Rheatown, Greene County, Tennessee and in Rhea County.

The Rhea's never lived in Rheatown or Greene County or Rhea County but settled in Hancock County.

So how is it my portion of the Rhea family never lived in area apparently settled by John Rhea, who might or might not have been the first Rhea in Tennessee and credited with the founding of Rhea County and Rheatown? We still can't prove our connection to John Rhea either but I know my family just didn't spring out of the soil in Hancock County. 

So now we look at Missouri. My grandmother on the Rhea side, Mellie (Farris) Rhea, was born in Eldon, MO, in Miller County. She married my grandfather in Carthage, MO, in Jasper County and they lived there until they moved to Montana.

Map of Missouri Counties

A portion of the Yeakley's landed in Greene County, Missouri, in the Springfield area.

The Rhea's and Yeakley's lived in Tennessee and Missouri. In 1900, there were 45 states. So how is it that the two very separate and distinct families all ended up in the same territory? There were 43 other states to choose from. 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

S is for Sweeny, Texas

What do I remember about Sweeny, Texas? The bugs on the front door screen were bigger than I was. I remember a spanking and a pillow fight with my 2nd cousins. David and Donna Ruth were the children of my cousin, Christine, one of Aunt Ruth's four children.

The pillow fight lead directly to the spanking.

I bet you can't imagine how anyone could be angry with these three adorable children but it happened. David and I are the same age and Donna Ruth is a year younger. I must have been almost four when we visited Aunt Ruth in Sweeny. This was taken at her house. Christine and Martin are standing behind us. 

Aunt Ruth had chickens. I remember them. They weren't much bigger than the bugs on the screen. She was very self-sufficient and collected feathers to make pillows. I don't know why the pillows were stored in the shed, maybe for use when family like us came to visit. Nevertheless, we found the pillows in the shed and did what all children do with pillows. We hit each other. It was even more fun when the feathers started flying and I bet we were giggling loudly when we were discovered by our parents and Aunt Ruth. Since it doesn't appear that we have feathers on us when this picture was taken, it must have been before the pillow incident. 

My aunt lived on a farm as a young parent and eventually moved to town as she got older but I loved going to the farm and my memories of Sweeny, Texas are colored by the fun we had there as kids. 

Monday, April 21, 2014

52 Ancestors - Week 17 - Facts are not enough - George raises Marvin

I really wish I was further along in this research. It is completely frustrating to start over with a new family line and not know anything!

Margaret Ann Shearer was 46 years old when she died in 1893. That is a documented fact. So far so good, but what does it mean?

I've already used this quote I found on family search in a prior post but it takes on different meaning when combined with the facts.

"Marvin lived with Dr. George Washington Yeakley and was educated by him. Marvin became a teacher, superintendent of schools in Iowa Park, Texas. He was owner of a newspaper in Brinkley, Oklahoma and a newspaper printer. "

Why did my grandfather live with his uncle? The first thing to do is the math.

Margaret Shearer died in 1893. Ernest Marvin Yeakley was born in 1886. 1893 minus 1886 is 7. My grandfather was a little boy when his mother died. Wow, that's sort of sad. Still, he wasn't so young that he couldn't have lived at home with the four other kids.

Melendoz Morgan Yeakley was born in 1868. He was 25 when his mother died and had been married 6 years. He was 18 when my grandfather was born, already a man in those days, and planning a marriage for the next year. He wasn't living at home.

Mary Jane "Jennie" Yeakley (aside here, my mom talked a lot about "Aunt Jennie" so she must have been a big part of my grandfather's life) was born in 1871, making her 15 when my grandfather came along. She married John Riley in 1887 when her baby brother was a year old and was not at home either.

Nola May Yeakley was 11 when Ernest Marvin was born. Too old to be a playmate. She was 18 when her mother died.

Edgar Worth Yeakley was born in 1877, 9 years before his youngest brother came along. When Margaret Ann passed away, he was 16. There is not a definitive answer in the facts which leaves them open to conjecture.

Dr. George Washington Yeakley was a prominent man. He was well regarded in his community. He married Margaret Edwards in 1880 and had one daughter, Belva Myrtle in 1885, a year before Ernest Marvin was born.

He must have divorced Margaret because she died in 1953 at the age of 90. According to the census reports, Belva went with her when she remarried. There is another child named Charles who is listed as a Yeakley as a stepchild to Charles Wood and appears to have been born four years before she remarried. Yet, there is no mention of him on the family documents.

George Washington Yeakley remarried also. He married Sally Moore when she was 25 and they had a daughter, Varina Davis Yeakley. Varina was born in 1902 which would have made Ernest Marvin 16 years old.

Those are all the facts and the dates and the math. What is the real story? Ask me in two years when I have spent time researching every avenue like I did on the other side of the family.

R is for Ruby Ellen Yeakley, my mom

Ruby Ellen Yeakley is my mom. It is at this point I say I miss her as much today as I did when she passed away 15 years ago. I can't believe it's been that long and I have so much to tell her. I know and truly believe that I will have that chance someday. She probably already knows. She always did. 
My grandfather took this picture of my mother. 

I had the best parents anyone could ask for. I was truly blessed and my brother likes to say that we were disadvantaged children because our parents weren't divorced, didn't drink or smoke, and were Christian people who lived their faith. 

My mom was born in Wichita Falls, Texas on January 12, 1918. That's easy for me to remember because I used to tell her she was born in 1819, at which point she would always tell me that she wasn't quite that old. 

My mother loved to sing and was always humming some tune, mostly hymns. She also played the piano but not as well as I did so it was another point where I got to tell her that I was better. However, not once did I ever beat her at jacks. Even at 80, she still beat me. She was good!

In my opinion, my mother was an overachiever but then, I'm a slacker so it might not be a good comparison. She went to college and got a degree in Library Science. While in college, her mother died and she took her grade school sister to college with her and took care of her so her dad could continue working. He was a minister and a printer and caring for his 12 year old daughter would have been hard for him. I have a lot of the letters he wrote to them and she wrote to him. They were home for the summer and holidays and when my mom graduated, Lola Mae was old enough to stay at home with her older brother who was 16 while my grandfather worked. 

My mom was an independent woman and did what she wanted. I don't know that I would have had the nerve to travel to New York City alone and spend a couple of weeks there exploring on my own. 

She met my dad during World War II at the USO at their church in Wichita Falls. She then took a job in Denver, Colorado at the public library and my dad traveled there to see her. They were married in 1947 in Los Angeles. My dad didn't meet her parents as both of them were gone when they met. 
Christmas Day, 1947, Denver, Colorado

My mom was the Children's Librarian at the Covina Public Library when I was small. She moved to the Monrovia Public Library when I was in grade school. When I started Junior High, she was the librarian at La Puente High School and when I started high school, she setup the new library at Rowland High School. While I was in high school, she went back to college and got a Master's Degree. She never stopped learning.

What I miss the most is the sharing. My mother was smart, full of wisdom and my best friend. 

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Q is for Quest for biological family

For those of you who already know this story, skip on ahead to the next blog. I am always on the lookout for ways to share this story in new places in hopes of finding the other children. 

Gary David Hinds is my husband. He grew up in a middle class neighborhood in Covina, California. His father worked, his mother stayed at home and raised the three boys. On the surface it looked normal but the story behind it is anything but normal. 

In another state, Lydia Mary Gaulthair continued on her path of destruction. She had at least 13 children and abandoned them all. Gerald was 1-yr-old and Karolene 5-days-old when she left them with their grandparents and walked away. That was in 1942. We don't know where she went but in 1947, she had Patricia. When Patty was 15 months old, she left her with her sister-in-law and never looked back. 

Frances was born in 1952 and Lydia carted her to New Mexico where she met Ramon Montoya and had Ricky in 1954. We don't know the father of Frances. In 1955, Lydia was pregnant again and writes to her cousin Pat to see if she wants the baby. I have the letters. Pat agrees because she and Bill have tried for 10 years to have a baby with no success. 

Gary is that baby and on Christmas Day, 1955, she handed the baby to Pat and didn't look back. She still had Frances and Rick in tow but dumped them into foster care. Ramon hired a private detective to find his children but never found Gary. Lydia made sure Ramon couldn't find him. Ramon adopted Frances because he couldn't split the kids up. 

In 1957, she was back in California and had David (don't know his father either). She put him in an orphanage and headed to Texas where she met Tom. Darla was born in 1960. Tom had Lydia go back and get David and Tom raised him as well. Tom has alzheimer's and doesn't remember Lydia.  

I wrote a book about this for the kids (meaning grown adults who were so confused about their past) so they would understand their history and the relationships. Someone said it gave them a headache. It's a convoluted tale with all kinds of twists and lies. 

God has been good and allowed theses children to find each other. The whole tale was built on lies and deceit and that angers me. There are still family members who will not share. There is no one left to protect but they cling to the lies.  

I have a website where all of this is detailed, Missing Pieces: The Gaulthair Children. I put this out there every chance I get since we are still looking for the others. The mother's name is Lydia Mary Gaulthair born on September 30, 1925 in La Farge, Wisconsin. She changed it from Lida Mae. She lived in Wisconsin, California, New Mexico, and died in Texas in 2002. We think that she had children with someone named Garcia. The would be in their late 40's. 

We have been blessed with the new family and just recently, Gerald's daughter contacted us wanting to know about her new aunts and uncles. The "new" family has enriched our lives in ways I couldn't even imagine and each day is a new adventure. BTW, Gary was shocked when he saw a picture of his grandmother. For the first time in his life, he looked like someone.  

Meeting for the 1st time 
Gary, Frances, and Rick

 Niles (my grandson), Gary, Frances, Darla, Bill (Darla's husband), and Tom, who raised David and Darla

David and Frances
This is Gary's family history but also mine since families tend to blend into one after so many years. We continue to hope that God will direct us to the other missing children but as we know, we have to put it out there because they can't find us if they don't know we're looking for them. 

Friday, April 18, 2014

Commenting on blogs

This is a giant "I'm sorry" if I haven't left you a comment in several days. I have a large list of favorites that I like to visit and I am trying to get though a lot of the new blogs I haven't seen yet. I was doing a fairly good job until Wednesday. That's when there was a shooting next door and someone died.

We know bad things can happen anywhere so we accept that next door is as good as across the country but when it's next door, the daily routine changes. We were in the crime scene tape area and my husband had to be escorted out to go to work. My 13-year-old saw most of it and had to talk to the detectives. He was bummed out all day yesterday and I spent very little time with the A to Z challenge. They finally took the tape down late yesterday afternoon but it was like living in a war zone with police, forensic teams, detectives, the coroner, and other personnel. Murder is a very ugly thing and although it was not our family, we are so sad for the family next door. There are small children there and it will change them forever.

Today I am working to get back on track. I sent the boy to Sea World with some friends so he can have time away from here. I am working though the blogs because it is one of the things I really enjoy. The A to Z challenge is an amazing way to learn about all kinds of new things, get research help, and in general, travel from place to place. Right now, the A to Z is exactly where I need to be.

P is for Posterity

Posterity - all future generations of people. (Don't worry, the definition is for me to make sure I am using posterity in the right context.)

I was delighted when I found five letters my great grandmother had written to my grandparents. It was a time capsule of 1918 and 1919. It had clues about the family but it also shared daily bits. She wrote how they had managed their timber so they would get better prices. She talked about the people who ran the mine. She talked about the "flue" and how many people were sick. You can read about mines and the flu in history books but the emotions and day to day details are absent. 

Writers and bloggers are leaving information for posterity. Never in our history has there been so much available. Genealogist may complain that the data is not verified but that's not as important for family historians. I know I am after the flavor of the times as well as the details. 

Based on the letters, I know that my great grandmother was educated in an area where girls did not learn to read and write. I know that she bought property and had an income greater than what the farm provided. I know she treasured her children above all else and had a hard time letting them go, even as adults. I know she was strong and able to survive tragedy. 

My family tree is full of wonderfully unique people who left clues for their descendants. They didn't leave large estates or millions but something greater. They left a family history full of life events telling us who they were, what their dreams were, and how they achieved their goals. 

Just like the letters written by my great grandmother, today's writers and bloggers are leaving little bits and pieces to posterity. How great is that!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

O is for Obituary

In this very technical world, some of the best resources are being lost. One is the art of the obituary. Newspapers have all but disappeared and with them, the daily notice of who died and when. I can't remember how long ago it was that I subscribed to a newspaper.

When my mom died, there was no notice in the paper. When my dad died, there wasn't one either, the family was notified by telephone. At least, they were not texted which I think would have been disrespectful.

Obituaries used to mean something. It told the world that someone important to someone had passed away. Even if it was in a small newspaper, people read them. If they knew the person, they somehow made contact with the rest of the family to offer their condolences. Today, on facebook, a "sorry" is offered. Please forgive me, I am guilty of doing that once and should have sent a card or made a call.

For those researching family history, it is more disturbing. The obituary told us a little about the person; who they were, what they did. It sometimes told us how they died. It gave us family members. It told us time and place. Those facts are hard to come by. Oh, we get date and place and sometime cause of death and occupation but it is all very impersonal.

My mom died on May 8, 1998. She died in Perris, California. She was retired. She died of a heart attack. That doesn't begin to tell us who she was and she was so much more. On the other hand, here's what the obituary for my grandfather read:

Death Claims E. M. Yeakley/Veteran Printer, Preacher here since 1911

Reverend Ernest M. Yeakley, 56, veteran Wichita Falls printer and Baptist minister, died Monday night about 10:30 o'clock at a Wichita Falls hospital. Yeakley, who came to Wichita Falls in 1911 went to the hospital a few days ago suffering from a paralytic condition. A heart attack was the cause of his sudden death Monday night. Yeakley had worked on newspapers in many Texas towns. He was one of the first printer employed by the Times Publishing Company after its institution in Wichita Falls. In recent years he was employed in newspapers in Gainesville and Sherman. He held pastorates in Baptist churches in dundee, Black Flat, and Kamay within the last few years, being the minister at the Kamay Baptist Church in 1937 and 1938. Yeakley , who made his home at 1317 Eighteenth, survived his wife by approximately five years. He had been employed at the Buchanan Stationery Company as a printer for almost a year. Survivors include five sons, Lee M. Yeakley, Wichita Falls, Noel Yeakley, Dickens, Texas, Don Yeakley, Houston, J. D. Yeakley, San Diego, Calif, Pvt. Eugene Yeakley, Denver, Colo; three daughters, Mrs M.E. Edmonds, Houston and Misses Ruby and Lola Mae Yeakley, both of Wichita Falls; one brother, Lynn Yeakley, Gainesville; two sisters, Mrs. Nola King, Gainesville, and Mrs. Jennie Riley, Gainesville, and 12 grandchildren. Funeral arrangements in charge of Owens and Brumley Funeral Home are incomplete awaiting word for the sons at Denver and San Diego.

There was also a picture that put a face to the name.

Today, the closest thing we have is Find A Grave. I was remiss as I sponsor my mother's site and hadn't added a bio. After writing this, I went to the site and updated the information. I have others yet to do. I want everyone to know they were important. 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

N is for (James) Noel Yeakley - Uncle Noel

I love this picture of my Uncle Noel. It was no doubt taken by his father who photographed his children every chance he got. There is a picture of my mother who threw herself on the ground so he wouldn't take her picture. Uncle Noel doesn't look any happier. 

Uncle Noel, James Noel Yeakley, was one of the kindest men I have ever met. He and Aunt Alta were wonderful people but I didn't get to know them well. You see, they were old people and us younger cousins didn't spend a lot of time with them.

James Noel Yeakley was born on November 17, 1908 in Altus, Oklahoma. The family didn't stay there very long. Lee Marvin Yeakley was born in Texas two years earlier and the next child in line after Uncle Noel was Aunt Ruth who came along three years later and was born in Archer, Texas. Eventually the family moved to Wichita Falls where they put down roots. Noel married Alta Lovenia Rogers and had six children.

Three of the children are in the picture below. Aunt Alta is the one holding the baby on the left. My mom put the notes on the picture. You can barely see her in front of the flag. The picture was taken in 1937 at the Central Baptist Church in Wichita Falls, Texas.

Noel and Alta made several trips to California to visit us and Uncle Jay Dee. They also went to Washington State to visit Aunt Lola. We also made the pilgrimage to Texas every summer to visit family. Having the family visit was a regular occurrence and one that we enjoyed as children. Although my cousins were mostly older, at least they weren't old people.

Uncle Noel passed away on November 6, 1988, at the age of 80. Aunt Alta lived to age 78 and passed away on October 26, 1990, two years later.

Uncle Noel loved music. He was on his way to sing for the people at the "Old Folks Home" when he had a heart attack (at the age of 80) and died before he got there. It's says a lot about him and is a testament to how young he was at heart and how he was always willing to be a blessing to others.

Noel and Alta Yeakley, probably mid-60's.

Uncle Noel also wrote a hymn. My mom had a copy so I will share it here. I don't know if it was published but I am sure it was sung at his church.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

M is for Lola Mae Yeakley - Aunt Lola

"L" was taken for Uncle Lee. We always used her middle name with the first name so technically, I can use the "M" for her.

Lola Mae Yeakley, the youngest child of Ernest Marvin Yeakley and Nancy Ellen Jones.
Wichita Falls High School

Her timeline on reads like this:

1926  Wichita Falls, Wichita, Texas United States
11 Apr

1930  Residence
Age 4  Wichita Falls, Wichita, Texas

1940  Residence
1 Apr   Wichita Falls, Wichita, Texas

1942  Residence
Age 16  Wichita Falls, Texas

1993  Residence
Age 67  Renton, WA

2009  Death
16 Dec  Renton, King, Washington
Age 83

This is what we run into when we start tracking our ancestors. Facts are OK but there was a whole life lived between the sources. Aunt Lola was more than just a list of sources for me. She was a very real person who fell in love, married, had children, and lived life on her own terms. 

Lola Mae was 20 years younger than her oldest brother. There were 6 other children between them and Ellen, my grandmother, was 39 when she was born. She was the baby of the family and was treated as such. She was four when my grandparents had their first grandchildren. Because of the age differences, by the time I was born, most of my cousins had children my age. It was no different for Aunt Lola. Her playmates were her cousins and not her brothers and sisters. 

Ellen died in 1938 when Lola Mae was 12. It was difficult for the family but at that point, the only children at home were Lola May, Gene and my mom, Ruby. My mom was 20 at the time and a college student. 

This was a photo taken at the time of Ellen's death. It is all the kids and my grandfather. Back row: Noel, Don, Marvin (my grandfather), Jay Dee, and Lee. In the front, Eugene, Ruby (my mom), Ruth, and Lola Mae. 

It was decided that Lola Mae would accompany my mother to Denton, Texas and live with her. My mom went to college and Lola Mae attended school the local elementary school. I have several letters my mom wrote to her siblings about how hard it was at times but how much fun the two of them had. Any activities my mother attended, so did Lola Mae. Gene stayed home. He was 15 and attended high school, old enough to fend for himself until his dad got home from work. 

I have to stop here and explain why Aunt Lola's name changes from sentence to sentence. Her siblings never called her anything but Lola Mae. The nieces and nephews called her Aunt Lola so in this narrative, I find it hard to write and call her Lola Mae. To me she will always be Aunt Lola. 

Lola Mae and Ruby moved back home when my mom graduated. Lola Mae finished high school in Wichita Falls. When Lola Mae was 17, she met John Gerald Curtindale. She must have met him at the USO, the same church where my mom met my dad. My mother was not fond of John Gerald Curtindale and didn't want Lola Mae to marry him but Aunt Lola always did what she wanted. For the 50 some years Uncle Johnny and Aunt Lola were married, my mother was always there for them. While I think she never got over the fact that Aunt Lola married him, he was accepted as part of the family. 

Uncle Johnny could be charming but he was not always the nicest of persons. However, Aunt Lola was no fool and they had an interesting life together. 

Johnny was an entrepreneur. I remember when he had a gas station in West Seattle. He always had some invention or business that he was working on. I remember the worm farm on the side of the house. I thought it was gross but he did explain how beneficial the worms were. 

They lived in West Seattle for many years. From the balcony off the back door, you could see the Space Needle and downtown Seattle across the Puget Sound. The home also had a basement where we would stay when we visited. It wasn't exactly finished but did have bedrooms and a bathroom. There was a very large (and I do mean large) holly bush in the front yard. We learned early it was prickly and you didn't want to hide in it. Aunt Lola worked a Boeing for more than 30 years and was often the sole support of the family. She liked her job and it kept her busy. She was also a Weight Watcher Lifetime Member and remained trim for most of her life. She attended church on a regular basis.   

Uncle Johnny and Aunt Lola had two children. We spent a lot of time as children together. They would come to California or we would go to Washington. I still am in touch with my cousin Paul and we are grateful for the relationship. His younger brother Jerry passed away recently. 
My mom holding me, Paul standing in front and Lola Mae holding Jerry. 

John Gerald Curtindale passed away on October 4, 1996 at the age of 79. Aunt Lola outlived him 13 years passing away on December 16, 2009. I can still hear her voice and laugh and I miss her. 

Monday, April 14, 2014

L is for Lee Marvin Yeakley - Uncle Lee

I don't have any clear memories of my Uncle Lee. I was nine when he passed away.

Lee Marvin Yeakley was the oldest child of Ernest Marvin and Nancy Ellen. He was born on September 29, 1906 in Archer, Texas. He was 12-yrs-old when my mom was born. On June 9, 1929, he married Dorothy McWhirter. He was 22, she was 18. Their only child was Richard Lee born in 1930. Lee Marvin Yeakley passed away on November 23, 1958 at the age of 52.

Like my grandfather, he worked at the Times Publishing Company. It was his only job and according to one newspaper account, he wasn't feeling well but worked there up to the week before he died.

I knew my Aunt Dorothy and my cousin Richard Lee. Richard was called Dickie Lee by the family, even as a grown man. Since I can't seem to find a picture of Aunt Dorothy, here is a picture of Dickie Lee and his wife Movolene. Dickie Lee is still living but we lost Movolene last year. They were fun people to be around and I always enjoyed visiting with them. 

52 Ancestors - Week 16 - Solomon Shearer - 1811-1881

This photo was posted by PaulRutherford20 on Nov. 21, 2010 with a note it is probably a replacement as many of the old stones are tipped over or broken. The Bethel Cemetery in Frisco, Collin County, Texas was under renovation. I have yet to find a death record so this is as close as we come. The month of June is listed on Ancestry but it it's not documented.

We do know that he was born on June 8, 1811 in Wayne County, Kentucky and married Mary Price in 1840. They had seven children, one of them Margaret Ann Shearer, my great grandmother.

There is a little know about Solomon Shearer. In 1918, Edmond Franklin Bates wrote a book called History and reminiscences of Denton County. On page 44, he writes: 

"The standard of morality was high, resulting in a high order of citizenship to the honor of this Kentucky colony whose roll call will never grow old to the writer." 

He goes on to to mention Solomon Shearer, and his brothers, Will Shearer, Walter Shearer, and Rev. Worth Shearer. 

The Hawkins Settlement was founded by Rev, William Bates in 1854 by his sons and sons-in-law. It was called the Kentucky Settlement because most of the residents had migrated from Kentucky. They were Methodists and built a church in 1857, called Zion after the church they left behind. The people of the Settlement we "fervent" in their worship. In the Yeakley and Jones families, religion was a very important part of their lives. I know that their religious beliefs were passed down as my mom was a person who lived her beliefs. 

According to the records, Solomon Shearer and Mary Price were born and married in Kentucky and by 1870, were living in Denton. We don't have a census for 1860 but the book mentions them as part of the Settlement which means that they were there prior to the 1870 census. Their youngest child was born in 1854 in Kentucky so we know they were not there when the Settlement was founded. The Settlement eventually became Denton.

Solomon and Mary lived there until they died, Solomon in 1881 and Mary in 1900.  

Saturday, April 12, 2014

K is for Knott's Berry Farm

This is a stretch but I don't seem to have any "K" family members that are completely researched on the Yeakley/Jones side. So, while still keeping with the A to Z requirements, I am using Knott's Berry Farm to share some family photos. 

Scott is my oldest son and I think he will be the one to carry on the genealogy. He is now interested after learning we might be able to track our past back to the Mayflower. He is a history buff so it appeals to him. 

This is Scott at Knott's Berry Farm. 1973

Christopher is my youngest son and into history too. Along with my brother, niece and nephew, they are Civil War reenactors. It is a family affair. They are Confederate mounted cavalry but also do World War II. 

This is Chris at Knott's Berry Farm. 1973

We are a California family so our lives have been spent at Knott's Berry Farm. As a small child, we took family there. This is my Dad holding my brother and my grandma holding me, The picture was taken in 1953. 
Aunt Lola brought my cousins from Washington State to visit in 1954. This is Paul, Jerry, Marlin (my brother), and Me. 
Aunt Ruth also visited in 1954. This is my mom, Aunt Ruth, and my cousin Annette taken in front of the Jail. 

We took Granny in 1965. My dad and I are in the back. In the front, Granny and my annoying brother. 

As my kids have grown up, they have spent a lot of time there too. This is Chris and Scott. They are a little older. 1974

 They were not happy with this photo. They wanted to be outlaws, I wanted school boys. I won. 

 They finally got their wish as young men. This is their favorite Knott's picture. 

Knott's is a totally family affair. Gary and I were married in Las Vegas without photographs. We went to Knott's for our official wedding photo. 1983

We are raising our grandson and spend lots of time at Knott's still. This is Gary, Chris and Niles. Niles is an outlaw in training. 2011

As long as we can, we will continue with the tradition of the pictures. After all, it is part of our family history. 

BTW - Gary goes to Knott's for the chicken dinner. We make several trips a year just to eat there. It's like an obsession. 

Thursday, April 10, 2014

J is for JD Yeakley - Uncle Jay Dee

I have more pictures of Uncle Jay Dee and Aunt Marie than any other family members. I bet that's because they lived less than an hour from us and we saw a lot more of them. Thinking back, it's an interesting dynamic. My Aunt Marie and I didn't get along until I was an adult. I think that's mostly because she had boys and wasn't quite sure what to do with girls. She got along well with my brother and other boy cousins. 

Jay Dee Yeakley was born on August 28, 1913 in Archer City, Texas. When he was 21, he married Halcyon Marie White in Wichita Falls, Texas. She was also from Wichita Falls. They moved around a lot from San Diego to the San Francisco area, ending up in La Mirada, California. He was a printer like his father and brothers.  
Probably taken in the 1960's at our house in La Puente, California
My dad, my mom, Uncle Jay Dee, and Aunt Marie
They had two boys, Jerry and Jimmy. I talked about Jimmy on letter "H". He died in Vietnam in 1967. Jerry is alive and well and living in the San Diego area. 

We spent a lot of time at their house, especially in the summer. When family came from Texas or Washington, we would gather there because they had a pool and it kept us kids busy while the grown-ups visited. Aunt Marie had an amazing orchard collection and a green thumb. 

Eventually, they moved back to the San Diego area, living in El Cajon. Uncle Jay Dee and Aunt Marie attended my mom's funeral in May of 1998. I had no idea he was unwell but he passed away six weeks later on June 17, 1998. Aunt Marie lived another 8 years. She still loved to raise orchards and the last time we visited, she had some very beautiful plants.  

I is for Isaiah Jones

Yipee! I think I have found the missing Jones family.

We knew my 2nd great grandmother was Lucy Jones. We did not know the name of my 2nd great grandfather other than Jones.

They had three children, James Augustus Jones, Sally, and Sammy. I know James Augustus Jones is correct but the rest was left for speculation.

James was born in Mississippi. I had Lucy's birthplace as Alabama based on notes my mom left. I could not find a Lucy Jones in Alabama with the correct birth year or even close so I changed her birthplace to Mississippi and found a census report with the children's names. However, her name was Mary L. Jones. Taking a leap of faith, I changed her name to Mary Lucy Jones and was rewarded with another census report with the same children plus one. The plus one is Hannah and she disappears before the 2nd census report so she may not have lived very long.

I actually think that this is correct although I have been disappointed before. I continued searching and found a marriage record for a Mary Lucy Blanchard and Isaiah Jones. I think this is correct too. It's fits into the timeline and it is also in Mississippi.

Now the real work begins. All of this needs to be verified so I'm going back to my DNA page to see if there is a Blanchard in any of the surnames. That's a lot of extra research but I need to be sure I am on the right track.

Still, that's the first glimmer of hope I've had in the search for Lucy's husband.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

H is for James David Yeakley in Heaven

You expect parents, aunts and uncles to pass away before you do but not necessarily cousins who are the same age. It's not that I'm young, I just expected us to grow old together. 

James David Yeakley

I miss Jimmy. I had a cousin crush on him from the time I could remember and was so jealous when he married Regina.

James David Yeakley was the youngest son of Jay Dee and Marie Yeakley. He was born on October 17, 1944 making him five years older than me. Jay Dee and Marie lived in San Diego when he was born. Most of my memories center around their home when they moved to La Mirada. Uncle Jay Dee and Aunt Marie often hosted family weekends. La Mirada was not far from our house so we spent a lot of time swimming in their pool. 

Jimmy had a MG and used to take me for rides. For an impressionable young girl, he was beyond cool. He treated me as an equal although looking back, I must have been a pest. 

He married Regina in 1965 and they moved to Norwalk. I don't know if he enlisted in the Army or if he was drafted but it was at the height of the Vietnam War. According to the family story, he was killed by a sniper while patrolling the Cambodian/Vietnam border on November 17, 1967 at the age of 23. They were not allowed to defend themselves and fire back because we were not at war with Cambodia. Looking back, I don't know how true that story is but it changed the way I looked at war.  

I had the honor to visit the Vietnam Memorial in Washington DC. It was there where I was able to reconcile my total dislike for the Vietnam War with all those who died there. The Wall is a powerful reminder of a time of uncertainty. I believe Jimmy died in a war that was not our business but at the same time, our country called on our young men and they responded, giving their lives. Like others, I made a rubbing of his name. Everyone on the wall had loving families doing the same thing.  

Jimmy did not leave a family to carry on his legacy. He had no children and Regina moved on and remarried, as it should be. He lives only in our memories but he is more than just a birth and death date. He deserves to be remembered as the fun loving person that he was. He was a good son and brother. 

And...he is the only one who drove on the sidewalks in La Mirada to prove to me that he could. What a hoot! 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

G is for Natalie Gorin

Natalie Gorin was my mom's boss at the library at Wichita Falls High School in Wichita Falls, Texas. She was also her friend and mentor and deserves a mention in the Yeakley family history.

She was born in  Port Arthur, Texas on August 1, 1911 to Charles Gorin and Minnie Coufal. They moved to Wichita Falls in 1930 where she completed her education and became the high school librarian. She dedicated her entire career to the high school. She is pictured in the high school yearbooks from 1941 to 1964. 

In 1948, she made a trip to California to visit my newly married parents. They were seen at Knott's Berry Farm, the Huntington Library, and the NBC studios. This photo was taken at the Huntington Library. My mom is on the left and Natalie to the right.

This is the photo taken in front of NBC Radio City in Los Angeles, California

Natalie never married so I am hoping that she still has family who want to know about her. I have lots of pictures to share. I am posting these pictures because she was important to my mother and made a difference in her life. No one lives without leaving a footprint.

She died on September 6, 1966 of breast cancer and is buried at Crestview Memorial Park in Wichita Falls, Texas.