Monday, July 27, 2015

Tika & Buddhas

Leaving Tika with "Gramma Kay" last year, hubby and I were privileged to tour the island of Taiwan. Of course I zeroed in on unusual things to photo with the thought to compare them to something genealogy.

Visiting one temple, and as we climbed the many steps up to that temple, we passed several small gardens along side the stairway. In one garden were dozens of white marble statues of different Buddhas....... different poses, different faces, some happy and some not so.

Looking at all the varying faces of these Buddhas in this garden, I thought of a family cemetery. In a family cemetery are all the varied faces of our ancestors...... some happy and some not so. But all there, looking back out at us.

I found this to be a warm-fuzzy view and a very comforting thought.

Tika would have thought so too.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Tika & The Porcupine

Our mothers and leaders have long given us (repeatedly) this good counsel and advice:

"Don't stick your nose into other people's business."

"If it doesn't concern you, it should not concern you."

On Sunday last, Tika learned about this the hard way:

She went dashing into the brush, nose first, and look what she found.............. no fun, that was for sure.

Whenever I am tempted to say something I really shouldn't, or go where I really shouldn't,  or do something I really shouldn't, I will bring up this image of Tika's poor little "quilled" snout.

And I will learn from her unspoken words of counsel and advice. 

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Tika & Beaches

Laura Bush, former First Lady, said at RootsTech 2015:  "All we know we have is now so walk on the beach every chance you get." Tika and I could not agree more!

Any beach is a beautiful place but some are more beautiful than others. Here Tika walks along the beach of the west side of Banks Lake with Steamboat Rock in the background.

Here Tika investigates a crab shell on the seashore beach at Moclips, Washington. 

One of her (and our) favorite beaches is right in our backyard. Long Lake is the Spokane River contained between two dams.  We get within a few feet of a beach (the shore) and Tika jumps over the bow ready to explore (but I do keep her on a leash). 

Tika even has her own bikini! But she hates to wear it and prefers skinny dipping.

Romping on beaches can get Tika in I'm picking from her fur bits of the most obnoxious sticky weeds.

What is our point to talk about beaches today?  I think mankind is genetically wired to enjoy water whether ocean, lake or river. Tika and I think the opportunity to walk on a beach is one of the best gifts God ever gave to us. 

And I'm betting our ancestors thought so too.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Tika & Tombstones

Tika knows I love to visit cemeteries............ I'm always looking for unusual grave markers to photograph. I spotted these top two in Hillsboro, Hill County, Texas. The bottom one? Unknown origin. Was shared with me. Which is your favorite??

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Tika & Difficult Problems

Tika and I are lucky enough to spend time in our boat out on the waters of Lake Roosevelt (the lake formed from the Columbia River when Grand Coulee Dam was built and so named for President Franklin Roosevelt).  I look at the trees and the rocks and see so many parallels to life and to genealogy. 

Somehow a Ponderosa Pine seed gets blown into a crack in a huge granite wall near the lake. There is just enough soil accumulated in that crack to get the seedling tree off to a good start. 

Parallel:  Too often we have just enough information to "whet our whistle" on a family history problem. We know that great-great grandmother, born in 1822, must be dead, but where did she die? In every available place or source..... or crack. 

Some trees manage to extend their roots and find enough soil and moisture to survive and grow. Others do not.

Parallel:  Sometimes we chase the wrong set of facts and end up with a "dead tree."

We solve some really tough genealogy problems by sheer perseverance.... and by learning how to effectively research.  (How did that Ponderosa survive to become so big from whatever little nourishment and water it found in the granite bluff's cracks?)

Parallel:  If we look "in the right place," we'll find the answering facts. But until we find the right place, we keep looking. 

Taking 100 photos of the granite bluffs and Ponderosa pines along Lake Roosevelt would not come close to capturing the majesty of the miles of views along the river/lake. 

Parallel: Some of our family lines are a joy to pursue for we find answers and ancestors!

Monday, June 1, 2015

Tika Thinks About Daniel Boone

In May of 2015, my friend Cecily and I were lucky enough to visit the home of Daniel Boone in Defiance, Missouri, near to St. Louis. This is the home where Daniel died in his bedroom on September 26, 1820. He was 85 years old. Of his long adventurous life, he only got to live for ten years in this lovely home. 

We all think we know much about Daniel Boone, and likely we do, but I didn't know much about this wonderful still-standing house. The story begins in 1799 when Daniel, then age 65, arrived at the Missouri River and took out several Spanish Land Grants. Boone's land consisted of 850 acres (for him and members of his family). 

Construction on this home began in 1803 and was not completed until 1810.  The walls are 2 1/2 feet thick and made from rubble-fill construction and local Missouri blue limestone. Much of the original wood remains in the interior of the home. The middle photo shows the view that Daniel and his family would have seen from the front porch (on the opposite side from where Cecily is standing) except that today there are trees and in those days it would have been vegetable gardens. 

The ancestry and lineage and descendants of Daniel Boone are extensively documented. One great website I found was but there is also the

I'm sure Daniel Boone and his family had dogs but they surely did not have dachshunds. This breed was not introduced into America until 1887.

"Ha!" sniffed Tika when I was explaining this to her.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Tika Missed Me!

When I get home, whether from a 30-minute trip to Walmart or a 3-week trip elsewhere, Tika always acts overjoyed to see me. I always get smothered in doggie kisses and I don't mind at all. This scene was repeated at the end of May when I returned from a genealogy research and learning trip.

I first flew to Houston, Texas, to rendezvous with Cecily a long-time genealogy traveling friend. We drove north to Kansas City, Missouri, to visit some of my family, and to spend a day or so at the wonderful Mid-Continent Library (a division of the Kansas City Public Library system).

Then we drove 200 east across Missouri to St.Charles (just north of St. Louis) for the 2015 NGS Conference:

There we both wore out our "sitters" and overloaded our brains with all the genealgy learning. How ever do you choose among six different presentations each hour for four days?????

On our way back to Texas, we visited historic Vicksburg, Mississippi, a place high-up on my Bucket List. 

All in all, it was a wonderful trip and while I'm quite sure that hubby missed me, he did not shower me with kisses like Tika did. 

Monday, May 18, 2015

Tika & Mary Ethel Leverich Oswald, 1886-1967

Tika wants to teach us today about the value of writing down your family stories. This story is about my hubby's grandmother.  He always remembers the story told to him by his mother, Esther Mary, about the time she was a pre-teen and her grandaunt, Sarah Esther Leverich, came to visit the family on the farm near Spokane. Esther tells how each child recieved a shiny silver dollar from "Aunt Doll" as she was called. Esther carried hers to the outhouse (when nature called) and accidently dropped her prize down the hole. She was mortified and told nobody......... at least at the time. Stories! How wonderful.

Mary Ethel Leverich, born in the middle of a sweltering July day in 1886 in Danville, Vermilion County, Illinois, was the first child of a prosperous merchant farmer.  When she was 25, in 1901, she did what many well-bred young ladies of the time did: she took a trip out west. She did not go alone (heavens!) but was accomplanied by her maiden aunt, Sarah Esther Leverich, only nine years her senior.

They traveled by train and Mary Ethel kept a diary. The train made a long stop in Gardiner, Montana, where the two ladies boarded a stagecoach for a tour of Yellowstone Park. They went through this large stone arch, planned at the time to be the official gateway to the park.

We have a photo of the ladies standing beside their stagecoach in front of the Yellowstone Park Lodge. Likely there was no other lodging available.

Back on the train, there is an entry in her diary that reads, "Met Mr. Oswald in the dinner line on the train."

John Peter Oswald and Mary Ethel Leverich were married on 21 July 1911 in her hometown, Danville, Illinois, and immediately returned to the west. They first lived a short time in Butte, Montana, and then settled in the northeast suburb of Spokane, Washington, called Hillyard. John Peter worked for the railroad and that's where the plant was that crafted the engines and was also a major railroad hub.

In late 1912 when Mary Ethel was expecting their first child, the family story went that she wanted to raise her children on a farm as she had been raised. As I delved further into the history of Spokane, I learned that the "White Death" (tuberculosis) was rampant in most all American cities and Spokane was no exception. I think Mary Ethel and John Peter chose to move to the far west side of Spokane on a section of land whichw as then far out of the city.

Mary Ethel lived in the home they made for 55 years (or nearby with her daughter) until her death in 1967. (John Peter died in 1946.) Together they raised five children: Esther Mary, Ralph Eugene, Dorothy Rose, Gilbert Leverich, and John Myron "Mike." All lived, grew and thrived and their descendants now number many.

My hubby and I now live about three miles from the old farmstead and we drive by there often. It is still owned by a member of the family. Nice warm-fuzzy memories.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Tika & Learning New Things

No matter that she looks bright-eyed and eager to learn, Tika really does not care too much about genealogy or family history. I think that's because all she knows is that she was born in Idaho. Not much to go on, poor dogger.

But I try. As she snuggles beside me in our chair, I talk to her and tell her about some of the new things I'm learning........ and boy, oh boy, are there new things to be learned and new opportunities from Ancestry.

First is Ancestor Discoveries.  Assuming you've taken an Ancestry DNA test, just log into your Ancestry account, go to the DNA tab and check your DNA homepage. If you have a New Ancestor Discovery, it will show up on your results page!  Basically, what's happening is that Ancestry is searching all their databases ("real" data and family trees) and finding matches for you within these databases. But with Ancestry being one of the industry giants in databases, isn't this a good thing?

Second is Ancestry Academy.  "Watch. Learn. Discover. Self-paced courses from the experts." This is a FREE opportunity from Ancestry! Chose from a long list of these courses (usually 45-60 minutes in length) and settle down (with your dogger at your side) for some genealogy learning. I won't list all the course topics here. Just ask Grandma Google (who knows everything) for Ancestry Academy and start learning.

Don't be a "dogger-head" and care not for new opportunities for genealogy learning........ unless of course you've completed (and documented) your entire family tree. "Unlikely," Tika snorts.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Tika & Our Family's Very Special Rocks

These "sponge rocks" have, for over 80 years, been important to my family. In the early 1930s, my mother lived with her parents in St.Louis, Missouri. (She always pronounced it St. Lois.) Her father, my grandfather, worked in a print shop and hated it; he hated being indoors all day long. Weekends, he would putter in his urban back yard and he built a fish pond there. He rimmed the edge with these large pieces of "sponge rock."

Mom remembers going out to Rock Hollow (they called it) somewhere near but outside of the city. There they could spend a picnic day and gather rocks for the fishpond.

In the 1940s, my grandparents moved from St. Louis to near Kalamazoo, Michigan, to live on very small Pickerel Lake. Oh, did Grandpa enjoy living on that lake! They took the sponge rocks with them and they formed my grandmother's flower bed.

Upon her death in 1987, my Mom hauled the rocks back to Spokane, Washington, and they've been around her favorite lilac bush for these past 28 years. Upon Mom's passing in 2014, the rocks were mine and now they reside in a space near the garage entry where I walk past them several times a day. (The brown insulator was added to show the scale of the rocks.)

To this day I don't know where "Rock Hollow" was, but doing a Google search I did find a Rock Hollow (bicycle) Trail as part of the Meremec River Greenway. I'm sure today it would be a tremendous legal offense to haul rocks from this spot but back in the 1930s it was wilderness and unprotected.

And my grandfather, then my mother, and now me, are committed to protecting these very special rocks.

Tika is duly appreciative; she totally ignores them.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Tika & Hair Art

As I was combing a (grumpy) Tika the other day, I mused about something I had just read (refer to below). The lesson-booklet stated that "human hair was not the only kind of hair that was utilized. Hides of domestic and wild animals were saved so that their hair could be used for many different utilitarian purposes." Further down in the article was this:  "The hair of rabbits, dogs, goats and woodchurcks was valued (to use)." 

The Daughters of the Utah Pioneers (DUP) is an organization for female desdendants of the Utah pioneers, those hardy souls who entered the Salt Lake Valley in 1846 (or something close.... I do not qualify so am a bit fuzzy on the details).  The group publishes a reqular lesson (more like a little booklet) and the Lesson for April 2012 was titled "Hair Art." It was most interesting!

"Pioneer women in the 1800s were quick to adopt and enjoy crafts that would beautify their homes. Hair art, which had been popular in Europe from the 1400s through the 1800s, was one of the ways that the women decorated their walls with pictures made from  the hair of members of their families, friends, famous people and sometimes from members of organizations. Hair was also used in memorial jewelry and for personal adornment." 

"During the Utah pioneer era (and I know that this was done all over Victorian America), a lady seldom cut her hair. However, during the time that hair craft was popular, most ladies collected hair from their brushes and stored it in a "hair receiver," a small container that they kept on their dressing tables. When enough hair was saved, the flowers for the wreaths and other projects could be made by securing the hair with fine wire over a rod and then creating a series of loops and forming the shape that was wanted: Leaves, petals, buds or complete flowers."  

Don't think I would have the patience for such art. And with women's hair much shorter these days, seems to me it would be impossible. And Tika's short red hair/fur would most certainly be impossible!  

"Yep, I agree," mused Tika as she cheered up when I put the comb away.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Tika & DNA (and free book!)

It seems these days that all the buzz in the genealogy world has to do with DNA research..... how to test and how to interpret and use the tests. There are endless articles, webinars, blogs, and books all being made available to help teach us how to use this new tool in our geneaology toolbox.

In the May-June 2015 issue of FamilyTree Magazine, there was an offer that was too good to ignore. On page 3, there was an ad for a "FREE DOWNLOAD" of a booklet of past articles from FT Magazine. Jump Into Genetic Genealogy; Use Genealogical DNA Testing to Solve Family Mysteries is the title of this compilation and it's made available from FamilyTree University.

To download your free copy, your free e-book, copy and paste this impossible link:  

I printed out my copy (shame on me, I know) and with my eveing tea will study it thoroughly.

Tika is excited too.  "Aren't there DNA studies for dogs"  I did some online research and of course there are DNA tests for dogs............ this particular one is available from Walmart for $69.00!

Tika is a clear-cut case of she looks like a dachshund, she digs holes like a dachshund and she gives kisses like a miniature dachshund, so I'm going to assume that she is a dachshund.  No DNA test for Tika, sorry.

Have you DNA tested your dog?  Would love to hear about it, if so!

Friday, April 17, 2015

Tika & Foreign Potty Stops

Having been blessed to travel to many parts of the world, I'll have to say that the Chinese and Taiwanese have the most interesting pottys. I was holding Tika on my lap as we looked at this pictures and her only comment was "How about #2 in the squatty??"  I had no answer for her.

Taiwanese according to Google translate?

Using this "squatty potty" is way harder than you might think, especially
for older Caucasian ladies whose knees don't bend that low easily.  

Seat covers, and sometimes TP, you had to fetch before
you entered the stall. 

In the 7-11s, TP was sold (for homes) like this. 

At least in most bigger tourist places, you had a choice!

The hotels had these fancy pottys with warmed seats
and two sprays of cleaning water jets......... to much, eh!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Tika Learns About Differences

A fellow member taught us in a meeting a valuable lesson. No, Tika was not there in the public library, but I told her all about it.

His grandparents had lived in Texline, Dallam County, Texas. So he went searching and found a 19-page pamphlet published in 1906 about this bitty place. Bingo!

The lesson is where he found the booklet. Here's where he looked:  --  nope  --  yes, for sale for $25  --  yes, for sale for $30
Google Books  --  referred him to other book selling websites  --  Bingo!

The lesson that Doug taught us that day is this:  Do not look just in one place to seek out information that you hope or know or even suspect might be out there. Keep looking.... there are a good dozen of places to search.

Tika was on my lap when I was searching out images of Texline.  "Nope. Not for me," she sniffed. "I'm from Idaho where there are TREES!"

Monday, March 23, 2015

Tika & Taiwan Cemeteries

"Handy Man" and I were lucky enough to be able to spend ten days touring Taiwan in March 2015. We missed our Tika but we had a wonderful learning experience.

In an island country the size of Connecticut with a population matching that of Australia, you'd expect to see many cemeteries and we surely did! Weedy-overgrown ones, tidy-tended ones, hillside ones...coming right down to the highway.... Buddhist ones and a few Christian ones.... and one all by itself in a plowed field.

April 5th is the Chinese New Year and on that date families will come to their ancestral graves to clean them up......... as this man is getting a head start on doing.

Loved ones are buried facing west because, I was told, they are "facing the life to come."

Thought you might enjoy these photos I took since all genealogists are interested in cemeteries.

Tika is not a bit interested in cemeteries unless she can wander around (on leash) in one while I take photos.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Tika & Hair Styles

When I travel my attention is always grabbed by the wonderful and different hairstyles that I spot on folks.......... and Tika enjoys my telling her about them all when I return. Here are some recent pix:

Very lovely and pretty fun, eh?  Tika did whisper in my ear that "my hair is prettier than those!" For a dachshund, yes, but for a person??  Silly Tika.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Tika & Serendipity Friday Genealogy

Tika quite enjoys it when we snuggle into our blue chair and I read to her. Recently I was reading some of the copies and information that I brought home from RootsTech. She smiled when I read this first bit.......... but I really think she was saying, "So what? Come play with me!"

Here are some odd cause of death notes that I found quoted from the New Athens Journal for 19 July 1940, and found in the St. Clair Genealogical Society Quarterly in 1995. These were "real" quotes from "real" records:

  • "nervousness from gunshot"
  • "auto accident, complicated by hookworm"
  • "fractured skull - contributory was mule"
  • "auto wreck started it; pneumonia ended it"
  • "stab wound of chest inflicted by lady friend"
  • "hit over the head with slop jar"
  • "leakage of head"
  • "frightened to death by deputy sheriff"
  • "rubbed to death by chiropractor"

Did you know that you can sign up for a free electronic monthly newsletter from the History & Genealogy Department of the St.Louis County Library? Log on to  (Note: PASTport not PASSport.) Having news and notes about this great mid-western library would be good if you have ancestor hunting to do in Missouri (or environs) and especially if you plan to attend the NGS conference in St.Charles in May and to do some local research while you're there.  When you click to, scroll down to the green box labeled "get library updates to your email." Click the envelope icon and follow the directions. You can access past issues too.


Not living in Texas, or other Southern states, where fire ants are known and feared, I never thought much about these little pests. And they are little. Even their ant hills look rather innocent. But look closely at my foot after ten days and you can still see the itchy red bumps. They are obviously no joke!  Now I understand why my friends in Florida warned me not to go barefoot!


Everybody's talking and touting Google as well they should for it's a wonderful tool. And we keep being told that Google is adding new tools all the time. How to stay updated? One way is to click to Wikipedia and type in "list of Google products." Since Google Search is a web search engine it receives over 3 billion search queries per day. We ought to learn how to best do that searching.

A Google tip that I learned at RootsTech:  "Post the physical address of an ancestor's home and when the house goes up for sale, you can take a virtual tour."  What a cool idea. 


Do you think history matters?  I think so and I'll bet you do too. From the Historical Society of Baltimore County I read a post about this very topic. Posted back in October 2014, Justin Albright traveled around Baltimore County asking locals in the community is they think history matters. The purpose of this exercise was to allow the organization (HSBC) the opportunity to gauge public interest. Not surprising that the great majority of answers was positive; yes, history does matter. What would you have answered if these questions had been put to you:  "Do you think history matters? In your opinion, why does history matter? 


Jim Andrews lives in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and recently shared information about his specialty services:  He repairs old Bibles and other precious books from all over the U.S. and Canada. His website shows examples of some of his work. If you're needing this kind of service, click to  Or email a question to  If you do use his service, please give us some feedback. 


In the Jan-Mar 2015 issue of the NGS Magazine, James Ison, AG, CG,  shared an article on "Using FamilySearch to Solve Genealogical Problems: 15 Tips." You might want to access this publication (which you receive with NGS membership) for yourself but the titles of his tips were: (1) Use Life Event & Relationship Filters;  (2)  Use Residence & Restrict by Records;  (3) Use Wild Cards *;  (4) Use Wild Cards ?;  (5) Search by first name only;  (6) Use parent-only searching;  (7) Finding married names;  (8) Use the source film number;  (9)  Know the online collections that relate specifically to your research;  (10)  Browsing can be a blast; (11) Using partner sites;  (12)  Sign in, no tricks;  (13)  Find, Search, & Source from the Family Tree;  (14)  Give back, be an indexer;  (15)  Give feedback.

FamilySearch has been, is and will continue to be one of the major players in genealogical research. Family Tree, part of FamilySearch, is aiming to connect everybody's family into one big tree. Whether you like that idea or not, the idea of sharing and collaborating will bring answers to our brickwalls. The better we understand FamilySearch the better the results will be for us.


I'll finish today with something fun to perhaps try for your Easter dinner:  Arroz Con Coco, or Rice with Coconut. You can Google all sorts of recipes but cook white rice in coconut milk, add sugar (brown or white) to taste, raisins optional , and top with toasted coconut. We enjoyed this in Puerto Rico and as it's soooooo easy to make, it's become a favorite.