Saturday, July 25, 2009

SNGF ~ Good Genealogy Luck

Tonight's Fun Assignment

1) When have you had a dose of good genealogy luck? What document or resource did you find just by happenstance or chance? By being in the right place at the right time? By finding a family history treasure in your family's attic or basement? By finding a helpful document or reference without even looking for it?

2) Tell us about it in Comments to this post, in Comments on Facebook, or in a blog post of your own.

My good luck was posted on this blog entry... an OMG! moment.

George W Duncan had been a hard man to track down and his wife was even worse since his son referred to her as "Miss Edwards" in his civil war applications. She turned out to be Jane Edwards. George was a man that I had spent 20 years off and on poking around trying to find him.

Tired of looking for him I thought I would see if there was any pension information out there for Jane and she lived and died in North Carolina. So I spent a night looking for all of the Duncan men on the North Carolina state archives website and finally thought to look for Jane Edwards. I was so excited when I found her civil war widows pension application so ordered a copy to be sent to me. That seemed all well and good, progress, another document to put to her life on my family tree. She had been difficult for years too and suddenly in a couple of weeks I had figured out who she was AND!! found that line of family history already documented by another family historian!

So mail day! In came the envelope and when I pulled out Jane's information, the WONDERFUL person at the North Carolina Archives thought to put a copy of the page from a book showing George W Duncan's death!! He died in Tennessee, I had been looking in North Carolina for years! It was not expected and it was an important find and solved the mystery of "just was that man the G. W. that went to Texas??" I was so glad that he wasn't!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Google Thyself - Saturday Night Fun on Tuesday

I always want to do Saturday Night Fun but then I forget as the weekends just seem to disappear. I realize I spend more time surfing and reading than I do actual research anymore. I spend way too much time admiring all the research other people are doing and blogging about!! And, I seem to be constantly working on this great "organization" project. I am getting organized but just not getting organized enough to get to what I want to be doing that I needed to be organized for! Phew.. that was an exhausting thought!

So, instead of researching, haha... I did the Saturday night fun from Randy Seavers blog, Genea-Musings.

I wanted to do this because I am not sure I ever remember Googling myself so I was excited and disappointed but relieved in a sense too.

The searches:

"sharon lighthouse" "Rochester, New York"
"sharon stevens" "rochester, new york"

Sadly.. I have no life. Google life that is... but I am almost thinking that is a good thing since I am not famous or a mover or shaker in any of my life's projects. By not showing up it really cuts down on crazed fans and stalkers too! So all is good in my Google-less life.

I did a few variations of the above searches and came up with ONE hit that is actually me. I showed up as a Facebook friend for one person. And it seems that there is another Sharon Stevens (my maiden name) in Rochester that is not me. There are a lot of Sharon Drives and of course.. every lighthouse of the known world showed up in my search and the images tab was completely lighthouses!

However, with this blog post I imagine now I will have a Google life!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

And then a day when family historian is not fun..

In searching for each document and clue, we all know there is the thrill of the chase, that "Yes!" moment and that "Ahhh!" moment that we hear so much about. But usually those are for generations gone names on our family tree.

I forget sometimes that family history is the today and the now. Sometimes I remember like when my daughter and I are doing cemetery work and we use the voice recorder. Some day, generations away, our next generations will hear our voices and think we were insane or laugh at how silly would could be.

This week family history has not been fun but it has two stories for the future generations to get an up close and personal view simply by what I write here. Someday a grand child, or great grandchild can read this blog entry and know what their Grandfather, Grandmother, Great Grandfather or Great Grandmother, and so on, went though this year on July 13, 2009.

Kevin Vincent Lighthouse
b. February 8, 1960, Rochester, Monroe County, New York.
d. July 13, 2009, Norwich CT.
Son of: Ken Franke and June Baker

This is the father of my daughter. This was a man that I loved very much and who over time became my dearest friend while we were married. We were married for 10 years. We has so much in common and in the course of our marriage we had become mini homesteaders. Kevin was a man that worked three jobs at a time and always had people asking him to work for him. He never ran out of opportunities just because he was honest and had a good work ethic. He was an avid gardener and loved to do woodwork. He enjoyed milling around antique shops and big barns full of "stuff".. he could spend an hour picking through a jar of bits and pieces that I would categorize as trash. He took the role of father to my 9 year old son who struggled with his own loneliness of an absentee father. Kevin taught my son that "Dad" is a good word. Kevin was involved with boy scouts with him and had been as a child. My son has become a fantastic father to his two children.

Kevin played Rugby and the team teased him calling him Peter Purebread because he was a decent guy. That was how I met him. The first week he was rather inebriated and I thought him silly, the next week he collected me up at the game and we were together from that point onward. We had a wonderful wedding. We were very active with friends and family and a couple years after we were married our daughter was born.

Two years ago Kevin was diagnosed with cancer. He fought hard but he had already had it quite a while before it was found. He was just 49 and it seems such a waste of a good person. There is so much more I could say about him and perhaps I will someday. It is all still sinking in that he is gone and even as his ex-wife it is a hard pill to swallow. We never hated each other, we had a rough year or two but our daughter was always the focal point which kept our perspective. Sure, we could have tried harder, perhaps we could have done things differently but things ended up as they did. I have missed our life on occasion and was happy he found his own happiness and remarried.

I was lucky enough to spend time with him before he died. Of the four days I was in Connecticut, the first two he was awake and alert. Sitting by his bed talking to him about our daughter he would pick up a blueberry from his bowl and eat it then offer me the bowl to take one. I said no thank you but he kept the bowl there looking at me until I took one and ate it. Three times he did this! The third time I said no thank you, he stared me down and I finally said "okay! okay..." I Plucked one and ate it with a look at him, he grinned then and I laughed but wanted to cry. I am very lucky to have so many good memories of him. In fact when I think of him and those blueberries I chuckle then I cry.

Kevin and Mackenzie Lighthouse (May 1993)

And this brings me to our daughter. For the last week I have watched an 18 year old girl say goodbye and stay by her fathers side until the very end. In the four days I was there, she was strong, dedicated, vulnerable and simply amazing. She took his care seriously. She had moments when she was scared yet stayed with him. She took shifts at night so he would not be alone. Shortly before he died he told her he loved her. She was offered an out when it was seen he was slipping away. She chose to stay with him until he passed. The morning of the day he died I could see in her eyes she was starting to unravel.. from somewhere she found the strength to continue her vigil. I was strong at her age but not that strong. I traveled to Germany at the age of 17 with a six month old child but I could not take a person to their end like she did. I marvel at what I have seen in her this past week. I hold a new respect for her and a pride so deep. I tell everyone, "She was amazing." And she was.