Thursday, June 30, 2011

Funeral Card Friday - Happy Birthday, Jeff

My cousin, John Jeffrey Ryan Jr was born on July 1, 1971.  My aunt Cathy and uncle Jeff had three children.  My mom and dad had three children.  We were all of comparable ages.  Their oldest, Allison, was close in age to my oldest sister so they always spent time together during visits.  I'm 3-1/2 years younger than my older sister so there wasn't much hanging out going on there when we were kids.  Too much of a gap.  So when we visited my aunt and uncle, my younger sister (18 months younger than me) and I would hang out with their two youngest, Jeff and Patrick.

Me and Jeff
I don't really know how Pat and Jeff felt about being stuck with 2 girls to play with all the time, although we were not dainty girls at all so maybe it wasn't too bad for them!  I've got nothing but wonderful memories.   I loved going to see them all.

Then life happens.  My parents began divorcing when I was in 2nd grade.  The divorce lasted for a very long time (and is a very long story), but the result was that we eventually didn't see my aunt, uncle and cousins anymore.  It didn't happen immediately.  My dad had custody of us (another long story about a very manipulative man), but my mom still wanted us to be able to go with her to see her family.  Eventually those trips stopped.  I don't remember why exactly.  It may have been us kids acting like little poop-heads and whining about it (my dad really manipulated us to make my mom feel like crap), or it may have been because with my mom having to pay child support to my perpetually unemployed father, she had no money to take us.  Either way, it happened and I went without seeing my cousins for eight years or more.

Jeff's 1st Communion
When I was a senior in high school, my cousins came to Pennsylvania for a visit.  I was living with my mom by now so I got to see them.  I was in shock at the change (and I'm sure they were too).  I still had memories of the little children I played with and they were all grown up.  What did I expect, right? My uncle is a very tall man and my cousins took after him so my sisters and I were pretty much the midgets of the party.  It was wonderful seeing them again, but because they were adults now (or almost adults) it would be another 5 years and me joining the Army before I saw them all again on a regular basis.

I was learning Russian at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California and as coincidence would have it, my uncle was stationed there at the same time.  He was a military doctor at the medical clinic.  This meant that I got to spend some wonderful weekends with them all.  My other uncle lived in the area as well so it was like a wonderful family reunion whenever I got over to their house.

Pat, Jeff and Allison

Time passed and the Army sent me elsewhere.  My uncle retired and they moved to Hawaii.  As luck would have it, that's where my husband (boyfriend at the time) transferred to and I followed.  We loved spending time on weekends with my aunt and uncle.  I cherish those memories so much!  My cousins would come out to visit a few times a year from California and my husband and I would make sure that we had time to spend with them all.

We got to see Jeff get married.  He loved his fiance/wife so much, although I can't really say that we all did.  She was in the adult entertainment business.  I don't remember the details of her nasty little life, but I believe it was still pictures and stripping that she did...not movies.  Despite what she did for a living my cousin seemed truly happy when he was with her.  You could tell he loved her.  Would do anything for her.  In fact "anything" included having a pirate sea.

Jeff and his bride Angel
Pat and Jeff

Jeff had gone through some hard times emotionally in his life and probably spent a little too much time hanging with the party crowd, but he had made it past all that now.  He was really getting his life together and he saw all this as a new beginning.  As a tribute to his parents, his wedding was held on their anniversary.  So on December 27, 1999 we all went out to Honolulu Bay and boarded a little boat for the wedding.  The bride and bridesmaids were dressed as wenches.  The groom and best man, as pirates.  The Jolly Roger was hoisted and the wedding vows were recited.  Jeff looked so happy.

Angel and Jeff the day after the wedding
Cutting the cake the day after the wedding

He and his bride left a few weeks later.  Life went on and within a few months I heard that they were divorcing.  She had been unfaithful to him.  Needless to say I would have liked to ruin that little face of one messes with my cousin...and I knew it was breaking his heart.  Sometimes you don't have to ask.

Jeff spent Thanksgiving in Hawaii with his mom and dad.  I was very pregnant.  Jeff seemed to be doing pretty well.  He talked about scripts he was reading and famous people he'd gotten to meet in Los Angeles.  Despite the divorce (which wasn't discussed) he seemed to be at a peaceful place in his life.  I took no pictures that Thanksgiving.  It haunts me still.  I will regret it always.

My parting words to my cousin before getting into my little Saturn to drive back to my side of the island was, "the next time you see me, you'll be able to meet the newest member of the family!"  I hugged him and left.  I would never see my cousin again.
Jeff and his guitar

Jeff didn't want to spend Christmas in Hawaii in 2000.  He wanted to take a trip to Greece.  A great opportunity.  He didn't say it, but we all could guess that his marriage ending hurt him and the fact that he dedicated it to his parents and had hoped it would last just as long, hurt him.  To be back where it happened on what would have been his 1st anniversary was just too much.  I truly believe that's the reason he really went to Greece.

I received a phone call from my aunt a few days before New Years Eve.  Jeff was vacationing in Greece with two female friends and was critically injured in a car accident.  The roads were wet and a semi-truck hit the car they were driving.  They told me he was in bad condition.  That he had been intubated and was on life support.  My uncle and cousin, Patrick, were getting everything together that they needed and were flying out to Greece.  As a doctor my uncle could hardly sit by and wait for news.  He needed to make sure that Jeff was getting the care he needed to recover.

Jeff, Patrick and Allison

My uncle and Pat arrived in Greece only hours after he passed.  They hadn't made it to him in time.  My aunt, all alone at her house was actually hesitant to call me because she worried it would effect my pregnancy. I found it incredible that at such a time she was worried about my baby, but I suppose the loss of one child was enough.  We asked to come over.  She wanted to be alone.  It's such a hard position.  You sit there and wonder if you should go over anyway or give the person space.  It was a situation I was unfamiliar with.  We did not go over though until she was ready for us.

I cried harder that night than I can remember ever crying in my life.  He was one year older than me.  He was 29 years old.  He couldn't be gone.  Even knowing how critical his condition was the possibility of losing him never had crossed my mind.  He was my counterpart in my aunt and uncle's family.  I was the middle child and so was he.  I always looked at my cousins as siblings.  Siblings that I didn't see as frequently as my own, but I loved them all that way.  In my heart I lost a brother that day.  I still feel that loss today and I cannot even write this tribute to him without using so many tissues.

My uncle and Patrick made the arrangements to have his body sent back to the states.  He was cremated and his ashes were sprinkled at sea.  That's what I remember anyway.  The time was a blur and I tend to block out bad memories.  I don't know if there was an obituary notice published.  The burial happened in California and being at the end of my pregnancy, I wasn't there.

Uncle Jeff and Patrick after the LA Triathlon 2002

At the end of my time in the military I was again stationed at the Defense Language Institute.  Each year around September, Los Angeles holds a triathlon.  Jeff used to compete.  Now his family would come out each year to compete in his name.  Those that weren't competing would watch and support those taking part.  It was an event I didn't miss when I was stationed in California.

Every year, my calendar reminds me that today is Jeff's birthday.  He would have been 40.  I won't ever remove that reminder.  I will never forget him.  And while he may never have been able to hold "the newest member of the family" I have no doubt in my heart and mind that he has seen him.  Has seen both of my children.  I know he watches over us all as the years go by.  He's not missing a moment and he will always be with us.

UPDATE: I have gotten a few comments/emails from people who remember and love Jeff.  Even though he does not have a physical memorial to visit, I created a virtual one on Find A Grave so everyone that wants to can leave a message for Jeff.  I love getting all the comments/emails from friends that knew and loved him.  It is more meaningful and special than I can say. You can view the memorial by clicking here.

Uncle Jeff after the swimming portion of the triathlon

Uncle Jeff beginning the biking portion of the triathlon

Uncle Jeff heading for the finish line

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Treasure Chest Thursday - I Know I'm Extremely Lucky


Almost every family reunion clipping!
I know I'm extremely lucky to have these.  I'm lucky to have them in my possession and I'm lucky that my husband's paternal grandmother put these together.  They are a true treasure.  One that I let collect dust for far too long!

A few years ago my mother-in-law passed on to me several family artifacts, including these two books.  I was delighted to be given them, but life got in the way of me doing anything with them, so I put them aside and kept telling myself that I would get back to them soon.

Pages and pages of obituaries
As I mentioned before, I attended my first Scanfest on June 26th and had a blast.  I had a box of clippings to scan and got through them all.  They were clippings that had fallen out of the pages of these scrapbooks.  When I got done with these loose clippings, I was "in the zone" and didn't want to stop.  I pulled the scrapbooks out and began paging through them.  I found so many important obituaries and wedding announcements that I wanted to kick myself for not getting to them earlier.

And pages of wedding/engagement announcements!
I had to stop eventually to spend time with the hubby and kids (after all, I do this all for them), but I'm going to make sure I put a little time each day to preserving these albums.  I could scan them, but the pages are already falling out of the books, so I will most likely use my camera to capture the data.  It will be worth it in the end.

I've got less than 2 weeks before heading back to Pennsylvania on vacation with the family (and to do some research...gotta have my fun too!).  We'll see how much I can get done.  I'll be set for Wedding Wednesday, Military Monday and Sunday's Obituary until about 2015!

Have fun tending those roots!  I love this stuff!!!

Military draftees and service members...

...Some never came home.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - A Repaired Photo of Two Children


This was a photo I scanned and repaired last summer.  It is two children in my step-father's (James Trunzo) family.  I just need to figure out who they are!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Tuesday's Tip - Inputting Data on the 1830 U.S. Census

1830 U.S. Federal Census

Last week was the 1820 census.  This week it's time to topple the 1830 census!  More cells to input data although that doesn't necessarily mean more usable information.  I'll make my point on that in a moment.  The U.S. Census Bureau sums up this census by stating:

"Prior to the passage of the census act authorizing the fifth census in 1830, President Adams, in his fourth address to the U.S. Congress on December 28, 1828, suggested the census commence earlier in the year than August 1. He also proposed that the collection of age data should be extended from infancy, in intervals of 10 years, to the “utmost boundaries of life”. These changes were incorporated into the census act of March 23, 1830. As in the previous census, the enumeration was made by an actual inquiry by the marshals or assistants at every dwelling house, or, as the law stated, by “personal” inquiry of the head of every family, and began on June 1."

So the data is better for you in that it gives more age groups (still only the heads of households though).  More age groups means it's easier for you to better analyze who is in the household and perhaps rule out or confirm that they are your ancestors.  Not more information on those people.  There is a column to mark if any were "Deaf and Dumb," blind or not naturalized, but it doesn't give you any indicators as to who those people are.  Still, it's better than nothing and they are improving.

I also found it interesting that for the whites they had 13 categories where age was broken down for the men and the women.  For slaves and free colored persons it was less than half that at 6 categories for each gender.  It does give us an insight into the minds of the people at that time.  I will stop there or may become too critical.  Historical context, I know.  I must detach myself emotionally from that.

Sadly, no attempt to collect data on business/agriculture/industry was made. The Bureau didn't state why, but I'm sure there were reasons.

Again, more good information at with their overview of the census, the map of the United States in 1830, and the historical facts for that time period are back!  It's always a great idea to check out what was going on in the country and world at that time so you can put the data into better context.

As I've mentioned before the spreadsheet will appear to have more than one page when viewed through Google Docs, but when you download it there will only be one page.  Again, the cells where there are test are locked so you can't accidentally type over the text.  It also makes it easier going from cell to cell without having to avoid the text cells.  It will just jump to the next empty cell.

Sorry, not "Notes" block on this form.  Too much information to squeeze in and the font was already too small.  Didn't want to push my luck there.  The rows for data input are numbered so it's easier when moving to the bottom group.

If you have any trouble viewing or downloading the spreadsheet, just comment or send me an email and I'll see what I can do to fix it.  So far there hasn't been any trouble since the very first sheet I posted.  I'll cross my fingers!

Let me know if there are any mistakes as well.  I'm sure you can imagine my eyes were starting to go crossed by the time I was done with this form!  Corrections and suggestions are always welcome!

To access the form simply click on the image at the top of the page or click on anywhere it says "1830 census".

Good luck and have fun tending those roots!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Military Monday - Central Texas Casualties 2007

Faces of the departed - 2007

Roll Call
CPL Alexandre A Alexeev
SGT Matthew S Apuan
PFC James L Arnold
1LT Andrew J Bacevich
CPL Zachary D Baker
PFC Dane R Balcon
PVT Michael A Baloga
SGT Jeremy D Barnett
SPC David W Behrle
PFC Ryan R Berg
PFC Joseph R Berlin Jr
SPC Kamisha J Block
PFC Brandon K Bobb
SGT Emerson N Brand
SSGT Kevin R Brown
SSGT Jerry C Burge
SPC Mark R.C. Caguioa
SPC Eric T Caldwell
SPC Derek A Calhoun
SPC Leeroy A Camacho

CPL Joseph H Cantrell IV
SPC Edgar E Cardenas
CWO Cornell C Chao
PFC Adam J Chitjian
SGT Caleb P Christopher
SGT Pedro J Colon
PFC James J Coon
PFC Branden C Cummings
CWO Jason G DeFrenn
SGT Dariek E Dehn
SSGT Donnie D Dixon
SPC Jason E Dore
PFC Andrew T Engstrom
SGT Anthony D Ewing
PFC Nathan P Fairlie
PFC Gabriel J Figueroa
SPC Joseph A Gilmore
PVT Mark W Graham
SGT Ryan P Green
PFC Larry I Guyton
SSGT Christopher N Hamlin
SSGT Marlon B Harper

SPC Blake M Harris
SSGT Blake M Harris
PFC Travis F Haslip
SPC Marisol Heredia
SPC Josiah W Hollopeter
SGT Joel A House
CAPT Rowdy J Inman
PFC Ron J Joshua Jr.
SSGT Christopher S Kiernan
SPC Stephen M Kowalczyk
SPC Johnathan A Lahmann
SSGT Paul M Latourney
SPC Charles E Leonard Jr
SGT nicholas J Lightner
CPL Darryl W Linder
SPC Jonathan A Lowery
SPC Vincent A Madero
SPC Ronnie G Madore Jr
SSGT Jimy M Malone
SGT Jonathan A Markham
SGT Anselmo Martinez III
 PVT Barry W Mayo
SPC Montrel S Mcarn
PVT Christopher M McCloud
SGT Jean P Medlin
SGT Michael J Montpetit
SSGT Christopher Moore
SFC Allen Mosteiro
SPC Todd A Motley
SSGT Donald L Munn II
SPC Casey W Nash
SPC Christine M Ndururi
1LT Phillip I Neel
1LT Gwilym J Newman
SSGT Daniel A Newsome
SPC Dan H Nguyen
SSGT Paul B Norris
SGT Alfred G Paredez Jr
PFC Justin T Paton
SPC Christopher G Patton
SGT Benjamin B Portell
PFC Jerome J Potter
SSGT Terry W Prater
CPL Stephen J Raderstorf
SPC Shawn Rankinen
1LT Jeremy E Ray
SPC William J Rechenmacher
CPT Mark T Resh
1LT Daniel P Riordan
SPC Jonathan Rivadeneira
SPC Michael D Rivera
SGT John D Rode
SPC Luis O Rodriguez-Contrera
SPC Joshua G Romero
SPC Alexander R Rosa, Jr.
SPC Adam J Rosema
SSGT Eric Ross
SPC Ryan D Russell
SGT Princess C Samuels
PVT Justin T Sanders
SGT Carl L Seigart
SGT Raymond S Sevaaetasi
SPC Jason A Shaffer
SSGT Alan W Shaw
PFC Darrell W Shipp
SPC Eric R Dieger
SGT Todd A Singleton
SPC Jonathan K Smith
PFC Katie M Soenksen
PVT Clarence T Spencer
SPC Curtis R Spivey
PFC Jon B St. John II
SSGT Wilberto Suliveras
CPL James E Summers III
CPL Timothy A Swanson
PFC Ddavid T Toomalatai
PFC Omar E Torres
SSGT Michael I Townes
PFC Jacob T Tracy
CPL Francis M Trussel Jr.
PFC Alexander R Varela
SSGT Terry D Wagoner
SPC Aaron Walker
SPC Zandra T Walker
CPL William T Warford III
SSGT Christopher R Webb
SPC Andrew R Weiss
1LT Kile G West
SPC Doonewey White
PVT Wesley Williams
CW4 Keith Yoakum
SPC Donald M Young
CW2 Christopher Martin
SGT Christopher Monroe

Chaplain Rodney Thomas

May our Soldiers come home soon.

I'm not really sure why these names were added to the 2007 stone instead of their respective stones.

NOTE:  There were actually 2 men by the name of Blake M Harris killed in combat in 2007.  It is not an error on the memorial

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Sunday's Obituary - Martin F. Rosbeck

Martin Rosbeck's military marker with flag

As I was looking for an obituary for today (and making sure I didn't repost one that I had already done), I noticed that I actually had 2 obituaries for Martin with slightly different information in them so I decided to post this one as well for any potential Rosbeck researchers out there!

"Martin F. Rosbeck, 81, 414 Third Ave., a retired farmer, died Sunday, Feb. 4, at St. Joseph's Hospital.  He had been hospitalized for about one week.

He was born Jan. 16, 1892, in St. Kilian. He married Theresa Kiefer at St. Theresa's Catholic Church in Theresa on May 8, 1923.  After their marriage they lived in Milwaukee for about 15 years and then they moved to the St. Kilian area where they farmed for 22 years.  In 1961 they moved to West Bend.

He is survived by his wife, and four children, Mrs. Margaret Brill, of Menominee [sic] Falls, three sons, Robert, of Theresa, and Ralph and Norbert of West Bend.  He is also survived by three daughters-in-law and one son-in-law, 26 grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

He was a member of World War I Barracks 2617 and they will hold services at the Miller Funeral Home, Kewaskum, Tuesday at 7 p.m.

Visitation will be after 4 p.m. Tuesday at Miller's in Kewaskum and parish vigil at 8 p.m. on Tuesday.  The funeral services will be Wednesday at 10 a.m. at the funeral home, and at 10:30 a.m. at St. Kilian's Catholic Church, St. Kilian with Fr. Elroy Pesch, O.S.S., officiating.  Burial will be in St. Kilian's Cemetery."

[Hand-dated, Feb. 4 - 1973]

Martin was my husbands 2nd great uncle.

These clippings were passed on to me by my mother-in-law in Wisconsin.  Most are hand-dated and do not give the newspaper name that they were published in.  They would most obviously be from a newspaper in the St. Kilian and/or Green Bay area.

Martin, his son Raymond, and wife Theresa

Close up of Martin's veteran marker

Friday, June 24, 2011

Help the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund win $50,000

I never win contests, but I'm not against taking 2 minutes of my time to help someone else win and $50,000 can go a long way with the Vietnam Veteran's Memorial Fund's drive to put a face with every name on the Virtual Vietnam Wall.

If that's all you do for the VVMF (and I hope it isn't all you consider doing...BUT) then head on over to The Pepsi Refresh Project link here and vote for them to win!  You can vote up to 5 times and the page does ask you to sign in through Facebook or by creating an account, but you can always do what I usually do and block the app on FB after using it.

If the VVMF get the most votes, they get the money.  Is that not worth the time?

If you'd like to know more about the VVMF's campaign to put a face with every name, check out my earlier post.  Such a worthy cause for any genealogist..for anyone in general.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Follow Friday - Some Highlights From the Week

Just a few posts that I had wanted to share which I found extremely interesting or useful!

Dick Eastman posted about a security issue at Dropbox that occurred this week.  We're certainly used to hearing about those lapses in security and luckily Dropbox fixed the problem after a few hours.  I love my Dropbox and will certainly keep using it.  I have little doubt that anyone was waiting for the opportunity to steal Cub Scout photos, PTA data and a portion of my family tree!  It wasn't a hack-job, but an upgrade error that was corrected.  Dick's got so much more information and insight on this than I summed up here, so if you haven't read the article head on over!

Relative Roots is offering a series of Webinars on Genetic Genealogy.  Viewing this post was rather timely since I'm considering asking my uncle if he would do a DNA test since he is the last male Brown in my line.  I'm completely inexperienced in DNA for genealogy (shameful, I know!) and I figured that I'd better get my learnin' on!  If you've missed the date for a Webinar that you're interested in, they are available for viewing for 7 days after the live event.  Just head on over and register (you have to register for the recorded Webinars as well.).  Some of the Webinars are free and some cost a small fee.  If you've still got questions about DNA it might be the thing to check out!

Kathy Reed over at the Family Matters blog had a very interesting post about Understanding Relative Disease Risk Using 23andme.  As I just mentioned these DNA posts have really got me charged up.  I didn't realize that they could also tell you your risk factors for certain genetic diseases.  It certainly doesn't mean that you'll get one, but hey, it's good to be armed with all the information possible especially if you end up in a doctor's office one day wondering what's going on?  And as Kathy said in her post, "I could not have been tested for this mutation for $99 alone much less received all of the additional information supplied to me."  How very true!

The Ancestry Insider had an interesting post about just How Reliable is the SSDI?  Don't worry though.  Insider isn't saying it's completely inaccurate, just to be cautious when using it an verify the results.  Kind of like with everything we do.  Just because it's in the SSDI doesn't mean it should be taken as gospel and verse.  Very good read though.  I did not know that many young people aren't listed in the index because they "die before receiving benefits".  Very good intel!

Tons more great stuff out there, but this week I was playing catch up with over 500 posts in my feed.  I need to get better at reading them!  Enjoy and have a wonderful weekend!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - A 4 Generation Photo

Four Generations of Women

I wish the photo was a bit clearer, but I'm just delighted to have it.  Only minor changes made to sharpen and get rid of flaws (unedited photo is on the bottom).

Sitting on the bench on the left - Bertha Boegel nee Rosbeck (my husband's great grandmother)

Child standing on the bench - Lorraine Ryan nee Kuehl (my husband's aunt)

Sitting on the bench on the right - Margaretha Rosbeck nee Thelen (my husband's great-great grandmother)

Standing - Leona Kuehl nee Boegel (my husband's grandmother)

Before photo corrections