10 September 2009

A long overdue entry

Mike Goff
(30 July 1940 - 1 Feb 2009)

My last blog was written the day before my dad went into the hospital for what we thought was bronchitis and maybe even pneumonia. Instead, we found out he had cancer in his liver, lung and brain and the liver cancer and he had an unknown blood infection. Despite all the efforts of the doctors and nurses, he died on Sunday morning, the 1st of February, about 6 o'clock from the sepsis. To say we were stunned would be an overstatement. The last months have been spent making sense of it all by those who love him. Some time during the week after he died, someone joked about being his favorite. The idea of that sat in my brain a few days and then I wrote down what I felt Dad would think about him having a "favorite". This is an exerpt of that because the longer he's gone, the more I appreciate the lessons he taught...
"...While I’m sure there are other things Dad loved and admired about each of us, these are the things that came to me. These have been the things I’ve been thinking about for over the last week. Dad loved each and every one of us. He might have railed and cussed about some of the things we did but, at the end of the day, he was in awe of his children – that he helped create us. It was a subject he would ponder again and again throughout his life.

He taught us all to have a sense of humor and we taught him to laugh at himself. He taught us all about the rewards of hard work and we taught him the value of taking a little time off. He taught us about unconditional love and we tested this concept that would proof that love in the fire of life’s trials. He taught us a love of country and what patriotism really is about. He taught us to embrace the good things in life because you never know what tomorrow would bring. He taught us respect for all living things and not to kill wantonly or cruelly but to use nature’s bounty for what we need but only what we need. He taught us to love with all our hearts even if our heart’s been broken in the past. He taught us about redemption, in a real life sense, and we were part of the reason he realized he needed to be redeemed.

So now, when someone asked you who Dad’s favorite was, you can say, “Me!” and know it’s the truth."
 I miss you, Dad!
In looking for the photo that I have at the top of the page, I ran across the following pic. It's one of my favorites because it was so him. The gnome in front was his Christmas present a couple of years ago and you'd have thought that Momma had given him a pot of gold!

28 January 2009

When are we??

I can't believe this is my first blog on Lost since I started the page. In my defense, and Lord know I probably need one, when I looked at all the blogs, message boards, TV interivews, etc., I felt that anything I could add to the Lost luv would be redundant. That was until last week...

In the first two mind-blowing episodes of the season, we dealt with the Island consequences of Ben turning the frozen donkey wheel. We already knew that it threw him forward 10½ months into the future but we were wondering "What about those folks who were on the Island??" Well, we got the answers (sort of). It seems that activating the exotic matter in order to move the Island destabilized the time element there and it started flashing through time. Was it every 108 minutes? I thought so at first but there were a few scenes when this didn't seem applicable because too much was happening between flashes.

We learned that there were Rules to time-travel.
  1. You can't change the past. Does this mean the broad strokes of the past but not the nitpicky details? For instance, if I go to my parents, there are two different routes to take. One, involves a highway turning onto a couple of county roads and coming to their house from the south. The other involves a windy farm market road and you come to their house from the north. Both get you to the house but the scenery is different along the way.
  2. You can't change the future.
  3. Anything you have with you or has been done to you will go with or carry over with you when the next flash happens, ie, the Zodiac raft, the compass that Richard gives Locke, the wound on Locke's leg from the gunshot, etc.
My first thought on rule #1 is then why bother?? After I got to thinking about what I would do if I could go back in time and I knew the rules and thinking about it from a genealogist and history buff perspective, I thought, "Well, if I can't change any of the big strokes of the past, then maybe I could visit ancestors or be a part of their background and find out some things that have been driving me nuts!" As a amateur genealogist, here are some of the people I would hope to be able to find and get information on:

  • Lancaster County, Pennsylvania - about 1774-1775: See if I can have a conversation with Stephen Goff to find out if his father is definitely Samuel Goffe and Elizabeth Hollister of Hartford County, Connecticut. All the circumstantial evidence points in that direction but it would be nice to have confirmation. The biggest problem with gathering this information is that it's in the American Revolutionary infancy and they would probably be very suspicious of anyone asking question. This mission would take a lot of finesse, that's for sure. If I could get another question answered, I would see if he knows who his great-great grandfather was and where in England his family came from but that may have to wait until another time jump.
  • Washington Parish, Louisiana - about 1810 or so, see if I can find John A. Fisher (my gggg-grandfather) and see if I can find out who his parents are and if there's an even earlier connection to the Corkern family than we know now. I also want to know what the A. stands for. I've been thinking it's Adnell because that's a name passed down through the family but that's all the evidence I have for that supposition. Hopefully, through that conversation, I could find out more about how the northeastern part of Louisana was settled and why they came to that area in the first place.
  • This would be a lot more tricky to manuever - Elijah Alexander. Who are his parents? What is his first wife's maiden name? In another time further down the road, did he die in Yell County? I think you get the idea. In order to get these answers, I would have to go to Columbia County, Arkansas in 1860 and then hang around 1880s Yell County for a while. Another question would be - who played the fiddle that his daughter, Ruthie, ended up with??
  • In that same part of the family, what did her husband, Joseph Lewis Bradberry, die from? Where was he buried? Where was his family in 1860 and 1870??!! This is the family that I've joked about being on a spaceship hovering above Southern Illiniois any time the census take came to visit. I would also like know if his father's name was Jus, Joseph, or Ius.
  • Leon and Freestone County, Texas, about 1880 or so - see if I can find James W. Wade and Margaret Tryphena Moore. Where was James born? Who were his parents? Maybe I can get to the Leon County courthouse in time to prevent the courthouse from burning. This is a wish for several courthouses in my family locations - Leon County, TX; Washington Parish, LA; Randolph County, IL are among the most pressing that come to mind.
  • Is Elizabeth who married Thomas Stuart and later Daniel Goff, the daughter of Reuben Young and Ann Wharton?? If not, who were her parents??

I'm sure there are more questions but these are the major ones that come to mind. As a genealogist, amateur or otherwise, who would you like to go back in time and find out about? I'm going to try to figure out how to send notices that there's a new blog up here. Wish me luck and please let me know your ideas even if you aren't into Lost.

26 September 2008

Barking up the wrong family tree or is it branch?...

When I first started researchiing my family and my husband's family, I didn't realize the value of a couple of things:
  • You need to document where you find information and cite that source! After researching for about 10 years, I am still finding and fielding questions about where I got the parents of "so and so" and how do I know they were in "such and such" place. Often I can go back and find where I got that information and cite it. Too many times, for my comfort, I just have to say, "I dunno" which makes me feel like an idiot and really diminishes the validity of the work I've put into amassing my family history.
  • You can't assume that because "everyone knows it" that the information is correct, especially if you don't live in the area and have to rely on online family trees and records that you get online. You have to question everything because even though records might still be pointing you in the right direction, you can be way off base.

Here are three cases that I've had to deal with in barking up the wrong family tree or at least the wrong branch -

  • Elijah Alexander and his ancestors - I was given information that he belonged to the Boone County, Kentucky Alexanders when I first started my research. Even after believing this was correct for a couple of years, I uploaded my Alexander family research online believing that I was helping others as I had been helped. As I was finally able to access census records, etc., it became apparent that the information I had been given just didn't apply to the family I was finding and felt sure was more correct. What did I do? Well, first, I made a gedcom of the wrong family and I have it stored (and can hopefully find and access) in case someone of that Alexander family contacts me and then I deleted them from my family files. Scary!! eek! Even though I could add them back if I was wrong, that first massive delete cause me great anxiety. Luckily, I haven't regretted it. While deleting these ancestors meant that I had to find Elijah's ancestry and that's become a real challenge that I haven't been able to achieve yet, I believe that, as I do find his ancestry, I will learn valuable lessons in sleuthing as well as give hope to others that they, too, can break through those brick walls that stand in the way.
    Another difficult chore was explaining on my website that I had been mistaken about about Elijah's ancestry and apologizing for any harm this might have caused. Fortunately, all the feedback from that fiasco was pretty positive and people appreciated me being upfront about my mistake.
  • George Scott Coats - This is a very recent development. A respected Mammoth Cave area researcher contacted me and asked me why I thought his parents were John Coats and Rachael Richardson. I immediate thought was "Well, everyone knows that's who his parents are!". Instead, I asked why he thought they weren't his parents. Boy, was I ever glad I asked him that question because he was able to send me a court document concerning John and Rachael's heirs that showed that the George Coats that was his son didn't lived out of state in 1863. I had recently found a George Coats married to a Celia Doyel in Greene Co, IL and knew that somehow he was connected with the Edmonson - Hart - Barren County, Kentucky Coats family but hadn't figured out the connection. However, with this document, it became evident that the Greene Co. IL George Coats was the son of John Coats and Rachael Richardson and my George Scott Coats was the son of George Coats, Jr. and Mary Taylor. This would explain why George Scott Coats was in Hart County in 1850 (Hart County was where George Jr lived with his wife, other children and sisters) and why he was named George Coats Jr in that record. This had puzzled me for quite some time but I had figured the enumerator had made a mistake. I feel much better about George Scott Coats' ancestry now because it follows a logical progression and I'm hoping that with my new friend's help, I can get even more documentation on his ancestry. When I reload on my Goff and Hobbs and Everything in Between site, Scott Coats will finally be shown with the correct family. Yea!
    Are there still things to be worked out? Yes. For one thing, we know that Scott Coats' full name is George Scott Coats but he's also listed as George Coats Jr. Does this mean the Coats patriarch in that area was fully named George Scott Coats? At this point, I don't know. Hopefully, I can find records that will be able to shed some light on this conundrum.
  • Two John Hobbs - The last recent example has to do with my husband's Hobbs family. I have been filling in the blanks I have for this huge family with the help of several researchers but one in particular lately, Jo Hilleman, has been sending me some of her mother's research showing how some of the Hobbs family circles back around to some of my Goff family. We both thought that was pretty cool! In that research, she kept coming across a John B. Hobbs in Marshall County, Iowa where Rebecca Hobbs (who married John Orr) was living. I had noticed him too but couldn't figure out how he fit into the family even though we were both pretty sure that he did. However, I had that the John Hobbs that was Rebecca's brother was married to Susannah Rose and I had found several of their children and they were nowhere near Marshall County, Iowa! Then, yesterday, I looked up Susannah Rose in my family database and realize I had two - with the same dates - and both married to John Hobbses. In using a couple of online trees with some documentation that Jo sent to me, I was able to figure out that I had made a huge mistake and spent the day merging and fixing it with records to support the two branches and now have the two John Hobbs' straightened out and with their correct families.

In the course of our research, we will make mistakes. It's when we're not too prideful to take another look at what we have and to check with all the documents available to us that we can correct those mistakes and make the family histories we work so hard on mean even more because of their authenticity. When we cite our sources, we can much more easily go back and see where we might have gone wrong in our research. Is it tedious at time? Yes! But, it's worth it in the long run.

29 July 2008

Good grief! Over a month's gone by and I haven't added anything new!

It's hard to believe that over a month's gone by and I haven't added anything to the blog! Most of the people I sent the blog to didn't know how to comment or subscribe but I hope that as time goes by, they will figure it out.

Let's see...in getting my sources uniform and correctly cited, I'm on Family...there's a lot of the alphabet left so my goal of getting my gedcom reloaded by the end of the summer isn't looking that good at all.

I've answerend inquiries on Paulsells, Hobbs & Orr, Moore, Harlan, Hollingsworth, Goff and a plethora of other inquiries. It's very important for me to try to answer these inquiries in a timely manner and add the information but it sure cuts into the time I need to get my database in line.

My nephew Nick married a wonderful woman about a week and a half ago and it was great seeing the family and we had a good time. It took any starch I had outta me though and so I've been spending more time resting. It's just the nature of the beast that's CFS.

Tomorrow's my dad's birthday and we will also be having an addition to the family - a niece!! My brother Patrick's little girl will be born tomorrow so all prayers on deck. We couldn't be more thrilled! And now my dad has a granddaughter to spoil.

Our oldest son and his family went on vacation to the coast in SC. Our granddaughter doesn't like the water on the beach that much but she loves the pool!

It's been unbelievably hot here!! Yesterday, the heat index was 101° at noon! I thank the Lord that someone was smart enough to invent air conditioning, that's for sure.

In working on the Mary Kay newsletter, I found a great font site http://www.fontdiner.com/. There are several fonts there that are free and are really cool. Check it out. Look what I was able to do with the font Fontdinerloveable and WordArt in Word.

After I got the text done in WordArt, I clicked Print Screen. Open Paint, pasted the image, saved it as a .gif so that the background's transparent, and then opened the image and cropped everything that didn't pertain to the image. This is a really cool way to make the most of some of the neater fonts and dings and it only took about 2 or 3 minutes after I figured out that you can't just click on the art and copy that.

I will probably post a Lost Blog in a day or two. There's new stuff going on. I just think I'm lucky to remember to post this stuff. Until next time...

May God bless you abundantly!

26 June 2008

Blogging Noob

Hi! My name is Gwen and this is my first blog. I'm a housewife on the backside of 45 with two grown sons and one grandchild. I've been dealing with Chronic Fatigue Immune Deficiency Syndrome (CFIDS or CFS for future reference) since 1985. Hubby is a funeral director/mortician as is our oldest son. Youngest son is an actor and customer service rep. I'm the oldest of 5 children and my life has pretty much revolved around family. Through the enforced bed rest in the early years of the disease, I became much closer to the Lord even though I was saved as a child. During that time, I also learned patience and anyone who has children and siblings knows that's a trait that will always stand you in good stead. For some time, I've thought about using a blog to detail things I find interesting or to rant about stuff that gets on my nerves. I also thought it would be a good place to write about things I've found in my genealogy research; my thoughts on my favorite TV show Lost or just stuff that comes to mind that, most of the time, defy categorization. I'm also addicted to podcasts. Podcasts about genealogy, Lost, pop culture or history are my main interest in that area. I've been researching my and my husband's various families for almost ten years. Yes, we have a few famous people in our families but that isn't what has driven me. The majority of our ancestors were farmers. I love piecing together lives that have been lived with no thought to posterity - they were just trying to survive and maybe even make a better world for their children and grandchildren. Why did they move from a farm they had been on for three generations and move to Washington (or California or Texas, etc.) to farm there? What personality traits and talents have been handed down? What names are common in my family or my husband's family? Why, if they consistently tell the census enumerator that they were born in Illinois, can I not find them by any means in the 1860 and 1870 censuses?? Had they been taken aboard a space ship and nurtured there after their collective births?? How did our families end up here?? So many more questions and mysteries... The cousins I've discovered and the friends I've made have certainly added much joy in this endeavor. My husband and I watched the very first episode of Lost and we haven't missed an episode. We said it was the fastest hour in TV and we still hold to that assertion. In fact, I tape them and re-watch them while I'm resting. Then, when the DVDs come out, I buy those. While he's not as involved in the larger Lost world like I am, he looks forward to each new episode as much as I do. The way they weave character development and an ongoing story that draws you in and makes you think is something that's totally new and, I'm beginning to believe, a unique television experience. I'm also a voracious reader. This can encompass everything from historical romance to history (mostly medieval but certainly not limited to that era) to travel narratives to Christian narratives to biographies. Well, I guess that's enough for now. I hope to add to this blog at least once a month and, hopefully, more often than that.