Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Books, eBooks and LibraryThing

I Love Books

I want to make sure there is no doubt in anyone's mind that I not only like to read but I love books. Growing up my mother and I were members of the Doubleday Bookclub,the Literary Guild and the Book of the Month Club. My summers were rated by how many books I read and sometimes how many times I reread a book. I admit to reading Gone With The Wind at least three times during 8th grade and high school.

Memory Lane - circa 1960's

During my high school years I discovered Richard Brautigan's classics which included "Trout Fishing in American" and  "A Confederate General At Big Sur". I  wrote a paper on James Baldwin's "The Fire Next Time"  and "Giovanni's Room" followed by  Lawrence Ferlinghetti's "A Coney Island of the Mind". My best friend chose Edward Albee so I was emerced in "Tiny Alice" and the "American Dream".

Read farther and you will see what brought on this trip down memory lane!

Fast Forward 2011-2012

During the last year I have been debating the advent of eReaders.The number of bookcases and boxes of books in my house has pushed Chuck to the edge and he strongly suggested I find an eReader. So on this blog and I have documented how I chose the Kindle over the Pandigital and Nook eReaders.

While I have learned to embrace the Kindle there was still the issue of all the books lining bookcases and filling boxes in the house. Over the years I heard fellow genealogists talk about and casually thought about entering my genealogy books 'in the cloud'. The thought of putting ALL my books up there was a bit daunting.

Scanners, LibraryThing and Tori

As Tori is fond of telling me and all my friends and family know - Tori Rules.  Since she was a small child she has had a fascination with cash registers and scanners. Not the scanners we use to scan pictures or documents. Tori's love is barcode scanners like those used in libraries, warehouses, Home Depot and virtually every department store in the world. She will find the self checkout in any store and make me go through it whether I have one item or twenty.

After another shopping trip and Tori going on and on about how much she wanted a scanner I told her to see if LibraryThing supported scanners and if they did I would buy one.  About 10 minutes later she had all the information and was THRILLED that they did.

Her next assignment was to go online and do some price comparisons. The girl was MOTIVATED! She was a bit sad to find out the the local electronics stores were considerably higher than Amazon so she would have to wait a few days for her scanner.

ISBN Numbers, Bar Codes and All The Others

As promised LibraryThing works great scanning books that have barcoded ISBN Numbers. The scanner as advertised has a handy stand or can be held for quicker scanning. Below is a video of Tori explaining to me how it worked after she had scanned two or three books.

Later she took her laptop and started some serious scanning on my two of my bookcases.  Here is where we come into 'All The Others'. The books my friends and I were reading in high school do not have 'standard' ISBN numbers that we are used to seeing in the the 21st century, let alone barcodes. They have a Library of Congress Category Card Number buried in the copyright information.

Some quick research explained that the ISBN number started between 1967 and 1970 and was enhanced in 1974. My books from the 1980's and 1990's have an ISBN number on the back or as part of the copyright, but certainly not a barcode.

Tori scanned 230+ books that day from two of my bookcases and one of her bookcases. I went back this week and hand entered 100 books that either did not have an ISBN or had one but did not have a barcode.

eBooks vs Books

One thing I have learned during this scanning adventure is how much I LOVE books: holding them, leafing through them and the memories they hold.  An eBook would not have brought back the same high school memories like seeing my best friends name in the Edward Albee book in her handwriting. I have not seen her in decades, but I felt just as close to her in that moment as I did in 1970.

Tori tells me that in her 6th grade class the students are allowed to bring eReaders to class. She is deciding if she will use her iPad or buy a Kindle Fire with her Christmas money.  It will be interesting to see her grow up in the 'eBook' world.

Take Care,

Monday, October 31, 2011

Researching Uncle Gus Plus Mary Turns 50!

Gustav Adolph Blum may or may not be my great uncle. His mother was Mathilda Johanna Mueller Strunk Blum Schumacher who may or may not have been my great grandmother Johanna Wehmeier Pahlke's mother.

I have three very thin pieces of evidence that Johanna and Gus were siblings.

1. My grandfather, Johanna's son William Pahlke, told my mother that Mathilda was his grandmother.

2. Mathilda's obituary refers to Johanna as Matilda's daughter.

3. When Gus committed suicide and murdered his two children Johanna is referred to as his 'half sister'.

Since I could not prove Johanna was Mathilda's daughter I decided to do some 'sideway' research. My hope was that by finding more information about Gustav I would learn more about Johanna and Mathilda.

Gustav left Barrington Illinois sometime in April of 1900. His mother, Mathilda posted this notice:

Barrington Review - April 28, 1900

Barrington, April 23, 1900
Notice is hereby given that as my son, Gustav Blum, has left my house and home and his whereabouts is unknown to me. I hereby give notice that after this date I will not be responsible for any debt that he may contract on my account, as he is not of age.

Matilda Schumacher

According to his military records Gustav enlisted in the Navy on April 19, 1900 in Chicago. I obtained Gustav's military records but the only family relationships mentioned were that Mathilda was his mother.

From Gustav's obituary I knew he was married. I also knew that he and his children died on December 12, 1916 and where they were buried. From the marriage and death certificates I started to put together his wife Elsa's family tree. But, alas no more information about Gustav's family.

Gustav married Elsa Haag on July 19, 1905. Elsa's parents John and Caroline Haag had five children: Johanna, Philip, Emma, Marie and Elsa. All but Johanna immigrated to the United States in the 1890's.

The Haag family lived at 93 Sands Street in Brooklyn. From the census records it seems that the family ran a boarding house and possibly a restaurant.

Emma married a gentleman with the last name of Neul and was a witness at Gus and Elsa's wedding. Marie's married name was Bratley and had the sad task of claiming the bodies and arranging the funeral for Gustav and her nephew John and niece Elsie.

Gustav's obituary said that his wife Elsa was in an asylum and he was depressed because his children were living with relatives. I did confirm that Elsa was living in an asylum in Dutchess County, New York in the 1930 Federal Census.

Through all of this I have not found any additional information on Gustav's family relationships. I have, however, begun to put together the story of the Haag family.

I want to find out why Elsa was committed. I would like to find descendents of Marie, Emma, Philip or Johanna to see if there are pictures of Gustav and Elsa or what family stories they may have of this tragic couple. I have posted messages on many Rootsweb message boards and mailing lists. Hopefully I will be able find some answers and whether or not Gustav Blum is my great uncle!

Happy Birthday Mary!!!

It hardly seems possible that it was fifty years ago (yesterday) my sister Mary was born. Since there is a nine year age difference we both consider ourselves 'only children'. While I whined about her getting a new bike (mine was used) and a car (I had to use mom's) it gave me great material for years.

I would post a more current picture, but I only have permission to use pictures of her before the age of 5!

Happy Birthday Mary!!

Take Care,


Thursday, July 28, 2011

Family Vacations - 1950s vs 2011

Vacations - 1950's

When I was a young girl summers were spent visiting my grandfather in Beacon Hill, Michigan. My mother and I would take the train and spend two weeks at my grandfather's house. Once she had a driver's license she and her sister Bunnie would load us kids in the car and drive. It was like being in another world.

Meals were cooked on the woodburning stove during the day and at night it would keep the chill off the house. The biggest difference between Grandpa's house and home was the bathroom - or lack of. Instead of a bathroom Grandpa had an outhouse (2 seater) and a sauna. I learned from a young age to not go into the outhouse alone. I do not know what I was more afraid of falling in or getting locked in by one of my cousins.

We would spend two weeks relaxing on Lake Superior, visiting family and chasing fireflies. Only now do I realize how lucky we were to have the luxury of taking two weeks off.

Jimmy (shooting gun), Bunnie, Sharyn Orloski - Pattie's Back

Vactions - Now

With everything going on in our lives, most of us are lucky to get away for a long weekend. Finding the opportunity, money or vacation time to spend two weeks anywhere is nearly impossible. Between work schedules, summer school and camps it is hard to arrange a family dinner let alone a vacation.

During the course of the year I try to plan a trip to visit my mother, a trip to Chuck's family and some time to relax at home. Since genealogy is a large part of my life even when I am on vacation I have a 'to do list'.
There is always a library or historical site to check out, a cemetery to visit or family member to visit and interview.

This year my sister and I visited the Hoosier Grove Museum
in Streamwood Illinois. My great grandmother grew up in the area and I had always wanted to visit their historical one room schoolhouse. One more place to check off on my 'to do list'!

Hoosier Grove One Room School House

Remember to relax, enjoy yourself and your family this summer. Whether you take a vacation or 'stay-cation' make new memories while you research the old.

Take Care,

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A Box of Old Pictures, Chicago Dogs and Evergreen Cemetery

A Research Trip Home

Last week I made a trip home to Illinois. While my ancestors came from the northwest suburb of Barrington, I grew up in the neighboring town of Fox River Grove.

My mom had recently mentioned she found an old box of pictures under the living room sofa so i was anxious to go look through them. My sister Mary and I try to scan pictures as soon as we can. Mom has a habit of cutting the originals up for her collage.

There were about 80 pictures we had not seen or scanned before so Mary scanned them as TIFFS and then I cut and saved another set as JPEGS.

One amazing thing was some actually had names and dates on them! This is my favorite. It is of my dad and is sibling from 1940. It is the earliest one I have seen of the three of them. I am very happy that we were able to rescue these pictures and document them.

Chicago Dogs and Evergreen Cemetery

Every time I make a trip home I have to visit Evergreen Cemetery. Over the years it has become more than a cemetery. Folks jog, walk and push strollers through the wooded rows of headstones. I like to eat lunch there. There is nothing better than a Chicago Dog and Fries from Kookers to give me the energy and motivation for an afternoon of locating, photographing and cleaning headstones.

On this trip I needed to take pictures of some memorials I had adopted on Unfortunately when I found them I could not photograph them until the 'bird droppings' had been removed. With a jug of water and some gentle rubbing the stones were ready for their close up.

Of course it rained soon after, so the 'bird droppings' would have been handled naturally if I had waited a day!

The last stop was to decorate my Grandparents, William and Florence Schwemm Pahlke's headstone. Lilacs for Grandma and American Flags for Grandpa, a World War I veteran.


As I mentioned in a previous blog, Spring Cleaning can be a genealogist's break through moment or nightmare. I hate to think of how many folks might have pictures under a couch or in the back of a closet. You never know what you will find or what may get thrown out.

Take Care,

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Harry Potter, Genealogy and eReaders

Harry Potter

It was a year late, but Tori finally got to Harry Potter! She and Chuck road the rides while I made sure we had pictures and souvenirs. Tori decided to try Cornish Pasties at Harry Potters which she said were good, but not as good as Nan's. We all tried the ButterBeer but after one sip Chuck and Tori decided they needed a soda - I was the only one who liked it!

It was a good day.

Catching Up on My Genealogy

Since Clayton moved out I have been transitioning the bedroom into an office for myself and a bedroom for Tori's visits. The easy part is rearranging and buying furniture. The hard part is gathering up all the genealogy paperwork that I have not transcribed and filed for two years!

What I had not realized is that even though I had been doing genealogy research while Clayton was living here I had not kept up with my filing and transcribing. I kept finding folders and envelopes and notes that I thought I had entered into my database but had not.

While I was in the midst of all of this filing and data entry I realized that I also had to update many memorials! Oh and then if there were newspaper articles to transcribe they also had to be sent to the Barrington group!

The deadline for all of this is Wednesday when I leave to visit mom. The data entry and posting to the various websites will be done, the filing may not...

eReaders and Me

I have been struggling with which eReader to use and frankly what to use it for! That may sound strange but it has been quite a struggle. I have written an entire article on my Everyday Genealogy blog,but the bottom line is I like the Kindle best.

Take Care,

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Holidays, 7 Up and Where Did I Put My eReader?

Everyday Genealogy: Holidays, 7 Up and Where Did I Put My eReader?: "The holidays always remind me how the world has changes since I was young. Holiday meals at Grandma Pahlke's demanded your best dress, ties ..."

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Belle's New Home, The Mysterious Nancy and Uncle Newt

Bye Bye Belle

Sunday we brought Belle, Clayton's Mastiff, to his new home. Belle was quite excited as we gathered up her bed, toys and food by the front door. She enjoyed the car ride and was well behaved during the hour drive to her new home.

When we arrived Belle was happy to see Tori, Clayton and Snoopy (Tori's Chihuahua). Tori walked her around the house and I think Belle will be quite happy in her new home.

Chuck and I empty nesters again - if an empty nest includes 2 dogs and a cat!

Nancy Marian Hanson Horton Smith Weber - Where are You?

Chuck's maternal great grandmother, Nancy, is proving to be a mystery. I have been using all my genealogy tricks and tips and have not been able to fill in the last three years of her life. I am now fleshing out the lives of her half siblings, the Franks Family, to see if some sideways research will help.

Since I have been doing more writing about genealogy than actual research lately, this is a great exercise for me to tackle. If I could find Nellie Evans (Chuck's paternal great great grandmother) I should be able to track down Nancy's movements from Waterloo IA to Blackduck MN.

I'll keep you posted....

Uncle Newt

Mom called me last night to let me know that Uncle Newt, my dad's older brother, was in the hospital. While he has had his share of stays in the hospital, at almost 93 it is a reminder of his age.

I called the hospital today and he was in good spirits, eating lunch. I asked if someone was bringing him his morning paper. I should have known that he already had it all arranged.

I told him to make sure he listened to the nurses and I would be up to visit soon.

Newt, Mable and Earl Pahlke

Take Care,