Putting A Handmade Ring on it…

Skip has been on a wooden ring-making crusade and I’m the latest beneficiary of his crafty experiments!

(waving it up front) the image is a little blurry, but it gives an idea of the thickness of the ring

This one turned out really good. I picked an exotic wood blank of pink ivory wood. It’s a very hard, smooth wood that ranges from pinkish to purplish in color. And, according to Wikipedia, it once was a revered commodity, allowed to be possessed only by elite inhabitants of the region where it is found. This one has a little freckle on it, which I love.

showing the freckle

Skip got the kits from Craft Supplies USA, the Woodturners Catalog, each for a few bucks. You can opt for a stainless steel or titanium core for the ring. My ring has the “comfort core” –a rounded or finely beveled center that won’t pinch. You can also buy a two-piece core that looks pretty cool. See some of the options at their catalog page.

titanium core

He went through 3 blanks before he found a technique for turning a ring blank that worked well. One of those three tries ended up as a little pile of sawdust on the shop floor! The practice blanks were of koa wood, an exotic variety from Hawaii.

Skip mailed a ring to a recipient who lives in Hawaii. When he opened the package, he discovered that the ring had separated from the titanium core, en route. They couldn’t figure out what caused the separation; could it have been the temperature changes, something to do with the glue he used (thick super glue), or another reason? We will analyze further after the next lot ships.

One of the koa wood rings

koa ring on mandrel

12 Children

Like lots of fellow genealogy addicts, I had a hard time coming up with some content for Amy Johnson Crow’s #52Ancestors topic for this week, which is “12.”

I want to include an image for these blurbs I’ve been writing, which can be posted in a blog or another social media outlet, such as Ms. Crow’s Generations Cafe Facebook Page. I like this forum because the entries are all nicely organized by each week’s topic, and you can look at other posts. But I didn’t realize that finding a photo of 12 related people was going to be a wild goose chase. On the up side, I do have lots of documented ancestors who had 10 or more children. I can write about a couple of them:

My 7th great grandparents were John Justus “Yost” Henkel and Maria Magdalena Eschmann. Yost came from Germany and met his wife in the Mennonite community in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Their first eleven children were born at Bucks County, PA, but the twelfth child, Isaac Henkel, was born at Dutchman’s Creek, Rowan County, NC in 1754. Yost and many of his family members settled in Augusta County, VA. He served in the Virginia militia during the Revolutionary War.

Each of their 8 daughters and 4 sons lived to adulthood and produced numerous children of their own. One daughter is documented as having borne 16 children. One son, Jacob, had seven sons, of which five went on to become Lutheran ministers.

The Henckel Genealogy 1500-1960 by WS & MW Junkin

Thus far, I haven’t felt a very strong connection to these ancestors because they’re relatively distant. But reading about them and putting together a little summary helps me realize they are a part of me and my heritage. I’d like to encourage you to dip into the #52Ancestors phenom and give it a try!

LARGE Family Origins

Per Amy Johnson Crow’s #52Ancestors prompts, this week’s topic is “large family.”

My ancestor, Henry Bland, born in 1770, can be described as a man with a big family. He had 12 children with his first wife, and 12 more with his second wife.

Henry’s father, Thomas, is the subject of much speculation among our relatives. He appeared in Colonial Virginia and settled in what is today Pendleton County (West Virginia). Although there were other Blands who figured prominently as landowners, merchants, and statesmen in early Virginia, we have no records of our progenitor being related to them. In fact, the descendants of our ancestor have very different DNA groups than the descendants of several other Virginia Blands!

Some of the children of Henry Bland, from the family Bible

This page is from my mom’s book Thomas Bland of Pendleton County.

Bland history

Irish Obligations

Once when I was getting divorced, I was presented with the question of whether I wanted to keep my married name, or go with some other legal name. I thought it might be great to adopt my grandmother’s maiden name, Daugherty. I could definitely get a brand new start, no one would recognize the baggage I had with a former name, and everyone would know right away, I had Irish ancestry.

“No, you can’t just take on a new name you’ve never had before,” sneered my lawyer, who was of Italian ancestry by way of New York, and was obviously no fun at all. “If you want to change your name to something new, that’s a different case and comes with a separate fee.”

OK, so that was the end of that idea.

But with St. Patrick’s Day coming up, and with the recent wave of genealogy workshops having washed over us, I can see that I haven’t gotten very far in researching my Irish roots. The Daughertys, the Hopkins,’ the Gordons, the McAlisters and McBees, Baxters, Loves, and Phares all came over to the Colonial U.S. but I don’t know very much about where they came from and why they wanted to leave Ireland. It’s time to get to work on them.

Cricut shamrock Iron-on

At the recent conference we attended, we found quite a few classes with Irish, Scottish, and British research suggestions, to call out just a few. We also went to a very good German research workshop, and I can’t wait to try out some of the sources from that, too.

Conference swag bag

The keynote speaker, and presenter for several of the classes, was Donna Moughty, a genealogist who specializes in Irish research. I’m happy that it seems to be the right time, the right area, and the right whiz-bang of attention delivered, to help me focus on this area of family history. Meanwhile, there’s a holiday coming up…

St Patrick’s Day iron-ons: shamrock unicorn and truck

Bachelor Uncle

This week’s theme or prompt from Amy Johnson Crow’s #52Ancestors series, is “Bachelor Uncle.”

Probably, I can find someone to fit this prompt in just about every generation in my pedigree. But the one who makes the most sense is my own uncle Laurence. I didn’t know him very well. My dad moved away from his family when he grew up, and I only visited them a handful of times in my entire life. Maybe it had something to do with what my aunt called “the L— [our surname] curse.”

“What is the L— curse?” I asked her.

“Not being able to get along with anyone,” she said.

She wrote this little memoir about her brother Laurence:

Laurence, God rest his soul, was a very likeable guy. Its to bad his first and only marriage failed within a couple of years. He was still adored by his in-laws and they remembered him till his last days. I use to antagonize him when we were little kids. He never called me by my name. When he wanted me, he would open and shut his dresser drawers knowing I would come in to see what he was doing. If he didn’t want me in his room, he would try to drag me out. I would grab hold of his bed and he would pull the bed and me to the door. I always was one foot ahead of him when he chased me through the house. I would slam the bathroom door in his face and lock it. He had a temper when he was little. I remember hitting him in the face with a snowball once. He about killed me.

While my dad left town after his service in the military, Lawrence stayed around and got a job at the same paint and body shop where their father worked. Dad stayed in the army until he retired, but Laurence served in the Navy only until WW2 was over. He was also an Arthur Murray dance instructor, I heard. He continued to live at home with his mother and sister until he died of leukemia, just shy of age 60. My aunt said,

In later years we became close after his stroke and cancer. He died to young. I’m glad I was there for him.

Young Laurence
Young Laurence

Old Laurence

RootsTech 2019 Takeaways

Oh, my gosh! I’ve spent the last four days in front of the television watching #RootsTech #NotatRootsTech via the RootsTech app and Apple TV.

A few years ago I was able to attend this in person, the largest symposium of genealogy-related seminars/exhibits in the world, I believe it was 2012 and 2013. It is held in the middle of Salt Lake City at the Salt Palace Convention Center. I always associate the aroma of fresh-roasted nuts with cinnamon and vanilla sugar, because a vendor was cranking out cone-shaped bags of them the whole time I was there.

This year, the RootsTech app on my phone and iPad worked better than ever, at bringing live-streamed broadcasts of certain sessions from 10 AM (my time) to 6 or 8:00 PM Wednesday through Saturday. All of those live-streamed sessions will be available on the RootsTech web site for a while. Meanwhile, I could have bought a $129 special pass to have temporary access to some other awesome classes that weren’t on the free live-streamed feed. I didn’t spring for the specials pass, but I may change my mind. Right now I’ve got my hands full trying to process all the new stuff that was introduced to me in the past 4 days.

  1. New Ancestry.com innovations: Thru-Lines, which as of now can replace the old DNA Circles if you choose, organizes your DNA matches in a graphic pedigree that shows how you’re related to some of those elusive DNA matches who don’t have public pedigrees. The listing of DNA matches is revved-up, and you can hook up some of those mysterious matches with tags. All kinds of tags! Customizable tags! Mom’s side, Dad’s side, Pennsylvania line, Smith line, Direct Ancestor, Died Young….all sorts of possibilities there.
  2. Findmypast now has DNA that can more closely pinpoint where in the UK your DNA is from. And if you have a DNA test in another platform, such as Ancestry.com or My Heritage, you can just transfer it over to their site. 23 and Me also showed prominently in some of the live-streamed segments, and you can transfer your raw DNA to their site as well, providing the raw data is autosomal rather than specifically X or Y DNA data.
  3. My Heritage is coming out with a new tree-connect function (BETA, I think) where you can more easily move over your data from Family Search Family Tree.
  4. I looked at several DNA explanations. I think my understanding of DNA has expanded, but I still have a lot of exploring to do.
  5. Story telling, memory keeping, finding reliable sources, documenting them, and establishing proof, are a few other subjects pulsing in my brain.

Thanks to the many people who put on Roots Tech. It is huge. There’s something for everyone. They are already planning the next one in 2020, and meanwhile there will be a RootsTech London convention in October.

Watching #RootsTech #NotatRootsTech from home

Old Courthouse records

This week’s prompt from Amy Johnson Crowe’s 52 Ancestors motivational challenge, is “At the Courthouse.”

I’m looking forward to what other genealogy lovers make of it.

My mom went to county courthouses a lot in the old days of genealogy research, back in the 1960’s. Some of the courthouses didn’t even have photocopiers, so she had to transcribe the items she found onto scraps of paper, in longhand. I have files full of these, and believe me, her handwriting is not easy to decipher.

But aren’t lots of old records you’d find in courthouses digitized now? And can be accessed by clicking on a green shaking leaf? Like deeds, probate records, vital records, marriages, etc.?

Let me amend that last sentence. I know that not everything is digitized. I worked for a county property appraiser, and once in a while we’d have to go to the courthouse to see if there was anything on file that would help in a title search. We had ancient old deed books in our office, but sometimes a property description would refer to a really old deed book that we didn’t have, or couldn’t display because the pages were brittle and yellow and crumbling. So, then a trip to the court house was in order.

Some of the records were on microfilm. Not too many years ago, all the techs in our office had a microfiche or microfilm reader machine on our desks. Then, we moved all of them (about 40, I think) to a storage room next to the loading dock, and they were piled up in huge stacks. Our office was vilified as having used heated and cooled office-worthy space for storage of useless junk. So they were moved elsewhere, I don’t know what happened to them. My mom bought one of them for $50. I think it broke, and of course, no one in the modern world knows how to fix them any more.

One time I went to the records annex of the court house to look at some old deed books. The clerk there found them in a cardboard box underneath the counter. The next time I went to look at those records, they couldn’t find them at all. So, sometimes our pilgrimage to the courthouse, with high hopes, turned out to be a wild goose chase. The films were too hard to read, your arm would ache from turning the crank on the microfilm reader, which was never located in an ergonomically suitable spot on the machine, and after long, fruitless hours, you were ready to go to lunch over in the historic district to salvage the day.

If you’re looking for ancestors who lived in the US back in the 1600’s and 1700’s and 1800’s, there’s the question of “which county courthouse should I look in?” My DAR patriot lived in the Cook’s Creek area of what used to be Augusta County, and later Rockingham County, Virginia. [See the historic atlas at this link for some maps that show changes in counties in VA, and other states.] Some of his contemporaries and offspring lived within a hundred or so miles of his old home place, in what is now Pendleton County, but formerly Hardy, Rockingham, Augusta, or maybe Randolph, Lewis, or Grant Counties. Try to find a deed, so you can find exactly where their property was situated, and it says something like “40 rods southeast of the old sycamore tree…”

The Crafting of the Green

Ah, the blessings and the bane of learning a new craft technique!

I’m talking about making iron-on appliqué embellishments with a cutting machine, and attaching them to fabric.

These projects are to celebrate the upcoming St. Patrick’s Day festivities.

tote bag jenny skip
tote bag
back of bag jenny skip
back of tote bag

This is the bag pattern from a previous post, when I made a Valentine’s Day [sort of] tote bag, using the pattern from Sew News. The main difference, besides the theme of the holiday embellishments, is the fabric of the bag. For the previous project, I used a cotton canvas remnant. But when I went to Joann Fabric to buy some more of it, I couldn’t find it in the store. I could have substituted duck cloth or twill or denim, for a similar, but not the same weight and feel. This fabric looked and felt very similar to cotton canvas, while it was on the shelf in the Utility Fabrics section of Joann’s. But it was cheaper and was 100% polyester. And once made into a bag, the fabric had a few noticeable differences.

Difference #1: it seems to be more wrinkle-prone than cotton canvas.

Difference #2: you have to use a different method to adhere iron-on appliqués to it, than you would with cotton. Cricut Easy-Press 2 Interactive Reference Guide recommends that you use their brand Iron-on Protective Sheet when applying the iron-on embellishment. I had never seen or heard of it, so I didn’t have one of those, but I did have a Teflon sheet that I sometimes use for applying Wonder Under. So I used that. Also, the temperature needs to be a little lower than cotton. Yup, I can vaguely recall using an iron on certain man-made fabrics and literally melting the fabric into a sticky goo.

Here are some finished, decorated, shirts for celebrating St Patrick’s Day.

St Pat tote bag jenny skip
St Pat’s tote bag

Put them in the bag and go!

Family Photo, Plain and Fancy versions

For the family history buffs who are following Amy Johnson Crow’s #52 Ancestors social media post-a-rama, this week’s prompt is “family photo.”

Lucky for me, some of my ancestors in the 1850’s and later, bought into the new-fangled technology of picture taking. It’s apparent that some of them traipsed home from working in the fields to pose for the camera. And what glorious images those old cameras coaxed forth! The beautiful sepias and crisp dark shadows are no match for the wimpy and fading pixels of today.

These two studio photos of my grandma (the littlest poppet in the pictures) and her family, in plain and fancy regalia, were taken in England about 1905, a few years before they emigrated to the U.S.

At ease and somewhat casual

With fancy hats and coats

Father had provided a good living as a carriage builder, but that market was drying up in favor of the new mode of conveyance, the motor car. When they came to the states, he got a job in a grocery store.

Using current technology to create 19th Century crafts