Friday, June 15, 2018

Well, it's time.... I need to open the door on all my old memories, and actually start writing my own story for my descendants.
Scary prospect....

I can't just put in the bare facts and the pretty, pleasant things.

I need to boil down, fess up, and be real. 

The hard times, and the good, 
The successes and the screw-ups. 
The fun stories, and the grief.

All the things I want to know about my ancestors. 

Because, like it or not, I am now an ancestor!

Sunday, January 15, 2017

When Initials Were Too Cool!!! [cuss]

Once upon a time, there were too many Hoovers.
They were all in Guthrie, OK. And they all went by initials. It was the style. But I think they planned to do that, just to drive me crazy!!!

It worked!

Ok, back to the beginning....

1. Great grandfather Silas Hoover had 11 siblings. 6 of whom were brothers:
   David W. Hoover, James K Polk Hoover,
   Jesse D. Hoover, Andrew Jonce Hoover,
   Franklin Hoover, and Jacob Judge Hoover.

2. There were two relevant livery stables in Guthrie. One was owned by GGrandfather Silas, on his own. It was a decent small business. He had other non-livery properties, as I found out later.The other Hoover livery went under a few names over the years: "Cammack Barn" bought by Hoovers, Hoover Bros Livery, etc. It became much larger, with shifting principle people. Sometimes the principle was AJ, sometimes DW, etc.

3. The shifting principles in Hoover Bros were AJ, DW, and JD Hoover..... You would think that I could figure that those were Silas brothers. The problem was that there were other Hoovers in the neighborhood from other places. With other sons. And some of the initials matched, although the names didn't. Were those initials 'David W' or 'Daniel Something'?  'Jesse D' or 'James Something'? All common names in Hoover lines, and there in Guthrie.

Were the owners of the larger, more flamboyant livery actually Silas' brothers?
Took many years, and a chance find to confirm this.

Yes, they were all brothers. Wahoo!

As for the other brothers, 'JKP Hoover' stayed in Webster County MO and died there. 'JJ Hoover' moved to Wright County MO and became a stockyard owner. Franklin left in search of either distance or fortune, I presume. I think I have found his death certificate in Colorado.

'AJ' eventually got out of the livery business and got into the saloon trade.

'JD's obit appears below, from FindAGrave.

Are the initials making you crazy, too?!?

THE OKLAHOMAN: 10/11/1931 – Sun – Colorful Figure of Early Days Is Dead
Guthrie, Oct. 10 – Jess D. Hoover, 67 years old, whose lemon colored coach and team of bays conveyed former territorial and state officials about this city, the former state capital, died here Saturday. Funeral services will be held Sunday.
Since 1889 Hoover was proprietor of a livery stable, which in territorial days was one of the best known in the southwest.
He was known to virtually every state and territorial administrator. Among his friends were Governor Murray, former Gov. Henry S. Johnston; all of the territorial governors; United States Senators Elmer Thomas and T.P. Gore; Scott Ferris, Democratic national committeeman for Oklahoma.
Hoover, who claimed to be a distant relative of President Hoover, also was a horse and stock trader.

Oh, and a PS: If we are related to President Hoover, it is *way back*, and *very distant*.
As of the 1700s in North Carolina, there is no known connection. Both families were in the same huge county at the time. But, maybe, their fathers were some type of cousin? Or not....

What Matters Is The Stories!

"What matters is the Stories!" has become my new mantra.

And pictures, of course. Those are visual stories that also bring sparks of life to those endless names and dates in our family trees.

I have come to the conclusion that, no matter how much I want to *do everything*, that's not going to happen in this lifetime.

Time to prioritize. Time to focus on passing along the pieces that bring life and depth to these people. And that are *not* easily available at Ancestry or FamilySearch where I put all those names and dates.

I've been working on my adoptive lines for 30+ years. Oh, that tree is so far from perfect that it's a bit embarrassing....  I am so much better at hunting sources than I am at entering them. Ditto newspaper articles and other finds. But I have found so many stories, and photos!
And I've corresponded with distant cousins who had their own stories to add and photos to share.
I have pieces of information that, together, explain why an ancestor did something.
That last is a big kind of story!
And I have so many relatives that I want to share all this with!

Then my maternal half-sister found me, and DNA testing became possible, and I have been *So Focused* on tracking down our biological lines, and biological fathers.... That's mostly where I need to be. We both have kids, grandkids, a great-grand. For the family history of *them*, our DNA and what we can find there is the key to their history!

So I have to be *done* with researching my adoptive lines. But I am far from done with wanting to bring those real people to life! I also know that, as much as I will try to get many of those pieces into FamilySearch Memories, I will not get to them all. Not even close.

One cousin said to me that she got a pedigree chart years back from someone else, but once she had got beyond the people she knew, it was all names and dates....
That's the reality, and it is where things often just stop.

It's past time to get these things written out, and sent to cousins. And printed out and mailed to those that are not on the net.

If all they do is stick the stories in their box with family photos, that will be far better than nothing. And *nothing* is where things stand now.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Memories Of My Brother, Part 2

I spoke of my brother Jim's death a couple of days ago, and included a few memories of him, of the times when we were growing up and when we were grown.

But at those times when family is talking about death and loss, and funeral arrangements, these talks also bring up so many memories, in every family member, about the person they all lost. And so often, those memories, as they all are shared and pulled together, start to bring more life, and color, and depth, to the unique person we all loved, and knew only facets of.

Sometimes those shared memories remind us of things we can't believe we had forgotten! Sometimes the memories one person holds are memories that only they have, of times spent with the person now gone. The rest of us were not there to see. And when those are shared, it is a great gift!

Our cousin WendiBeth shared one of each of those kinds of memories with me, just in Facebook chat. She said she didn't mind if I shared them, and I want to. They are both priceless.

The "I can't believe I forgot about that!" memory is quick, and I'll do that first. The second, the "I wasn't there to see that" memory is so priceless that I'm saving that for last. 

I can't believe I forgot about his little-kid fascination with turning furniture upside down! [Guffaws and giggles!!!]
Chairs, ottomans, if he could manage to flip it over, or even onto it's side, he was so extremely toddler-proud!
Mom would just wait until he went to bed, and would right things again. In my early elementary years, I even helped sometimes with the fix. But I had forgotten....

WendiBeth's second memory, the one that only she and her Mom, now gone, were there for is so priceless that I am just quoting her with her permission:

"He came to stay with us in Denver once. He came the day we were in the middle of a move to a new apartment. With picking him up at the bus station and then having to take time for a couple of trips back to find his lost luggage, our move was completed at about 12:30 AM and Mama and I had to be at work the next morning so unpacking was out of the question. 

We left Jim the next morning with instructions to "Please don't stress over this... We will get it all sorted out when we get home." Well...we came home and everything was unpacked and organized, he had found a tablecloth and ironed it and put it on the dining room table. He also took a walk in a nearby field and picked wildflowers, brought them home and arranged them in a vase on the table. He had cooked dinner AND baked brownies for dessert!!!! 
I could use him now!"

Monday, December 26, 2016

My brother has left this world.
Maybe on the 24th, or late on the 23rd, or early on the 25th....

The kind neighbor who hadn't seen him helped to find him.

James Lewis Peck.  

The genealogist in me says "8 Feb 1955 - abt 24 Dec 2016". 
The sister in me says "What a funny, complicated, caring, struggling, warm yet frustrating brother he was". 
So many memories....

We have been pretty much out of contact for... a long, long time.
Not because of any rift. Just because of a great many years of 'drift'. We have both been self-involved and have been working to get through life day by day, in different states. And in those day-by-day distractions and struggles the years quickly can get away from us.

I was the eldest, and he was my first baby brother. I was about 4 when he was born. We were both adopted as babies by a wonderful couple, Lewis Peck and Martha Hoover. And a bit more than a year later, Lew and Martha had our youngest brother, John.

Jim's birth mother had been prescribed methamphetamines for facial neuralgia back in the day when they had little knowledge of that. So this was in his system, in utero, and he was born into a hell of cold-turkey withdrawal as a newborn. 

But Lew and Martha adopted him anyway, knowing that there could be impossible-to-define damage. There was indeed brain damage that resulted in cognitive and behavioral problems. 

They did everything they could to get the best advice and help over the years, and they managed to give him a decent, pretty high-functioning life. They truly loved him. They loved us all. 

I was afraid I had killed him when he was a toddler! We used to play 'timber!!!!!!' in the huge dog enclosure with a 6 ft fence post we could barely hoist up. And he dodged the wrong way.... Luckily, he had a thick skull. Lots of blood in the bathtub, but our outwardly calm mom and some stitches fixed it.

When he was a preteen, we moved to a new house, and the kids got to pick the colors for their room. He chose orange and green. It looked like he was living inside a pumpkin, but he loved it!

When I was a single mom in the 1970's recession, and badly needed a job, he introduced me to a friend of his who was hiring, and I became the straight manager of a neighborhood gay bar. Friendly place. Fish fries with hush puppies on Friday evenings. Limited but tasty lunch menu. And a ton of nice people.  He had some great friends. Because he was a good friend....

He had a good heart. He always had a good heart.
I hope Mom and Dad were there to hug you when you 
arrived, Jim.
I'll be looking for you when I do.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

One Of My Favorite Pictures!

I was adopted shortly after birth, and knew nothing about my biological mother until I was in my 40s, when a half sister tracked me down.  She had also been adopted out. We have been busy since then, researching the family.

The blond toddler on the arm of the chair is my mother.  The adults, my grandparents.  The baby, my Aunt Marjorie.

My mother Rose was a complicated woman with a fascinating life.  She was born in Bangkok.  Her parents and grandparents, and some extended family, were missionaries there.  They were caught up at the beginning of World War II, and were interned in a prison camp when she was around 12 years old.

After they were returned home to the US, more complications....  But she eventually found a kind man who loved her, and raised five wonderful children with him.  Not counting my sister and myself, of course.  But she did right by us, too....

Amazing to find an early picture of my biological mother!  And she looks so much like I did at that age.  And so much like my daughter did then.  One of my favorite pictures, for sure.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Seems Like Such A SMALL Thing....

I found my mother in the 1938 city directory for Cleveland today.

Mrs. Martha J. Peck, clerk, Halle Bros Co.  residence 1982 W 93rd St, Cleveland, Ohio

Such a little thing.  But it felt like a tiny miracle.  This is a such an incredible clue for figuring out a long-standing mystery about my own parents.  A mystery about a series of things I should have asked them about, long before they were gone.  But that didn't happen.  Mea culpa.

In the 1937 directory (complied in 1936) both Lewis Robert Peck and Martha Jane Hoover were living with their parents.  In May of 1937, they married.  I had searched the 1938 directory (compiled in 1937) before.  Cataloging all the related people.  And could not find Lewis.  I somehow overlooked this one entry for Martha.....  [Thanks, Genealogy Do-Over].
I had assumed I would find them together.  Not so.
Everything I had found before was that they married in 1937, and then vanished.....

I knew that Lewis worked in the WPA at some point.  Didn't know if was a more local project or a more distant one.

I knew that Martha worked at Halle Bros. (a big department store) as a file clerk.  Earned $5 a week, a really good wage for the time.  That she had one work dress, and each evening, she would wash out her dress in the sink and iron it for the next day.

In the 'people' portion of the directory, she was listed at that address.  When I went back to the 'street address' portion of the directory, there were two people listed at that address, neither of them her. And I have searched through everyone on that street.  Nothing.  So I feel safe to assume that she was boarding, or renting a room, rather than living in an apartment.

This also tells me that Lewis' WPA project was not local.  Whether his work was in a different part of the same state, of somewhere else in the country, they were not together.

Within months of their marriage, they were separated because of the Depression....

But they were still together, for decades, and are just as 'disappeared' in 1940 and after.
One breadcrumb at a time is just fine!

Moving on....