21 December 2010

Floor Plans - The Albea Family

     This is part of an on-going series about the homes of my family and ancestors. Today's house was owned by my maternal grandparents, Roy and Betty (Huyler) Albea.  Located on Larkspur Terrace in Decatur, DeKalb, Georgia, this is the house where I attended weekly Sunday dinners during my childhood.  I believe the family moved to this house in 1963. According to Zillow.com, the house sits on 43,560 feet and was built in 1957.

     The house wasn't quite big enough for a family of eight and, according to my mom, her parents slept on a fold-out couch in the living room for a while. In old photos I can see that the living room used to have plain white walls, but I always knew them to have wood paneling. There also used to be a door on the back wall of the living room that lead directly to the kitchen, but it was walled up at some point, well before I was born. My grandmother began to collect VHS movies for all the grandkids and had perhaps 200. My cousins and I would spend a lot of time in what used to be my mom's bedroom watching movies.  The backyard had a fence around it and we were allowed to play there with the two dogs, Putty and Caesar. My grandmother had a somewhat elaborate garden in the back, righthand side of her yard that included a banana tree; other flowers were arranged throughout the front and back yards. On Easter we had egg hunts in the front yard - adults vs kids. No hiding eggs in the sticky bush (yukka plant)!

     Here's the floor plan that I drew from memory, which mom assures me is very accurate:

Albea Family House

20 December 2010

Organizing with Thoughtboxes

     Yesterday, my sister sent me a link to a new site that she thought I might like: ThoughtBoxes (www.thoughtbox.es). This website describes itself as "a simple tool that helps to organize your thoughts so you can make things happen" where, "You can keep track of just about anything, and share your thoughts with friends." After only using this website for less than an hour, I really like it.

     I signed up for the free account, which allows you to create two "trains of thought" (the paid version cost $25 and is unlimited). Within your "trains of thought" you create "boxes" and within those you create "thoughts." Pretty much, you're creating bulleted lists. I've just started to create one about a genealogy research trip I'm planning for this spring. You can click here to see it, or view the screenshot bellow:

     All of the boxes and thoughts can be edited or moved at any time. So if I wanted my Things to Take box to be in the left hand column, I could move it there. If I wanted to move St Michael's Church to the top of the Lexington County box, I could.  And, when I've completed the item, I can simply click the checkmark by each thought to indicate that it's complete.

     A great feature on this site is the ability to share my trains of thought. If you click on the link above, you'll be able to see the list, though you cannot edit it. And I can privatize individual boxes, while still sharing the majority of the train of thought.

     Now, this website is very new; according to their facebook page they went live on Dec 16th. I hope that as the site matures more features will be added. This is a great idea, but it's very basic right now. As it is, I don't see any reason to pay $25 a year for this site. However, if they added some of the following features, I'd highly consider it:
  • Another Level of Thought. For example: above I have the Lexington County Library as a thought in my Places: Lexington County box. I would love to be able to add multiple thoughts under the library, such as an address and books I intend to look for. Maybe this level could be called details? I really think this is a necessary addition.
  • More Characters. Right now there is a limit to how many characters you can type for the title of a train of thought or a box. I'd love to see this expanded.
  • More Information. I'd love to be able to add a description or summery to each train of thought that wouldn't have to go into a box. This would sit right under the title of each train of thought.
  • More Creativity. I'd love to be able to choose from a wider variety of colors or images when designing each train of thought. Right now I can't even upload my own avatar, let alone individual avatars for each train of thought or box. And could I pick my own background color or fonts?
    • Updated: I discovered that I can add a photo to a thought using basic html code (img src="address"):
  • More Socializing. I'd like to see multiple levels of shared lists. It would be nice if I could co-create a list with others and have anther option where people could add comments to my list. Also, team up with facebook and twitter so that I can share my thoughts with friends. Can I add photos from Flickr or Picasa? Maps from Google?
     Even without these improvements, I think the folks behind Thoughtbox have a great idea. I'll continue to work on my trip itinerary and hope to see the site flourish in the future. 

Interviewing the Aunts, Pt 2

     A little bit ago, I talked with my aunts June and Charlotte and asked them questions about the family and their childhood. In the following video they talk about their family in Elbert County, their grandparent's home and my Aunt Charlotte recalls when the family survived a tornado.

18 December 2010

Replacement WWII Medals

     My grandfather, Thomas Craft, did not want to fight in World War Two. At 25 years old he was married with two children and a farm. He tried to avoid service because his crop was due to come in soon, but was drafted in the end. On 31 Jul 1945 he was enlisted into Cannon Company, 7th Infantry, 3rd Infantry Division at FT McPherson, GA, and served as a Truck Driver Light in Germany. Lucky for my grandfather, he came late to the war and was quickly home again, not quite one year later. Unlucky for him and his family, his crops were stollen while he was away.

    When I first started researching my grandfather's WWII service, I requested his free service records from the National Archives. I received back his separation paperwork, which listed all sorts of information. Included in the document was the fact that his "decorations and citations"were "World War 2 Victory Medal, Occupation Ribbon (Germany)" and that he had a "Lapel Button Issued." I asked my dad and my aunts about these items, but no one knew anything about them.

     I started doing some more research and discovered that these (lost?) awards could be replaced. I followed the instructions on the National Archives website and very easily ordered the awards (again, for free). They arrived in the mail yesterday.

     My grandfather's medals include: World War II Victory Medal, Army of Occupation Medal & Germany Clasp, Honorable Service Lapel Button WWII, and Marksman Badge & Rifle Bar.

14 December 2010

Family Tree Magazine Top 40 Blogs

     Yesterday, Family Tree Magazine announced nominations for their Top 40 best Genealogy Blogs awards. I was honestly quite surprised to see this blog nominated in the "My Family History" category. To whoever it was that nominated me: thanks so much! I personally nominated a few other blogs and am happy to see them listed as well.

     Voting is now open and runs through December 20th, with no limits. Before voting, check out the list at Geneabloggers, which provides a link to each blog. There are a number of blogs listed that I had not heard of, but which will probably end up in my blog reader by the end of the day.

13 December 2010

Ollie's Baby

     Dad's favorite aunt was his mother's sister, Ollie Britt. She married Joe Funston, a veteran, and is buried next to her father at the Melwood Cemetery in Stone Mountain, DeKalb, Georgia. Ollie spent a lot of time with her sister's children and died when she was 42.

Ollie Britt     When I found her mother's obituary, I soon had some questions about Ollie. The obit listed Ollie as "Mrs. Borowiski," a name I had never heard of.  I asked Dad if he knew anything about other marriages, but he didn't. Then, I asked my Aunts. To my surprise, I learned that Ollie had been married not once, but three times and had once had a child! Not much was known about the child and I became very interested in finding out who he had been. My Aunt June said,

"Ollie was married to a McGee when she had Bobby... I think he is buried in the same cemetery as Grandma Ledora" and in a different conversation, "She was married and had the baby. And then she married that guy that was in the service, I think. And then she married Joe. She never remarried after Joe."
     And Aunt Charlotte said,
"Yes. We found the obituary. Because we didn't know the name either. But he was, I think, a little bit older than me, maybe a year or less older than me. And he died soon after birth. And I remember Mama sayin' in later years, she thought he had leukemia... or somethin'. There was somethin' wrong with his blood."
     From these statements I was able to piece together that a baby boy named Bobby had been born about 1940 with a surname of McGee. But I hadn't been able to uncover more. And today when I checked my email I found that Aunt Charlotte had found the obituary and sent it to me.

Britt / McGee Baby - Obituary

     From this obituary, I now have a full name for the baby, a name for his father and paternal grandfather, as well as a place of death. Part of the reason that I had not been able to find a death record was that I was looking in the wrong place! Ollie and her family lived in Emanuel County, but the baby died in nearby Chatham County (probably the closest hospital). 

    With all of the information I now have, I have been able to locate a death record, that I believe is correct, for two month old Bobbie McGee that died on 24 May 1939 in Chatham. Unfortunately, I have not located a burial record for the baby in Hawhammock, which has been well indexed online. But considering Ollie would have been only 15 when her baby died, I find it very likely that she was not able to purchase a headstone for him. 

     Now I really want to send off for a death certificate for the baby. For some reason, I am very interested in this young baby's life and want to know as much as I can. 

09 December 2010

He Got it From the Catalogue

     About a week ago, Ancestry.com released their Sears Catalogue collection. This collection consists of mailers and catalogues from 1896-1993. Honestly, I haven't been too excited about this collection. It doesn't really offer any genealogical information and can't help me with my research. My initial thought upon seeing this collection announced was, 'I hope they didn't pass up another collection to add this!'

     After thinking about it a little more though, I can see that while this collection doesn't fall into the Genealogist category, it does fit into the Family Historian category. How many times have I heard my dad talk about ordering items out of this catalogue? He started working for his dad's sanitation company when he was 13. With his paychecks, he would order items from the Sears catalogue. So I had him describe some of the things he bought and I found them in this collection.

     The radio (1969):

     The camera (1968):

A Photo Taken with the Camera:
craft: greg - 4 jul 1971

04 December 2010

Betsy, In Memoriam

     All children want a pet, usually a dog. They beg their parents and promise to always walk, feed, and otherwise take care of the hoped for animal. My siblings and I were no different, and, eventually, we succeeded in convincing our parents to let us have a dog. A friend of my mom's from work found a puppy in her flowerbed one day. After a short while she decided that she couldn't keep her, and started to try and find her a home.

     Our mom brought home an adorable black and white puppy with floppy ears named Betsy.  She was a mix of beagle and spaniel and, aside from a problem with chewing on things, was extremely well behaved. When she was very young she was crated at night and I remember our mom letting her into our room in the morning to jump on us to wake us up. She was full of energy and would treat the house like a race trace, running in circles through the living and dining rooms. About a year later Betsy adjusted to a new puppy being brought into the family, Trixie. However, Betsy would still often be referred to as the "best dog in the world" (Trixie being resistant to training).

     Over the years Betsy has had a few health problems, from allergies that caused her to chew on her feet to problems with her ears. About six months ago, she began to have problems with her back legs and difficulty walking. The vet said that she had rather severe arthritis in her back and hips. She was placed on some pain medication but otherwise was doing ok. Over the past week however, her condition worsened. She spent most of her days laying around the house, often yelping for attention. She was constantly agitated and I would sit and pet her until she fell asleep. She developed a sore on her side that was somewhat severe and that the vet felt would not fully heal without surgery, which wasn't an option for an almost 14 year old dog. Yesterday we made the heartbreaking decision to free her from her pain and say goodbye.  I spent much of the day crying and find myself crying again as a right this. I know we did what was right for Betsy, but it's been a very painful experience. Despite the pain, we know that Betsy had a very happy life and brought joy to us all.


Related Posts with Thumbnails