Sunday, May 28, 2017

Memorial Day

Memorial Day...does anyone know why this holiday is celebrated?

It is a day to celebrate the men and women who gave their lives in the service of the U.S. military.

I have been told that it began after the Civil War. I don't know if that was true or not, but I do know that in many families there has been a long tradition of honoring the final resting place of these brave people.

I have been told by one of my Pearce relatives, that it used to be tradition for their families members to get together and head to the Pearce cemetery.  My maternal grandfather was not in the military, and my mother had not been a part of these outings.  However, one of her cousins told me that they would do this to help maintain these small cemeteries, as many of them did not have a regular groundskeeper in those days.

They would take care of the area surrounding each gravestone, and leave flowers near the stone.  Flags would be placed near the veterans' gravestones.

If the whole family came together on one day, it was much easier to maintain the whole cemetery. As the children helped, the tradition was passed on to the next generation.

I am afraid to say that I live quite a ways from this small family cemetery. Although I have been there a couple of times, I have not visited near Memorial Day.  I am not sure if anyone is still maintaining this tradition in the Pearce family at this time.

However, I would like to know if any of you have any stories of the family spending the day at the cemetery, honoring our fallen. Have you been a part of this tradition yourself?

Tell me about your Memorial Day stories and memories. How has your family honored our fallen heroes?

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Those Darn County Lines!

Great-great Grandpa Thomas Hillman

Location, location, location!

They always tell us how important it is, but it takes on a whole new meaning to genealogists.

All my life, I knew that my great-grandmother, Carrie, grew up in Moores Hill, Indiana. It is a little town on the west side of Dearborn County.

But, It was very perplexing to me that it was hard to find Carrie, and her family, on census records.

So, I decided to put my sleigh cap on, and do some detective work.

I started with the most recent census records that I could find under her parents' names, Thomas and Anna Hillman. So, I began with the 1920 census. I found them almost immediately within the town of Moores Hill.

This was an excellent beginning, but I knew it was only the beginning.  Thomas and Anna were much older. Carrie and most of her siblings were married, or at the least, already adults. I still understood that she had grown up in Moores Hill.

So, onwards to 1910.

Nowhere to be found in Dearborn County. I then decided to leave the county off of the search filters.

Bingo!! Found them...But right over the county line in Ripley County. Not only that, but I also found him there in 1900, 1870 and 1860.

Which means...? The most exciting part for me...

Breaking through a brick wall that has been there forever. I had a first name with a question mark for his father's name. Now, I had mother, father and brothers.

Moral of this story...If you have a brick wall, you might want to look in the neighboring areas. In some places, just living across the road could mean that you live in a different county as your neighbor.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Thomas and Anna: Through the Years

     Growing up in a world where we are photographed from Day One, it is hard for many of us to fathom a time when our families had no pictures at all.  For many of my ancestors, I am sorry to say that this is generally the case.

     But not for Thomas and Anna (Moore) Hillman...just check out all of these photos I have for a couple married in 1881. 

     The first picture was taken in the early 1880's.  Between talking to relatives, and some detective work of my own, it has been guessed at being taken very close to their wedding. It is encased in a wooden frame with gold leaf trim. My grandmother kept it hung at her house, and I have now been given possession of this wonderful keepsake. 

Thomas and Anna:  the Early Years
     Many of you have seen this next photo in a previous post.  It was taken circa 1899,  when my grandmother's Aunt Edna was still just a baby.  My Great-grandma Carrie is the oldest, and she was born in 1882.  I have been told that it was taken in their yard in Dearborn County, Indiana.  I was privileged to be able to spend time with my great-grandmother, and one of her sisters, before they passed away.

Thomas and Anna: the Turn of the Century

     I would love to have seen photos from the time period between the last one and these below. I know that Thomas passed away in 1920, and Anna in 1932. Judging by the aging between the previous photo and these, I would assume these might have been taken in the last few years before his death in January 1920.

     You can tell that the years had taken a toll on the two of them. Their son, George,  had spent three years in Europe, as part of the Rainbow Division in World War I. One if the daughters,  Lillian, had past away in 1918 in the flu epidemic. 
Thomas: the Later Years

Anna: the Later Years

     I am forever grateful for the advent of photography. My Grandma, and my Great-grandma, were good Christian woman that I cherish with all my heart. This couple shaped their daughter, and granddaughter, into the wonderful women that I knew and loved. To have these photographs that bring this precious couple to life are priceless! 

Tell me about some of your most prized old photographs! I would love to hear your stories!