Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

Houston Zoo Aquarium Tube

Here, fishy, fishy, fishy...

Joel emailed a dozen photos he took of Zoe this afternoon crawling through the aquarium tube at the zoo. He thought maybe I could try animating them. The frames aren’t quite perfectly aligned, but this was a fun “assignment.” 🙂

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Silent Scream

Fifty? Are you kidding? I demand a recount!

Ready for the Next Fifty

Fifty is Nifty

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Since I recreated a six generation photo montage for male descendants in my dad’s family several weeks ago, he asked me to try to come up with something similar for the girls in the family. There weren’t as many photos of the women in his family, at least not in the same line of descent, but I am lucky enough to have six generations of women’s photos from my mom’s family, including my daughters and me. The oldest photo, of my 2nd great-grandmother Emma, turned out fairly well considering the condition it was in, but as I brought the photo to life with  digital colorization, I was taken with her uncanny resemblance to myself — almost as much resemblance as Dad had to his 2nd great-grandfather!

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Happy birthday, Zoe!

Happy birthday, Zoe!

Happy Valentine’s Day and much love to everyone, and a very happy Valentine’s Day birthday to my granddaughter, Zoe who is two years old today! Matthew celebrated his 20th birthday yesterday, too. Birthday, after birthday, after birthday… such is February in our family. 🙂

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Happy Birthday

Raymond Prentis

Raymond Prentis

This photo was originally colorized, but terribly faded after many years. I restored the colorization in honor of Dad’s 79th birthday. Happy birthday, Dad!

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My great-granddad Stephens had uncles Henry and Samuel who left Iowa and went to California during the gold rush days. Apparently they didn’t have much contact with those back home, but I’ve recently been in touch with a couple of their descendants via email after I posted some information about the family on Ancestry.com message boards.

From our correspondence, I learned that Samuel’s daughter Mary Sophia married John Quincy Will and they had a son named Glenn Efrom Will. Glenn was a cowboy and bronco buster who performed in the California state fair during the 1920s and maybe later. One of Samuel’s descendants, the wife of one of Glenn’s grandnephews, sent me the following story that I thought was interesting:

In August 1952, Glenn decided he wanted to visit Tombstone, Arizona and wrote the following addressed to the Tombstone Postmaster:

August 14-52

Postmaster, Tumbstone, Ars.

Dear Sir:

Just a line to ask a favor, and I hope you have time to grant. I am wondering if this is the Tumbstone town where the rich silver mines were and the water drowned them and before it did water was sold for a dollar a glass. I have heard some tails that roor a Tumbstone town that it hapened that way.

I wish you would rite and let know if this town of yourn is that town if it is I will pay you a visit in the spring of 1953 as I like to visit old mining Camps if this is the place I wihs you wood give me some data about it. Thanking you in return for any favors shone me I remain your friend. I am enclosing one of my Photoes ana wood thank you for one of yourn.

Glenn Efrom Will
1130 Curtis Street
Albany, Calif.

The Postmaster didn’t know what to do with the letter and eventually sent it to the Chamber of Commerce. They replied, sending Mr. Will a brochure with some information about the town. Pretty soon they received another letter, this one even stranger:

Just a line to let you no your nice letter was gladly received and I was more than glad to here from you and the infermation it contained. I wood say the Chamber of Commerce are doind a good job, working for the good of soiety in lotting the worald no of the wonderful sun shine and altude they have. I Bronco Bill and the Rodeo Kid think that Dr. Sun lies a wonderful healing power it works it cures through the skin as an grate tonic and helth builder. It increses the activity of the mind. It strengthens the power of the Will. It quiets the nervis system. It studies the muscular action of the body and its warm glowing rays southes and relieves paine.

How far is it to a producing oil field. The only Cowboy that could shoot a horse fly on the wing and the inventor of western moves was Bronco Bill. Thanking you for an early reply.

‘Bronco Bill’, Curtis St. Albany, Calif.

May the Chamber of Commerce life be long and happy and may they build a bigger and better Tumbstone before they say their through. And I sincerely wish the best of everything to you Bronco Bill Bids them all a do.

That was the last letter they received from Mr. Will, a.k.a Bronco Bill, and they forgot about him until March 19, 1953 when the Railway Express Agency called them to say they had a package waiting with $1.92 postage due.

Edna Landin, the Chamber of Commerce President, went to pick up the mystery package. It was an urn from the Oakland California Crematorium, with a permit attached reading “Removal Permit For The Cremated Remains of Glenn Will, A La ‘Bronco Bill’, for interment of said remains in Boothill Cemetery, Tombstone, Arizona.”

They eventually tracked down Will’s son (the Rodeo Kid mentioned in the second letter) and asked him why he had sent them his father’s ashes, to which he replied: “Well, he planned on going there long about this time so I just sent ‘im.” They then asked why he had sent him C.O.D. His answer was, “I didn’t have no money.” When they asked what he wanted them to do with the remains, he said, “He was a Donker and my mother was a hard shell Baptist. Do what you will with ‘im. He wanted to go to Tombstone so bury ‘im or put ‘im on a shelf. Won’t make no difference to ‘im now.“

Though the circumstances were quite unusual even for Tombstone, arrangements were made for interment at Boothill on March 27, 1953. The Hubbard Mortuary of Bisbee took charge of the services without charge. Tombstone’s Mayor was an honorary pallbearer. The Rose Tree Museum provided white roses from the largest rose tree in the world. A number of Tombstone’s senior citizens appeared for the services which were conducted by Reverend William Baker, Minister of Tombstone’s First Baptist Church.

Bronco Bill came back to Tombstone to spend eternity. His grave in Boot Hill is marked with a plaque that reads:

1871 Glenn Will 1953

After his burial the city council announced that burials at Boothill would henceforth be prohibited as Boothill had actually closed since 1883, when it was declared “full up.”

Glenn Will, alias “Bronco Bill” was the last person to be planted in Boothill.

NOTE: The year of his birth is incorrect on his grave, as he was born in Bangor, Butte, California on April 20, 1881, not 1871.

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Zoe certainly makes Skyping fun!

Skyping with Zoe and Joel

Skyping with Zoe and Joel

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There are so many opportunities for names to be, not just misspelled, but completely butchered. What a mess as far as researching family lines goes! Too bad they didn’t have computers “back then.”

I’ve been researching my family for forty years and have found some errors that leave me wondering about the common sense of record keepers, census takers, and the original transcribers — and some leave me laughing.

My 2nd great-grandfather’s name, Xavier Thomas Prentis, was transcribed from the 1850 census as Havier Runtz! I kid you not. No wonder it took so long for me to find it. The name of his widowed mother, above his, was correctly transcribed as Mary Prentis. Ten years later, the 1860 census was transcribed correctly — but his name is incorrect on the original as Exavier Prentiss, handwritten with the long s: Prentiſs.  In 1870, it’s transcribed as Xame Prentiss, again handwritten as Prentiſs, but reads Xavier on the original. According to my family, he typically used only the initials, X. T., and no wonder! Also living with them in 1850 and 1860 was Mary’s unmarried, older sister. In 1850, she was Philona R. Edwards. In 1860, she is Philora. (Was it Philona or Philora?) On the Iowa WPA Graves Registration site, Xavier’s name is recorded as Xaviert Prontis! and on Findagrave.com, his name was Xavier T. Prentice (until my correction was accepted), while his actual headstone is correct according to my father. (Edit: Thanks to a volunteer photographer, this can now be verified). Even his name in his obituary printed in the 1884 Ringgold Record was misspelled (and while the year of death in the obituary is 1884, by golly if the year doesn’t appear to be 1885 on the headstone photo). Transcribers for WGA blessed my great-grandfather with the Prontis alias, too, and in the 1870 census, he was Elizier E. Prentiſs.

Xavier Thomas Prentis

Xavier Thomas Prentis

My grandfather, with the same name as his grandfather — except he didn’t know it for about 40 or 45 years — used only the initials, even as a child.  Oh, he knew he was named for his grandfather, but he apparently thought his grandfather’s name was only X. T. too. Anyway, in several census records, all handwritten correctly if you look at the actual documents, Granddad’s name is transcribed incorrectly as A.T.  Prentice, K.T. Prentis, and N.T. Prentis.  Only in the social security death index is he X. Prentis. If I hadn’t known the names of others in the family, I would probably still be looking for those records.

Besides errors like those — and the fact that there have been three predominant variations of my maiden name in this country since the 1600s (PRENTIS, PRENTISS, and PRENTICE — all here at that time believed to be somehow related to one another), there were also a few “creative” variations with extra t’s, s’s, or e’s thrown in here and there for about the first hundred years  in America (PRENTIES, PRENTTIES, PRENTS and others — possibly even some colonial familes called PARENTS and PRINCE may be related too).  Prior to 1600 in England there were yet more variations of the name with z’s instead of s’s (PRENTZ, PRENTIZ, PRINTZ), etc.

Before my great grandfather, who complicated matters more with the spelling of his first name (was it Glasier or Glazier?), the spelling of our surname varied even within generations, or in one instance between husband and wife! The headstones of my 7th-great granduncle and his wife, side by side, show two different spellings of the couple’s last name.  Yes, really. Their children’s and grandchildren’s headstones in the same cemetery show other variations, as do those of other relatives. Many of these were educators, doctors, businessmen, community leaders and politicians, so it wasn’t a case of uneducated people misspelling their own names.

Capt. Jonathan Prentties, 1657-1727

Capt. Jonathan Prentties, 1657-1727

Elisabeth Latimer Prentis, 1667-1759

Elisabeth Latimer Prentis, 1667-1759

Names in church and parish records weren’t always recorded correctly, or spellings sometimes changed depending on who entered them — a name on a birth record may be spelled differently on a marriage or death record. The same minister could have even written it different ways at different times. Further complications arose with errors on deeds and military records and when typesetters for newspapers made mistakes in obituaries.  I’ve even seen records with the names in the body of the document reading Prentiss and/or Prentice, then signed Prentis — or vice versa. That’s not even accounting for nicknames or being called only by initials or a middle name rather than a given name, or the delivering physician (who happened to be an uncle) filling out a name on a birth certificate incorrectly — and forgetting to correct it — then realizing 40-some years later when you lose a bet because the birth certificate you thought didn’t exist does, and you “suddenly” have a full name by which you’ve never been called.*

I’m not even going to get started with the TENNANT, TENANT, TENNENT fiasco… yet.

One thing after another, and something as simple as a name can get pretty complicated!

* Granddad was always “just X” or “just X. T.” and didn’t know he had any name but the initials until when serving in the Iowa Senate, a news reporter asked his full name. Like the many other times he’d been asked, he told the man his name was  “just X. T.” The reporter bet him that he had a full name on his birth certificate, but Granddad didn’t think he had one of those either. The reporter had done his homework and had either already found a copy, or then went and searched for it, but a birth certificate bearing a full name of Xavier Thomas Prentis was produced. Apparently when he was born, his uncle Percy was the doctor who delivered him, and when he asked what name he should write in the register, my great grandfather told his brother to “name him after Dad.” “Uncle Doc” wrote down the full name of his father, Xavier Thomas Prentis, but Granddad was only ever referred to thereafter as X. T.  On all other official (and correctly transcribed) records — besides his birth certificate, apparently —  he was “just X. T.”

Six Generations

Six Generations

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I wish we could do what they do in Katroo. They sure know how to say “Happy Birthday to You!”
Happy Birthday, Ali!

Happy Birthday, Ali!

You’re nineteen today. I can hardly believe it! The year you were born, we were planning a move to Knoxville, Tennessee. My, how things change! Now you’re all grown up and going to school too far away. While watching Sesame Street today with Zoe, the word of the day was “amazing.” Ali, darling, YOU are amazing. 🙂

We’ll be seeing you soon to celebrate!

Much love from all of us!

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Happy Birthday, Tim!

I love you!

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