What is currently on your grocery list? What do you imagine might have been on your great-grandmother’s grocery list?
What do you remember about exchanging Valentine’s Day cards with your classmates? Were your cards home-made or store-bought? Describe how they looked.
This was Memory Prompt #6. Please add the address of your blog to comments below or send an email to where2look4ancestors [at] gmail [dot] com for inclusion in an upcoming blogroll.
How does your family celebrate birthdays? How is this similar to/different from the way you celebrated birthdays as a child?
My childhood birthdays included party hats, cake and ice cream, and games like Pin the Tail on the Donkey and Clothespin Drop. Relatives joined the festivities until we were school-aged when our celebrations grew to two parties - one for family and one for friends.
The next generation started the same way. Away-from-home parties that included the Kiddie Disco, McDonald’s Playland and Chuck E. Cheese began after my children started school. Family celebrations took place on Sunday afternoons when we’d have cake and the birthday girl would open her gifts.
My grandchildren’s at-home parties included games similar to those my children and I played, but with a more creative twist. My oldest daughter in particular would plan everything around the birthday child’s theme. For example, rather than pinning a tail on a donkey, the children would add eyes to a snowman or antenna to a spaceship. A favorite among her creations was a backyard carnival for which the cost was low, but the fun-factor was high.
As my husband and I age, we’re finding our birthday celebrations include more people and more food. Milestones are marked by lunch with these friends and dinner with those. Gifts and best wishes are exchanged over drinks and dessert. I look back over the last 20 or so birthdays and remember very few specific gifts. What stands out are the well-wishers and how blessed I am by those I love.
This was Memory Prompt #5. Please add the address of your blog to comments below or send an email to where2look4ancestors [at] gmail [dot] com for inclusion in an upcoming blogroll.
With which ancestor do you share the most physical characteristics? What similar characteristics are there and how do you feel about them?
I began this quest with a photo of my parents taken in 1956. Searching their faces for specific features that match my sisters’ and mine, I began to wonder where those features originated.
Credit for our jowls can be placed squarely with our Tolf ancestors. The size and shape of our noses would have to be divided between the Tolfs and the Mangels. Thin lips seem to come from the Waltons. The Petersons may be the source of our eye shape and size. Ear shape might be traced to our Clarin ancestors.
Two thoughts occurred to me as I searched for similarities and made note of differences:
1.) I’m deeply grateful for the pictures I have acquired during my genealogical research and
2.) My desire to locate photos of all my direct line ancestors is stronger than ever!
Memory prompt #4 goes on to ask how I feel about these similarities. Funny thing is, I guess I never really thought about it! Not in the multiple generational way the question suggests. I remember looking more closely at my nose when I first read the article about the Mangels’ brothers reunion, but didn’t really connect at a deeper level until today. So perhaps reflections can be a good thing.
I look forward to hearing about the physical similarities between you and your ancestors. Be sure to add your blog information in the comments below and check back next week for Memory Prompt #5.
From the January 26, 1940 edition of the Funkstown Daily Mail; “Mrs. Zora Highbarger, widow of John Highbarger, died at the home of her daughter, Mrs. William King, Woodburg, Baltimore County, on Thursday afternoon, at 2:00 o’clock. She was born and reared in Downsville but has lived in Baltimore for the past 20 years. She was a member of the Zion Reformed Church.
Surviving are: daughters, Mrs. Rena McGill, Washington, D.C., and Mrs. Vernie King, Baltimore, and two grandchildren.
The body will be brought here on Saturday morning at 11:45 o’clock with services at 12:30 o’clock at Funkstown cemetery by the Rev. Scott R Wagner. Friends and relatives will meet at the A.K. Coffman Funeral home at 12:00 o’clock.”
Zora Clarke was born 19 Aug 1857 in Washington County Maryland. According to the 1860 census, she was named Mizuri. She married John Highbarger in Washington County 16 Jul 1879.
Zora is my 2nd great grand aunt, the oldest child of my 3rd great grandparents Morgan H and Susan (Shank) Clarke. Zora has a memorial on Find A Grave. Many thanks to Birdman for the photo of Zora’s headstone.
Were your parents or grandparents politically active? What is your first political memory?
Our class held mock elections, following the campaign on TV and in the newspapers. Most of my classmates were Nixon fans, presumably because their parents were followers of the Republican candidate.
My parents wouldn’t tell me who they wanted to see in the White House. I parroted the idea of a secret ballot at school despite Mrs. X’s preference for me to publicly choose a candidate and campaign for him. You probably already know how the 1968 presidential election turned out.
Despite several decades and many political discussions, I don’t know how my dad voted in any election. And I still keep my votes to myself.
Have a political experience in your family history? Leave a comment below and/or post on your blog with the tag 52 Memory Prompts.
Memory prompt #4 will be posted January 27th. Stay tuned!
What indoor games did you play as a child? How do they differ from the games your children or grandchildren play? What do you know about the games your grandparents played as children?
“Memory, perishable and enduring, is the brain’s archive. It is a marvel of neuronic circuitry, as Joshua Foer explains… It is through memory that we hold on to those we love.” 
Whether you blog to share stories with your children or grandchildren, to record the past for future generations, or you simply journal to recall some of your fondest memories, I hope you’ll find my 52 Memory Prompts  helpful.
If you post in response to this theme, please use the tag 52 Memory Prompts to be included in upcoming Roll Calls.
Board games I remember from my childhood include Candy Land, Life and Mystery Date, but I spent lots of time coloring. I liked to outline everything and always stayed inside the lines. (Pretty boring, right?) We had a ping-pong table in the basement for a while which I loved. (That training comes in handy when I compete with my husband on the Wii.) I had an Etch-a-Sketch, a Barrel of Monkeys, a Chatty Cathy doll and lots of Barbies (remember Midge and Skipper?).
My daughters didn’t really care for Barbie, preferring Strawberry Shortcake and Cabbage Patch dolls instead. We played a number of board games when they were younger including Candyland, Clue, Hungry Hippos, Monopoly, Operation, Sorry and Trivial Pursuit. Many of these games were still around when the grandkids were little and I enjoyed their enjoyment of the old classics.
Now it seems most indoor games for kids involve use of the computer or TV.
I don’t recall any of my grandparents talking about the games they played inside as kids. I vaguely remember my paternal grandparents playing cards as adults, but I don’t know what card games they enjoyed.
 Excerpt from the Editor’s Note, page 4 of the November 2007 issue of National Geographic.
 I composed 52 Memory Prompts in 2012 for use as blog post generators in 2013. Memory Prompt #1 (unpublished) was “What goals or resolutions have you set for the New Year? How are they similar to or different from goals you’ve set in the past?” Memory Prompt #3 will be posted January 20th.
How many names are in your tree? How far back have you gone?
If you’ve ever told anybody that you are climbing your family tree, chances are you’ve heard these questions more than once.
The answer I’d like to give? Ugh. Why?
Because I’m not a collector of names and dates; I collect stories. Some of those stories revolve around one person and take many moons to uncover. No points for quantity here. But bringing one of my ancestors to life? Priceless.
Time travel? I have different answers for different lines. I recently located records for Boulay, Moselle, France for the year 1617. Locating my Schmitts in those records will be cool, partly because Latin is unchartered territory for me. My Tolfs can be located back to 1691; there are extant records for the Swedish parishes in Jönköpings län where they lived. The Carlsons might appear in the Börstil and Östhammar records for 1634. These lines take a long time to follow because I trace more than my direct line ancestors. Since I employ cluster genealogy, I also learn about the relatives of each ancestor.
In the case of my Swiss Muellers, I’m stuck at 1874, the year in which my 2nd great-grandfather Jacob Mueller was married. His not-unusual last name and residence in the Chicago metropolis make tracing him a bit challenging. Swiss records (like French records) are kept at the town level. Before Jacob and I can cross the pond, I need to find a clue (any clue!) pointing to his Heimatort.
Oddly shaped pieces in the big puzzle catch my attention. Repetition among names, occupations, and causes of death pique my interest. I’m climbing my family tree because of the things I learn along the way; history, religion, geography, language, and of course, the story of my family. Those things are more important to me than the number of people in my tree or the date on my oldest record.
Why are you climbing your family tree?
From the Daily Mail, Hagerstown Maryland, Friday January 21, 1876; “On the 11th inst., at Downsville, MORGAN EDGAR, son of Morgan and Susan Clark, aged 2 years and 6 months. Its remains were interred in Funkstown.”
Morgan has a memorial on Find A Grave.
Kevin over at Nitty Gritty Dirt Man nominated me for the Liebster Blog Award. Since Kevin’s blog is one I faithfully read and enjoy, this was an especially wonderful moment in the short history of my humble little blog. Thank you Kevin for making me feel special on a day I believed I was lost in the crowd. I encourage you to visit the Nitty Gritty Dirt Man where you’ll find delightful humor rooted among helpful gardening tips and uplifting words of wisdom.
As a Liebster Blog Award winner, I’m to share 11 facts about myself chosen by my nominator:
1.) My favorite time of day is early morning. Husband and I enjoy a leisurely chat over a cup (okay, two or three cups) of coffee. After a 10-Minute Solution workout and a shower, our conversation resumes until it’s time to join no less than a million other commuters on the same strip of highway.
2.) Despite occasional evidence to the contrary, my passion is organizing. I dearly love a tidy home and an orderly schedule. Apparently I received this “gift” early in life. When I was three, my parents had to replace a toilet I had tried to clean with a comb.
3.) Ah, high school. My choices were questionable and the group with which I socialized even more so.
4.) Most of my blog posts were written on my laptop sitting in my family room. My seating choices are varied and plentiful and there is a television in the room. I’ve tried to write outside when the weather permits, but there are far too many distractions.
5.) The sound of babies laughing always make me laugh. It is the best sound in the world.
6.) Talent on TV? Oh please. Viewers wouldn’t be able to change the channel fast enough.
7.) Daisies are hands-down the happiest flowers.
8.) I listen to books more often than I read them. Audio books helped me reframe a “terrible commute” into “story hour”. At the moment I’m listening to To Kill a Mockingbird because my grandson just finished it. Recent reads that made an impression on me were The Help by Kathryn Stockett, Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen and Killing Lincoln: The Shocking Assassination that Changed America Forever by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard.
9.) Brussels sprouts. Eee-yuck.
10.) Ooh, rainy winter day possibilities are endless! There are searches on Ancestry.com and FamilySearch.org, memorials to create for FindAGrave.com, faux family history pages to scrapbook, new healthy recipes to try, photos to scan, patterns to sew, and seed catalogs to peruse.
11.) I have always admired Abraham Lincoln. He may not be a celebrity but I would love to hear his thoughts on the “progress” we’ve made since he issued the Emancipation Proclamation.
Next up are my nominations for the Liebster Award:
1.) Are My Roots Showing is written by a friend – a fantastic and funny woman who is climbing her family tree and having other adventures along the way.
2.) Another genealogy-related blog I enjoy is The Armchair Genealogist.
3.) Mostly Bright Ideas is just that and written with mostly humor to boot. Often causes me to reflect. Always encourages me to think.
4.) After discovering I had French ancestry, I found The French Genealogy Blog. The author now lives in France and shares her close encounters with nearby repositories. But that’s just the tip of the eclair; Anne has many words of wisdom worth reading.
5.) The Legal Genealogist encourages better analysis of my research finds which in turn makes me a better researcher.
6.) My research often begged the question Who Knew? Debi’s is a fun blog devoted to the answers to that question.
7.) I love to sew, but have a life that takes me far away from my sewing machine. I love the humorous slant on that situation as described by Debbie at Stitches and Seams. Some of her comments keep me in stitches.
8.) More sewing stories and tons of creative craft ideas abound at Craftiness is Not Optional.
9.) As part of my new healthier lifestyle, I’ve been following Dr. Weil. I encourage you to visit his Daily Health Tips blog and I especially encourage you to watch his videos. He gears much advice toward a mature audience, but who couldn’t benefit from a healthier lifestyle?
10.) Want melt-in-your-mouth food that is actually good for you? You should meet Ashley at Edible Perspectives and see her food photographs. Just try not to drool on them.
11.) A blog that’s just right for this time in my life is Tiny Buddha. Lori shares some of the struggles we all encounter and provides insights from a learning-to-be-positive perspective.
Lastly the 11 questions I pose to my nominees:
1.) What is your favorite saying and where did you first hear it?
2.) Do you remember your first dress-up occasion? What did you wear and why?
3.) Have you been affected by a natural disaster? What was your experience?
4.) What do you see when you look out your kitchen window?
5.) Are you more comfortable speaking or writing and why?
6.) What did your childhood home look like?
7.) Were you ever fired or laid-off? How did you deal with that situation?
8.) Do you enjoy your birthdays or do you lament the passing of time?
9.) Which is your favorite holiday and why?
10.) Growing up, what your favorite television or radio show?
11.) Different times of life are satisfying for different reasons; which has been the most satisfying for you and why?
Now I must tell my nominees of their nominations. I hope you’ll settle in a comfy chair and visit the 11 blogs listed above. Happy reading!
- 52 Memory Prompts
- Army Pictures
- Batavia Illinois
- Cincinnati Ohio
- Find A Grave
- Follow Friday
- Genealogical Organizations