"If you can't get rid of the family skeleton, you may as well make it dance"
-George Bernard Shaw

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday

John N. Courtade
b. 31 Mar 1863 Eagle Harbor, Keweenaw County, Michigan
m. Luella Adisa Schlosser 16 June 1890
d. 1 May 1944 East Bay Township, Grand Traverse County, Michigan
buried 4 May 1944 Oakwood Catholic Cemetery, Traverse City, Grand Traverse County, Michigan

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday

Dorothy Louise Pierce Fant
b. 25 Mar 1922 Canada
m. Leslie John Fant 19 Sept 1948 
d. 21 Mar 2005 Bellaire, Antrim County, Michigan
buried Ottawa Park Cemetery, Clarkston, Michigan

Monday, March 21, 2011

Fearless Females March 21:

Describe a tender moment one of your female ancestors shared with you or another family member.
Today's prompt was a little more difficult for me.  So  I choose this photo:
This is my grandma.  The baby on her lap is me and the one on the floor is my cousin, Scott. 

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Fearless Females March 20: Brickwall

Is there a female ancestor who is your brick wall? Why? List possible sources for finding more information.

Today's entry is an easy one.  And is no secret.  My brickwall would be Emily (Tennyson) Fitzgerald.  First of all lets start with what I do know.   Emily (and her husband John) are my immigrant ancestors from Ireland.  Emily may have been born in England though.  Sometimes on the Census it states she was born in England, so metimes it says Ireland.  There is a family story that has been passed down that she was the niece of Alfred Tennyson and he sent her to the United States with her nanny after her father died to steal her inheritance.  Although the story is pretty unlikely given Emily's aprox birthdate and Tennyson's brother's birthdates.  My most recent breakthrough was Emily's oldest son's obituary that states she was Tennyson's sister.  As far as I can tell from my research, she is not.  Tennyson's sister Emily never left England and married a man named Richard Jesse.  I once read that Tennyson's father had children by mistresses, but I cannot confirm that information, my theory is that Emily may be a half sister.
So the search continues.  I have contacted one of the catholic churches in Columbia County, PA and am awaiting to hear from them if they have additional information on Emily and John and/or their children.  I know where John is buried, but have not heard back from the Cemetery with my request for more information if it is available.  My family and I are planning a research trip to the area of Pennsylvania to follow up on research leads and visit the cemeteries and other places of importance in the family's lives. 

Saturday, March 19, 2011

One Lovely Blog Award

What an honor to be awarded and award by a fellow blogger!  I am honored to be given the One Lovely Blog award by Donna Jane who authors the blog Hanging from the Family Tree.
So for my part of the award:
Accept the award, post it on your blog together with the name of the person who granted the award and their blog link.

Pass the award on to 15 other blogs that you've newly discovered.

Remember to contact the bloggers to let them know they have been chosen for the award.

Here are the blogs I've chosen:

Lisa Alzo at The Accidental Genealogist
Paula Moore at The Scrappin Genealogist
Jennie Pak at They Came to Montana
Carey Cottage at Thoughts from Pplly's Granddaughter
Melody Lassalle at The Research Journal
Amy Crooks at Untangled Family Roots
Sally Shelton at Threads and Traces
Janeen Davis-Proctor at They Came in Ships
Diane Bowen at All Roads Lead to Roxbury

ok....So I'm still working on 15 new blogs I've discovered...more to come....

Fearless Females March 19: Suprising Facts!

Have you discovered a surprising fact about one of your female ancestors? What was it and how did you learn it? How did you feel when you found out?
For this entry I'm going to defer to my post about Shocking Family Stories.  My discovery of the murder of my 3rd great grandmother by her husband, my 3rd great grandfather.  I'll say at first I was horrified and the newspaper accounts of the incident are quite detailed about the account.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Fearless Females March 18: Music Makers

Shining star: Did you have a female ancestor who had a special talent? Artist, singer, actress, athlete, seamstress, or other? Describe.

Many member of my family play musical instruments.  I personally play the clarinet.  One of my Aunts also plays the clarinet, in fact she loaned me her clarinet to use while I was in school band class under the agreement that I would play at the family Christmas the following year.  Well I only played for the family once.  I think playing for my family was more nerve wracking than any concert I ever played in.  I did play at a headstone dedication last summer for GTAGS if you all remember from my post about the Gottlieb Piltz.  I also played the bass clarinet, which looks like a cross between a clarinet and a saxaphone. 

My mom played the violin and the viola in high school, I suspect she still has the ability, but maybe a little bit out of practice. My paternal grandmother played the saxaphone as a teenager.

My daughter already shows interest in music.  She has one of those roll up pianos that she loves to play with and she has a recorder flute. 

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Fearless Females March 17: Social Groups

Social Butterfly? What social organizations or groups did your mother or grandmother belong to? Sewing circle, church group, fraternal benefit society or lodge? Describe her role in the group.
My mother and paretnal grandmother were both members of the Catholic Daughters.  I also remembers my mother and my maternal grandmother being members of the local ladies aid society when I was younger.  My Mother and I are both members and board members of the local genealogical society.  For the Grand Traverse Area Genealogical Soceity my mother is the group historian and the correspponding secretary, I am the current Vice President and the publicity chair.


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Fearless Females March 16: Lunch Date

If you could have lunch with any female family member (living or dead) or any famous female who would it be and why? Where would you go? What would you eat?
If I could have lunch with any female family member, it would have to be my 3rd great grandmother, Emily (Tennyson) Fitzgerald.  I would want to meet her because I have so many unanswered questions about her life.  I would want to know why she left Ireland or England.  I would also want to know where she fits into the Tennyson family.  According to her eldest son's obituary she is the sister of Alfred Tennyson the writer.  I would also like to hear about her husband, my 3rd Great Grandfather.
I don't know where we would go or what we would eat, but I'm not so sure I'd really be paying attention to the food anyway.  :)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Fearless Females March 15: Tribute

Write a six-word memoir tribute to one of your female ancestors.
Fern Leona Kirby (my husband's grandmother). Kind hearted. Warm.  Welcoming.  Missed Dearly. 

Tombstone Tuesday

Nellie Lydia Courtade Courtad
b. 12 Mar 1896 Grand Traverse County, Michigan
m. Aloysius Henry Courtad 22 Nov 1916 Traverse City, Grand Traverse County, Michigan
d. 20 Jan 1981Traverse City, Grand Traverse County, Michigan
buried Oakwood Catholic Cemetery, Traverse City, Grand Traverse County, Michigan

Monday, March 14, 2011

Fearless Females March 14: Newsworthy Women

News makers? Did you have a female ancestor who made the news? Why? Was she famous or notorious? Did she appear in the social column?

I have a group of female ancestors who made the news.  While not director ancestors they are still tied into my lineage.  These women were the women of the Loomis Gang. 
Rhonda M. (Mallet) Loomis was known as the mother of the Loomis gang.  She was the wife of George Washington Loomis, Sr.  Rhonda was described as "a beautiful and accomplished girl who taught school and was the belle of the ballroom but she had a fiery temper" (from Noman R Cowen, "Loomis Family History").  It is also said that Rhonda had a liking for counterfeiting money and harassing the women in her son's lives. Rhonda died in 1887 at the age of 94. She outlived all her children, except for her son, Plumb, who died in 1903.

Cornelia Maria Loomis was a daughter of George Washington and Rhonda M. Loomis.  She was known as the "Outlaw Queen" and considered the most aggressive and most intelligent of all the Loomis children.  It is said the once she dressed as a man and bought oxen from a farmer with counterfeit money.  It is also told that once at a ball she entered to dressing room and slid other ladies muffs on her legs and left the ball with them.  The muffs were later recovered at the Loomis Mansion. 

Cornelia Maria Loomis
There was another sister, Calista, but she didn't seem to play as much of a part in the Loomis family, or at least that is what account of the Loomis gang portray. 

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Fearless Females March 13: The Strength of Women

Moment of Strength: share a story where a female ancestor showed courage or strength in a difficult situation.
This is a story about my grandma, my mom's mom.  After the tornado had destroyed their house, my mom and aunt were under a table, aparently under the pile of rubble.  Their dog, Collie, had found them and my grandma lifted up the edge of the house so that the girls could come out.  I can only imagine, as a mother, what she was thinking at that moment.  I also can't imagine the relief that she felt when my mom and aunt were safe.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Fearless Females March 12: Working Women

Working girl: Did your mother or grandmother work outside the home? What did she do? Describe her occupation.

My Grandma was a dietician for the old county medical care facility that no longer exists.  Her job was to help select and prepare the meals for the residents that were being cared for at the facility. My other grandma worked as a secretary for the local school system for many years.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Fearless Females March 11: Tragic Death

Did you have any female ancestors who died young or from tragic or unexpected circumstances? Describe and how did this affect the family?
My original entry on this was posted on July 25, 2010.

Last summer I discovered that my 3rd Great Grandma (Maria Wood) was murdered by her husband, my 3rd great grandpa (Joseph Wood) in 1869 in New York State.  The scene was described in gruesom detail in the local papers.  Appartenly Joseph, in a alcohol psychosis, accused Maria of being unfaithful and killed her with an axe.  All reports from the towns people afterwards credit Maria as having an impecable character.   The news paper reports describe a horrific scene of blood and gore. 
I don't think we'll ever truely know what was going through Joseph's mind when he took the axe to his wife.  My first reaction when I read this was shock and disbelief. But, this is history, my history, as disturbing as it might be. 

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Fearless Females March 10: Religion

What role did religion play in your family? How did your female ancestors practice their faith? If they did not, why didn’t they? Did you have any female ancestors who served their churches in some capacity?

My family is, for the most part, Roman Catholic.  My Great Grandpa's half sister was a nun.  Elsie Jane Wood joined the convent after her husband died, presumably overseas, during WWI.  She was part of the Society of Helpers convent in Chicago, IL.  My grandma talked about Sister Elise frequently.  She would tell me that she always looked forward to recieving her cards and letters in the mail.  We never knew what happened to her until a couple years ago when I spoke to one of the Nuns that knew Sister Elise and told me many things about her.  She told me that Sister Elsie died in 2004.  There was a definate fondness in her voice for Sister Elsie when she told me about her and I know she has a special place in my Grandma's heart.  Someday I hope to take my grandma to pay her respects.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Fearless Females March 9: Family Documents

Take a family document (baptismal certificate, passenger list, naturalization petition, etc.) and write a brief narrative using the information.

I found my 3rd Great Grandparents marriage record on ancestry.com in the Druion marriage records.  It is written in French, so I had to have it translated.  Through people on the Find A Grave discussion forums I was able to get the information translated:
On September 15, 1846, a publication of two wedding announcements whom were not objected, Mr Pierre Bilandele, vicar-general of the bishop of Montreal the priest officially authorized for this purpose, asked for the mutual consent of George Lardy widower of Marie Josephele(?) Chartrans, of this parish on this part and Esther Beauchamps, eldest daughter of Jean Baptiste Beauchamps Journalist and Agathe Morin of this parish on the other part, and joined them in marriage according to the laws and customs practiced by the Holy Church, in the presence of Fran├žois Lardy, father of the groom and Jean Baptiste Beauchamps, father of the bride who has declared his innability to sign, so that the groom and Jean Baptiste Sancer undersigned be legal.

The really cool part is that is has George's signature on the bottom. 

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Fearless Females March 8: Letters, Diaries, Journals

Did one of your female ancestors leave a diary, journal, or collection of letters? Share an entry or excerpt.
My Grandma has a collection of letters that she and my Grandpa wrote back and forth while my grandpa was in the Army during World War II.  I have never read them.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Fearless Females March 7: From the kitchen of....

Share a favorite recipe from your mother or grandmother’s kitchen. Why is this dish your favorite? If you don’t have one that’s been passed down, describe a favorite holiday or other meal you shared with your family.
One of my favorite recipes is one my Grandma makes called Grandma's Strawberry Desert.  Ok I don't think she uses the word 'Grandma's' in it, but I do.  I really like this recipe because it is so yummy!  Whenever I have it, it reminds me of my grandma. 

Grandma’s Strawberry Dessert

1 box Frozen Strawberries, thawed and drained, keep juice

1 angel food cake

1 packet Dream Whip

1 package Strawberry Danish Desert

Prepare Danish desert per the directions on the package using the juice drained from the strawberries as part of the liquid called for. Prepare Dream Whip per directions. After Danish Desert is cool put desert together by first breaking pieces of the Angel food cake to make a layer in the bottom of the bowl, then a layer of the Danish desert, a layer of strawberries and a layer of Dream Whip. Keep layering until the dish is full. Top with Dream whip and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Fearless Females March 6: Grandma's Heirloom

Describe an heirloom you may have inherited from a female ancestor (wedding ring or other jewelry, china, clothing, etc.) If you don’t have any, then write about a specific object you remember from your mother or grandmother, or aunt (a scarf, a hat, cooking utensil, furniture, etc.)

I'm not sure if you'd call it an heirloom, but I inherited a plate from my Grandma.  It was the plate that she and my grandpa used for their wedding cake and that her parents used.  It is decorated with flowers and gold trim.  It is a beautiful plate and one of my most prized possessions.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Fearless Females March 5: How did they meet?

How did they meet? You’ve documented marriages, now, go back a bit. Do you know the story of how your parents met? Your grandparents?

My husband and I met in college.  We were in the Police Academy together and even though I chose to leave I got a wonderful husband out of it.  I know that my parents met in high school.  In fact, they graduated in the same class. 

I don't know how either set of my grandparents met.  I guess I have never asked them.  One advantage of following Lisa's prompts have me realizing what information I don't have about current generations of my family.  It's time to break out the video camera and start working on those interviews!

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy: Natural Disasters: The Tornado of 1956

Week 10: Disasters. Did you experience any natural disasters in your lifetime? Tell us about them. If not, then discuss these events that happened to parents, grandparents or others in your family.

I have never experienced a natural disaster in my lifetime, nor do I care to.  My mom went through a tornado when she was about six years old that destroyed her house and her grandparents store.  She described it to me once that it "sounded like a freight train".  The family dog pulled my mom and my aunt (her sister) to safety, from under the table they were under  when the tornado hit the house.  But as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words:

The aftermath of the tornado- I believe this is what is left of their house.

My Grandparent's Dog (Collie) that saved my Mom and Aunt

My Grandpa (without the hat) and the sherrif (far right) and two local men

Somewhere in my files I have been collecting articles about the tornado, but it never occured until recently to talk to my family members about their first hand accounts of the tornado.  I do know that because of all the photos the press wanted to take of my mom after that she hates having her photo taken.  She has told me before that "Everytime you turned around someone was taking your photo". 

Friday, March 4, 2011

Fearless Females March 4: Wedding Day Memories

Do you have marriage records for your grandparents or great-grandparents? Write a post about where they were married and when. Any family stories about the wedding day? Post a photo too if you have one.
My Grandma and Grandpa, Richard and Maxine (Loomis) Courtad were married 22 Feb 1944 at Fort Custer in Battle Creek, Michigan.  The church is still standing on base.  I was able to see the church in December when we were in Battle Creek for my husband's National Guard Christmas Party (the same day I visited the National Cemetery). 
Honestly I don't know much about my Grandma and Grandpa's wedding, other than my Grandpa was in the Army at the time.  I think it's time to sit down and talke to my grandma about it. 

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Fearless Females March 3: Names and Names Patterns

Do you share a first name with one of your female ancestors? Perhaps you were named for your great-grandmother, or your name follows a particular naming pattern. If not, then list the most unique or unusual female first name you’ve come across in your family tree.
I'm not named after anyone.  My parents choose my first name because Alanna is gaelic for Helen. I was once told that my middle name was actually a consideration for my first name, but I'm glad they choose Alanna for my first name.  (Prounounced uh-Lane-uh).  Little know fact my middle name is Colleen, but it is spelled Collen, because there was a typo on my birth certificate.  I've thought about having it corrected for years, but for some reason never have had it done. 

I named my own daughter, Lillian, after my great grandmother and her middle names Fern and Elizabeth are after my husband's grandmother and my grandmother respectively.  Yes, my daughter has 2 middle names.  My son, Liam, wasn't named after anyone for his first name, but his middle names John Thomas are for many men in my family.  John is my husband's middle name, my dad's first name and my father-in-law's first name. John is a very common name in many branches of my family tree. Thomas is my Dad's middle name and my Grandpa's first name. 
Lily and Liam in March 2010

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Fearless Females March 2nd

Post a photo of one of your female ancestors. Who is in the photo? When was it taken? Why did you select this photo?

This is my 3rd Great Grandmother, Mary Elizabeth Deverney Valley.  I found this photo in a box of stuff that my Aunt has.  I estimate that the photo was taken about 1860.  Mary would have been in her early 20's in this photo.  I choose this photo because I find her very striking.  I have been trying to learn more about her.  I frequently wonder what she was like and what wa her life like. 

Fearless Females March 1st: #1 Favorite Female

In honor of Women's History Month Lisa Alzo has written on her Blog The Accidental Genealogist 31 blogging prompts to honor our female ancestors.  So I know that this first entry is a few hours late for the first one, but better late than never...

March 1 — Do you have a favorite female ancestor? One you are drawn to or want to learn more about? Write down some key facts you have already learned or what you would like to learn and outline your goals and potential sources you plan to check.

I choose my 3rd Great Grandma down my Fitzgerald line Emily.
Emily Tennyson, or Emma as was sometimes referred to, was born about June 1816 in Ireland or England.  She married John Fitzgerald.  They had at least 10 children: William Tennyson, Mary, Emma, Thomas, Agnes, John, Maragret Elisabeth, James Francis and Edward and an unknown male child.  Emily Died 26 December 1897 in Pennsylvania.
So here is what I do know...somewhere between the time Emily was born and 1840 when her oldest son, William, was born she immigrated to the United States.  William was born in New York City, NY while the rest of her children were born in Pennsylvania.  Emily's death is listed in the Saint Columba Catholic Church death book.  Saint Columba is in Bloomsburg, PA.  Margaret Elisabeth and James were both baptised at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Danville, PA.  I also know that her son, Thomas (my Great Great Grandfather) was born in Danville. 

So the 'sketchy' information that I have is a family legend that says the Emily was sent to the United States as a young girl so that her "Unlce Alfred" could take her inheritance when her father died.  Also according to William's obituary, Emily was the sister of Alfred Lord Tennyson, the writer....but unless she was a half sister, she isn't that Emily Tennyson, although I read somewhere that Alfred Tennyson's father had affairs...but can I fing that article now? Of course not! 
What I think: I know that Emily's husband John is buried in Old Rosemont Cemetery in Bloomsburg, PA, so I think Emily may be buried here.  I think that Emily may have actually died in another county.  There is an Emma Fitzgerald who would be the right age listed living with a son, James in 1870 in Northumberland County, PA.  I am following up on that to see if there is an obituary or something. 

So where do I go from here?  I've been writing lots of letters to churches, etc to see if there is more information.  I have been contacting genealogy societies to get research done and I am planning a trip to Pennsylvania....someday.....to discover more about my ancestors.