Friday, January 28, 2011

Happy 50th Anniversary Mom and Dad!

It was fifty years ago today, January 28, 1961, that my parents Lloyd and Lorraine (nee Skibbe) Clark married.  How wonderful to see a marriage last.  My father has a tendency to make up silly songs, one such song he sings as he picks up the dog poop (full out when I was a child, the neighbors used to slam their windows shut) but doesn't talk too much ; Mom can cook zucchini 150 different ways and loves to talk - on the phone or in person. Some how the two of them combined their quirkiness to create a workable marriage.


PS - Did I mention Gary married me knowing that I sing silly songs especially to my animals and I talk to much?  Hopefully we will find each other just as unique as my parents have found each other, love you honey!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

52 Weeks To Better Genealogy - Home, describe the house you grew up in.

2105 W Lincoln (2007 Cook County Assessor Photo)
The house I grew up in was located at 2105 W. Lincoln in Mount Prospect, Illinois.  It was not the first house we lived in but it was the home we had for the majority of my childhood.  The house was a good size, brand new and in a new subdivision.   The front hallway had a black slate floor and  a fountain to the right of the front door.  The home also had a sunken living room.  The family room was open to the kitchen and had dark paneling throughout.  The kitchen also had access to the dining room that overlooked the sunken living room.  The home had three bedrooms and two bathrooms.  It was one of two ranches built in our subdivision.  Our family lived in the home from about 1969 to 1983 when my parents moved to Arizona.

My father built a deck onto the back of the house and installed a gas grill for barbecuing.  Our yard was big with a large vegetable garden behind a big oak tree.  None of the homes in the neighborhood had fences and we kids would meet up were the back yards met to play.  One of the homes had a small vineyard of  purple grapes that were wonderful for snacking on. There was a farm at the end of the block with horses and ponies that our great dane used to run away and visit.  I think she thought she was similar to the ponies and enjoyed visiting with them.  Dad tethered  Taffy (the great dane) to the large Oak Tree with a tractor chain, Taffy frequently got loose by breaking her tie out chain.   Once when she was loose she walked over to a neighbor and tried to take steaks off their grill, the guy was going to hand them over but his wife was screaming for him to save the meat.  We just followed the screaming to locate the dog,  Taffy was just a hoot. 

608 S. Can-dota ( Cook County Assessor photo 2008)
The first home I remember living in was at 608 S. Can-dota in Mount Prospect.  It was a three bedroom home not too far from Weller Creek which had a tendency to flood.    We crossed a foot bridge over Weller Creek  to get to the school I attended kindergarten and first grade.  The downstairs had a built in bar, a sewing room, and a tool shop along with a bathroom with a skunk on the the toilet lid.  I still remember the toilet because the skunk had a rhinestone eye and it always freaked me out a little.  My bedroom had a chandelier that I would lay in bed and watch the light play off of.

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History ( is a series by Amy Coffin of the We Tree blog (

Wordless Wednesday - Great Uncle Arthur and Great Aunt Susie Despain

1964 Great Uncle Arthur and Great Aunt Susie (nee Poundstone) Despain

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Arizona Family History Expo - Fun and informative

The wonderful and talented Irene Winterburn!
First off I need to thank the ladies from the Phoenix Family History Library that attended Irene Winterburn's presentation "Google Tips and Tricks for Finding Treasures" - not only were you the nicest folks but  the fact that you thought I was ten years younger than I am - well, we are friends for life!  Irene's presentation reminded me of a few Google tools I tend to forget to use and opened my eyes to a few tricks I need to start using.  Please visit her blog for some wonderful genealogy tips.  One such tool I forget to use on Google is the ~ (tilde) which when included in a search will find similar words.  For example Skibbe~genealogy will also find Skibbe family history, family tree, genealogical, etc.  Irene and I also attended Jason Harrison's "Mark Twain's Death Solves Mystery: The Value of Using Newspapers in Research". His presentation was well done and informative.  Now I just need to block out everything else I should be doing and starting searching the papers.  I had a wonderful time and I hope everyone else did too.
Michelle Goodrum ( and I at a presentation

Colleen McHugh ( and I at the Friday's banquet.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Arizona Family History Expo - I'm tired!

What a fun day.  I ran into Michelle Goodrum of while standing in line at the registration booth, and my day just got better and better!  Lisa Louise Cooke gave a wonderful opening speech inspiring us old dogs to learn some new tricks.  My next stop was  to Organizing Your Genealogical Research with Nancy E. Loe, MA, MLS.  Nancy had a unique way of labeling her files - I may start to use some of her tips but the thought of redoing everything is a little overwhelming.   If you change the name of a file you would need to relink it to your family history software, perhaps not a bad idea if it make things easier to locate.  Both Lisa Louise and Nancy spoke of Evernote so I think I will seriously need to give it a try.  Right before lunch I attended Tips and Tricks for using Family Search and then lunch near the blog house.  I reconnected with Colleen McHugh of and Mark Tucker of and Michelle Goodrum all folks that I had the privilege of  meeting at past genealogical events.  I also met Irene Winterburn of, I know she and I have a lot in common since we both work in the legal field tracking down folks for a living. 

After lunch I attended Using Tax Records to Establish Relationships with Leland Meitzler and I can honestly say this old dog did learn a couple of tricks during the lecture.  Then is was on to Arlene Eakle, Ph.D. and her presentation Track Hard to Find Southern Ancestors in Land and Property, again this old dog learned a few more tricks.  My last track of the day was Jean Wilcox Hibben, Ph.D. 's Clue to Clue:  Tracking a Family Across Time and Miles.  If you have not heard her speak, give her a try.  She is a very engaging speaker and I am sure you will enjoy listening to her. 

Lastly was the dinner featuring M. Bridget Cook "Handling (and even healing) the Skeletons in Your Genealogical Closet".  She too is a wonderful speaker and I look forward to reading her book.  I'm tired!  Time for bed for tomorrow is yet another fun learning day and meeting new people.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy - Week 3 Cars

Week 3: Cars. What was your first car? Describe the make, model and color, but also any memories you have of the vehicle. You can also expand on this topic and describe the car(s) your parents drove and any childhood memories attached to it.

I learned how to drive on a Toyota Cressida.  After I obtained my driver's license reality was put forth, my parents gave me the keys to my own vehicle to drive.  The car - a 1977 Chevy Nova, three on the tree, with just an am radio and vinyl seats- was not anywhere close to being a Toyota Cressida.  No lumbar support, no stereo fm, and it had a clutch.  I could not believe that this was the car I was expected to drive, I didn't even know how to drive a manual transmission car.  The scariest thing was the car starting in reverse.  The first time I started it up and lifted my foot off the clutch I flew backwards down the driveway.  That is when I decided that it was not important to drive.

Anyway, I finally learned how to drive the car.  My brother asked me to come with him to one of his friend's house.  He was driving the car but hopped out in downtown Des Plaines (Illinois) forcing me to jump into the drivers seat to move the car.  I have no idea where he disappeared to but I did learn how to drive that car.  I stalled the car about twenty times on the way home.  I had drivers behind me honking and screaming at me but I did it all be myself with tears streaming down my face.  After that I drove that car all the time.  The vehicle was a massive improvement to walking to school in the snow.  My manual transmission lesson worked out well, I can drive anything - which comes in handy when asked to repo cars for my clients.

Thank you Amy Coffin of the We Tree blog ( for the series  52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy ( This the third such series of prompts and challenges presented on a weekly basis at GeneaBloggers. .


Sunday, January 16, 2011

Update on Clark Research........................

Yesterday I sent off two more death certificate requests, one for Charles H. Clark and the other for Elizabeth Durbin Clark.  I also reviewed the records I have for them and added to the list of to do's to following:
*Search the Macon County courthouse for probate file for Charles.
*Search the Fayette County courthouse for probate or any other court records for Elizabeth and possibly Charles if his records are not located in Macon County.
*Visit Saint Bonaventure Church in Saint Elmo, Fayette, Illinois for church records for Charles, Elizabeth and
their family.
*Locate the family in the 1920 census
I hope to have the family located in the census soon.  The other tasks may need to wait until I visit the area in June.  My next thing to do is to locate other family tasks that I can accomplish while visiting on my next trip and send out letters to relatives asking them to bring their old pictures to the reunion for scanning and sharing with the family. I think I may need to buy one of those new Flip pal mobile scanners - good thing they will have a booth at the Arizona Family History Expo. I think the family will like to share photos if they know they will not need to be removed from the photo albums or frames.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Saturday Night Fun- Ancestral Name List Roulette

It's time for some Saturday Night fun, the mission below is issued from Randy Seaver at Genea-Musings

The assignment:
1) How old is one of your grandfathers now, or how old would he be if he had lived? Divide this number by 4 and round the number off to a whole number. This is your "roulette number."  

2) Use your pedigree charts or your family tree genealogy software program to find the person with that number in your ancestral name list (some people call it an "ahnentafel"). Who is that person?

3) Tell us three facts about that person in your ancestral name list with the "roulette number."

4) Write about it in a blog post on your own blog, in a Facebook note or comment, or as a comment on this blog post.

5) If you do not have a person's name for your "roulette number" then spin the wheel again - pick a grandmother, or yourself, a parent, a favorite aunt or cousin, or even your children!
Here's mine: 

My grandfather, William Adolph Skibbe was  born in 30 Nov 1890, so he would be 120 years old today.  His age today, divided by four is 30.

Lucky ancestor number 30 is  Adolph Blank.  He was born in February of 1896 in Chicago, Cook, Illinois.  I do not know when he died or who he married.

Three facts I do know about Adolph Blank:

* He was the son of Adolph Blank (1867-1900) and Emilie Panzer (1867-1924).
* He was raised by my Great-Grandfather Theodore Miottel and his mother Emilie Panzer Blank after the couple married on 25 May 1901.  The couple set about raising a household of six children combined from their prior marriages.
* He had two sisters, Margarette (Margaret)  born  April of 1893 and Helen born in 1900, and one brother Arthur born in Feb of 1896. He had a step-sister, Clara Miottel, my grandmother, born in 1894 and a step-bother named George Miottel born in 1897.

Well here is a family I certainly need to get information on! I had previously located Adolph in the 1900, 1910, and 1920 census in Chicago, Cook, Illinois.  Time to do a little more research!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History - Week 2 Winter

Week 2: Winter. What was winter like where and when you grew up? Describe not only the climate, but how the season influenced your activities, food choices, etc.

I grew up in the town of Mount Prospect located in Cook County, Illinois.  We had wonderful snow storms when I was little.  My brother and I would make forts, throw snowballs, and snowmen.  As I became older I was not thrilled to be the target of snowballs that my brother and the neighborhood boys would throw at us girls.  I do remember sledding with friends down a big hill near our home.  Snow days were another source of fun, I loved staying home when it was cold.  Nothing could top a day reading, watching tv or just hanging around the house.  The morning after a storm we would sit in front of the tv or listen to the radio to hear the list of schools that were closed for the day.  Later when I was in high school I realized the cost of snow days - more days in school when the whether is nice!

Snow lost it's appeal when I was a teenager.  Walking home in the snow and ice from school was the pits!  Dressing for the walk did not lead to a high fashion experience.   Later on when I learned to drive the snow scared me and ice became the enemy. 

Thank you to Amy Coffin of the We Tree blog ( for this years pompts: 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy 

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday - Stanslawa Mikolajczak

23 April 1866
7 September 1918
Saint Adalbert Cemetery
Milwaukee, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Saturday, January 8, 2011

RootsMagic Webinar

This afternoon I attended the RootsMagic Webinar, Getting Started with RootsMagic.  Although it was a basic overview I still learned a few tricks that I didn't know.  Now I am looking forward to the more advanced webinars that will be offered.   The webinar is available online for download if you would like to view it.  The next webinar offered by RootsMagic will be Publishing a Family History on January 11th.  An important webinar coming up will by the Sources, Citations and Documentation on on February 4th - I would sign up soon since several webinars are all ready full.

Thomas MacEntee left a message on my blog that he will be teaching a Build a Research Toolbox webinar for Legacy Family Tree on April 6, 2011 at 1pm CST. Check LegacyFamilyTree website for signups in the near future.  I have never attended a conference class or webinar that Thomas hasn't taught this girl a new trick or two.

I had also planned to attend the RootsMagic group at UMC this afternoon but decided not to go after learning of the shooting of Gabby Giffords, Judge Roll and others in the northwest area of Tucson.  Many of the injured were flown to UMC and I was sure the hospital didn't need any additional folks around with all the news vehicles and added security around the hospital.  I would like to offer my prayers for everyone effected by the shooting this morning.  The legal community has lost a wonderful judge with the passing of John Roll.  It  is scary when things hit so close to home

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Treasure Chest Thursday, Frank and Eva Urman home purchase, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Purchase agreement for home purchased by Frank and Eva Urman (Urman is the name Frank Yurmanovich changed to after he obtained citizenship in the United States).  The home was located at 2146 E 22nd Street in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  The agreed purchase price in 1941 was $2,975.  I did a Google map search and unfortunately the home no longer exists.  I hope I can track down a picture of the home one of these days.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Google for Genealogists Webinar sponsored by Legacy Family Tree

I just attended the Google for Genealogists Webinar by Thomas MacEntee sponsored by Legacy Family Tree.  I thought I was using Google for the maximum potential, boy I was wrong.  While I have been using many of the Google features Thomas shared quite a few others that I should be taking advantage of.  The webinar is free from the Legacy Family Tree for the next 30 days and will then be available for purchase.  Now I think the banana bread the husband was looking forward to and the few client tasks I need to do may need to wait while I "Google play" for awhile.

I encourage everyone to check out the webinar offerings at both Legacy Family Tree and at RootsMagic for help learning the either software program.  Legacy Family Tree also has several more non software webinars coming up such as one with newspapers and another chasing the females in your family tree. 

Wordless Wednesday - My baptism

Matt, Glenda and Harold (my godparents and Aunt and Uncle) and myself 1963

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History - New Year's Day

Thank you again Amy Coffin at We Tree for the genealogical prompts for the new year. The prompts provided by Amy are an easy way to work on your personal genealogy week by week.  Week 1's prompt is New Year’s- Did your family have any New Year’s traditions? How was the New Year celebrated during your childhood? Have you kept these traditions in the present day

I don't remember much of a tradition regarding celebrating New Year's Eve.  Mom and Dad used to invite friends over to share a New Year's Day meal that was shared with friends. I remember playing board games and just having fun with everyone that was at the house.  When my children were younger we invited folks over for a New Years day meal and played games.  Now that the kids have moved out Gary and I are in bed at our usual time although I think we made it to 11 this year and woke up around midnight because of the fireworks. (This is the first year that you could buy fireworks - some anyway - in Arizona)  The dogs next door howled, my beasts slept peacefully in their dog beds.

I remember when I was in my late teens and twenties I always dressed up and went to parties.  That stopped when I became a parent and when my friend Karla died while driving home from a bar on New Years Day.  I just didn't think that going out was that important on a night when folks where drinking and driving not to mention the fear of not making it home to my children like Karla.

I had a habit of making resolutions and never keeping them.  Now I make plans that I know I can accomplish.  One of my goals for the year is to learn something new to advance my genealogy at least once a month.  I know this can be accomplished through society meetings, seminars, webinars and conferences.  I plan on attending the Arizona Family History Expo in Mesa January 21 and 22.  The event has a wonderful line up and I will be happy to see many of my good friends that will also be attending.   Other learning experiences that I have planned on are two webinars being sponsored by Roots Magic - Sources, Citations, and Documentation with RootsMagic and Getting Started with RootsMagic.  I have also signed up for a webinar sponsored by Legacy, Chasing Woman, Finding Your Female Ancestor.  I also hope to figure out which software I am going to use, keeping two is rather time consuming.  Julie Miller, C.G. will be presenting  at the Green Valley Genealogical Society Seminar in February.  There are quite a few opportunities to make sure I meet my New Years goals.