Thursday, July 7, 2011

(Not my) Treasure Chest Thursday - "The Bride's Book" for Betty and Charles, Part II

Last week I wrote about a bride's book that I found at a local antique store and my quest to return it to it's rightful owner. The book belonged to Betty, a young bride from California, and included all the memories from her wedding in 1953. Included in the antique store find was Betty's teenage dream scrapbook with content ranging from magazine clippings of her dream of a future life of marital bliss to various scraps from her teen years. These two books enthralled me. They symbolized what many young girls of the 1950s hoped their lives would become: June Cleaver in a Leave-it-to-Beaver world.
One of Betty's "dream kitchens."
Yet, my initial forays in finding Betty and her new husband, Charles, came up empty. Then on a re-attack I came across some distressing news. Betty and Charles were divorced, 21 years after they married. Both of them remarried within a couple of years of the divorce, but apparently those marriages went south as well, as Betty divorced her second husband after only two months and Charles divorced after only a year or so. I now understood why she got rid of her scrapbooks...too many memories she wanted to forget. Life had not panned out like she had dreamed it would.

Just as I was chalking up the Betty and Charles story as another sad but frequent story of love gone wrong, I happened to look at the California Marriage Index entry for Betty. She was listed twice, once with Charles and once with her second husband. I had not thought twice about this because it was a fact. But this particular index lists California marriages from 1960-1985...Betty and Charles were married in 1953. I scanned for the date and there it was:
Charles and Betty's marriage...their second one. On their 25th anniversary, no less. I was ecstatic to find this. I have no idea what happened to Betty and Charles, but I don't care. I'm going to stop researching and live with my own dream...that the young girl finally found her happily ever after.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Tuesday's Tip - Sons of the American Revolution Membership applications

If you are a member of Ancestry.com, or a frequent visitor, you have no doubt noticed that over the July 4th weekend, Ancestry.com offered free searches of a new database: Sons of the American Revolution Membership applications. The database contains applications for individuals interested in joining the National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution, a lineage society for men with Revolutionary War ancestors.

My family lines have been in the United States for quite a while so there are several Revolutionary War ancestors in my past. But I have spent more time researching nearer ancestors, so have not done very much research of the 1700s or the Revolutionary War. A free database search was just the thing to jump start my 18th century research. I did a search for known Revolutionary War ancestors and found several applications for them. The applications vary in depth of information and sources. One application, for Nathanial Fifield, listed a local history book as it's source. Hardly the standards of proof that the SAR requires today, but still a lead I was not aware of. It's redeeming quality was another source for the New Hampshire State papers, with volume and page number. Having never conducted research for New Hampshire, this was a new source to me. (Now available online at the New Hampshire State Archives website.)
SAR application sources for Revolutionary War veteran Nathaniel Fifield.
With such success I decided to search for surnames of individuals that were of the appropriate age to have fought in the war; ancestors whose war service I had yet to discover. Low and behold, several of them were listed in an application. Granted, I will have to do follow up research, but the applications have given me research leads I did not have before.

The icing on the cake? I found an application for a distant uncle...looks like I am not the only one excited by SAR records! Now is a great time to try this database and see what research leads, or unknown veterans, you may have in your family.

Remember 4th of July?

Photo by Dori, wikimedia commons
I love the 4th of July. It is one of my favorite holidays, perhaps because it is rooted in history...and I love potato salad. When I was younger, the 4th of July was a holiday spent with friends and family to have fun and celebrate not just our country's independence, but to celebrate generation after generation of Americans that have made our country what it is today.

Yesterday, on a drive around town I became completely disenfranchised with the American way. I could count on one hand the retail stores and restaurants that were closed. When I was younger the only things open were gas stations and my family even felt guilty about using those. "No one should have to work on a holiday," my father always says. There are obvious exceptions...hospitals, police stations, etc. But do the warehouse box stores really need to be open? Do we really need to buy a box fan or a can of paint on a holiday? No. Things can wait a day. I couldn't help but be sad and remember the old days where you made sure had what you needed to celebrate holidays BEFORE the holiday. It comes down to the almighty dollar and America's need to get it.

I suppose what upsets me the most is based in selfishness. Everything was open yesterday, a national holiday. How long will it be before business men and women wonder to themselves: "everything else is open why should I lose a day of business for this holiday?" Before you know it, we'll all be working...bar-b-cues and parades a thing of the past. I truly hope that 10 years from now I'm not writing my fourth of July rant blog post from my office desk.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Follow Friday - Great Missouri Treasure Hunt

It should come as no surprise that I love the state of Missouri...being a 6th generation Missourian. I just came across a contest sponsored by the office of the secretary of State, Robin Carnahan, called The Great Missouri Treasure Hunt. The intent is to entice Missourians to utilize the State Archives and other research repositories to find treasures for their families, as well as share the stories behind treasures they already own. I'm already thinking of what treasure to enter!

Welcome to The Great Missouri Treasure Hunt from mosecofstate on Vimeo.

Thanks to Desperately Seeking Surnames for bringing this to my attention!