Monday, October 13, 2014

Military Monday: A Letter from Iwo

One of the greatest treasures I own is the short letter I have that was sent to my Mother and my brother from my Father (Richard Enloe “Dick” Love, Jr.) in March of 1945. My Father had not yet seen his son, who had been born several months before - in September of 1944.

Even though I have included a photo of the letter and its envelope, I’m going to translate the writing because it’s not easily readable from the photo.  I have no comments to make on this piece of history because I think the words of a Marine engaged in one of the most horrific battles of WWII speak for themselves. 

Dearest Eve & Rick:                                            Iwo Jima                      16 March
          Wondering if you have received any of the letters I’ve written from here.  Sure hope you have had some assurance that I am OK
You probably know that this island has been secured officially two or three days past.  There is still a good-sized war going on here however.
No dope on when we will get away from here.  Makes very little difference where or when we go, since there is no chance that it will be home.
Give my love to everyone there; sorry have had no time to write them. Will do so later.
You and Rick be careful and be happy.
All my love,                                  Dick




@2014 Copyright by Carla Love Maitland 

Monday, September 22, 2014

A Very Nice Surprise – “One Lovely Blog” Award!

Today I received some very exciting news and a very nice surprise. I was chosen by my friend Valerie Hughes as one of the 15 bloggers she admired - and that she had nominated for the “One Lovely Blog” award! Thank you so much, Valerie. What an honor!

Here are the rules for this award: (There are always rules!)
  1.     Thank the person who nominated you and link to that blog.
  2.     Share Seven things about yourself.
  3.     Nominate 15 bloggers you admire - or as many as you can!
  4.     Contact your bloggers to let them know that you’ve tagged them for the “One Lovely Blog” Award.

So first of all: Thank you once again, Valerie, for nominating me for this lovely award. I truly appreciate it.

Here is the link to her blog: http://genealogywithvalerie.wordpress.com/

Seven Things About Me: (Only seven?)
1. I spent over 40 years serving in the field of education: as a history teacher for over 25 years, as a French teacher for two of those years, and as a Middle School Coordinator for over 15 years. (I also had to teach geography every now and then, which was always lots of fun for a person who is never sure where she is!)
2. I generally began the year in my history classes with a unit on family history so that the students would be able to understand their own place in the great scheme of history. (Sometimes that actually worked!)
3. When I was a much younger teacher, I was a soccer coach for two years. (Don’t fall out laughing, please!)
4. I play the piano; was 1st chair clarinet soloist in my junior high school band; switched to the choir in high school; and majored in vocal music for two years in college. (I changed my major when I realized that everyone else spent hours in the practice rooms, and I was always running out to some sorority meeting or other social event…oops!)
5. I was told all my life that I was a direct descendant of General Thomas Gage, and that I was a cousin of General Robert E. Lee. (I never believed the one about Lee even though Lee is my middle name.)
6.  My 4th great grandmother was Hannah Gage, who is not the daughter of Thomas Gage, but I am the 4th cousin, 5 times removed of General Lee himself! (Who knew?)
7.   I am the lucky wife of a wonderful and loving husband, the mother of three fantastic sons, the grandmother of two beautiful granddaughters and one handsome grandson, and the great-grandmother of the most beautiful little boy in the world! (I’m sure that bit about being a ‘great-grandmother’ is some kind of typo!)

Fifteen Bloggers I Admire: (Oh, mercy, this was a hard one, and it doesn’t include Valerie’s, which would definitely be included!)
1. The Legal Genealogist by Judy G. Russell
3. Ancestral Journeys by Jen Baldwin
4. Are My Roots Showing? by Jenny Lanctot
5. 4YourFamilyStory by Caroline Pointer
6. The Sanford Family Misfit by Cassie Clark
7. Your Genetic Genealogist by CeCe Moore
8. Appalachian History by Dave Tabler
9. Genealogy Gems by Lisa Louise Cooke
10. The Enthusiastic Genealogist by Dana Stewart Leeds
11. Barking Up the Wrong Tree by Loretta Gillespie
12. Finding Our Ancestors by Terri O’Connell
13. Mississippi Memories by Janice Tracy
14. Always Anxiously Engaged by Peggy Lauritzen
15. West in New England by Bill West


(Of course, I had to leave out everyone’s favorites: Dear Myrtle, Dick Eastman, Randy Seaver, Thomas MacEntee, GeneaBloggers – and many, many others whose blogs I love! This list needs to be longer. I know I’ve left out some friends - not good!)

Contact Bloggers:
This may take a while, but I’ll begin shortly and keep on until I’ve finished!

Thanks so much once again, Valerie, for nominating me for this “One Lovely Blog” award! J


@2014 Copyright by Carla Love Maitland 

Friday, September 12, 2014

Friday’s Faces from the Past: “Where there’s a Will…”

My Father died when I was ten years old. Sadly, I never really knew him very well because my parents divorced when I was about two. But I knew beyond all doubt that he loved me and loved my brother. I was his “poochie pie,” and my brother was his little soldier. I’ll have to admit that being a poochie pie was easier and considerably more pleasant than being a Mini-Marine. Much less was expected of me; I was there to be adored. My older brother was always held to a higher standard. It was his job to “take care” of me. He had his hands full there!

None of that mattered, though, when it came down to the end. We knew, even as children, that we were not named in Daddy’s will. The phrase, “You were left out of your Father’s will,” followed us for years after his death. I remember being hurt and not understanding why he did that, and it wasn’t until I was much older that I finally came to appreciate his reasoning.

My Father was an invalid, left that way from the ravages of war, and his Mother took care of him for the last few years of his life after my parents’ divorce. He repaid her by leaving her his property and money.

One piece of property that he owned, however, was sold, and the money was put in trust for us until we reached the age of 21. He also knew that the Veterans Administration would take care of us – something they actually did for veterans back then. We were essentially declared “War Orphans,” and the government paid for our upkeep and education each month, year after year, until the day I graduated from college. My Father knew these things would be in place for us when he wrote his will. I personally came to recognize this in my heart and had accepted his decision as reasonable.

That is until recently.  I had the occasion a few weeks ago to attend a workshop that I almost didn’t attend because it was basically about a site with which I was extremely familiar: the Shelby County Register of Deeds site. I had decided to attend, however, because the Shelby County Register himself was giving the presentation, and, after all, I usually learn something new with every workshop I attend. (I’m a firm believer that we all have something to learn with each and every experience.)

I definitely learned something new that day.

The Shelby County Register of Deeds website is a jewel. The folks at the Shelby County Archives work diligently and constantly to update the records that they have on hand to get them online as quickly as possible. Consequently, every few weeks or so, something new is added. I often forget that and hadn’t checked the site in a while.

The Register mentioned in his presentation that the Probate Court Will Book Indexes/Images 1830-2000 had been updated, and my first thought was that I needed to get home and  check to see if my 2nd great grand aunt’s will was there. Elizabeth Dixon Love (b. 1812) had inherited most of the Love family land and money, and I’ve been trying to find her will for a number of years.

Her will wasn’t there - but my Father’s was. I was stunned! I had never even thought to look for it before, so I’m not sure how long it had been there.  But I was even more shocked to read the following words: 

“…to the express exclusion of my minor children, Richard Enloe Love, III, and Carla Lee Love.”
 
Selected portion of my Father's Will found at Shelby Co. Register of Deeds website

Why was I surprised? I knew that we had not been in his will. Yet there was just something about seeing those words in writing that was devastating.

Poochie Pie needed to get a grip on reality….and I finally did. I know that my Father loved his children, and that he did what he felt was the right thing at the time. As a mother, I understand how he felt about his own mother and what he felt he owed her.

Yet as a daughter, the tears appeared suddenly and unexpectedly as I read those words. The old, “You were left out of your Father’s will,” phrase haunted me once again. There is something about knowing about a thing and understanding it, but it’s quite another concept altogether to read it in print. I’m resigned to the fact that the will is out there now and can finally write about it.

Poochie Pie has put her sassy pants back on.

@2014 Copyright by Carla Love Maitland 

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Thrifty Thursday: Using Twitter as a Genealogy Resource


Cover photo I use on my Twitter acount
I’ll have to admit that I was drug kicking and screaming (well, not literally, but certainly in my head) onto Twitter a couple of years ago by a tech-savvy friend of mine. She convinced me that I should have a presence there to promote my new genealogy blog.

I certainly felt like a duck out of water because I’m truly not as knowledgeable as I should be about technologically-related venues. I will admit to being intimidated by new things, but I will also admit that once I get the understanding of something new under my belt, I’m fairly good with it.

Thus, I started my adventure on Twitter. At first I would post my own blog, and then re-tweet other posts, until I eventually built up a small following of fellow genea-friends, as well as a few others, too. I had wandered into other areas of personal interest that include history, archaeology, antiques and collectibles (shabby chic and vintage styles in particular), as well as books, libraries, museums, news, politics, and well – you name it! I’m one of those people who are interested in way too many things…a true Gemini, for sure.

In the beginning, I would only check Twitter every few days or so. Of course, that always left me behind on things, so I began to check it more often. In fact, today I can say without doubt that I’m a true twitter-holic; maybe a twit-holic? Perhaps twit might be a better description!

At first I found myself following everybody under the sun that I admired or in whom I had ever had any interest; you know, Patrick Stewart, William Shatner, and well, the entire cast of every Star Trek ever made. Important stuff. Seriously.

Before I personally had even 800 followers, I evidently exceeded the 2,000 number limit and was told one day that I could not follow anybody else until I got a particular number of followers myself. What? Well, of all things!

Needless to say, I began to pare down the list of people whom I follow. I had to make some tough decisions, but I will say that Patrick and William still remain on the list…naturally!

Through it all, I began to realize one major thing: I was truly learning more about the genealogy world, and I was being steered towards some wonderful research sites and opportunities that I would not have known about had I not been on Twitter. Twitter not only gave me the chance to learn new things, but it also allowed me to keep up with what was going on in the genea-world. I also ‘found’ some wonderful genea-bloggers.

So, I’m a firm believer that Twitter is indeed a thrifty approach to learning more about genealogy. I especially love the news ‘dailies,’ those online newspapers that some people put out each day that highlight what others have posted, whether it’s someone’s blog post, or some other news about genealogy, history, archaeology, and so many other subjects.

I generally take a few minutes every day to look at a few sites that post history, archaeology, or genealogy related articles. When I find something interesting, I’ll share it on Twitter. I’ve found that some of the articles I’ve found about archaeology have even made it into the genealogy news dailies. Of course, all three of those subjects are so irrevocably intertwined, I really should not be surprised.

Do I know what I’m actually doing on Twitter? Not really. But two years on, I do feel more comfortable about it, and I know I’m learning new things every day in all of my areas of interest. Somehow I’ve managed to accumulate over 1400 followers on Twitter, and I’m not even sure how that happened, especially since I’m not exactly sure what I’m doing myself.

Perhaps twit was the best description for me personally after all. But thrifty resource is the best description for Twitter by far.

Try it. You just might like it!

@2014 Copyright by Carla Love Maitland 

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Sentimental Sunday: The Sad Demise of a Family Tradition

Birthdays were always special times in our home when I was a child. One of the most unique parts of the day was that each child (and even the adults!) always had a dime hidden in his or her slice of the birthday cake when it was cut. My grandmother baked the cakes for us, and I was always amazed at how she was able to make those dimes magically appear in just the right slice. (I didn't figure out that little trick until I was much older.)


I was also amazed when I found out that none of my friends had dimes hidden in their birthday cakes. How could that be? I thought that everyone got dimes in their cakes. A dime was a great deal of money for a kid in the 1950s. My brother and I could go to the little grocery store next door to our apartment building and buy sticks of peppermint, or maybe some gum, or any number of other goodies with that little dime.


My grandmother was Lorena Grace Sanford Wallace Werkhoven. Her mother, however, was Elizabeth Dorothy Zeigler Sanford, "Miss Libbie," as I always thought of her. Her ancestry was German, and according to family tradition, she was an outstanding cook. She passed those abilities along to each of her daughters, including my grandmother - who, unfortunately, did not pass them along to either my mother or to me!


I specifically remember calling my grandmother after I first got married to ask her a question about cooking a particular dish. I was always an avid reader and had determined that I could read a cookbook and therefore, I'd be able to cook. No problem. Boy, was I wrong! Things were going particularly bad with this meal, so I called her in desperation. Her answer? "I did not raise you to have to do that." "Well, thanks, Grandmother," I replied. "Your little girl can't cook, and I'm in a big mess!" (And what exactly did she mean by that, anyway? I failed to ask her that question for fear she might actually tell me.)


The "not-being-able-to-cook" eventually turned into "not-being-able-to-cook-very-well." And the idea of baking a birthday cake? Forget it. It was "store-bought" for me with all of my children. I remember when my oldest was truly old enough for me to consider putting that thin dime in his birthday cake. I actually took that "store-bought" cake and tried to get one in there. What a mess that was...and I never tried it again.


Consequently, my children missed out on that wonderful tradition. I regret that, but I did tell them about it over the years. I guess that counts for something. Luckily, I had all boys and didn't feel quite so bad about not passing along any cooking skills. My second husband is the best cook in the world, and he managed to do that quite nicely, thank goodness.


When I began my fervent research into my family's history years ago, I began to wonder about that special tradition that had sadly ended with my line. I wondered as to its origin, and I did find a source that confirmed that it was a prevalent practice in Europe over the centuries. The Germans, in particular, often placed a coin in a cake during special celebrations.¹


I truly wish that I had been able to pass down that tradition to my children. However, writing about it now is my way of keeping the tradition alive, so I'm passing it along - to them and to you.


¹Spicer, Dorothy Gladys. Festivals of Western Europe. (The H.W. Wilson Company, New York, 1958), 55.
@2014 Copyright by Carla Love Maitland 



Sunday, June 22, 2014

Census Sunday - Oh The Surprises You Might Find!

As a family history researcher, I've known for many years that I should never embark on the journey of discovery unless I was prepared for what I would find. For the most part, I've been intrigued, interested, and sometimes even a little surprised. However, I had not experienced that, "Oh, I wish I hadn't known that" until recently. Actually, it's been almost two years now, and I'm still trying to process what I learned.


When the 1940 census came out, I remember excitedly going through the members of my family whom I knew to be alive at that time. I didn't find my Mother (Evelyn Frances Wallace Love) until about a year after the census had been out there - and in some ways, I wish that I hadn't. When I finally found her, she was living with her mother and her step-father in rented rooms in a house that was owned by none other than her future mother-in-law! Mother was 21 years old at the time that census was taken on 18 May 1940. She had turned 21 the previous January. Her last name was listed as Walker, not Wallace, and everyone else's name was different in the transcriptions, too. No wonder it had taken me a while to find that little group!


As most researchers know, the 1940 census had different aspects to it than previous ones. One difference was that it indicated the person in the household who gave out all of the information. Another was that two people from the page were 'chosen' to be listed at the bottom with much more information available for them.


One of the people chosen to be given the full treatment at the bottom was my Mother, and the person in that house who gave out the information was my step-grandfather. Oh, lordy, did he ever give away the big family secret!


As you might know if you read the blog post I wrote about my Mother back in March of 2012 (see link under her name), I always believed that my Mother dropped out of school in the 9th grade to go to work to help the family out financially. It was the Great Depression, after all. I was very proud that she had done that because I knew how much she loved to read and to learn new things. It must have been very hard for her to make that sacrifice.


Imagine my surprise as I excitedly perused the line next to my Mother's name to read the information under the column headed, "Age at First Marriage." Someone had written out the number fifteen. WHAT?  I remember reading that number and the heading over and over, thinking that there had to be a mistake somewhere. But no, it was still there and it certainly didn't change. I finally got myself to look at the next column headed, "Number of Children Ever Born." Thank goodness a big fat zero was listed there.


Trying to contain my total shock and, I'll admit, complete devastation and disappointment, I remember thinking that at least I didn't have to go looking for a sibling or siblings somewhere! All I had to do, of course, was to find out who the heck she had married, where and exactly when.  And even more importantly, I'd like to know why! It honestly wasn't until much later that I looked closely at that second column which had in parentheses, "Do Not Include Stillbirths."


I have no idea why my Mother got married at age fifteen. Was she pregnant and lost the child? Or did she (as I suspect) think that she and her boyfriend of so many years should just go ahead and get married and start their own life. Mother was always so mature in looks in those old 1930s photographs. I think the teenagers of that era were impressed and influenced by the movies and aspired to be like the big-screen actors and actresses of the day. My Mother smoked, and she once told me that it was because all of the glamorous movie stars of her teenage years did.


Nonetheless, I may never know the 'why' of it all. I haven't even been able to start the search for the 'who' and the 'where.' I can't explain that. Maybe it's because when I do find out those things, it will make it real, and I don't want it to be. I'm pretty sure I know the name of the 'who,' and I do have a few leads on the 'where.' I'll have to follow through with that search one day.


I guess the biggest disappointment of it all was the fact that Mother never told me about it. My brother passed away in 2008, and for some reason I felt as though she may have told him. They always had a closeness that I didn't share because they both felt the need to 'protect' me. I knew that and it invariably bothered me, but I certainly did understand it. I was the 'baby' after all.


I even found myself calling my former sister-in-law with whom I still have a good relationship. I knew that if my brother knew, he would have told her. She was as shocked as I was, so I guess Mother never told anyone.  I imagine she would have told us if she had known what information was given out about her in the 1940 census. In fact, she would have probably been pretty angry about it! My step-grandfather was as honest as the day is long and probably never thought twice about telling the truth to the census takers.


So Mother, your little secret is out....and your little girl has to follow your trail. Thanks a bunch!


Did I say to be sure you are ready for the surprises you might find?


@2014 Copyright by Carla Love Maitland