Calendar Sale to Benefit Cancer Research

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I have republished a calendar featuring photos from my Aunt Teri’s gorgeous garden in Winchester, Va (the photo above was her favorite). Teri passed away earlier this year. Proceeds from the sale of the calendars will go to the American Cancer Society’s lung cancer research fund. You can preview the calendar here (photos are from the 2010 edition).

Order the calendar online from Creative Memories (free login required). These calendars are 30% off during the month of October.

Treasure Chest Thursday: Becker Bier Artifacts

Dear Reader: Do you think you are related to the individuals listed in this post? Please drop me a note! I love hearing from cousins and others researching my family!

My aunt very generously shared many items with me over the holiday weekend and I’m thrilled to have acquired a few items related to Bierbrauerei Becker in St. Ingbert. I am somehow related to this brewery and am getting closer to figuring out the connection thanks to some photos we scanned this weekend.

German Wild cousins of mine married into the Becker family. When my grandfather was stationed in Germany, he took his wife and kids to the brewery and there they collected several souvenirs, including postcards and the ashtray below.

An ashtray bearing the Becker Bier insignia.

Bierbrauerei Becker postcard

The same view, in a color image, on the cover of a booklet about the brewery.

My understanding is that the brewery no longer makes beer. I had hoped to try it someday, but instead settle for asking anyone I know who’s been to Germany if they tried it and what did they think.

Returning a Long-Borrowed Ruler

In going through the treasure-trove of items saved by my grandmother, my aunt came upon three wooden rulers. One was made of samples of each kind of wood traditionally used in furniture. The other two were shaped like long pyramids, with a different measuring system on each side.

My aunt said that I should take one of the rulers. I noticed that one had my grandfather’s name written on it and I said she should keep that one. The other had a completely unrelated individual’s name on it! How strange.

My grandfather graduated high school in 1930 in San Antonio, Texas. Apparently he was classmates with someone named Fred A. Slimp and came into possession of his ruler. I can only assume he borrowed it at some point. Or perhaps he picked it up by accident in class one day.

I began trying to find Fred A. Slimp. And find him I did — and three children. Fred died in 1996, but I believe that at least one of his sons is still alive and that I have a current address for him. I hope he gets a kick out of receiving the ruler when I send it to him.

Meet Anson G. Bennett, My 2nd Great-Grandfather

Anson G. Bennett

Dear Reader: Do you think you are related to the individuals listed in this post? Please drop me a note! I love hearing from cousins and others researching my family!

This weekend, one of my aunts and I went through a ton of photos and documents that used to belong to my grandmother. Among the treasures was a funeral announcement for my second great-grandfather, Anson G. Bennett. I wrote about him briefly before.

One of the most exciting things about the article was the photo shown here — I’d never seen his photo before. Unfortunately, the newspaper clipping isn’t dated or identified by publication name. It most likely came from one of the San Antonio papers.

The article reveals several new-to-me facts. One of Anson’s sons was San Antonio city clerk. Anson was buried at St. Mary’s parish cemetery. Anson’s address at the time of his death was 619 Cedar Street.

619 Cedar Street, San Antonio

The following excerpt is especially rich in detail:

“A native of Missouri, he was brought to San Antonio in a covered wagon by his father, Capt. Sam C. Bennett, Civil War veteran and boat captain on the Mississippi river between St. Louis and New Orleans.” (“A. G. Bennett Funeral Services Set,” date and publication unknown.)

I already knew that Anson died on 12 Mar 1944. I didn’t know about his father’s Civil War service. I believe he served the Confederacy as I have evidence he was a slave owner (an obituary for one of the family’s slaves was even published in the San Antonio Express).

Beyond the above clues, searching anew for information on Anson led me to his listing in the 1940 census. I also found another newspaper article that said Samuel C. Bennett was custodian of the Alamo for three years prior to his death in 1900 (“Capt. Bennett Dead,” Dallas Morning News, 16 Jan 1900, digital image, GenealogyBank, http://genealogybank.com : accessed 2 Sep 2012.). I have a feeling there’s going to be a lot more material to find on him.

SNGF: Ancestor Name Roulette

Dear Reader: Do you think you are related to the individuals listed in this post? Please drop me a note! I love hearing from cousins and others researching my family!

It’s been a while since I posted, period. And now, two in one day? But I finally have a chance to play along with Saturday Night Genealogy Fun and so here we go for this week. The mission from Randy Seaver:

1) What year was one of your great-grandfathers born? ┬áDivide this number by 50 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, and what are his/her vital information?

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 status or a Google Stream post, 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 great-grandmother, a grandparent, a parent, a favorite aunt or cousin, yourself, or even your children!

It took me a while to find an ancestor whose birth year, divided by 50, matched a number on my Ahnentafel chart that I had filled in.

So, I started with Richard Corley, my 7th great-grandfather. He was born in 1670, which led to a roulette number of 33 (most of the rest of the 30s on my Ahnentafel chart are not filled in, sadly).

33 is Delilah Basham, my 3rd great-grandmother. Here are three facts about her:

1) Her name is one of my favorites among my ancestors. Delilah was the downfall of Samson in the Bible. These days, she’s the subject of a hit song by the Plain White Ts. I’m fascinated that her parents chose that name for her. Her father’s name was Obediah, one of my other favorite names among my ancestors.

2) She was born in 1785 in Bedford, Va., according to the preponderance of secondary sources I’ve been able to find. This area of Virginia has very few surviving original records due to fires at county courthouses and other repositories (and not all were due to the Civil War either).

3) She married Jonathan Cheatham Corley and together they had 13 children, including my 2nd great-grandfather, Benjamin William Franklin Corley, and his twin brother, Henry William Washington Corley. Delilah and Jonathan are buried together in a Corley family cemetery in Shelby, Ill.

Grandma Was a Census Enumerator

Gold star for my cousin Daniel, who made an exciting discovery when studying the 1940 census page showing our great-grandparents and fam in Carter County, Tennessee (click on the images for larger versions):

The Hayeses in the 1940 census (image from Ancestry.com).

Nothing too unusual in the crop above — the census page lists my great-grandparents William E. and Della (Crow) Hayes, along with their children including my grandma, G. Alma.

Actually, one discovery does reveal itself in the information listed above — I never knew that my great aunt Ruth was born in Colorado until I saw this page — this was confirmed by relatives at a recent family gathering. There will be another blog post on that story later.

BUT, the really super-huge-big-deal discovery was made by Daniel at the top of the page. Check out the name of the enumerator:

Enumerator: Alma Hayes (image from Ancestry.com).

The enumerator was Alma Hayes a.k.a. Grandma! You think I would have recognized the handwriting. Kudos, cousin Daniel!

Heaven Has Gained One Hell of a Gardener

Yesterday, my family celebrated the life of my Aunt Teri, whom we lost in May after a long battle with cancer. She planned the event herself, down to the menu, and couldn’t have done so more perfectly. Several folks stood up and said beautiful words about Teri. I didn’t — I knew I would lose it if I tried. I think most folks who’ve met me know I’m more of a writer than a speaker anyhow.

Teri and I had become very close over the past several years. I made it a point to visit her in Winchester at least twice a year. I learned so much from her and I miss her terribly.

Not only was she my aunt, she was my godmother, drinking buddy, “big sister,” gardening/cooking inspiration, shopping pal, fellow daytrip explorer, crossword puzzle clue helper, backgammon instructor, music/movie sharer, family-secret spiller and kindred spirit.

Aunt Teri had a wicked grin and catching laugh that matched her sense of humor. She used to entertain all of us cousins when we were little by flaring her nostrils. She could curse like a sailor and inspired me in that regard too.

Aunt Teri (the Indian princess) and Me

As a youngster, I thought Aunt Teri was an Indian princess. She always tanned so dark and had such long, dark hair. I have so many fond memories of hanging with her on our family beach trips and visiting her out in the mountains of western Virginia.

One of Teri’s favorite photos, taken in her backyard in 2010.

Visiting Aunt Teri was always special — she had the most beautiful and productive garden. In recent years at her house in Winchester, I spent hours with her in the backyard, photographing bees among the lavender, picking raspberries and tomatoes, taunting birds who tried to do the same. We’d grill, drink more beer than probably is advisable, and chat for hours on end.

One of my favorite memories of hanging out with Aunt Teri was shortly after her divorce. She had just bought a house and had a ton of things to hang on the walls, but had never used a drill before. She had my grandfather’s old drill — the thing is entirely made out of metal and weighs about 10 pounds. I was cowed by it too, but I took her out back and had her practice drilling holes in the stump of an old tree. She was giddy with excitement over conquering the intimidating power tool.

The next time I came to visit her, her walls were full of prints, pictures and even a pot rack in her kitchen that she had installed herself.

Aunt Teri was an awe-inspiring cook. Her homemade pickles and brandied peaches couldn’t be beat. I still have one last jar of her canned green beans left. It will be a very special occasion when I decide to serve those.

The last time I saw Aunt Teri was on Mother’s Day. I had spent the weekend with her, helping her out around the house and garden. She was having trouble talking, but we still had a really great visit and I’m so thankful I got to see her then.

She was gone three days later. As is so often the case, we all thought we had more time…

I think of Aunt Teri every time I set foot in my own garden now. I so wish she were still here to quiz on how to take care of this plant and when to harvest that vegetable.

Heaven has gained one hell of a gardener.