Friday, December 28, 2007


Monday, December 24, 2007

Twas The Night

Twas the night before Christmas and from coast to coast,
every GeneaBlogger had penned their last post.

Had told Christmas stories both merry and bright
while blog caroling old favorites like Silent Night.

There’d been snowball fights, tree trimming and song.
We’d shared Christmas memories, all played along.

Nothing’s left for us now but to track Old St. Nick;
Cow Hampshire, New York, Mississippi, he’s quick.

Before this night’s over his reindeer’ll alight
on the roof tops of GeneaBloggers to right

The wrongs of the census, transcription, and fire;
to give each of us our one true heart’s desire.

Please, just one missing ancestor, one smashed brick wall,
then dash away, dash away, dash away all.

I’ve not been naughty, I've an award for nice.
One dance with Mark Twain shouldn’t count as a vice.

Reward me dear Santa I’ll promise you this;
the year 2008 will be one not to miss!

Merry Christmas To All and To All A Good Night!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

A Choir Of GeneaAngels

Don't my fellow GeneaAngels look wonderful with their halos on? Don't we wish it could last all Year?

Top Row: L-R, Denise Olson - just off the edge (Moultrie Creek),Terry Snyder (Desktop Genealogist), Dear Myrtle, John Newmark (Transylvania Dutch), Craig Manson (geneablogie), Becky Wiseman (kinexxions), David Bowles (Writing The Westward Sagas), T.K. (Before My Time), Bill West (West In New England), Thomas MacEntee (Destination: Austin Family)

Middle Row: L-R, Jessica Oswalt - running out of the picture (Jessica's Genejournal), Colleen (The Oracle of OMcHodoy), Lee Anders (The I Seek Dead People Blog), Miriam Midkiff (AnceStories), Lisa (Small-leaved Shamrock), footnoteMaven, Jasia (Creative Gene), Chery Kinnick (Nordic Blue), Steve Danko (Steve's Genealogy Blog), Chris Dunham (The Genealogue)

Bottom Row: L-R: Randy Seaver (Genea-Musings), Blaine Bettinger (Dr. DNA - The Genetic Genealogist), Susan Kitchens (Family Oral History), Apple (Apple's Tree), Janice Brown (Cow Hampshire), Terry Thornton (Hill Country), Tim Agazio - Behind Terry's Wing (Genealogy Reviews Online), Nikki-Ann - on the horn, Lori Thornton - with her back to us (Smoky Mountain Family Historian), Amy Crooks (Untangled Family Roots), Lulubelle

Some Of These GeneaAngels Are
log Caroling Now!

Bill West at West In New England - I Saw Three Ships
Chery Kinnick at Nordic Blue - Chestnuts Roasting
Lori Thornton at Smoky Mountain Family Historian - Oh Come All Ye Faithful
Becky Wiseman at kinnexxions - Do You Hear What I Hear
Randy Seaver at Genea-Musings - Angels We Have Heard on High
Terry Thornton at Hill Country - The First Noel
Jessica Oswalt at Jessica's Genejournal - Silent Night
Jasia at CreativeGene - Dzisiaj w Betlejem (In David's City)
Semiquaver is really caroling at Harlow - Wish We Could Hear You!
(I will imagine you as Detective Chief Inspector Endeavour Morse, singing Christmas Carols)
Craig Manson at geneablogie - Stille Nacht, Heilige Nacht - Trilingual Caroling!
Lisa at Small-leaved Shamrock - The Wexford Carol
Lisa at Small-leaved Shamrock - Can't forget Killarney...
Lisa at A Light That Shines Again - On French Hens, a Partridge and God Himself
Lisa at 100 Years in America - Heavenly music and "little stars"
Chris Dunham at The Genealogue - Jouluyö, juhlayö!
Colleen at The Oracle of OMcHodoy - The Little Drummer Boy
footnoteMaven - God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen

Thank You All For Participating - You Sound Marvelous!
If you're caroling and I've missed you, leave a note for me.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Blog Caroling

I've decided to go Blog Caroling. From the comfort of my blog, with Hot Toddy in hand, my flannel jammies and furry slippers on, I will blog my favorite Christmas Carol - God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen.

O.K. my fellow GeneaBloggers, let's start a new Christmas tradition, I challenge you to blog your favorite Christmas Carol - Blog Caroling. We'll all sing along!

footnoteMaven - God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen

God rest ye merry, gentlemen
Let nothing you dismay

Remember, Christ, our Saviour

Was born on Christmas day

To save us all from Satan's power

When we were gone astray

O tidings of comfort and joy,

Comfort and joy

O tidings of comfort and joy

In Bethlehem, in Israel,

This blessed Babe was born

And laid within a manger

Upon this blessed morn

The which His Mother Mary

Did nothing take in scorn

O tidings of comfort and joy,

Comfort and joy

O tidings of comfort and joy

From God our Heavenly Father
A blessed Angel came;

And unto certain Shepherds

Brought tidings of the same:

How that in Bethlehem was born

The Son of God by Name.

O tidings of comfort and joy,

Comfort and joy

O tidings of comfort and joy

"Fear not then," said the Angel,
"Let nothing you affright,

This day is born a Saviour

Of a pure Virgin bright,

To free all those who trust in Him

From Satan's power and might."

O tidings of comfort and joy,

Comfort and joy

O tidings of comfort and joy

The shepherds at those tidings

Rejoiced much in mind,

And left their flocks a-feeding

In tempest, storm and wind:

And went to Bethlehem straightway

The Son of God to find.

O tidings of comfort and joy,

Comfort and joy

O tidings of comfort and joy

And when they came to Bethlehem

Where our dear Saviour lay,

They found Him in a manger,

Where oxen feed on hay;

His Mother Mary kneeling down,

Unto the Lord did pray.

O tidings of comfort and joy,

Comfort and joy

O tidings of comfort and joy

Now to the Lord sing praises,

All you within this place,

And with true love and brotherhood

Each other now embrace;

This holy tide of Christmas

All other doth deface.

O tidings of comfort and joy,

Comfort and joy

O tidings of comfort and joy

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen was first published in 1833 when it appeared in "Christmas Carols Ancient and Modern," a collection of seasonal carols gathered by William B. Sandys. The lyrics of God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen are traditional olde English and are reputed to date back to the 15th century although the author is unknown. It is believed that this particular carol was sung to the gentry by town watchmen who earned additional money during the Christmas season. The tradition of carol singing in towns and villages still lives on to this day and God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen continues to be enjoyed. The lyrics to this simple carol are reputed to be one of the oldest carols. History courtesy

I'm feeling so much better. Ho, Ho Ho!

Not All Merry and Bright

I have anguished over writing this post. Jasia wrote about a family Christmas tragedy and so I too started to write about my Christmas tragedy. Cathartic I thought. Jasia, however, had a happy ending. Unfortunately, I do not and so if you would like to stop reading here, I will understand completely.

I hope this will explain the reason why I have not been as enthusiastic about Christmas memories as my fellow GeneaBloggers. Perhaps when you read this you will understand why the footnoteMaven has been so quiet. Not all family history is the way we would have written it if we were given a choice.

It was December 21. I left my office at lunch to pick up those last minute odds and ends. Small things for the children's stockings and some food favorites for Christmas dinner. The world at that time didn't walk around with a bluetooth in its ear, a cell phone in its purse or pocket, or in my case even an answering machine.

When I returned to my office a Sheriff's Deputy was waiting for me. I knew something was desperately wrong, but no matter how hard I tried I couldn't speak. "You need to call your Mother," he said. "I'm very sorry."

The night before, my Father ("There'll Be No Hell For Dogs") had gone out in his front yard to listen to the neighborhood carolers and suffered a heart attack. The paramedics arrived, revived him and transported him to the hospital. My youngest Brother and my Mother went there with him. He was sitting up in bed and talking. He told my Brother he was fine, that he loved him, and that he should go home. My Brother left, my Mother stayed. My Mother was a cardiac intensive care nurse in the very unit my father was a patient, she would not leave him. Mom and Dad talked and decided to call the rest of us in the morning when Dad would be discharged.

Several hours later, during the early morning hours of December 21, my Father suffered a massive heart attack in the hospital and died.

My other Brother and I both lived in California. After speaking with my Mother we made arrangements and traveled to Florida. Going in the house was so difficult, Dad was everywhere. He had spent hours putting up the Christmas decorations, there were presents under the tree with his name on them, and his tools were sitting on his workbench in the garage, just where he had left them when he went out to listen to carolers.

Most of this time is a blur. I think the mind does that to make the memory of the pain less knife sharp. If only the family tragedy ended here, but it doesn't.

My Father's brothers arrived from Missouri for the funeral. They looked so much like Dad. It was a comfort and yet so visual a reminder that he was missing. During the funeral one of my Uncles stood next to me and held my hand, none of us knowing that at that very moment his pain was about to become immeasurable.

At that very moment, in Missouri, in my Uncle's backyard, his daughter, my cousin, was taking her own life. She left no note. The family has speculated for years on her reasons and her timing. My Uncle always believed she was murdered. The police reports were thorough and final, it was a suicide. The act of suicide is so selfish. Selfish and cruel.

As adults we know that not every Christmas is "Merry and Bright." Christmas memories are what you make of them. I have made some wonderful memories for my children and their children, I did it for them, for me, and for Dad. How he loved Christmas!

I work very hard for good memories, but every year at this time some memories of Christmas past slip into my conscious thoughts and they are still painful.

Sunday, December 9, 2007


Thursday, December 6, 2007

Something Old Something New? - Xmas

It is a well known fact that I am a collector of dictionaries and old photographs. In this post I marry the two collections (again, showing my husband the benefit of all the money I spend educating myself - right honey?).

The beautiful young Edwardian woman you see in this photograph is one of the orphans in my photographic collection. She caught my eye not only for her beauty, but for the gold embossed Merry Xmas displayed at the bottom of her cabinet card.

"Beauty" probably sat for this Christmas portrait in the early 1900s.
Was Merry Xmas in use in the early 1900s? I thought Xmas was something new, could it be something old? To solve my mystery, I consulted my collection of dictionaries and found the following answer.

The Winston Dictionary
College Edition
- 1946 -

Xmas abbr. Christmas: - Xn., Christian (also Xtian.): -Xnty., Christianity (also Xty.)

Collegiate Dictionary
Eleventh Edition
- 2004 -

Xmas n [X symbol for Christ, fr. the GK letter chi (X), initial of Christos Christ) + -mas (in Christmas)] (1551): CHRISTMAS

"X" (as in chi) was used as an abbreviation for Christ from early times, some saying that it was initially a camouflage for the religion. It is the first letter of the word Christos (meaning "the anointed one," e.g., the Messiah) and fortuitously was cross-shaped. Xmas has been used as a scholarly and not-so-scholarly abbreviation since.

So, Xmas is not the "something new" I thought it was, but the "something old" of the Christian religion!

Merry Xmas "Beauty" and thank you for the history lesson!

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Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Libel and Fair Use and Defamation, Oh My!

This is the very best and most entertaining definition of "Fair Use" I've found anywhere, I think you'll enjoy it and understand it.

Professor Eric Faden of Bucknell University created this humorous, yet informative, review of copyright principles delivered through the words of the very folks we can thank for nearly endless copyright terms.

Synopsis Courtesy of The Center For Internet and Society

Want to know more? The following are some plain language for the rest of us explanations of blogging and the law.

Fair Use Project:

The Stanford Center for Internet and Society's "Fair Use Project" ("the FUP") was founded in 2006 to provide legal support to a range of projects designed to clarify, and extend, the boundaries of "fair use" in order to enhance creative freedom.

From the Electronic Frontier Foundation comes the Bloggers' FAQ - Online Defamation Law:

The Bloggers' FAQ on Online Defamation Law provides an overview of defamation (libel) law, including a discussion of the constitutional and statutory privileges that may protect you.

EFF: Legal Guide for Bloggers

Whether you're a newly minted blogger or a relative old-timer, you've been seeing more and more stories pop up every day about bloggers getting in trouble for what they post. This post acquaints you with the pitfalls.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

I Missed The Carnival!

Yes, I missed the Carnival,
but there is nothing I would ask for this Christmas Season.

I have it all.
Good friends, a great family, my blog, and my passion.

So, thank you to all my friends and fellow GeneaBloggers for your cards and emails checking on me while I was down.

To all of you I send this special Christmas Card.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays


This card is the creation of the incomparable Jacquie Lawson. You can find her site and the many cards she creates at

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