Monday, September 30, 2013

Tika & The Ten Rules of the Canoe

Near Poulso, Washington, is the resting place of Chief Seattle (ca 1786-1866) who was chief of the Squamish people. Near the cemetery is the Squamish Museum where we learned all about this tribe and their lives and times.

Calling themselves the Canoe People and this message was framed and on the wall in that museum. I'll retype the rules for you so you can read them........ we think they're darn good Rules for Living:

1.  Keep going! Every stroke we take is one less we have to make.
2.  Respect and trust cannot exist in anger; there is to be no abuse of self or others.
3.  The adaptable animal survives; be flexible.
4.  Every story is important: the gift of each enriches all.
5.  Nothing occurs in isolation; we all pull and support each other.
6.  Always nourish yourself; a hungry person has no charity.
7.  Our experiences are not enhanced through criticism.
8.  The journey is what we enjoy.
9.  A good teacher always allows the student to learn.
10. When given a choice at all, be a worker bee..... make honey!

Tika says, "Well, I cannot read but they do sound good to me."

Monday, September 23, 2013

Tika & Lost Marriage Records

Tika went with us last weekend to the park to mark the wedding of our grandson. It was a very low-key, low-cost affair but abounding in family love (which is all that counts). Evan and Whitney were married by his Uncle Timothy, with Aunt Jane as the photographer.

On the way home Tika and I got to wondering........... for this marriage there were no newspaper notices, stories or announcements, no photographs except what family took and the requisite paperwork was signed there in the park. Evan's mother took it upon herself to ramrod  and secure the official paperwork.

No wonder we sometimes cannot find any official mention of our ancestor's marriage! They got married in the little church or the backyard and between there and the county office the paperwork got lost when the parson forded a stream and his bag got soaked. Or nobody was in charge of the paperwork and it just got forgotten or lost and was never properly filed.

If this marriage had been 150 years ago, in a little church, backyard or park near the couple's home, where would you maybe find a record of the marriage? Perhaps in a church bulletin or history mention? Perhaps in the local little newspaper..... if somebody submitted the story? Perhaps in the family Bible..... which is where today? Perhaps in a letter to a family member who could not attend..... which is where today? Perhaps in the diaries of those attending........ where to find them today? Or perhaps in the journals of the bride and groom.... no doubt written long after the event? Or the "Grandmother, Tell Me Your Story?" books?

Tika's point here is this: you may never find that one piece of paper, that one official record, for the marriage of your ancestor. To "prove" that marriage you will have to collect bits and pieces and secondary evidence. 'Tiz the way of life, I guess, mused Tika.

Who was asleep on my lap by this point. Smart, tired little dogger.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Tika & Heart-Shaped Rocks

For over thirty years, my daughter and I have collected heart-shaped rocks. We were first hooked on this hobby by walking on Pacific beaches and looking for beach treasures. We soon found heart-shaped rocks and were amazed and delighted to find many rocks.... and everywhere!!.... in that distinctive shape. (The heart shape is my daughter's favorite.)

As our travel circles widened, our heart-shaped rock collection grew to include coral hearts from the beaches of Hawaii and slate hearts from the beaches of Maine and granite hearts from the banks of the Columbia River and from all points in between. This photo was taken of my "find" in Arizona.

My Jane jazzed up her collection by buying those fancy rock hearts that you seen in so many gift shops. We mounted our heart-shaped rocks in patterns on driftwood boards and hung them in our homes, always a delight to the eye.

There is a family history or genealogy parallel here.

As we'd walk the beaches we'd spot "wannabee" rocks and "leave-er-ite" rocks, and "nope" rocks. A rock was either a heart-shaped rock or it was not.

Genealogy is a bit like collecting heart-shaped rocks. A new name is either your ancestor or he or she is not.

Jane has tried grinding unwanted parts of some almost-heart-shaped rocks to remove what does not fit. You cannot and should not grind away unwanted ancestors. And you most certainly cannot grind away dates, places or connections in your family history just to make the fit.

When we're scouting for heart-shaped rocks, we gather into our bag only rocks that are for sure  heart-shaped. No "making them fit."

When you're researching your family, make sure you gather into your bag only persons that are for sure ancestors. No "making them fit."

Tika most surely agrees!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Tika & Lighthouses

Are you as fascinated by lighthouses as I am? I love to visit lighthouses and enjoy the view from the top of ones open to the public and visit every one that I can.  So what is a lighthouse?   
A lighthouse is a tower, building or other type of structure designed to emit light from a system of lamps and lenses and used as an aid to navigation for maritime pilots at sea or on inland waterways.  Lighthouses mark dangerous coastline, hazardous shoals, reefs and safe entries to harbors. (This definition from the website,

What are the lighthouses in our genealogy? What are the "aids to navigation" for us in researching our family history?  What warns us from "dangerous coastlines, hazardous shoals and reefs" and then provides us "safe entry" into harbors? 

I think there is a 1-word answer to the above question: Documentation. With proper documentation of every bit of information that we enter onto our charts we ensure a "safe harbor" and we avoid "hazardous shoals and reefs" of the dreaded general-ology.   (It has been said that genealogy without documentation is mythology or fiction at best.)

Documentation will serve us well if we will but employ it faithfully. What is documentation? Stay tuned…

Tika says, "Is this my new chew toy?"

Monday, September 2, 2013

Tika & Rocks (Documentation)

Documentation is, according to Webster's Dictionary, "anything printed or written that is relied upon to record or prove something."

Documentation is, then, something printed or written that substantiates as correct a conclusion…… something that documents your research conclusions.

To me, documentation is finding the answer to a question.

I have collected rocks from my travels. I arrange them on my deck and like to look at them and remember where I found them. Got to thinking one day about the geological origins of my rocks and which rocks came from the seashore.

So my question was: Are any of my rocks sea rocks?

Looking carefully at each one I could see that some are sandstone, some granite, some lave, some petrified wood, some basalt, etc. Very different origins. Only three prove to answer my question. Only three can "prove" that they are sea rocks. One is coral-turned-to-stone from the Pacific Island of Kiribati, one a different coral from Maui and one large one is sandstone-with-shells from an Oregon beach. Only these three document the answer to my question.

How do they do so? By what they are……….. corals and seashells only live in ocean water.

How does any of this apply to genealogy? Just as visualization documents my sea rocks, when I find and see the real, correct, answer to my genealogy question then I know I have my documentation.

Tika says, "This makes no sense to me." I hope it does to you