Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Light Sculpture

Fireworks at Sea

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Some things can be said about family...

I don't care how poor a man is; if he has family, he's rich.  ~Dan Wilcox and Thad Mumford, "Identity Crisis," M*A*S*H

It is not flesh and blood but the heart which makes us fathers and sons.  ~Johann Schiller

The family is a haven in a heartless world.  ~Attributed to Christopher Lasch

Nobody has ever before asked the nuclear family to live all by itself in a box the way we do.  With no relatives, no support, we've put it in an impossible situation.  ~Margaret Mead

Strawberries and Cream Sherbet

  • Prep: 5 min
  • Cooling time: 1 hrs freezing
  • Yields: 10 servings, 1/2 cup each


    • 1 (1 lb.) bag frozen strawberries, unsweetened
    • 1 can (12 fl. oz.) Evaporated Lowfat Milk (I substituted fat free)
    • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
    • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice



    • PLACE frozen strawberries, evaporated milk, sugar and lemon juice in food processor; process until smooth.


    • POUR into 8-inch-square baking pan. Place in freezer for about 20 minutes, until ice crystals begin to form around edge of dish. Using fork, stir icy portions into middle of pan. Repeat, stirring edges into center every 20 minutes or until frozen (about 1 hour). Cover tightly. Freeze for up to 2 months. To serve, scoop into small paper cups, paper cones or martini glasses.

      • 3 cups fresh, whole strawberries can be substituted for frozen. Freeze berries before using.

    Nutrition Facts: Serving size ½ cup

    • Calories 90; Calories from fat 5; Total fat .5g; Sat. Fat .5g; Cholesterol 5 mg; Sodium 45 mg; Carbs 18g; Dietyary Fiber 1g; Sugars 16g; Protein 3g


Sunday, March 28, 2010

My Dearest Daniel and Mary

We all have those ancestors that just seem to vanish. Their stories are passed down but no one really knows where they came from and if they are true- my grandmother told me so it must be, right?

The stories that we were left with for Daniel were that he sold his youngest son as a white slave after coming home from the war to "find an extra mouth to feed" and that he "threw Mary out of the house". It is believed that Daniel filed for a divorce shortly after.


With these stories and a copy of Theory of War (a book written from the journals of my ggg grandfather – Daniel's son) in hand, I set out to find out exactly what had happened to Daniel. Census records came up and Mary was gone by 1870. Daniel was not marked as a widow. No signs of Mary either. The book did not shed any light as to Mary's possible whereabouts.

Mary wound up in our tree from a previous project. There were no documents to verify her in our family- the marriage was so short that she didn't even appear in the 1860 census. She is not mentioned in her children's obits, or in Daniel's. Daniel went on shortly after to marry again, only to have that result in divorce as well. The existence of their divorce decree has yet to be proven.


Daniel was very, very poor and sent his children out to work at a young age. Alexander was one of his children that were sent to live and work with a local family. He was treated very poorly and a book (Theory of War) was written from his journals. Later in life, Daniel had contact with all of his children, including Alexander, who escapes this lifestyle and worked his way out west with the railroad.


I later found what I thought may be Mary in a later census with a different last name. With her was a son, Albert Brady. A few weeks later, I received a message from a relative of Mary's seeking out what info I had on her. I shared what little information I had and contact has continued since.


It is amazing how quick things can fall together. I kept searching for that missing piece and though I have yet to find it, I am closer. The divorce record has yet to make its appearance and I am skeptical of that happening. As poor as they were, I doubt they would have spent money for a legal divorce. Daniel never owned any property- not even his own grave! He died in his daughter's home and as a result she died 5 years later of the same disease (sharing is caring!).

As far as we know, there are no photographs of Daniel or most of his children. We have one photo of Alexander as a child, and a couple from his adult life with his own family.


Oh the journeys our ancestors send us on!

Never Judge an Ancestor by Your Family Legends...

When I first started working on my family tree, I had no idea what was in store for me.  We had stories passed down from living family that said that one of our ancestors sold his son- who was thought to be illegitimate into servitude.  The man was Daniel Brady and he is my 3 great grandfather.  Alexander is his son.
We had come to think of Daniel as a heartless man.  He had disappeared from records for several years and as far as we knew died alone in Seward, Nebraska in 1886.
Turns out, he was poor and couldn't feed his children.  So they worked as child laborers and indentured servants until they came of age.  Alexander just got caught in a bad situation.  The family he worked for was cruel and he wasn't sold.
From the Blue Valley Blade  Seward, Seward, Nebraska  April 14, 1886
Brady.-In Seward, on Thursday evening, April 8, 1886, at the residence of his daughter, Mrs. J.W. Shipley, of consumption, Daniel Brady, aged 58 years.
Mr. Brady was born in Indiana county, Pa., in 1828, and at an early day the family moved to Ohio.  Shortly after the war broke out he enlisted in the 92nd Ohio Volunteer Infantry for three years and served until its close.  Soon after the war he moved to Iowa, where he resided for two years, when he came to Nebraska and settled on a homestead in this county, near Tamora, where he resided for a number of years before removing to this city.
Mr. Brady leaves one sister, Mrs. Margaret Brown, living south of Tamora; two daughters, Mrs. Margaret J Hurst, of Doddridge county, W.Va., and Mrs. Sarah L. Shipley, of this city; three sons, William and Alexander of Car Valley, Benton county, Oregon, and John I., of New Athens, Harrison county, Ohio.  Deceased was a member of Seward Post No. 3 G.A.R., and was so much respected by his comrades and all who knew him.  The funeral services took place on Saturday afternoon at the M.E. church, the Rev. G.M. Morey officiating.  The remains were escorted to the grave by the Post, where the burial was conducted under their auspices.
Department of Nebraska, G.A.R.
Seward, Neb., April 12,1886
WHEREAS: In the view of the loss we have sustained by the decease of our comrade, and associate, Daniel Brady, and of the still heavier loss sustained by those who were nearest and dearest to him; therefore be it
Resolved; That is but a just tribute to the memory of our departed comrade to say that, in regretting his removal from our ranks, we mourn for one who was, in every way, worthy of our respect and regard.
Resolved; That we sincerely condole with the family of the deceased on the dispensation with which it has pleased our Supreme Commander to afflict them, and commend them for consolation to Him who orders all things for the best, and whose chastisements are meant in mercy.
Resolved; That this heartfelt testimonial of our sympathy and sorrow be published in all the Seward papers, and a copy forwarded to the daughter of our deceased comrade.
Card of Thanks
We take this method of returning our grateful thanks to the Grand Army Post and other friends of Seward, for their kindly aid and sympathy during the last illness of our departed relative, Daniel Brady.

Our family legends were very wrong about him.  I am so glad that we found this today, as it provides us with more insight into Daniel's life and more places to search for him.

Who do you think you are?

In case you're COMPLETELY out of the loop, has teamed up with Lisa Kudrow to bring the popular U.K. show to U.S. It has been airing for the past seven years overseas and show cases popular public figures finding their way in their family tree.
The show has actually come across a bit of criticism.  Genealogy fanatics have ranted on the celebrities history being dug up by professionals, rather than them doing the leg work themselves.  Brooke Shields, who's episode is yet to air, has gotten criticism for her royal roots.
Not all of the stars on U.S. season one have royal descendants.  Sarah Jessica-Parker for example is the descendant of an accused witch in the Salem Witch Trails.  Emmit Smith, who's episode airs tomorrow night, is the descendant of a slave- but his story has a twist as well!
The episode I am most looking forward to is Lisa Kudrow's.  Most of us have found some unsavory information regarding one of our ancestors while researching our roots.  Lisa knew of the history surrounding the time period that her Jewish family lived.  But she wasn't prepared to face it.  I have found things like this in my tree.  Many of us have.  I think to truly understand your roots, you need to take it all in- the good and the bad.
Tune in this Friday (and every Friday) night for Who Do You Think You Are? on NBC at 8/7c.

Product Review: Family Tree Software ft Family Tree Maker 2010

Let me start off by stating that I have tried several different tree making programs- Family Historian 3.0, My Heritage Family Tree Builder, Legacy (7.0 I believe...), and now the latest from Family Tree Maker 2010.
While Family Historian was a good starter program- reliable, inexpensive (its not really the $70+ that reviews say it is its about $30), it has a number of holes in the data.  For me, I needed something that allowed for medical histories, and various other public and political offices to be added. The program allows you to manually add these, however for a beginner it's just easier to type them in the notes.  All nice and unorganized like. Program updates are pay-per-update. It is also not the easiest program to get used to.  Unlike Legacy, it allows you to work from the chart.
Legacy is a more expensive program.  You can download the free version instead of shelling out the $70-$80 for the full version.  It is also not an easy program to use and customer service is non-existent.  Leaving in mind that once they have your money that is all they care about. Most updates are free providing you paid for the full version.
My Heritage Family Tree Builder works very similar to Legacy in that there is a free version and a paid version.  It allows you to work from the chart, set up a free family tree site (article forthcoming), and search records online.  I do strongly caution users on this program. It had messed up my tree- changing names, deleting dates and even people- BACKUP BACKUP BACKUP!!! has released Family Tree Maker 2010. Now on sale for $30 on, it can also be found at Target (that's is where I picked up my copy).  The program comes with a one month US Deluxe membership.  If you already have a tree online at Ancestry, you can download it straight into the program (Windows 7 users may have a slight issue with this- download to your computer then open it in the program).  It allows you to search top family history sites Rootsweb, Ancestry and, as well as Google, Yahoo, and others. You can import sources directly into your tree (sources done correctly!!). It allows you to work from the chart.  It has various ways to customize the info you see and add and corrects locations and dates.  It flags names for titles (there is a separate area to input titles for your wonderful ancestors!) and has a universal spell check! This is by far the smoothest software I have used.  For you users, yes- the wiggling leaf does show in your tree in the software as well. You have the option to work online (collaborating your online tree with your desktop file and use your membership) or offline.
It also has various ways to do reports.  This is the most types of reports that I have seen in any software.  One VERY useful report is the Data Errors Report, seeign which data is missing (Marriage place but no date or vice versa).  It also allows you to create a plan for methodical working on your tree- building tasks and rating them by priority.  These can be set for certain people, groups of people, data type, etc.the possibilities are truly endless.
For more information on's Family Tree Maker 2010 go to

Diet Approved Snack

**Dietitian Approved Snack** Chocolate Hazelnut Bark
Yield: About 12 ounces (serving size: 1 ounce)
* 3/4 cup hazelnuts (about 4 ounces)
* 1/3 cup dried cherries, coarsely chopped
* 2 tablespoons finely chopped crystallized ginger
* 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped

1. Preheat oven to 350°.
2. Place hazelnuts on a baking sheet. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes, stirring once halfway through cooking. Turn nuts out onto a towel. Roll up towel; rub off skins. Coarsely chop nuts. Combine nuts, cherries, and ginger in a medium bowl.
3. Place chocolate in a microwave-safe measuring cup. Microwave at HIGH 1 minute or until chocolate melts, stirring every 15 seconds. Add to nut mixture, stirring just until combined. Spread mixture evenly on a jelly-roll pan lined with foil; freeze 1 hour. Break into pieces; serve immediately.

Nutritional Information Calories: 139 Fat: 8.8g (sat 2.5g,mono 3.9g,poly 0.7g) Protein: 2.1g Carbohydrate: 15.4g Fiber: 1.4g Cholesterol: 0.0mg Iron: 0.8mg Sodium: 5mg Calcium: 19mg